Breakfast is a non-negotiable for everyone! It is so vitally important for optimal wellness, that no one is excused! And for such a simple task it really has a lot of power. I am sure that this is not a news flash, but sometimes it is good to have reminders of those things that we already know.
First of all, as the name implies, this meal in the morning is breaking the fast that our body has been on while we sleep. So, it is single handedly kick-starting a large piece of our metabolism. Our metabolism (the way that we burn calories) is essentially made up of three parts:
1. Basal metabolism or Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) – this is the calorie burning created by many of the tasks our bodies do to keep us alive and running. In other words, the calories you would burn if you stayed in bed all the time. Examples include, breathing, blinking, regulating our temperature, pumping blood…you get the picture. We have little control over this aspect of our metabolism, yet it accounts for around 50-75% of the calories that we burn. So, it is all the more important that the control we do have we use to increase rather than hinder our metabolism.
Increasing your RMR:
Break your fast in the morning with breakfast, and let your body know that it is time to pick up the pace.
Build more lean and toned tissue/muscle with weight bearing exercise, circuit or bootcamp style exercises, and cardiovascular exercise! This gives your metabolism something to work on while you sleep.
Do not go on very low calorie diets! Your RMR will plummet if calories stay too low because your body will try to conserve calories by slowing down!
2. Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF) – this is the calorie burning that is created in processing the food that we eat. This accounts for around 5-15% of our total metabolism.
Increasing your TEF:
Eat breakfast, and give your metabolism something to work on first thing in the morning. If it is a high fiber, minimally processed, wellrounded breakfast then your metabolism has to work even harder.
Eat more frequently throughout the day, rather than less. If you are cramming all your calories into one or two meals then chances are, no matter what other great “stuff” you are doing, you are still burning muscle instead of fat when you skip meals!
3. Physical Activity Level (PAL) – this is the calorie burning that is created by the amount of physical activity that we have/engage in daily. This accounts for about 10-30% of our total metabolism.
Increasing your PAL:
Move your body! Everything outside of sleeping counts toward this component of metabolism. Walking, biking, folding laundry, taking the stairs, etc.
As is evident from this little crash course in metabolism, breakfast is a powerful key to keeping well and fit by metabolism standards. It is also a powerful key looking at nutrition standards, because, traditionally speaking, breakfast offers a lot of healthy, well rounded choices.
It is a perfect time to get a great dose of fiber, fruit, protein, carbs, and healthy fats! Granted there are some super heavy breakfast options out there, but there are also a lot of ways to incorporate tasty and healthful alternatives as well.
If you don’t do it already, I am highly encouraging you to make very effort to include breakfast everyday. Begin thinking about how you might make that happen right now. Consider when and how to make it happen, and what you might choose to eat. It can even be in two parts…have a quick something at home, and then take something portable for in the car or a little later while carrying on with your morning.
Make this part of your routine, and see all the value it adds to your life. Keep it up, and soon you won’t be able to go with out it!