Friday Focus on … Becoming a Breakfast Eater
So another study came out with impressive results that show that those who eat more at breakfast compared with dinner lose more weight. This is not the first or the last study to demonstrate that eating your biggest meal in the AM is the best way to go for weight control. For most people this makes sense, eat the most when you have the most time to burn it off. Eat the least when all you are going to be doing is sitting around and then going to bed. Sounds great but it may be easier said than done. I’ve seen tons of articles citing this new study and throwing out breakfast basics and ideas, but the fact of the matter is, many people struggle with becoming a full-fledged breakfast eaters.
There are a number of reasons people put off breakfast and choose bigger dinners:
– not enough time in the morning
– too stressed/busy in the morning
– not being hungry in the morning
– wanting to eat big dinners with the family
– wanting to eat dinner out
– not liking breakfast foods
If you find yourself using one or more of these excuses to skip a breakfast… read on… I’ve got some ideas that just might help.
Three Weeks (21 Days) to Becoming A Breakfast Eater
If you aren’t a breakfast eater remember it takes a minimum of 21 days to establish a habit. So try this plan and see what happens!
TIP #1: Start By Eating Breakfast Every Day
Week One- Start with one item like a piece of fruit, toast, handful of nuts, yogurt, hard boiled egg, small protein shake, or even a glass of non fat milk/almond/soy milk. Just get use to the idea of eating in the morning.
Week Two– Combine a protein (egg, nuts/nut butter, yogurt, deli meat, cheese) with a healthy carbohydrate like (toast, fruit, low sugar granola, oats).
Week Three– Make a real meal of it! This is the week to really start eating real breakfast that will sustain you and give you lot’s of energy all morning.
Make ahead ideas:
Quick Grab and Go Meals:
Toast with Nut Butter and Fruit
TIP #2: Eat Dinner Earlier
Start eating dinner earlier with the goal of 10-12 hours between dinner and breakfast. You want to be HUNGRY when you wake up!
Week One: Dinner no later than 1 hour before bed.
Week Two: Dinner no later than 2 hours before bed.
Week Three: Dinner no later than 3 hours before bed.
TIP #3: Eat Enough At Lunch
Eat enough at lunch, so you won’t be starving come dinnertime. Create a healthy balanced meal that leaves you satisfied but not overly full (eat till your no longer hungry but not full.) If you find yourself hungry before dinner, have a light snack.
TIP #4: Have Meals You Look Forward Too
If breakfast is going to be the biggest meal of the day then that means it should be one you really look forward too. Sandwiches, chocolate, sweet, salty, savory, whatever you crave can be made healthy and eaten for breakfast!
TIP #5: Try Non Traditional Foods for Breakfast
Yesterday I had a sweet potato for breakfast, I wouldn’t say that is your traditional American breakfast food. I often have dinner at breakfast and breakfast at dinner. This helps me keep that heavier breakfast and lighter dinner thing going. So, if you’re having a little less of dinner than you would normally, remember you can save it and heat it up in the morning! You may find a new breakfast food you never thought you’d love in the morning!
Trouble Shooting the Weekends
The weekends or our days off are often unscheduled and unruly. Isn’t that why we love them?
When You Are Going to Have a Big Dinner
I’ve written about eating out a couple times-how to be flexible, following the 80/20 rule, and living in moderation. I’ve also given tips for eating out. That is all fine and dandy, but what about the rest of the day? It is tempting to skip breakfast to give yourself a little extra calorie cushion when you know your going out, but I don’t do that. I keep with my normal breakfast, being mindful of extra added things. For example, I’m probably not going to Starbucks the same day I know I’m going out for a big dinner. I also do a few other little things like:
– take the stairs if possible
– skip little snacks (like pieces of chocolates at the nurses stations)
– eat healthy at lunch, again, being mindful of extras
– workout that day if I can, but often if I’m going out to dinner I’m skipping my workout
– remember when I’m eating out I can take the leftovers and have it again (maybe for breakfast!)
When You Had a Big Dinner the Night Before
If it is the weekend I often just wing it depending on what is going on and when (or if) I’m going to workout. In general, I give myself that 10-12 hour window before eating again and then I’m usually hungry. After that I just resume my normal eating habits. I focus on making the next meal healthy and nutritious. Trying to lowering the calories at breakfast just starves the body for the rest of the day which just ends up backfiring on any weight control efforts.
How I Became a Diehard Never Miss a Breakfast Person
When I first started to lose weight I would be hungry in the morning so I often had a bowl of multigrain cheerios with blueberries and almond milk. I measured all my food because I was calorie counting so this came to less than 200 calories. For years I followed the 200 calorie breakfast rule in order to be able to eat more throughout the day. Because it was so life changing I actually remember the first time I decided to eat an egg sandwich for breakfast. I literally called my friend and told her about how I wasn’t hungry all morning, I didn’t think about food once, and how great I felt. Being from an Asian family that often had high protein larger breakfast, she was not as surprised as I was. I’ve been a diehard breakfast eater ever since. I’ve had my awkward moments though, like when the family is all going somewhere and I’m the only one sitting down for breakfast. Or when I’m the person asking, “are we going to brunch after church? Cause otherwise I’m eating now.” I’m hungry when I wake up and I’m now use to eating big meals at breakfast and that doesn’t always jive well with everyone I’m with. In these types of situations I try to just roll with the punches as best as possible. I consider eating a healthy hearty breakfast a healthy habit, so if I can accomplish that 80% of the time or more I’m okay.