BREAKFAST: why the first thing you eat is the most important

On October 19, 2011

Everyone has heard the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right?  You’ve read reports that say things like “people who eat breakfast are far more like to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight”, and you’ve also heard something about breakfast “getting your metabolism going”.

Well, I’m here to say:  those things are true.  But there is even more to the story…

Breakfast is responsible for setting your metabolic tone for the day.  The first thing you eat on an empty stomach will establish your blood sugar.  If you eat something super refined that’s packed with sugar (“packed” being 6 grams or more) you’re blood sugar is going to spike, your body will secrete a lot of insulin to compensate…and then just as dramatically as the blood sugar went up, it also shall fall.

That crash is when you start feeling super groggy and lose energy.  That crash makes you crave carbs, fat and caffeine.  That crash is what happens when you don’t eat a good breakfast.

Most people get in a hum-drum breakfast routine, eating the same thing every day for YEARS on end.  Think about it– would you eat the same EXACT thing for lunch or dinner every day.  No! That would seem crazy.  So why do people do it with breakfast?

It’s just like working out–it’s been shown time and time again that muscle confusion is the best way to burn calories and re-shape your body.  Think of this as nutrient confusion.

You need a rainbow of nutrients to thrive.  Also, depending on the day you’re going to need different fuel.  You wouldn’t wear the same outfit year round, would you?  NO!  Different days, moods, events, etc call for different ensembles– similarly your body calls for different chow.

Ok, now I am going to divulge my all time favorite assignment.  I give it to ALL my clients and do this one myself seasonally.  Drum Roll Please…. I present to you…

**The Breakfast Experiment**

As a way of tuning into your body and learning to listen to its messages, explore eating a different breakfast every day for a week. Jot down what you eat and how you feel, both right after eating and again two hours later. Sit quietly after you eat and reflect. Note how your energy level, your moods and your physical symptoms are affected by the food in your body.

Day #1:  (protein breakfast) Eggs with vegetables veggies

Day #2:  (dairy breakfast) yogurt, can add some fruit

Day #3:  (whole grain carbohydrate breakfast) Oatmeal or any grain product

Day #4:  (refined carbohydrate breakfast) Boxed breakfast cereal, muffin or bagel and coffee

Day #5:  (mixed breakfast) whole grains with protein like eggs, beans or breakfast meats

Day #6:  Fresh fruit, try to keep it seasonal

Day #7: Fresh vegetables

In a journal keep track of the following:

What you ate                   

–How you feel right after eating

–How you feel Two hours later

(think about energy levels, do you feel full or focused?  Or lethargic and unmotivated?  How satisfied or hungry you feel?  Do you feel bloated?  Are you in a good mood or bad mood?)

I guarantee it will be enlightening and shake up your breakfast routine!!

Since we are all biologically so different, eating a “good breakfast” means something different to everyone.  It’s important to figure out what works best for your unique body and fuel yourself properly at the start of each day in order to keep you energy elevate and even throughout the day.

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