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The Little Things That Kill (Your Fat Loss) #1: Eat Your Damn Breakfast! By Eugene Thong, CSCS
It’s practically ingrained in our social consciousness:
“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.”
Unlike most societal clichés, this one actually has some validity. By eating breakfast, you jump-start your metabolism, inject yourself with energy for the day, and prime your fat-burning furnace. Breakfast is so important that what you eat can literally determine how many total calories you eat that day.
Simply put, if you skip breakfast, you’re just not that interested in losing the maximum amount of fat possible!
Let’s explore why breakfast is the King of Meals and ways to make sure we get to it.
Prior to breakfast, what happens? If you’re like most people, you’ve just spent the previous 7 or so hours asleep. That 7 or so hours represents a span of time where you’re not taking in any fuel (aka eating).
It’s important to note the verbiage here. From here on in, you are no longer to think about meals and mealtime as “just eating.” We’ve got a serious purpose here, people, and we need to maintain that mindset to be successful.
So, from now on, mealtimes are “refueling times” and food is fuel – fuel for your workouts, fuel for your day, fuel for your body, which you intend to turn into a lean, mean, aerodynamic and stripped-of-all-excess-weight machine.
Back to breakfast: So you’ve learned from other articles on this site that going too long between feedings is bad for fat loss since it allows your body to slip into starvation mode and prey on your muscle tissue for energy.
Well, all is not lost, dear friends; you needn’t worry about packing on the pounds during your nightly beauty rests. When you slip into unconsciousness and drift off into sleep, your body downregulates all functions to allow it to save energy and facilitate cell repair.
In other words, your body’s in power-saving mode. During this time, its energy requirements are greatly reduced and release of key hormones (like growth hormone) prevents protein breakdown.
When you wake up, however, it’s a whole new ballgame.
Power’s on; all systems go. Your body flips all the switches and its energy demands multiply. What precious little blood sugar you had left circulating around your bloodstream all night vanishes rapidly.
At this point, what you need is food to fuel the body’s power demands and to avoid starting the day in catabolism (the process of muscle tissue breakdown for energy).
You don’t have to take it from me, though. Here’s a review of the science:
Does what you eat matter? You bet it does:
In summary, here are your directives:
1) Eat breakfast. No whining. No complaining. Just do it already.
2) Eat a breakfast than contains protein and fat. Protein supplies the thermic effect, fat supplies the satiety.
3) Eat breakfast everyday. The most successful dieters do it – and so should you.
Now you know why – the question now is, how?
Prepare your own breakfast at home. By preparing your own breakfast, you control everything, from what goes in it (“I didn’t know they deep fried these omelets in butter”), to how it tastes (no one knows what you like more than you), to how much of it there is (in case you’re one of those people who just can’t leave food on their plate).
Your best bet is to make your breakfast the night before or to set the stage in advance.
Crack a few eggs into a mixing bowl, whip them up with some sea salt, black pepper, and herbs, and seal it off with some plastic wrap in the fridge – ready for scrambling or making into omelets the next morning. If you like ham or Canadian bacon, cook it the night before and put it in Tupperware for reheating the next morning.
Too lazy (or rushed) to cook in the morning? Prepare hard-boiled eggs instead, and stick those in the fridge – they taste fine warm or cold. I personally happen to like a serving or two of Greek yogurt (full-fat, of course – to ensure satiety and to feed my cell membranes), which also conveniently requires no cooking.
If you’re not partial to cultural hypnosis and don’t mind eating non-breakfast foods at breakfast time, then your choices are made even more varied. Prepare steak or chicken to reheat in the morning and eat it with salad greens. Sunday brunch? Have a piece of salmon and steam up some green beans to go with it.
You call me strange? HA! I’ve been called worse than that. Besides, I just want you to have something for breakfast.
To recap: Stop making excuses and start making breakfast. Hey, might as well start the day off by doing something good for yourself. You’ll even save a few hundred calories in the process.
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About the Author:
not helping clients cultivate their own inner 6-packs, Eugene can be found
arm barring opponents at Renzo Gracie's Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy or
sailing through the air on his snowboard. Read Eugene's semi-weekly musings
on exercise, fitness, and fat loss
at his blog
Is cardio the best way to get toned? I'm a mom just starting to get back into working out after a long layoff off due to work and family commitments. I haven't been to the gym in a little over 2 years even though I kept the membership and I feel like I'm starting from scratch. I need to lose about 30 pounds and want to shape up as soon as possible.