There are a lot of “Rules” out there about food and eating.
“Thou must eat breakfast” is probably the most common rule I’ve heard from one person or another throughout my life: parents, teachers, doctors, health magazines, and mostly cereal companies pushing their products.
A few posts ago, I laid out The Rules that I live by. You’ll notice breakfast isn’t one of them.
It’s just one of many oft-advised, well-intentioned “rules” that I have come to ignore since I started intermittent fasting. I also ignore all the sub-rules that come with it like when to eat breakfast (within an hour of waking up) or what to eat for breakfast (protein, carbs, and low sugar). The point of these rules, as I’ve come to understand them, is to jump start your metabolism and curb your hunger throughout the day to help manage your weight.
I’m convinced the only thing these rules have ever done is prevent me from losing weight.
Back when I started intermittent fasting, waking up after a fast day was like waking up on Christmas. I was so excited about being able to eat again that I would pour a big bowl of cereal, or make fancy oatmeal with fresh fruit, or cook 2 eggs instead of 1. Then as I started to eat my celebratory meal didn’t want to take more than a few bites. It was even making me feel sick. Trying to eat when you’re not hungry almost feels like trying to eat when you’re full. Gross. This was especially true the day after a fast. My stomach had shrunk and feeding it when it didn’t want food just didn’t feel good.
I started listening to what my body wanted and sometimes that meant waiting to break my fast (that’s why the first meal of the day is called ‘breakfast’, btw. You’re “breaking the fast” that occurs while you’re sleeping). Sometimes I wait so long, my first meal qualifies as lunch. I found out the world didn’t come crashing down around me if I ate a late (or no) breakfast. My progress wasn’t hurt either. I was still able to lose 25 pounds without eating breakfast every day.
Maybe you think I’m making a big deal of something so many people do every day, but for me it was a big revelation. It was drilled into my head that missing breakfast was almost detrimental to my health. I’m not saying it is a good idea for everyone. It’s a personal choice and you have to do you.
These days a typical breakfast for me (fasting day or not) is a banana and a coffee — sometimes not consumed until close to 11am . Yet here I am: still at my goal weight, not scarfing down a huge lunch because I didn’t “eat all day”, not worrying about what my metabolism is doing, and not missing cereal or oatmeal or eggs.
This is what Bill Maher would call a “New Rule”. I wish I had a punchline about not eating breakfast to go here. I’ll update if one comes to me.