January 29, 2008

Solidarity. Also: Breakfast

My sister-in-law Anna and I are doing this diet together. This is what we did about 2 years ago, before her wedding to my brother. We've both tried dieting separately since, with no luck. Perhaps we are the Dieting Wonder Twins, and must combine our powers in order to use them?

Last night I emailed her and said that my day had gone almost TOO well, and she emailed back that hers had gone the same.

What is WITH us? Do you think we will PAY and PAY BIG later for our easy start? Last time we did this, I spent the first three days in an almost-psychosis, scribbling tearfully in my journal and feeling like I couldn't go on. This time, my mind would wander to something yummy and I would say to myself dismissively, "Stop thinking about food," and I would obey.

Today is going well again. I saw my tummy while getting dressed, and I thought briskly, "No need to worry---I'm doing something about it" instead of my former thoughts which were more like "OMG MUST DO SOMETHING!!! WHY AM NOT DOING SOMETHING??? WHY IN FACT HEADING FOR COOKIES TO SOOTHE TROUBLED EYES???"


What are your feelings about BREAKFAST? Do you think that skipping it means (1) you're not burning any calories yet, and (2) that you'll have harder-to-control hunger attacks later on? Or do you think that eating it when you're not hungry is (1) a waste of calories that would be better used later on, and (2) starting up the tummy's demands too early in the day?

I lean more toward the latter, but I worry about the former. I also lean toward thinking that people's bodies are different on this as on every other food/eating/dieting/exercise issue, and so what is ABSOLUTELY TRUE for one person might not be true for another.

59 comments:

Jess said...

I feel BOTH ways about breakfast. My solution is to eat a very small breakfast of a bit of whole grain and a bit of protein. That way I haven't wasted too many calories and I still feel like I've kick-started my metabolism.

Erica said...

I guess I jumped on the "metabolism bandwagon" long ago. I eat breakfast simply because I don't want my metabolism to think I'm starving myself and go into MUST STORE ALL FOOD AS FAT! mode. So, I have a little something for breakfast every. single. day.

The meal I am most likely to skip is lunch. I sort of snack around it and never really eat a meal. Which means I'm surely eating twice as much food as I would if I'd just eat lunch already.

JMC said...

I feel both ways, so if I'm hungry I'll eat a couple eggs and a slice of whole grain toast, which totals about 240 calories, with my coffee and flavored creamer (about 40 calories), but if I'm not hungry, I figure the coffee creamer is enough to tell my body, "Hey, body, here's some calories. Get started."

Cherry said...

I am a big night time snacker so when I tried to stop my horrible habit, all I had to do was add breakfast in the morning. It seemed as though my body would get all of what it wanted throughout the day instead of later and I would also wake up hungry. Worked for me...

d e v a n said...

I think breakfast is very important. I've always heard you should eat a large breakfast, medium lunch and small dinner.

Good luck to you and your dieting twin.

desperate housewife said...

Well, I usually wait until I FEEL hungry, which may be 8 or might not be until 10, in which case I eat something light just to hold me till lunch. But I have no idea if this is smart/nutritious/calorie saving.

Alice said...

i wake up STARVINGGGGG every day, so i am pretty much forced to believe in option 1, because otherwise i'd cry. but i tend to eat a little oatmeal for breakfast, which makes me feel like "hey! it's kinda healthy! oats are good, right?" and it's not very big. so.. uh.. not helpful.

Julie said...

Agreeing with jess and erica...I've always heard that breakfast wakes up your metabolism and gets it going for the day. I usually eat oatmeal and find it keeps me full until lunch. My hard time is late afternoon so I save up during the day for a good snack to tide me over until dinner (and also so I don't eat a mini-dinner while actually cooking dinner!).

donna said...

For me, I have to eat breakfast. If I don't, then I abandon all rational thinking when it comes lunch time and find myself in a drive-thru saying, But I'm SOOOOOOO hungry!

But I like to keep yogurt on hand and also, hard boiled eggs. Protein, calcium and it's not too filling.

Farrell said...

"They" say breakfast is impt. and i think if you don't eat enough for that meal, you will overindulge later. If you're really NOT feeling hungry when you get up, but feel like maybe you should eat SOMETHING, why don't you try fruit? Bannana, apple, orange, whatever you like. Then wait 30 minutes. If you're still hungry, eat something else, like cinnamon toast on wheat or a non-fat yogurt or a small bowl of low-fat oatmeal...

Marie Green said...

I'm a breakfast eater. And if I DO eat breakfast, I DO feel hungrier throughout, which I chalk up to a higher metabolism. So, while dieting (which I've never done), being hungrier would be a bad thing... but also a good thing? B/c it means, if your metabolism is revved up, that you are burning more calories?

What do I know? Those are just my thoughts. Good luck!

Don Mills Diva said...

I too lean towards the latter but worry about the former. Every diet guru in the land disputes this but I feel like a big breakfast kinda breaks the seal for me and I actually eat more throughout the day...I stick to something small and try to make sure it's protein.

Mommy Daisy said...

I lean towards the latter too, but then I worry about that. I'm not usually hungry right away in the morning, so I wait until I'm truly hungry to eat something. Not ravenously hungry, but I eat when I first notice I'm hungry. That usually tides me over.

I'm glad you have someone to diet with. That sure does help. I have a horrible time in the evenings. I need to find a hobby or something to occupy my time, so I can't think about snacking then. Suggestions, anyone?

Banana said...

I agree that it works differently for different people. Usually, if I don't have breakfast I'm starving by 10 and willing to shove anything into my mouth to tame the beast. My husband almost never eats any breakfast at all and he is thin as a rail. I do make an exception if it's one of the mornings I can tell I won't be hungry for a while... then I try to push off breakfast for a while.

Also, don't listen to anything I say. My weight has gone up and my whole life and I am currently in an infuriating "holding position".

Christina said...

I mostly believe that eating breakfast jump-starts your metabolism for the day... and maybe one out of 5 days, I'm actually hungry in the morning. The other 4 days, I make myself eat something anyways. Either yogurt, or some kashi oatmeal, or a piece of fruit. If I'm reeeeeally not hungry, I'll just drink a small glass of skim milk - I figure either way, I'm not "wasting" too many calories (any of those things are under 150, most under 100), but I'm also getting the benefit of (hopefully) revving up the ole metabolism.

Dieting BLOWS. Just putting that out there.

Eleanor Q. said...

I'm a big believer in breakfast though I also believe that breakfast doesn't have to be eaten first thing in the morning if you are not hungry. I would eat something small an hour (or few) after you get up to prevent the "I'm so hungry I must eat it all now" attacks that come later.

Welcome to our World said...

So say the trainers on Biggest Loser and most non hard core diet books - breakfast is a must. When not preggo I generally do a banana and some coffee. If I am really hungry some oatmeal.

I used to be a hard core restrictive eater (ah there is another name for this but let's not go there too deeply... I was young and foolish and whatever I live with it to this day but mostly I am just over it...) I actually have found that when I do not eat breakfast now I am (A) a big bitch and (B) I eat like a cow later.

Finally, I have found I am better able to lose weight when I eat breakfast than when I did not. I agree people are different but I think if you consider a breakfast does not need to be a five course belly blaster than you will be okay. Some fruit, a piece of toast with some sugar free jam, a cup of black coffee, a glass of skim milk - all things to get you going but not make you feel you need to go back to bed!

el-e-e said...

When I was dieting it was drilled into me that breakfast was UBER-important, so I got in the habit of having something small with my coffee -- which, since I take it with fat-free milk or cream, also counted toward it. I did hate wasting the calories but found that I truly felt better if I had something. A granola bar and a 4-oz yogurt or cottage cheese was usually my best bet.

Glad your first 2 days have gone so well!!

Whimsy said...

There are so many that have already represented this school of thought, but I couldn't resist to be bossy and opinionated.

I think that breakfast is important - but only in the way that it keeps me from pigging out later on in the day. I have been spoon fed the metabolism party line and I've bought into it - whether it's correct or not.

I figure a light breakfast of yogurt and whole grain toast or oatmeal with a bit of fruit is not going to kill your diet.

I'm so happy that your first day went so well. That's AWESOME and I'll definitely be coming to you for moral support when I start a whole new food regimin (with much less ICE CREAM) after the Bean is born. Yikes.

Saly said...

I have strong feelings about the necessity of breakfast, but that's probably because I wake up STARVING in the morning. (even when I'm not pregnant) My kids are the same way.

When I'm counting calories, I'll do some yogurt and some wheat toast with either a small drizzle of honey or a bit of peanut butter. Sometimes I'll even just grab a hard boiled egg.

Im glad it's going well for you so far! the first week is definitely the hardest. YAY!

Anonymous said...

Breakfast is a must, imo, because it literally means 'break the fast' that your body has been doing over night. If your body doesn't eat first thing you are still in fasting mode.
If you don't wake up hungry its because your body is still burning fuel from the day before- meaning you overate the day before. You should go to bed a little hungry and wake up very hungry- so say the people who helped me lose 35lbs and keep it off for three years now.

Katie said...

I wake up STARVING, so I'm not a good one to ask. You definitely want to get your metabolism started, but I have never been sure if coffee with milk counts. I mean, it is calories, right? Or what? I really think having protein in the morning makes a huge difference for me.

What about hard boiled egg whites?

AndreAnna said...

Like you said, there's no ALL RIGHT or ALL WRONG with this. But, it has been proven that eating a good breakfast - like a complex carb and protein (think oatmeal and yogurt) WILL help your metabolism burn more throughout the day. That being said, if you're really watching calories, calories count no matter what form they are in, right? Personally, i think it's important to only eat when you are hungry, not because it's a specific time of day, but I also think it is important to have three portion controlled meals with small snacks in between.

I am not help at all, am I?

Pickles & Dimes said...

I do a little of both. During the week, I'll have oatmeal to tide me over until lunch. It's not a lot of calories (160), it tastes good and it keeps me full.

On the weekends though, I know I'm already eating more calories during the week (I allowed myself this concession so I don't quit) and I usually don't eat breakfast. Of course, I usually sleep in and by then, I figure I may as well just wait until lunch. But my growling stomach tells me it misses the nourishment in the mornings.

pseudostoops said...

I do like Jess- small breakfast (a little yogurt with kashi) and a HUGE glass of water in the morning. But I also wake up hungry every day, so skipping breakfast would be awful. I do find that on days when I skip breakfast, I'm more likely to end up eating crap at work during the day.

Lisa said...

I'm all for tag team dieting. Why should I suffer alone?

Breakfast? I really think it's way important to start out with something high fiber. I've a bad habit of missing breakfast and convincing myself that I can then eat more later. not a pretty sight.

Anonymous said...

I have never been a big breakfast person, ever. I am just not hungry early in the morning. I lost 50 pounds last year and very rarely ate breakfast. I ate a normal sized lunch, and, though this is what "they" tell you not to do, my biggest meal was dinner and I always had a snack in the evening. I counted calories (aimed for 1600-1800 a day) and worried about how many I was eating during a day, not when I was eating them. It worked for me, maybe not so much for anyone else. Although the fact that I needed to lose 50 pounds should tell you that I had/have some food issues, so take it with a grain of salt. :)

Kristin

Mairzy said...

It is a long-cherished peeve of mine that Breakfast Is The Most Important Meal Of The Day and if you don't eat it you'll be over-hungry and not think clearly and blah blah blah. I hate breakfast. I don't actually get hungry until about 10:00, and then I want a hamburger.

Since passing through pregnancy and into motherhood/homeschoolhood I've had to become a breakfast-eater to get it out of the way, but I'm still prone to eat last night's leftovers.

Titan doesn't eat breakfast, either. It's a struggle to get any food in him before 10. Have I mentioned that I'm glad I don't have to have kids fed and dressed and out the door in time for school?

And I didn't in any way answser either of your questions. No charge for the rant, though.

Swistle said...

Hm. Here's the conclusion I'm reaching so far: we all "know" that "breakfast starts your metabolism," but we don't really know why we know it. I'm suspicious.

Making my way in PA said...

I am a breakfast eater because of two reasons. When I am attempting to drop some poundage, I am always hungry in the morning. Secondly, if I don't eat breakfast I tend to find some calorie laden gut busting treat to eat before lunch time anyway.

On the weekends I may ahave a big breakfast (eggs, toast, etc)and a little lunch but during the week I eat oatmeal (lower sugar because it is lower points on WW, watch out, some have a lot of calories) or grits with dried cranberries. I either have a cup of hot tea with a spoon of sugar (I can not use fake sugar) or I have some other fruit or something mid morning.

Then I eat a small lunch. Sandwich, applesauce/fruit/yogurt/jello and fat free pringles (1 WW point per serving). My main meal is always dinner because my husband and I like to spend that time together at the table or in front of the TV, whatever.

Swistle said...

Anonymous- Even back in my teen days when I was doing weird starvation diets and trying to keep to under 1,000 calories a day, I STILL wasn't hungry first thing in the morning. So the "not hungry for breakfast = ate too much the day before" theory is debunked.

Anonymous said...

I think eating breakfast is best. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes with both my pregnancies and therefore had to meet with dieticians (sp?) both times. One of the best ways to loose weight is to always eat breakfast - it jump-starts your metabolism and causes you to start burning fat rather than store it. I have to admit it worked. With both pregnancies I weighed 20+ pounds less a week after delivery than I weighed prior to becoming pregnant. (I also watched what I ate - very little fried food and sweets) Now to just get back into that again without a baby in my belly!

moo said...

It always seems easier to me to have a dieting buddy ... I'm less likely to cheat, and it's fun to compare and complain together.

I'm solidly in the "EAT BREAKFAST" group, after having gestational diabetes. It should include protein, like canadian ham or bacon (mmmm ... BACON). Or eggs, if you like eggs. Skip the cereal -- you'll be hungry again in an hour.

Feener said...

i NEED bfast to survive. i am a raging bitch without it. i also need protein for that bfast. i have eggs every morning. i get the shakes if i only have some sort of carb. i have always needed bfast - but the protein thing came after having gestational diabetes with my pregnancies.

bubandpie said...

I need my breakfast. It's not just that I'm hungry - I also need my breakfast to be exactly the same every day, so if anything runs out (my orange juice, my Life cereal, or - heaven forbid - my coffee or cream) I am very, very pissed. Even when I thought I had gestational diabetes, I didn't tamper with breakfast - I cut out sugar for the rest of the day, but the breakfast must not. be. tampered with.

That said, one of the hardest habits to break on a diet, I find, is eating in order to prevent hypothetical later hunger.

aoife said...

I really believe you should wait until you are hungry. Follow your body's cues.

As someone who fasts for a month of the year, I find that eating breakfast usually makes me hungrier earlier in the day. I don't know why, but many of my friends feel the same way.

CAQuincy said...

I was big on breakfast for a long time....then I got out of the habit again. I have found that if I eat a light breakfast (and I usually don't eat it until 9:00 or so), then I am not STARVING by 12:00 and eating everything in sight--not to mention that I do get woozy when my only caloric cunsumption up to that point was a cup of coffee. Light breakfast= bowl of cereal (Cheerios or other "healthy" fare) or oatmeal or my favorite, yogurt. Just something to tide me over until I eat last night's leftovers for lunch.

Cesca said...

I can't not eat breakfast because I'm always STARVING in the morning! That said, I can't imagine forcing myself to eat something when I'm not hungry just because "they" always say you should eat breakfast. Maybe a hot drink will suffice??

By the way, I'm starting a diet myself so I'm very excited to follow your progress!

(As I'm typing this one of my colleagues just put a whole pile of Oreos on the common table. AHHH!)

Jen said...

Me: must have breakfast every.single.morning.

My sister: doesn't need to eat until like 11am.

Both of us: thin.

My (own damn) opinion: everyone is different, and if you're not hungry, why eat? Isn't that one of the biggest ideas behind dieting anyway?

Shannon said...

Coffee is the breakfast of champions.

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Tessie said...

Your health kick! I love it! This is so, so fun.

Oh dear, oh dear. I am getting a NERVOUS FEELING IN MY TUMMY, but nonetheless I must persevere with this comment, the gist of which will be:

Skipping meals and even "fasting" or eating with randomness and not habit, as I prefer to think of it, is currently being studied by nutrition/human performance-type scientists. And the results, so far, seem to suggest that it is not harmful. In fact, itmaybebeneficial. There. All done.

BUT, I agree that conventional wisdom says the opposite, and that of course, OF COURSE, if you wake up starving you should eat. I don't, so I don't.

Kate said...

I find having a diet buddy helps keep me accountable. That’s great that you guys are doing this together.

I never used to be a breakfast eater because I’m not at all a morning person. But, I have some friends that insist it is a must so I’ve been eating it lately. The thing that bothers me is that when I do eat breakfast I seem to be hungry again quicker. I suppose that’s the metabolism thing kicking in but it’s frustrating because I’m never hungry for fruit or veggies, no I want something with lots and lots of calories. After reading through these comments I’m wondering if it is because I don’t usually have much protein in the mornings. Hmmm, maybe I’ll try an egg tomorrow morning….

Anna said...

I'm agree with Shannon totally and completely! Got to have my coffee and I'm good to go!

Maddie said...

Swistle,
I just wanted to let you know that my twins Audrey Charlotte and Adelaide Lucille arrived a few days ago at 34 weeks along. They're doing great!
Maddie

Chris said...

I don't get it? I thought breastfeeding helped you burn extra calories. How can you diet while still breastfeeding? Just wondering?

Maddie said...

P.S. here's my blog!
There's not much on it yet.
Miaplustwins.blogspot.com

skiplovey said...

Ok I'll wade into the debate..
I always eat breakfast because I'm hungry in the a.m. but in the few instances that I don't, I'm way hungrier at lunch.
For breakfast I go with a high fiber cereal or oatmeal. Fiber is pretty darn important to a good speed metabolism so do all you can to up the fiber intake. Plus you feel more full with fiber rather than just a bunch of carbs.
There I'm done now. Commence living..

Amy said...

I'm a firm believer that breakfast kick-starts your metabolism for the day, so going without breakfast will ultimately make you hungrier. I also try to eat protein for breakfast, because I find that it holds me over longer than, say, oatmeal, so I wind up eating less throughout the day. I might eat a scrambled egg or a cheese and veggie omelet, or some fruit and cheese. If I feel like I need a carb, I'll have a single-serving packet of multigrain oatmeal.

Meegan said...

Having consulted many-o-nutritionists throughout the year, I am convinced (brainwashed?) that the body needs fuel in the morning. So even if I'm not hungry, I eat something. An apple and a piece of string-cheese is my go-to meal. It's enough calories to rev my metabolism but not so much that I feel gross. Or hungry in an hour. My two cents.

Erin said...

I am in the boat which thinks Go ahead and skip breakfast if you're not hungry. As far as eating habits that make a difference, I think this one is down on the list, with items like not eating before bed being higher at the top. I think KIDS need to eat breakfast, but adults can do fine without.

That said, I LIKE breakfast and usually eat it.

Kristin C. said...

Dude, eat your damn breakfast. It's good for you, it get's your metabolism going first thing in the morning, and studies show those who eat breakfast are more likely to lose weight. Skipping a meal only causes you to over eat at the next meal.
Good job, Swistle! Keep it up!!!

mamatutwo said...

I think that if you eat a little all day, you keep your metabolism going like an engine, but when you stop eating, you sort of shut it off, and your body goes into power save mode. That's the way it seems to work for me, anyway. But I have not yet started my diet. I keep saying, "Tomorrow." I'm thinking maybe next Monday. I've gotta' finish this bag of chocolate chips first!

the new girl said...

I eat breakfast every day. I go for small-ish with complex carbs and protein. If I have a lot of refined carbs at breakfast or lunch, I'm almost comatose by four in the afternoon.

Also, skipping meals triggers something in me psychologically that's not good. I actually will eat more to compensate, I think.

nancypearlwannabe said...

Please send good vibes this way so that I may follow your example. STOP THINKING ABOUT BROWNIES AT 8 AM!

Swistle said...

Chris- This isn't so much a "lettuce and water" diet as a "eat good-quality food instead of bags of candy" diet. I AM hoping to slim down, but can't do it too dramatically because of breastfeeding.

Swistle said...

Moo- OMG.

Jen said...

i try and eat breakfast every day (usually oatmeal with raisins) but that's just because i got used to doing so when i was pregnant. plus, the fiber. you know.

that said, i think it's okay to wait until you're hungry to break your fast and here's why: my superstar mom lost almost seventy pounds over 2 years. she has to take meds in the morning when she gets up, then wait an hour before she consumes anything else. then she has coffee and THEN she has breakfast. so basically, she was able to successfully lose weight but wasn't eating until at least an hour after she was up.

also, on the "i don't want to waste calories" tip: my solution for this is eggbeaters. 1/4 cup scrambled is only 30 calories, no fat and 6g of protein. plus, it's not very much to eat so, if you just don't want to have a big ol' meal, you can microwave some in a coffee mug and be done in a few bites.

and just because this comment just isn't long enough: good job on giving yourself a stern don't-think-about-food talking-to. that's where i struggle too.

Alishia said...

I am so glad you said all this. I like the way you make general happiness and peaceful coexistence more of a priority than spotlessness! Way to be!