I’m not going to reveal any secret tricks that help you drop pounds while you sleep—or tout any detox cleanses that will miraculously slim you down. (None of these actually work anyway.) The simple truth is that eating breakfast (yes, breakfast) is one of the healthy habits that will ensure you drop weight consistently. Breakfast is hands down one of the most important meals of the day. Here’s why:
1. It refuels your body and brain after a long night. Without it, you’ll be even more tired (if that’s possible!) and irritable. I know I feel groggier on the days I skip breakfast (when my mornings are a mad rush—feeding the baby, getting the kids off to school, and running off to a meeting).
2. Breakfast kick-starts your metabolism, helping your body to start burning calories for the day. (Your metabolism slows down because you haven’t eaten since dinner the night before.) This is just one reason that breakfast can help control weight.
3. It helps prevent binging later in the day. Skipping breakfast can trigger binge eating: we get so hungry that we eat much more than we should at the next meal—or (this is the case with me when I don’t eat breakfast) snack more throughout the day. Research shows that adults actually have a tendency to put on more body fat when they eat fewer, more calorie-rich meals than when they eat the same number of calories in smaller, more frequent meals. So bottom line is: if you’re skipping breakfast to lose weight, it will backfire on you (if it hasn’t already)!
4. You’re more likely to get the key nutrients you need, like protein, calcium, and fiber. (This is especially important if you’re breastfeeding, as I am now.) Steer clear of processed foods with lots of added sugar; opt instead for fresh fruit, whole-grain cold cereal with milk, hot oatmeal (I love steel cut oats), multi-grain toast with peanut or almond butter, or low-fat yogurt. Or mix up your own fruit smoothies: blend yogurt, apple or orange juice, a banana, and some frozen fruit; you can also add in some of your favorite protein powder.
One last tip that I think really helps: when you eat breakfast, make a ritual of it. Sit down with your food and a cup of coffee or tea…and take time to savor every bite. (Note: Eating at the counter while you’re writing out your day’s to-do list and talking to your kids at the same time does not count!) What you’ll find: you’ll start to look forward to this much-needed quiet time in the morning!
© Valerie Latona LLC 2012