“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”.
Ever since we were little kids, the importance of breakfast has been ingrained into us. For most of us Indians, the very word brings back memories of our mothers staring at us intently to ensure we finished our breakfast before leaving for school. But then came adulthood and breakfast took a backseat to a few extra moments of sleep or finishing up that presentation for work. And no, coffee does not count as breakfast.
Many dieticians and nutritionists insist on the weight loss benefits of having breakfast. In fact, if you tell them you weren’t having breakfast, they’d probably have a fit! But does breakfast actually help you lose weight? Or is it all just a myth?
My dear breakfast lovers, I hate to break it you, but there are conclusive studies that support that eating breakfast leads to substantial weight loss. Weight loss is a result of sum of calories you consume during the day vs. Sum of calories you burn off. That’s it. It is not the miracle result of you eating a meal. But hey! Before you throw away that breakfast plate, let me tell you why breakfast IS still the most important meal and exactly WHY it leads to weight loss.
Most people believe that skipping meals equals weight loss. That is wrong, because when you skip a meal, your blood sugar spikes, which mean more hunger cravings. Especially if you are a person who has to eat first thing in the morning, this means that you are more likely to overindulge later in the day or make bad food choice—which results in weight gain.
Eating breakfast regulates your blood sugar level, which means you are less likely to go all “Cookie Monster” on the cookies your co-worker brought to lunch as treat. It keeps you rational and sane enough to make choose what you want to eat without your hunger completely clouding your judgement. Keeping yourself full to avoid over indulging and making bad food choices is also the reason so many dieticians recommend eating smaller, frequent meals.
Also, more than the meal itself, it is what you eat for breakfast that determines whether you will lose weight or not. If you gorge yourself on cookies or a donut, because you should eat breakfast like a king (No one is blaming you though, they are the best), you are not going to be doing yourself any good. In fact you are just setting yourself for a sugar crash come mid-day, which means more bad choices on your part. Your breakfast should be a balanced meal consisting of fibre, protein and carbohydrates that have low GI Index, think peanut butter oatmeal, scrambled eggs, yogurt with fruit.
Now another question arises, What if you are not a breakfast person or eating first thing in the morning makes you sick?
It may be hard to believe but such people do exist. In this case, the simple answer is: DON’T HAVE IT.
Like I have already said, breakfast alone does not determine your health or weight loss levels. Listen to your body and be sure to make the healthy choice when you do feel hungry later in the morning or around lunch time.
One thing to remember here is that everybody is different. Comparing yourself to others is not going to benefit you. Listen to your body and eat when you feel hungry. Even more important that losing weight, focus on being healthy. Make the right choices, indulge once in a while, exercise and most importantly, don’t starve yourself.
Remember; create healthy habits, not restrictions.