The first meal of the day is the most crucial. It sets your entire day up. It sets your mood, your energy levels and it dictates what your metabolism is going to do.
After an entire night of fasting, it is important to ensure your break the fast (breakfast) with a nutritious, fulfilling breakfast that will nourish and fuel your body correctly.
High sugar, high carb breakfast:
Starting your day off on a high sugar, high carbohydrate breakfast (e.g. cereal, toast, muesli, fruit & yoghurt, smoothies) sets you up for a day filled with mood swings, fatigue, sugar cravings, and an insatiable appetite.
You are kicking off the day by elevating the Ghrelin hormone which is triggered by sugar and carbohydrates. Ghrelin is the hormone that notifies your brain you are hungry. This then keeps you feeling hungry throughout the day, increasing your sugar cravings. Unless you avoid any further carbs throughout the rest of the day, you will struggle to control that hunger, leading to overeating.
High sugar consumption also means peaks and troughs in your mood and energy levels. You will experience a dopamine high (feel good hormone) when you consume the sugar and carbs, but then you will also experience a serious drop in your mood as the dopamine plummets.
These peaks and troughs then extend out to your mood with a raise and plummet of the dopamine hormone and your blood glucose. The plummet in your blood glucose will leave you feeling fatigued and brain fogged.
Skipping breakfast altogether works for some people who have balanced hormones and eat extremely clean with minimal processed food and minimal sugar.
However if you are one that is consuming quick meals such as sandwiches or rolls, ready made food such as pies and pasties, nibbling on cookies in the afternoon and snacking on chocolate, this is definitely not you.
If you are the latter person, then skipping breakfast is not ideal as you will simply be setting yourself up for even more poor choices in food. Skipping breakfast will have you losing your appetite until you find yourself suddenly starving or seriously craving an energy boost, sugar. At this point you may find yourself turning to the quick convenient food options because of your sudden hunger or turning to chocolate and cookies for a quick burst of energy. Your mood will be all over the place as will your energy levels, once again as a result of turning to high sugar high carb foods.
The drop in appetite will be as a result of a drop in your metabolism. If your body is not getting the quality fuel it needs, it will conserve fuel wherever it can, for survival. It starts with reducing your libido, as this is not vital to survival. It then slows your digestion and therefore your appetite. The process of digestion burns energy. Your body is trying to conserve energy when it isn’t getting enough quality fuel. So it slows your digestion, slowing your metabolism, to conserve fuel. As a result, you store a lot more of the food you consume as fat, back up fuel.
What should you have instead?
Firstly, ensure you actually have breakfast. Secondly have a breakfast that contains protein and good fats, and so much carbs or sugars.
Protein and good fats, keep you feeling fuller for longer. They also trigger the Leptin hormones, which is the hormone that signals to your brain that you are full and you can stop eating. A natural appetite suppressant. They also help keep your blood glucose and insulin levels balanced, reduced peaks and troughs in your mood and energy levels. This helps you feel much more stable in your mood and keep your energy levels from plummeting leaving you feeling fatigued and brain foggie.
Protein and good fats also used up a lot more energy during the digestion process so help speed up your metabolism. Protein helps build muscle which also burns more fat, so helps with leaning up.
Examples of proteins you can include, but are not limited to, anything like eggs, chicken, fish, lamb, beef, game meat, legumes.
Examples of good fats include avocado, butter, coconut oil, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and ghee, to name a few.
Adding in some vegetables help too, as they too help with keeping you feeling fuller for longer and balancing your energy and mood, as they contain fiber, which works to also trigger the Leptin hormone, but also helps with bowel movement, keeping you feeling more comfortable.
Breakfast should look very similar to any other cooked meal. Many people struggle with the thought of eating a meal they would normally have at dinner, at breakfast. But once you have tried it for a few days, and you realise the difference it makes to your day, your mood, and your energy levels, you realise the value in it.
Put your preconceived ideas aside and give it a go. You will be surprised what a difference it makes!
– Coach Terri