"Raise your hand if you had breakfast this morning."
It's a poll I regularly take in my morning fitness classes. Invariably, there are attendees whose hands remain at their sides. They still haven't grasped the importance of the first meal of the day.
They'll say, "I'm just not hungry in the morning," or, "The morning is too rushed for breakfast,", or the worst one, "I'm skipping meals to lose weight."
The funny thing is, they're often the same people who complain of not being able to lose weight, of a slow metabolism, of results unrealized. Don't get me wrong--eating breakfast won't solve every weight loss woe, but it's an important part of healthy lifestyle that contributes to sustained weight management, among other benefits.
And while experts argue over whether eating breakfast affects body composition, or by what degree it impacts metabolism, research overwhelming supports that those who regularly eat breakfast demonstrate a decreased risk for obesity and heart disease, and better cognitive function. Beyond that, those who regularly eat breakfast tend to be leaner than those who don't.
According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:
And if you're one of those who regularly skips meals, understand that restricting calories slows your metabolism--the thing you need to keep revving to burn calories. "Skipping meals increases your likelihood for metabolic syndrome, which includes decreasing your good cholesterol, increasing your blood pressure, and worst of all increasing your belly fat," says Rachel Cosgrove, renowned women's fitness expert and author.
Furthermore, randomized controlled trials have shown the metabolisms of people on starvation or crash diets slow down to conserve energy, which means their basal metabolic rate (BMR) can drop by up to about 15 percent. BMR is the amount of kilojoules (or energy) your body burns to maintain functioning at rest. This accounts for 50 to 80 per cent of your overall energy requirements.
Ok, now that you're convinced to start your day with breakfast, what should you eat? Those who say they aren't hungry in the morning can start with something small, like a piece of fruit with a scoop of nut butter, an easy-to-drink protein-fruit smoothie, yogurt or pre-made bag of granola with nuts/seeds. Heck, you could even combine your coffee with a protein shake (vanilla or chocolate) to have an all-in-one kickstart to your morning. If yours is a time issue, get up 15 minutes earlier! That, or prepare your breakfast the night before so that you can just grab and go.
Whenever I enter the breakfast discussion with folks, the question always comes up, "What do you eat for breakfast?" Well, I'll tell you. I'm a creature of habit, so when I find something I like, I stick with it. Each morning, within 30 minutes of rising, I eat a bowl of Nature's Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Granola with skim milk and blueberries, and one mug of Starbucks coffee with stevia, honey, cinnamon and organic plain soymilk. This has been my breakfast ritual for a few years now, and it just works for me. It's also safe to eat for my son with a peanut allergy. I don't recommend most cereals, which are laden with sugar and void of nutrients, but this one is nutrient dense with 5g of fiber, 6g of protein (not including the skim milk), 31g of whole grain and 0.7g of ALA Omega 3. This combo of rolled oats, pumpkin and flax seeds, and brown rice flour sustains me during the classes I teach, tiding me over until my late morning, post-workout recovery shake. I literally order it by the case from Amazon because it's either out of stock at the local store or is grossly overpriced.
Now, the only question that remains is, what are you having for breakfast tomorrow?
1. Alternating reverse lunges 10x/leg (from standing, step one foot back into a lunge, then step feet together again. Repeat other side.)
2. Quadruped with opposite arm/leg raises 10x/pair (on hands and knees, slowly lift and lower left arm and right leg. Repeat with right arm and left leg)
REPEAT 3-5 times!
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I am not a registered dietitian, nor a medical professional. My blog is a representation of my views and experiences, which are not intended as medical advice. While I am a certified personal trainer, descriptions of things I eat and exercises I perform may not be suitable for everyone. Please speak with a medical professional before making any changes to your current routine.