Did you know January is weight loss awareness month? I didn't. Maybe it’s in honor of all that holiday eating and new year weight loss resolutions.
Let’s continue the theme from last week, small changes for big results in 2015, but get more specific and discuss breakfast! Actionable tips to help your busy schedule. Note: These ideas are not for someone that follows an intense training schedule or is an athlete.
First off don’t skip breakfast! This is very important for a few reasons, but not for the reasons that you usually hear.
You are not mentally prepared to fight the hungry food demons that will arise a few hours before lunch. This will leave you searching for quick easy unhealthy foods before lunch. (Much like a junkie looking for a quick fix.)
Creating a window of time during the day that is your only time to eat can cause unintentional over eating. Creating a rules about the times you are allowing yourself to eat, rather than eating what naturally works for you ends with you fighting yourself.
You get hangry (Hungry + Angry) easily. You’re trying to lose weight, you will probably be a little irritated at times, lets not add to that.
Notice one of my reasons was not “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. Not only is this a broad statement but doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. I know of many “diets” where Intermittent fasting (skipping breakfast) is crucial to achieve results
Intermittent fasting is a big change if you are use to eating breakfast or scavenging for food before lunch, and I am all for small attainable changes.
So most (not all) will overeat later in the day. Even healthy foods can be overeaten, albeit not as easy, it still can be done.
All your meals are important. What you put into your body is important. A healthy breakfast can set you up for success the rest of the day.
Eating no matter what time of day it is can be healthy or unhealthy depending on your goals. “It depends”, I say that a lot when asked about health and nutrition.
I believe the most important reasons to eat breakfast are the 3 I listed above.
How do you go about making sure breakfast is healthy and fits into your schedule.
Start by having a plan. This is always the best place to start.
How many day’s a week do you work? Let’s assume you work 5 day’s a week, Monday - Friday. Time is important and there is never enough in the morning. Start planning on Sunday. If you are going to be busy Sunday, do it Saturday. Going into the week unprepared is the same as skipping breakfast, getting hungry before lunch, and listening to those food demons trying to get you to eat out of the office candy bowl.
Again, what you eat for breakfast depends on your goals. These food recommendations are good for someone who is not an athlete or involved in intense training activities looking to lose a few pounds.
Walking, jogging, or light weight lifting are not intense training activities. Intense training activities require more carbohydrates.
The sweet spot for a normal person looking to lose weight generally falls in the 50g - 120g of carbs per day, depending on your activity levels. I am not recommending you start counting all of your food. I just want to give you an idea of why I am recommending the following breakfast options.
50g - 120g per day of carbs is not a low carb diet either and certainly no where near a keto diet (almost a zero carb diet) . Carbs are important but the average American gets 300g+ a day. If you are 30+ lbs overweight count one day of your carbs and you most likely fall into this category.
300g+ of carbs are for elite athletes and high level training programs. Who you are and what your goals are matter, and that is why “it depends”.
Skipping carbs for breakfast helps the body control cortisol levels along with blood sugar levels throughout the day.
I know most people associate breakfast with bagels, toast, waffles, pancakes… they are all just carb edible plates.
If you’re not eating carbs for breakfast then you must be eating protein and fats.
My favorite form of fats for breakfast come from nuts. I like the following; not roasted or over salted:
I will issue you a warning, with nuts in the house they can become very easy to over consume and as I discussed earlier overeating even healthy food will prevent weight loss or even cause weight gain.
Just a handful is the right amount. And that is your hand, not your 6’7” brother who can palm a basketball hand.
Not having to cook nuts also fits in with your busy schedule. You can even eat that handful in the car.
My favorite forms of protein comes from lean meats and fish. This is about the time I start getting funny looks. I am also realistic about people actually following this advice. Ideally you wake up early enough to cook something or have cooked in the nights before, and you planned to have these items in the house. Here’s my list of ideal items:
Turkey (and Bacon)
Grass Fed Buffalo
(Side Note: Eggs eaten frequently, over time can cause someone to become intolerant to eggs. This actually happened to me. I ate eggs almost everyday for breakfast and after a few months I would get terrible stomach aches when I would eat them. After not eating them for about 6 months I was able to eat them again. Now I only eat them if I am at a restaurant, as they are normally one of the best options on the menu.)
Back to the real world where you are busy and don’t have enough time to cook the ideal proteins. What are other great fast breakfast option?
Berries and greek yogurt are a great quick replacement. Berries are delicious and they pack a nice punch in the nutrient category as well.
Skip the yogurts that have the berry syrup with them, mix in real berries.
A great way to incorporate the meats into your breakfast is to precook on a day off. Mix the meat and eggs in a oven safe pan and bake. Then you have pre made easy to portion breakfast. It also warms up well in the microwave.
Add veggies and sprinkle cheese on the top before baking.
Breakfast is all about being prepared. You don’t have time in the morning to run to the store to make breakfast. Having a plan the night or weekend before will go a long way in making breakfast simpler.
Let us know, what are some breakfast options that have worked to fit into your schedule?