Breakfast is a often a loaded topic when you talk to people about their eating habits. I have found this to be especially true for moms.
Well, more often than not I hear one of two things when I ask about breakfast routines..
1) I am not hungry in the morning, if I eat I feel sick
2) I have zero time in the morning and just grab whatever is quick and easy (or stop at the drive through for coffee only)
I get it. Mornings are chaos people. I joke all the time that I am just lucky to have left the house with everyone wearing their pants. Seriously.
But here is the thing, I never ever skip breakfast. If I do, I am not a fun person to be around come 9:00am. I also notice that if I skip breakfast, I will start reaching for more snacks throughout the day, including the candy jar at work.
So let’s talk about why eating breakfast really does matter, ESPECIALLY if you are trying to lose stubborn fat.
But first, let me put a few things on the table..
- I don’t care what time you eat breakfast at. If you eat at 5am or 10am, it makes no difference to me if it is your first meal and it works for you
- If you are trying to eat less or create a calorie deficit by skipping breakfast, you are more than likely sabotaging your fat loss efforts because your hormones are going crazy
So now that we have that out there, let’s talk breakfast.
The word breakfast literally means breaking your fast. You have not eaten since going to bed and when you wake up in the morning your body is gearing up for a new day of running. This is the most vulnerable period of time for your body each day. What you do to it in the early stages of fueling will make or break your fat loss success for the day. In my opinion, it is more important than your workout or some fancy meal plan with specific calories or macros. Why? Well, because the food you choose to eat or even not eat in the morning has the most important impact on your hormones, specifically insulin. When insulin spikes first thing in the morning, our blood sugar becomes unstable for the REST of the day. It is hard to undo.
Now, what is the most common food most of us reach for in the morning that is fast and delicious?
And, I am so sad to tell you this, cereal is a crappy food choice to make if your goal is either to balance your hormones or lose fat.
Why??? No seriously, why would you take away cereal?
Believe me, I am a cereal-a-holic if left unattended with a box of Honey Bunches of Oats. And I am not banishing cereal. But if you are trying to lose weight, back away from the coco puffs.
So why did I just bash on cereal so bad? Because cereal is made up of simple carbohydrates and processed sugar.
The reason this matters is because Carbohydrates influence our hormones more than any other macronutrient that we eat. When we eat carbohydrates, especially on an empty stomach, our insulin spikes rapidly. When our body is releasing insulin in large amounts, our body goes into fat storage mode. For some people, especially if you are trying to lose weight, it takes the body much longer to clear the insulin out of the blood stream. What this mean is that you could be in fat storage mode vs. fat burning mode for a large portion of the day.
If you start the day with a high carbohydrate load, your blood sugar is on a rollercoaster ride. Which basically means no matter what type of calorie deficit you create, you won’t see fat loss because your hormones are in fat storing mode. (Please note: if you are not trying to lose weight, there is an entirely different ‘maintenance process, fat burning and maintenance are not the same thing to our bodies- I am also not saying carbs are the devil. I love carbs and they should always be in a healthy diet)
When you are on this hormonal dip and spike cycle, you may not feel hungry until mid to late day. You might eat a small lunch but then notice cravings start to kick in afterwards. If you skipped breakfast or only had a carbohydrate loaded breakfast, you more than likely will be pretty hungry by dinner time. I find this leads to continual snacking/munching/eating (even binging) thing that happens until you go to bed.
So although you are eating a ‘light’ breakfast, what is really happening is this is sending your body into a tailspin at night and causing you to overeat. This cycle is what is keeping you in fat storing vs. fat burning mode.
So How Do You Get Breakfast Turn You Into A Fat Burning Machine?
Instead of starting your morning with a heaping bowl of sugary, carb filled cereal instead I want you to try to focus on the top 3 power nutrient for fat loss.
What does this mean in real world talk?
For me it means making my favorite breakfast meal. Here is what that looks like most days:
Avocado (fat), Salsa, Scrambled eggs (protein and fat) and spinach or other veggies of choice (fiber/carbs)
Now, I actually make my scrambled eggs the night before which is weird for some people but it saves me a ton of time in the morning. I just stick them in a container and reheat them. But if you can’t handle that, you could also heat up bacon strips (yes, bacon is okay!)
A few other fat loss breakfast ideas that are grab and go:
*almond milk, protein powder, cocao powder, spinach, and avocado smoothie (yes, this is good believe me)
*Sausage egg cups with veggies- I make mine in muffin tins and just heat them in the oven and store in the fridge
I also want you to note that you won’t see yogurt or regular dairy on this list as fat loss friendly breakfast food. Why? For a few reasons. First, our bodies do not actually need cow milk and often times it has an inflammatory response in our gut (without you even knowing it). Yogurt is also very full of sugar and simple carbohydrates. Which means that it is going to cause your blood sugar to spike then take a nosedive shortly after. If you want to eat dairy like yogurt, that is totally cool but try to save it for lunch or snack time later in the day.
If you are not a ‘breakfast’ person, I want you to pay attention to your eating habits throughout the day. Do you find you are not hungry until mid to late morning/afternoon? Do you crave sweets or salt before the end of the day? How much are you eating at dinner time? Is it heavy with pastas, potatoes vs. leafy veggies and proteins? This might be a sign of unstable blood sugar and fat loss sabotage.
If you are noticing that you over-do it at night. I want you to try eating even a small amount of the three macronutrients I mentioned before 10:00am and see how the rest of your day goes.