Learn to LOVE Breakfast - Julie's Healthy Living
 
It's a cliche phrase that you've heard thousands of times: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You should never skip your breakfast. Yet, from working with clients and talking to many people I've come to discover that this is a huge issue for many of you.

Let me start out by saying that I was one of those people who skipped breakfast. I used to pride myself on the fact that I could run on nicotine and caffeine for up to 12 hours before putting food in my body. That's how severe I put my body signals out of whack. My body became accustomed to the abuse that I didn't understand the damage I was doing, not only to my waistline, but more importantly my overall health.

The best way I can describe this is to paint a picture: Imagine that your body is a car. If you go out into your driveway first thing in the morning and there is no gas in the tank you can crank the starter all you want, but the car is staying put. Well essentially that is what you are doing to your body. You are putting the car in drive with nothing to keep it running. You are literally running your body on fumes. Food is the fuel that the body uses to keep it running at optimal efficiency. By running the body on fumes you are hanging onto the unwanted fat because you are telling the body that you need it for later use. This creates a vicious cycle. Let's break the cycle.

First, let's look at the word and break it down: BREAK FAST. Ideally, you have stopped eating within a few hours of your bedtime. Again, this is not a waistline issue, rather a health issue. Our stomachs do not run on a clock. Your belly doesn't know if it's 2 a.m. or 2 p.m. This is especially true of people working third shifts or people in nursing, firefighters, police, etc. who work 12 hours on/12 hours off. The body has to function during your waking hours, whatever they are. The reason you should ideally stop eating within a few hours of sleep is that the body starts to slow in all of it's functions as you lay down. This includes your digestion. If you eat a large meal within hours of sleeping your body starts an internal struggle. You are in a state of relaxation, your body temperature, heart rate and respiration are all slowing down and cooling off to get ready for sleep while the intestines are busy at work trying to do their job. It can lead to restless sleep and irregularity. Therefore, I highly recommend that people try to stop eating within a few hours of sleeping.

If you have stopped eating with two hours of sleeping and are getting a minimum of six hours of sleep a night than your body has now gone eight hours without food. If you then hit the ground running with no fuel and wait another four to five hours before eating you have literally starved your body for up to 12 hours. By the time you get to lunch you are ravenous and eat more throughout the rest of the day to make up for the calorie deficit you made in skipping breakfast.

Researchers from the National Weight Control Registry, a database of more than 3,000 people who have lost at least 60 pounds and kept it off for an average of 6 years, found that eating breakfast every day was a weight control strategy for 78% of the people in the registry.

It has also been proven that people who eat breakfast every day consume less calories and aren't as prone to nighttime snacking as their counterparts who skipped breakfast. I am living proof of that fact. Breakfast gets your metabolism going, gives you energy, prevents mid-morning slump, makes your brain function better and stabilizes your blood sugar to keep from the spikes that drive our hunger.

The top two excuses I hear from people as to why they skip their breakfast are:
1. I don't have time to make a healthy breakfast.
2. Eating breakfast makes me sick to my stomach or any variation there of that idea.

Does either one sound familiar to you?

Time is a factor in this hustle and bustle world we live in today. However, with just a little bit of planning you can have a quick on the go healthy breakfast every day of the week. What I have often found is that one plays into the other as well. People have gotten carried away in society with portion sizes thereby skewing what the idea of what breakfast should be. Breakfast is not an all you can eat buffet. While breakfast should be your biggest meal of the day I will settle for getting food in your body. From this day forward you should make it a point to have SOMETHING for breakfast. I'm not talking about that giant muffin along with your Starbucks Latte or a drive-thru window delicacy. I'm talking about a healthy meal that combines fat, fiber and protein to satiate your appetite while keeping your blood sugar level to get through your morning routine.

Dr. Oz suggests having an automatic meal for breakfast thereby eliminating the endless choices and stopping the mad rush every morning. I happen to agree. Taking the guesswork out of what is usually one of the busiest times in the day for most households gives you one less thing to figure out.

Breakfast ideas for busy households--a little planning required. A few hours on a Sunday afternoon and you can have breakfast five days a week.
--Make a batch of breakfast burritos: scramble eggs (or egg beaters if you prefer) with tomatoes, onions, peppers, salt and pepper; place filling in tortillas and freeze in individual bags; reheat the next morning for about 30-60 seconds and grab a piece of fruit on your way out the door
--Hard boil a dozen eggs and keep them in a marked container in the fridge; grab one or two with a piece of fruit and a cup of yogurt
--Cup of yogurt and piece of whole wheat toast with peanut or almond butter
--For those of you that just can't stomach food in the morning try making yourself a smoothie--fruit, milk, ice in a blender--add some protein and/or ground flaxseed powder and a piece of dry or lightly buttered toast

All four of the ideas listed take less than five minutes if you put the planning to work for you. There is no excuse to skip breakfast. Your body will thank you for your effort.
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