Do you struggle with eating first thing in the morning?

October 15, 2011

This is a guest post by Mike Bluestone.

I suspect you have been told to eat as soon as you awake and continue to do so every two to three hours. Given its NOT breaking news I’m not going to harp on it, but I will highlight it plays in important role in all fitness goals, in this case weight loss.

Frequent eating of small portions will enable you to:

  • consume smaller meals without the need to fight hunger
  • keep energy levels at their peak all day long
  • give more to your workout
  • burn more calories

Allow me to explain the last bullet “burn more calories”. Eating more frequently will not enable you to burn more calories without exercise, but together the two practices will produce an efficient body that operates at full force.

So why do I insist you eat first thing in the morning?

When you are asleep your bodies glycogen (carbohydrates stored in muscle and liver) stores are depleted by as much as 80% which means in a matter of minutes it will be empty. This is a problem because when we are awake our body requires glycogen for energy, when we are asleep it requires fat.

Once glycogen is fully depleted the body will not switch to fat for energy, it will simply give you signals such as hunger followed by dizziness, nausea, and headaches. If you continue to repeat this behavior the body will soon come to the realization that this is the new norm and it will adapt by slowing the rate at which it uses calories (slows the metabolism). Basically it will burn fewer calories per hour.

By eating first thing in the morning and continuing to do so every 2-3 hours your body will eventually learn the new behavior and it will begin processing calories at a faster rate, thus more calories will be burned per hour.

I’m not going to begin our relationship with a lie and say I make breakfast first thing in the morning, every morning, but I’m pretty darn consistent. On those days I do not make breakfast first thing in the morning my challenge is not lack of hunger; in fact my stomach is begging for food as soon as I awake, I’m simply sleepy and/or lazy. Not being hungry in the morning indicates a slow metabolism caused by lack of exercise and good nutritional habits such as eating every two to three hours and getting adequate nutrients throughout the day.

Partial Solution

I have recently begun a new practice. If I have nowhere to be in the morning and would like to crawl out of bed, to the sofa and sit (which sounds pathetic as I type it out), I make sure I grab a piece of fruit on the way. I then set my phone timer for 40 minutes. Once the alarm sounds I get up without hesitation and begin making either an egg sandwich with cheese and spinach, or oatmeal.

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