Photo credit: Nordico Coffee, Tamarindo, Costa Rica
When it comes to fat loss, the #1 change that has had the most powerful impact on my client’s results is upgrading their breakfast.
For some of you, that may mean skipping breakfast (which I’ll save for another post) but for most changing up the combination of foods you are eating in the morning will have a powerful effect.
Why Is Breakfast So Powerful?
There are two reasons upgrading your breakfast has an impact on fat loss.
1) It sets up your eating for the rest of the day.
2) Allows your body more time in a fat burning state.
Let me explain each reason a little more.
How breakfast impacts what you eat later in the day
What you consume in the morning has a profound impact on what you eat for the rest of the day. What I mean by this is, depending on what you eat and how it effects your hormones, regardless of quantity or calories, you can find yourself feeling differently.
Let me give you 3 different examples:
1) You find yourself at lunchtime starving (hangry), where all of a sudden, like a freight train out of nowhere, you get hit with a feeling that you need to eat RIGHT NOW whatever is there.
2) You can’t even make it to lunch. 2 hours after eating breakfast you hear your stomach rumbling. Snack time here you come!
3) You cruise into lunch feeling totally in control and ready to make a thoughtful decision about what you’ll eat that is aligned with your fitness goals.
Most of my clients want to avoid the first two scenarios at all cost, and experience the last one.
The good news is that you can absolutely control this (and your subsequent hormonal state) by choosing the right type of breakfast in the morning.
By choosing a breakfast that prioritizes protein and a little healthy fat, while minimizing the carbs and sugar you will accomplish just that. You will avoid scenarios #1 and #2 and instead experience scenario #3.
Beware that many breakfasts that are marketed as “healthy” are still very high in carbohydrates and sugar. (I’ll show you an example in a second). So a little awareness of what you’re eating can go a long way.
More Time In The Fat Burning Zone
When you are sleeping your body is using fat for fuel. That is part of the reason sleep is so important for fat loss. The more you sleep the more time you are burning fat.
When you wake up a number of hormones are activated like cortisol, gherlin, insulin, etc. These hormones impact your hunger and ability to burn fat.
So in the morning before you eat breakfast you are still in a fat burning mode. It is only after you break your fast, depending on what foods you eat, that you turn your fat burning switch off.
Let me explain – by eating any kind of carbohydrate, regardless of what it is, so this includes cereal, bagel, toast, granola, fruit, yogurt, etc, you stimulate insulin. Insulin is the hormone that tells your body to switch to a fat storing mode among other things.
By avoiding carbs in the morning, you do not stimulate insulin, and therefore allow your body to stay in a fat burning mode longer.
Sounds great, right? Ready to get started :-)?
So now that you know why breakfast has the most profound impact on fat loss, I’d like to discuss a few examples of what type of breakfasts are best for fat loss.
But before I give you an example of a great fat loss friendly breakfast, let me give you an example of one that is not. This may surprise you as often times it is “marketed” or thought of as the healthy option.
Example: Fruit or Acai Bowls with yogurt and granola
While there is nothing wrong or bad with fruit, yogurt, or granola individually, when you put these ingredients together you get a SUGAR BOMB.
It’s not unusual for many of these bowls to contain over 700 calories, almost 100 carbohydrates, and 65 grams of sugar. YIKES!
So let’s take a deeper look at this beautiful smoothie bowl. The ingredients are yogurt, granola, shredded coconut, mango and kiwi. Looks pretty healthy on the surface, right?
But after looking at the nutritional content of this smoothie bowl, you can see it may not be so fat loss friendly.
It has 90 grams of carbs, 62 grams of sugar, and almost 750 calories.
Depending on your size, this could be almost half your daily calories in just one meal. But the bigger issue is all that sugar. This is going to create a huge spike in blood sugar and insulin, wreaking havoc on your hormones.
This scenario will definitely switch off your fat burning mode, the excess sugar will be stored as fat, and you’ll likely find yourself hungry in just a few hours – even though you just consumed 750 calories.
So you can see how this isn’t setting you up for success and shortening your fat burning potential.
Don’t be fooled by what I call “fake” healthy breakfasts.
Fuel yourself intelligently by setting yourself up with at least 30 grams of protein, minimize, if not avoid carbohydrates and add some healthy fat.
My all time favorite breakfast is a veggie scramble (2 eggs, 3 egg whites) with chopped onion, broccoli, and spinach topped with feta cheese and ¼ avocado. Delissshhh!
You see in this breakfast you have a solid amount of protein, some healthy fat, and very few carbs.
- Calories: 351
- Protein: 32
- Carbs: 11.6
- Sugar: 2.6
- Fat: 18.5
This breakfast qualifies as a great breakfast because it fits the criteria for maximum fat loss results.
- Sets you up for thoughtful, in control eating for the rest of the day
- Allows you to more time fat burning
So, now I’d love to hear form you. What are your favorite fat loss friendly breakfasts? Drop them below.