Growing up, I hated breakfast. Mom always made me eat something though, so usually I grabbed a pop tart or a toaster strudel on the way out the door to the bus stop. I distinctly remember having a fascination with microwaveable sausage biscuits during my high school morning bus rides, but in general I really disliked being forced to eat so early in the morning.
As I grew older and became more health conscious (gaining 40 pounds in college will definitely cause one to become aware of the need for change), I realized I needed to start eating breakfast. Breakfast, as I had been told by everyone my entire life, was the most important meal of the day. So gradually I taught myself to not only eat, but to enjoy breakfast: cold pizza, Nutra-grain bars, whole wheat bagels with avocado and tomato, eggs with spinach and grapefruit, egg whites with ground turkey and oatmeal, and last—my infamous bowl of rolled oats with whey, cinnamon, and walnuts. You can almost understand my entire fitness journey just by looking at my breakfast stages.
But recently, my breakfast has changed again. Thanks to my bodybuilding guru Randy, I read a book called Carb Back-Loading (CBL 1.0) by DH Kiefer. (The DH is for Dangerously Hardcore.) I’ll get into the theories of the CBL diet at another time, but for now I just want to tell you what I’ve learned about breakfast. And it’s simple: DON’T EAT IT!
Wha-what? Did you just gasp? You did, didn’t you! No, I’m not crazy and neither is Kiefer. He says in CBL, “Breakfast is extremely important—to skip. When you first wake, the body is in a powerful fat burning mode. Eating could put you in fat-gaining mode.” He goes on to say that the morning is when we must avoid screwing up our natural hormones. If we mess with them—they mess back—and in the form of slowing all our hard fat-burning work. He states, “When attempting to lose weight, moving the majority of daily calories to the evening causes more fat loss and preserves muscle.” Who would have thought such a thing?!
Dr. John Berardi also reports that skipping breakfast as a form of intermittent fasting enabled him to lose 20 pounds and take his body fat from 10 to 4 percent. Berardi—whose PhD is in nutrition—states that skipping breakfast can help reduced blood lipids, blood pressure, markers of inflammation, oxidative stress, and cancer. An increased cell turnover and repair, fat burning, growth hormone release, and metabolic rate are all positives that can result from not spiking the body’s insulin too early in the morning. He even says that skipping breakfast can lead to improved appetite control, blood sugar control, cardiovascular function, and neuronal plasticity. I’m not sure what neuronal plasticity is but if mine gets better due to skipping my oats, I’m all for it.
Still not convinced? Kiefer states it simply:
“Every day the body starts as a fat-burning furnace. Even during exercise, without eating breakfast, the body burns far higher levels of fat than normal and causes an increase in the production of fat-burning enzymes, allowing the body to metabolize fat faster. Eating (or not eating) early in the day dictates the metabolic status of the body for the rest of the day.”
To eat breakfast or not….I think you have your answer.
So what do I do now when I wake up with a tummy rumbling for its usual bowl of oats? I drink coffee. Lots of it and sometimes with coconut oil and a little cinnamon stick. Sound weird to you? Try full fat cream—it’s allowed, but sugar is not. And you wouldn’t believe how easy it is to retrain yourself to not crave food in the morning.
Are you ready to give fat burning a try? Just skip breakfast. Drink coffee without the sugar and flavored creamers. If you’re still hungry a couple hours after waking, have a fatty (fat is good!) breakfast of bacon and eggs—eggs with yolks. Stick to meals made up of protein, good fats, and lots of veggies; and you’ll be well on your way to a body that burns fat instead of gaining it.
Skip Breakfast? Erik shares why he hasn’t had breakfast since August and it might just be the perfect way to balance your cortisol and insulin.