Breakfast: The Most Important Meal of the Day (Not)

pancakes_10710886Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Ok...now you’ve officially heard it a million times. But never once was it absolutely true.

Do you eat breakfast cause you want to or do you only eat breakfast because the  media and the “experts” told you that if you didn’t you would never lose weight?

Let’s revisit the basic principal behind any successful weight loss program, reduction of total daily calories. The importance is not when you eat but how much you eat. Think about the amount of calories you could save if you didn’t force yourself to eat breakfast first thing in the morning.

Also, delaying breakfast can actually help you to fight off craving so that you can eat less calories in a day. Think of how hungry you get shortly after you eat a conventional breakfast, you know the "healthy" (aka carb heavy)ones you see on TV with the cereal, and toast, and orange juice. After your sugar high wears off you end up hungrier than a dog when he sees food.

Another thing you might not expect is that delaying your first meal can actually HELP your metabolism and not destroy it like we’ve been told. Lets think about why we store fat...we store extra body fat in case we don’t have access to food. If you spend every waking minute with food in your system why would your body want to live off of your extra body fat? It has food in your stomach, and that’s easier to break down into energy than stored fat is so you'll burn the food and not the fat.

There is research out there that says breakfast is important because it boosts your metabolism. But your metabolism actually raises proportionately to the amount of food you eat. So its not that it raises because you ate breakfast, it raising because you ate. It’s not because you ate it first thing in the morning.

Breakfast foods are tasty. You can eat them anytime, not just at "Breakfast time".
Breakfast foods are tasty. You can eat them anytime, not just at "Breakfast time".

What most studies didn’t look at was when breakfast was eaten. If you delay your first meal you’re still going to get that raise in metabolism, and if you save the calories from your first meal and combine them with your second, you’re metabolism will raise that much more (if that’s how you want to look at it). So breakfast is important, but not at the time you think, it’s important later.

There was a study done at Vanderbilt University that found that the people in the study who delayed their first meal lost more weight than those who ate breakfast at their usual time.

When you first begin delaying your breakfast you will probably feel really hungry. This is because of the hormones in your body, specifically the hormone Ghrelin which gets used to your meal timing and actually predicts when you are “supposed” to eat.

If you’re used to eating first thing in the morning or every certain amount of hours, Ghrelin is going to spike at those times. After a few weeks (at the most) you will be able to re-train the release of your Ghrelin and have more control over when you can eat. If you can maintain the willpower to stick to the new eating pattern, you will be able to retrain your hormones to allow you to delay breakfast (and other meals). If you are able to delay breakfast you will be able to reduce your daily calories.

A benefit of allowing yourself to be hungry and produce Ghrelin is that when that hormone is present you are also producing more growth hormone. Growth hormone helps you to build muscles and burn fat. So you don’t have to visit your local "gym pharmacist" to get extra growth hormone, you just gotta deal with a little bit of hunger.

Another benefit to delaying breakfast is that when you are hungry and producing Ghrelin, you are also producing the “feel good” hormone: dopamine. Dopamine is the hormone that is at it’s height when you are most happy. Like when you’re reading this article.

Not only will you produce more happy hormones, you’ll also be more alert and be able to get more done. Think about how you feel shortly after a meal. You’re probably lackadaisical and in need of a nap. Now think about how alert you are when you’re in search of food. When you’re hungry and/or looking forward to food you’re able to get more done because you’re more alert. Also because getting stuff done is a good way to get your mind off of being hungry.

To be successful with this strategy you need to be dedicated to it and not compromise with yourself. It will take time to train your mind and your body to delay your first meal. But it’s totally worth it.

When you successfully change your eating pattern to delay breakfast you will start losing fat cause you’ll be producing the right hormones, eating less total calories, and giving your body a chance to live off of its stored fat.

There is No Tomorrow, Don’t Procrastinate

RockyI don’t know about you, but I get amped every time I watch one of the old Rocky movies. When I was in junior high and high school I watched all five of them every summer. (I even watched Rocky V each summer, and anyone who has ever watched it knows how much dedication that takes to get through.)

I always found a way to get motivated when I watched the Rocky movies. I was always able to draw a connection between the struggles Rocky was going through and whatever I was doing at the time. Yesterday, I was thinking about how people procrastinate and put things off until “tomorrow” and I thought about some of my favorite movies.

In Rocky III, Rocky is training for a rematch against Clubber Lang (aka Mr. T). In their first fight together, Rocky was not prepared for the fight because he did not train properly. On top of that, on the day of the fight his long time trainer Mickey suffered some sort of a heart attack just before the fight. So Rocky was completely unfocused on top of being undertrained, as a result Clubber Lang whooped him pretty good.

After the fight, Rocky’s once rival Apollo Creed agreed to train him because the way he was used to fighting was not going to be good enough to beat Lang. During the training Rocky remained unfocused and afraid of dealing with what he had to in order to win. While Rocky and Apollo were sparing Rocky was completely unfocused and Apollo began to get frustrated as he had his way with Rocky in the ring. Rocky kept telling Apollo “Tomorrow. We’ll do it tomorrow.”

Rocky got caught in the trap of putting off the hard work until the elusive “tomorrow”. As Apollo was hitting Rocky in the head, all that Rocky could think about was finding a way to stop it, but “tomorrow”. He would rather keep getting hit in the head and deal with it tomorrow than to make it stop now. To that Apollo said “There is no tomorrow!”

We’ve heard that same thing before in a million different ways, but until we start to live like there really is no tomorrow we are going to keep squandering out potential. We continue to put the hard work off until “tomorrow”, and all that does is postpone the pay off.

Too often do people get caught up in putting things off because they are not easy. If we know we need to workout to lose 10 pounds, so many other things seem so much more important when it comes time to go to the gym. Suddenly those dishes in the sink just can’t sit there any longer. Or your movie collection absolutely needs to be re organized.

The reason we do this is because we are looking for short term gratification. We can see the results of cleaning the house right away. But sometimes we could go to the gym for weeks and not see a difference. The things that are most worth it take the most commitment. So stay on track and keep plugging away at those big goals cause “There is no tomorrow!”. You will succeed if you put the work in.

It’s time to be like Rocky and do some soul searching to find what really motivates us to take on our most difficult challenges. And in the end, just like Rocky went on to beat Clubber Lang after a long hard road of training and struggles with his inner demons, you will reach your goals and it will feel better than any short term gratification ever will.