Raise your hands if you’ve indefinitely turned off your morning alarms.
If you’ve lost your job, maybe that was the first thing you did.
Let your body wake up when it wants to, stretch and yawn in bed for a while, lumber on down to the living room for some light yoga and a snack.
Maybe that seems harmless. After all, the world’s routine is thrown off, and no one is sure what to do or how to act.
But there’s an integral part of your day you may be neglecting by waiting to wake up and throwing off your meal schedule…
That’s right. I’m talking about breakfast.
It’s a contentious subject, because everyone has a personal approach to starting their day.
“I’m just not hungry in the morning.” “Coffee is fine with me.” “I’ve meal-prepped and frozen breakfast for myself for the whole week, including an after breakfast snack.”
According to a recent Kellogg’s survey, only 34% of Americans are eating breakfast.
I don’t need to tell you that’s less than ideal – you know that.
But do you know why?
It’s because the moment you start eating, the moment you turn on the thermogenesis process (the production of heat in energy) in your body. That stimulates your metabolism early in the day, and keeps it going for the rest of the day.
So when you wait until 2 p.m. to have your first bite of food, your thermogenesis process doesn’t start until 2 p.m.
That’s not all…
Why the Thermogenesis Process is Vital
Waiting to activate your metabolism might not sound so bad. But when you wait, your body believes you’re supposed to conserve calories rather than burn them. (This is why a large school of scientists believe eating breakfast in the morning helps reduce your BMI.)
Here’s why: While you sleep, your body uses the resources you gave it during the day to repair the body, restore cellular balance, and maintain healthy growth and production. Which means when you wake up, it’s aching for more resources.
By waiting to eat breakfast until it’s almost lunch, or skipping it entirely, you deprive yourself of energy when your body needs it most.
The thermogenesis process that you activate by eating breakfast has rippling implications throughout the rest of your body.
The production of heat is what keeps you alive and functioning. It’s also tied into maintenance of your body temperature, or thermoregulation, that happens in the hypothalamus.
We won’t get too far into the weeds on this (keep your eye out for future issues), but essentially, initiating that thermogenesis process by eating is what gives your body the power to maintain homeostasis throughout the day.
Fundamentally, breakfast reminds your body that it has to do today what it did yesterday and what it will do tomorrow – stay awake, stay alive, and burn energy rather than store it. It’s essential for maintaining your natural circadian rhythm.
How to Eat Breakfast Efficiently
Now, the jury’s out on what matters as far as breakfast materials.
Some say eating a donut is better than nothing. Others say eating the donut leads to sugar crashes and poor food choices throughout the rest of the day, trying to catch up to the high you felt in the morning.
But generally speaking, there are a few powerful guidelines to stick to when choosing breakfast food, and some are even easier to follow now that you’re (likely) stuck in the house.
- There’s a reason eggs are often considered breakfast food. They’re very high in quality proteins, but they also leave you feeling full. That means you reduce calorie intake for the rest of the day.
- Greek yogurt shares the qualities of eggs, while also containing bifidobacteria, which is a probiotic supporting a diversified bacterial profile in the gut.
- Oatmeal’s spot in the breakfast-food canon is also well-earned. Not only are they gluten-free, so they don’t irritate the intestines of the gluten-sensitive, they contain a fiber called beta-glucan, which promotes fullness and reduces cholesterol.
- Toss in berries and nuts whenever possible. While nuts are high in calories, your body doesn’t even absorb most of them, so you’re mostly getting nutrients from them like potassium, magnesium, and monounsaturated fats. And berries are low in calories, high in antioxidants, and packed with fiber.
- Include a supplement. Many of us struggle with getting the necessary vitamins and minerals from our diet alone, so adding something to your morning routine to help combat that is beneficial for many.
You certainly don’t have to eat breakfast to live a healthy life.
But no corner of your health is disconnected from its adjacent corners. Breakfast helps encourage the normal process of thermogenesis in your body, initiate your metabolism, and remind your body to perform its normal metabolic functions.
So make sure you’re still waking up in the mornings to enjoy it!