There’s something that many of us do now and then, or even every single day, that is setting us up both physically and mentally to run off course with our weight loss plan. Wondering what it is?
It’s starting your day off with…skipping breakfast.
Why is it so detrimental when trying to lose weight? Well the science has showed quite a few reasons, and feeling hungrier through the day is just one of many factors.
You want the “bad” stuff
Even if you don’t feel physically hungry as soon as you wake up, you’ve gone all night without eating anything, and while your body can provide energy from carbohydrate, fat, and protein stores, once your blood sugar levels drop (you’ve used up your carbohydrate stores) after a few hours of awake time you are likely to experience a strong urge to top these up.
Think hunger, but an associated craving for something that will boost blood sugars quickly- those containing lots of sugar or high GI carbohydrates.
But it’s not just a sugar top up
What you might not know is that sugar on it’s own isn’t something we would normally have a lot of- imagine yourself sitting there eating spoonful after spoonful of pure sugar granules, or white flour, you’d probably have to stop after a couple. Same thing with fat- not so appetising to think about downing a tub of butter by the tablespoon.
Put sugar and fat together however, and you will find this magical combination that your tastebuds go nuts for. Flour, sugar, and butter combined- now you have shortbread cookies. Add to all of this the knowledge that when blood sugars drop so does mood, you become irritable, and sensitive to stress.
So what does this mean for weight control?
If your body is telling you to top up your blood sugars, you’re fairly likely to head for the high sugar foods that are palatable as well, as chances are this is now a mental craving as well to help you cope with the emotions you are experiencing. That good old sugar and fat combination.
You’re more likely to overeat, eat quickly – as you are receiving physical cues that you need sugar in your system fast- and eat past the point where you are no longer hungry anymore, because your emotional needs aren’t so easily dealt with if you’re worked up, or you are distracted by all your racing thoughts.
One unhealthy choice and you write off the whole day
How many times have you either:
– Battled with the fatigue that comes after eating something unhealthy and then not been able to force yourself to exercise
– Decided you’d blown your diet plan with one unhealthy choice, then given up on the rest of the day
– Struggled with the blood sugar highs and lows and had to eat more sweet stuff to fight the crashes
– Chosen to skip lunch, afternoon tea, dinner to make up for it (slowing down your metabolism)
Start your day off healthy, and you might finish it healthy too!
Choosing something like wholegrain toast with poached egg and avocado, natural muesli with yoghurt and fruit, a healthy smoothie, cottage cheese and tomato on an English muffin, or low GI wholegrain cereals a great start to your day, and will help you stay focused, make less mistakes, have great energy levels, and more elevated mood.
When it comes time for that mid morning snack you won’t be battling the physical and mental cravings and can be free to make a healthy choice. And so on, and so forth. Stable blood sugar levels mean you’ll probably even have better energy levels in the afternoon or evening which you can put to good use with a visit to the gym or an after dinner stroll.
If you don’t have time to make breakfast, something like a glass of milk and a piece of fruit or a healthy wholegrain bar can be consumed on the run. However you choose to get in our breakfast, making a healthy meal at the start of your day a non-negotiable habit will have immediate benefits to how you feel as well as how you manage your weight.