I have noticed many clients recently not breakfast, sometimes not even lunch.  They seem to fall into one or more of these camps –

  • Disordered eating clients tell me it is the one time of day they feel in control, that they aren’t worrying about or wanting food
  • Many clients say they are not hungry, and often use tea or coffee to get them through the morning
  • Some clients say they don’t have time, or find it a chore to eat
  • A few clients come to me using Intermittent Fasting to try to shift weight

Depending on the client’s background, I can see that very often it is not in her best interest to be skipping this meal.  So then the exploration begins together.

My breakfast Journey

I understand the breakfast skipping, and the reluctance to change.  I have my own journey around breakfast, or the lack of it.  Been full circle really.  Age 19 I read a book called ‘Fit for Life’ which urged nothing but fruit before midday, apparently to fit in with our natural circadian rhythms.  Thought it was doing me ‘good’, it wasn’t.  Since then, my breakfasts have been a changeable, shifting, affair.  Various jobs, 2 rounds of morning sickness + periods of broken sleep after, different trends / fads / routines over the years.  Now, most recently, getting in touch properly with my appetite, learning about how the impact of eating v not eating can impact my body, all day long.

And so, my breakfast is years of tweaking, and adjusting. Maybe yours is too.  I could tell you what I have, or when I have it, but I am not going to because it is not helpful to you. Hopefully the following is though ……

 

Why I think breakfasts are helpful

  • Think about the word – it literally means to break the overnight fast. Unless you are a shift worker, or have eaten very late, common sense would say that you should be hungry in the morning.
  • Hunger is not just a rumbling stomach, (yet most of us think of it this way). You may feel hunger through your mood, your energy, other parts of your body than your stomach.
  • Food is fuel, and if you haven’t fueled up for say over 12 – 14 hours then what fuel is your body using? If weight loss is your intention and you are skipping food in the morning then I have just one question for you – is it working?  This is not what I see (but please get in touch to tell me otherwise).  And this is partly because of ……
  • Blood sugar balance – without eating fairly soon after rising, we are likely to give ourselves a blood sugar crash at some point, affecting our energy, mood, food choices for HOURS to come.
  • Intermittent fasting is very trendy, there is research to show that it can have positive impacts on our digestion and cellular ageing. BUT I wonder how much of this research is done on the women that I see – rushing, juggling, giving out to everyone but themselves, a million things on their minds from the seconds they wake.  I suspect this was not the case.  These women need fuel.
  • Skipping breakfast can give rise to a sense of victory.  Which is often very shortlived.  If a woman has an unhealthy relationship with food, including years of yo-yo dieting, often eating is controlled in the morning but in disarray by the evening.   Anchoring down breakfast, well all 3 meals a day actually, is the cornerstone of recovering on a practical level from disordered overeating.

Is it ever OK to miss breakfast?

I think it can be, depending on your own situation.

  • If you have an easy, take it or leave it attitude to food, without issues, (an intuitive eater)
  • are in tune with ALL the hunger signals in your body
  • if you have a gentle start to the day without excessive travelling or demands on your body (including exercising)
  • are happy to eat helpful foods, and enough of them, when hunger is there
  • are well hydrated

What to eat at breakfast????

Again, what can seem like that wishy-washy answer – it is up to you.  What does your body need?  My own belief is that breakfast cereals have been one of the greatest marketing campaigns (think about it – what did people eat before Kellogg’s came along?).  A helpful breakfast is unlikely to come out of a box, apart from a few select choices with plenty of additions.

And by additions, I mean helpful fats and lean proteins.  Most people that do eat breakfasts are predominantly eating carbohydrates (remember fruit is carb too).  My experiences show that it is the fat, and protein, that can make all the difference to a filling, satisfying, balanced breakfast.

I love to watch clients experiment with their breakfast.  Think outside the (cereal) box.  Maybe weekdays it must be a simple repetition, so then what can change at the weekend?  What do you really love? Can you see it as a real meal?   And how different do you feel later after proper morning fuel?  If you find breakfast is triggering you to overeat more, then try to work out if you regard breakfast as a ‘treat’ or adjust what you are having.

If you are really pushed for time then prepping something the night before is a solution.  It doesn’t need to be complicated – overnight oats, defrosting breakfast muffins, gathering ingredients for a smoothie …..

 

 

If you would like help with working out what, when and how to create the ideal breakfasts for you, please get in touch. I have plenty of ideas, practical advice, tools for you to help monitor your progress.  As always, I would love to hear your comments.

I offer a free 30 minute conversation to anyone wanting to find out more about my coaching, with no obligation to sign up.

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