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The Importance of Having Breakfast

By Isabell Kratz

Our internal biological clock regulates our metabolism. We burn energy at a fast rate in the morning and throughout the first part of the day. Our metabolism then slows down in the afternoon and in the evening.

Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper. To understand the importance of a healthy and hearty breakfast, imagine a fire. When you first light it, it burns fast and high, and everything you add to it will be consumed quickly by its flames. This is what your body is like in the morning: an energy-burning machine. Take advantage of it. If you skip breakfast, you will miss out on the least fattening meal of the day. Eating breakfast will add fuel to your fire and accelerate your metabolism. If you don't eat breakfast, your metabolism will slow down.

Give yourself a good start and eat anything you want, as long as it is high in complex carbohydrates: toast, porridge, muesli, cereals (not the sugar coated variety). Add fresh fruit to your first meal of the day, as it will help to detoxify your body. You could even decide to eat an Asian rice dish or potato salad (with a low-fat dressing), as you don't necessarily have to stick to a traditional English or continental breakfast.

"But I'm never hungry in the morning", you may say. Don't expect to be hungry in the morning if you fill yourself up the night before. You have to reverse your eating pattern to give yourself a chance to feel hungry in the morning, so eat throughout the day and have breakfast, morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Your won't be starving in the evening any more and your dinner, which used to be your most important meal, will almost become unnecessary.

Skipping breakfast is dangerous, but skipping dinner is not, as long as you're not hungry and as long as you've had a big breakfast and a big lunch. While I still eat chocolate, cakes and biscuits from time to time, I don't have them at night any more. A light dinner is advisable, but a more substantial one now and again doesn't hurt. Unless they are very frequent, we shouldn't worry too much about occasional dinner parties and other social events.

A lot of us are scared to reverse our eating pattern, because we believe we will blow up like balloons if we eat breakfast, and because we are afraid not to be able to go to sleep on an empty stomach. But fat deposits are not caused by hearty breakfasts, and we sleep a lot better after a light evening meal.

Your body uses a great deal of energy in the morning, which is why breakfast will never make you fat. A good breakfast will stimulate your metabolism and boost your serotonin level, making you feel good. You will burn more calories throughout the day, and you will feel more energetic, less hungry and less likely to succumb to cravings. If you eat enough during the day, a small dinner will satisfy your hunger.

When we practice eating only when we are hungry, we realise it is better to leave the table satisfied, but not full. To leave the table with room for more food is difficult, especially at night, when we are used to going to sleep on a full stomach, but to have room for more food doesn't mean we're still hungry. It means that we've had enough, and our appetite is telling us to eat more, but we choose not to listen to it.

Ask yourself if all your physical and emotional needs have been met. You might be using food as a substitute when you feel an uncontrollable urge to continue eating after your evening meal. You have to find other ways to nurture yourself. Relax and take time for yourself, do something you enjoy, even if it seems frivolous (I like listening to music while drinking herbal tea and looking at magazines).

Stacey, 26, a Registered Nurse, had a BMI of 31. She lost 25 kilograms and went down to a BMI of 22 within a year, while eating a huge breakfast every day, which included toast, eggs, ham, porridge, cottage cheese, fruit and yoghurt. She would be so full after her breakfast that she wouldn't feel hungry for the rest of the day. She would only eat fruit, raw vegetables and vegetable soup until the next morning. Although this type of diet might not suit everyone, we can certainly learn from it.

The body seems to be able to handle fat and protein a lot better in the morning than in the evening, so whatever you eat in the evening has to be very low in fat. If you want to eat a salami sandwich, do it in the morning, for breakfast!

A lot of us think that eating breakfast is a sin. We do the best we can to lose weight. We go to weight loss clubs and get allocated a certain number of points, and we are scared to use up all our points before the evening. To us eating is similar to budgeting, so we skip breakfast, feeling good about it, and don't understand why we can't lose weight. In reality, we are sabotaging our weight loss efforts.

When you don't eat breakfast, your metabolism slows down, as your body strives to conserve fat instead of burning it. You feel miserable all day and wonder why you need to eat so much in the evening. All the points or calories put aside during the day might not be enough to satisfy your frantic hunger, and all you eat for dinner goes straight into your fat stores.

A better way to lose weight is to have a big breakfast, lunch and a small dinner. Foods rich in lean protein and complex carbohydrates eaten during the day will still release a lot of energy in the evening, enough to sustain you and to make a big dinner unnecessary. You will be able to go to sleep and you will sleep better, too. You will wake up energetic and slightly hungry, ready for another breakfast.

Strategies:

Eat a big breakfast. Include complex carbohydrates, lean protein and fresh fruit in your breakfast. Eat a nutritious lunch and a light evening meal. Avoid eating late at night. Have room for more food when you leave the table. Learn to relax and to have fun. Don't save all your calories for the evening.

by Isabell Kratz

Please check out my profile and order a copy of my book "It's Easy to Be Happy", available at Amazon.com

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Wishing you to be happy and successful!

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