Written by Scott Williams. Succeed.com.au
Some people think that skipping breakfast will help them lose weight. It won’t.
Studies show a direct link between breakfast and successful weight loss, and that compared to breakfast skippers, breakfast eaters generally:
• Eat fewer calories throughout the day
• Eat less saturated fat and cholesterol
• Have better nutrition habits
• Weigh less (women 4kgs/men 3kgs less)
The key to successful weight loss.
The key to successful weight loss is burning more calories than we consume each day.
Our body burns calories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. How quickly we burn those calories is called our metabolic rate.
Our individual metabolic rates change throughout the day and night, depending upon things like when we last ate and whether we are active or at rest.
Even though we burn calories while we are asleep, our metabolic rate slows dramatically during this time and we burn fewer calories per hour as a result.
(Now before you go planning to give up sleep to lose weight, which is definitely not the answer, let me tell you a better way).
The way to maximize the number of calories we burn each day is not to stay awake longer but to maximize our metabolic rate while we are awake.
This is where eating breakfast comes in.
Why breakfast is so important to losing weight?
One of the secrets to successful weight loss is to kick-start our metabolism as soon as possible after we wake. The best way to do that is to eat breakfast. In fact, nothing, including exercise, gets our metabolism going as fast again after eight hours of restful sleep as eating a healthy breakfast!
When we skip breakfast, not only does our metabolic rate stay low, so too does our blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels resulting from missing breakfast often leads us to feel lethargic.
Low blood sugar levels in the morning eventually make us feel extra hungry later, which sets us up for impulse snacking, or eating overly large portions of food at lunch and dinner.
When we eat breakfast, our body feels nourished and satisfied, making us far less likely to over eat during the rest of the day.
Common reasons for missing Breakfast
The most common reasons that people skip breakfast include:
- No Time
- Preferring to exercise in the morning instead
- Not feeling hungry in the morning
- Unable to stomach food first thing in the morning
Here’s what you can do if either one of these causes you to miss breakfast regularly:
“No time” is no excuse
Time is at a premium for most of us. Nevertheless, it pays to make time for what is undoubtedly the most important weight loss meal of the day.
If time is a real issue for you and you only have a few minutes for breakfast in the mornings, try to:
Eat something that doesn’t take any time to prepare, like a glass of pre-squeezed fruit juice, a couple of pieces of fresh fruit or a tub of low-fat yoghurt. Even last night’s left-over stir fry is a better option than eating nothing at all.
Prepare your breakfast the night before. Lay your cereal packet, dish, spoon or toast condiments on the breakfast bar so they are ready to go first thing in the morning.
Do two things at once. Try doing something within your morning routine, like ironing a blouse or shirt for example, while your toast is browning in the toaster. (Try not to do two things at once while you’re eating, you’ll eat too quickly and your digestion will be affected. If you have no choice, eat anyway, but try not to do this too often).
Have at least something to eat no matter how small and take the rest of your breakfast with you. For example, drink a breakfast smoothie and take your favourite breakfast cereal to work with you in a plastic container.
If you are in a rush to get somewhere, eat something as soon as you get there. If you’re meeting someone, meet them in a café or coffee shop. If you are always in a rush to get to work, leave a packet of breakfast cereal in your office kitchen or in a drawer of your desk.
Most people like to exercise in the morning for the same reason they should eat breakfast, to raise there metabolism and burn extra calories.
If you exercise in the morning on an empty stomach, your metabolism won’t reach the same heights it would if you ate something before-hand.
Don’t like to exercise on a full stomach? Ideally we shouldn’t really work out until an hour or two after our breakfast (or any other meal), but if you like exercising in the morning or it’s the only time you have, a glass of fruit juice or small piece of fruit beforehand will give your metabolism the spark it needs to maximize the calories burnt during your workout.
Remember, you don’t need to eat a three course meal to get your metabolism going in the morning, even something small like a banana or fruit smoothie will get it firing.