Everyone always says that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. And if you want to lose weight, starting your day with a hearty meal is crucial. I’m here to dispute this claim. In fact, once I started skipping breakfast, I started losing weight and it’s definitely not because I was starving myself.
How Hungry are You Today?
Please don’t just eat breakfast first thing in the morning because you think you should. Eat breakfast because you’re hungry. The early morning is a great time to let your digestive system do its work from the night before. Especially if you tend to eat a later, heavier dinner. While you might not want to skip breakfast entirely, why not wait a few minutes after you wake up until you feel hungry?
If you do wake up starving, consider starting your day by drinking 16 to 24 ounces of water. This can increase your metabolism by as much as 24 percent, according to some experts. Water also helps the body detox from the night before while giving the colon a cleanse and revving up the digestive system if necessary. Not to mention that drinking water first thing in the morning also makes your skin glow. What’s not to like?
The Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
More research is being done on the benefits of intermittent fasting. The least painful and most effective time to fit in a short fast (around 15 hours) is between dinner and breakfast. That means that if you eat dinner around 7 pm than you should wait at least until 10 am the next day to eat your next meal. For some of us, this isn’t realistic, but you can take baby steps that make a big difference. For example, don’t snack after dinner. Try and drink a glass water before your first meal. But if you can fit in a mini fast, it’s worth it and the first part of the day is the easiest time to accomplish it. Here’s why:
1. It reduces insulin
A study published in the January 2005 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that on days of mini fasts fat oxidation increased, making fasting an effective tool for weight loss among participants. Reduced insulin is also important for staving off type-2 diabetes.
2. It increases human growth hormone
One study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that mini fasts increased the production of the human growth hormone (GH) in the body. GH is responsible for increased fat burning and metabolism in the body.
3. It reduces belly fat and increases metabolism
Intermittent fasting has been shown to reduce belly fat and increase metabolism by
as much as three to eight percent over a 24-week period. A study published in the January 1990 edition of the Journal of Physiology found that fasting for 48 hours at a time increased the basal metabolism in normal weight individuals. Another study published in the July 2011 edition of Obesity Reviews found that fasting decreases body fat and mass.
4. It prevents oxidative stress
Other research has shown that intermittent fasting can help the body with cellular waste removal. As mentioned above, much of the body’s digestion and detoxing is done over night. If you give food a rest after your last meal of the day, you’re giving your body more time to detoxify. More specifically, a study published in the August 2010 issue of Autophagy found that fasting is usually a safe, inexpensive, and useful means of reducing oxidative stress.
5. It helps with hormone regulation
According to Dr. Axe, fasting can help with hormone regulation. Specifically, it helps with the regulation of leptin, the hormone in the body that tells you when you’re hungry and when you’re satiated. When leptin is off in the body, it makes it difficult to stop eating, which is obviously problematic for weight loss. It’s been shown that fat people have high levels of leptin in their systems.
When Skipping Breakfast is Not a Good Idea
Skipping breakfast or intermittent fasting in general is not a good idea for everyone. And many doctors note the importance of a healthy breakfast to get your metabolism rolling. For some people, a healthy breakfast like this Vegan Peanut Butter Granola Recipe or this Protein-Packed Tofu Scramble makes a lot more sense. These individuals should abstain from fasting:
1. Pregnant women
When you’re pregnant, fasting for any period of time has been shown to produce ketone bodies, molecules produced by the liver during periods of low food intake that can negatively impact the fetus. Dehydration is especially dangerous during pregnancy because it can cause preterm delivery. Pregnancy is never a good time to abstain from food.
2. Breastfeeding women
Women who are breastfeeding should not skip breakfast. First and foremost, you’re super hungry when you’re breastfeeding, so just try not to eat! But even if you could bear it, over a long period of time, it could impact milk production. Save fasts for after you’ve finished breastfeeding, especially within the first year when breastmilk is still a major component of your baby’s diet.
If you work out hard first thing in the morning, fasting could impact your performance. For some of us, working out in the morning is essential to fitting it in. Especially if you’re training for a race or you’re an athlete. You may need the fuel to get your body going in the morning. If this is the case with you, fasting in general may not be the best idea.
4. Caffeine addicts
Additionally, don’t fast by drinking a bunch of caffeine to keep you from eating. Caffeine without food can leave you feeling jittery. If you crave caffeine in the morning but you’re not a fan of anxiety, add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil or grassfed butter to your coffee to balance out your caffeine with some good fats.
5. Breakfast lovers
Some of us relish the morning ritual of breakfast. Orange juice, oatmeal, and eggs–what’s not to like? If you’re not willing to give up this ritual, maybe consider dropping in a mini-fast periodically in another part of the day instead.
6. Smaller meal lovers
The point is NOT to starve yourself. An intermittent fast in the morning is all about giving your system a break and then enjoying moderate meals throughout the rest of the day. If it feels like you’re starving yourself and then overeating at lunch and dinner, this is not for you. We’re all different and we all respond differently to food.
Do you skip breakfast? Have you found that it’s helpful for weight loss? We want to know! Drop us a line via Twitter @EcoSalon.
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