Is Breakfast The Biggest Hoax In Weight Loss?
I spend a lot of time sitting at my desk, which can be a killer on your back, and just boring, so whenever I can I’ll plop myself down on the couch, prop my feet up, and sift through my inbox catching up on my replies, as well as reading the people I subscribe to.
Note: I know sitting on the couch is just as bad, and probably much, much worse, than sitting at a desk, but it does feel like you get to play hooky from “real life.”
Anyway, today I did that before Nolan went down for his nap.
I was sitting on the couch, pecking away at the keyboard, when I hear him rumble on over jabbering about feet. I wasn’t really paying attention because I was responding to one of the questions below, but the next thing I know he’s standing by my feet, mouth open wide and is preparing to chomp down on my toes.
Thankfully I caught him before he clamped down with that vice-like grip kids seem to have.
Anyway, I have a couple great reader question to share with you today. One involving breakfast, the other involving a popular type of fat loss supplement.
So buckle up your reading pants because it’s time to get your learnin’ on!
Q: “I know it’s been said for years that breakfast is really important for weight loss, but is that really true? I just don’t like eating breakfast, but worry that it hurts my metabolism.” -Cathy
A: Thanks Cathy. Great question!
There are studies that show those who eat breakfast not only lose weight, but keep it off and there’s no shortage of people out there who tell you that you have to eat breakfast otherwise you’ll enter starvation mode (which is tougher than you think) and you’ll store fat and burn muscle. Add to that the food companies that prey on the same fears when they sell you their processed junk disguised as healthy breakfast cereals and bars and you have a perfect storm of confusion.
But is it true?
I’m a bit torn on how to properly present the subject because it’s easily misunderstood, but here goes.
I often ask clients to eat 3 meals and a couple snacks per day, but that’s not because of some magical metabolism combination, but rather to get the hang of knowing the right amount of calories at meal time, to prevent you from getting “too hungry” come meal time where poor decisions will be made, and to simply get as much nutrition in as possible.
It’s more psychology than biology.
Before I get off into a tangent (and I will write about this subject more in the future), let’s get to the original question…
Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? Is it required if you want to lose weight?
Nope and nope.
Depending on the person, lunch can be far more important than breakfast. Those of you that work in offices and are subjected to junky foods in break rooms or are required to dine out, or have take out on a regular basis, are much more prone to making poor lunch decisions than breakfast. Breakfast is easily solved – either find something simple, highly nutritious in terms of quality fats and protein, you enjoy, or just skip it.
This removes the confusion of commercially made breakfast bars from the likes of Special K, or any other cereal manufacturer, most cereals, and anything processed.
If you’re too rushed, or your body simply does not like meals right away in the morning, then skip it and eat a lighter snack later in the morning.
I’ve had clients that flat out don’t like breakfast and it would do me no good to convince them otherwise, just like it would be silly to convince me I have to jog or run. Not gonna happen.
Without turning this into a giant lecture, I’ll leave it by saying everyone is a bit different and if you don’t like breakfast, then don’t eat it…
…but I’m also making the assumption that you are eating well the rest of the day. I’m also assuming that there truly is a reason for you not eating breakfast and won’t use this explanation to fit some perverse eating behavior.
It’s unfortunate that dogma and “musts” are filling up the nutrition world. There are very few “musts” in terms of nutrition, and even those are argued over 🙂
Thanks for the great question Cathy!
Q: “Do you take BCAA’s? I’ve seen others write about them and the dude at the supplement store wants me to buy them, but I don’t know if they’re worth it. What do you think?” -Dan
A: I don’t currently take BCAA’s, but there’s nothing wrong with you wanting to take them.
BCAA stands for Branched Chain Amino Acids and taking them in supplement form helps them thar muscles when you’re dieting and working intensely, or your nutrition doesn’t meet your training load (like a collegiate wrestler).
Most folks who are simply trying to drop fat won’t really need to take them because there are other things to worry about and get under control before dropping $40-50 a month on a supplement, that despite its awesomeness, is second-level in terms of necessity.
If, however, you are within 10 pounds of your goal, are working intensely, or a combination of both, then you should give ‘em a try.
I take them 2-3 times per year for a couple months at a time, and that just so happens to coincide with the time I really amp up my activity level like spring and early summer when I’m losing my protective winter layer of flabby goo, and then in the early fall when I amp things up after taking a little break in late summer.
If you’re doing something like my 28-Day Rapid Fat Loss Challenge, or a similar short-term workout/diet program, then you should also give ‘em a shot for that month for the same reasons.
So I guess in short, they can be beneficial, but only at certain times. They aren’t worth your money or worry unless you fit those descriptions above.
But, like I just got done saying, if you have a good routine down, are sticking to a relatively intense workout program and want to take it to the next level, then I think you should give BCAA’s a try. Who knows, they may be your missing link to extra fat burn, while keeping more of your hard-earned muscle.
Thanks again for the questions!
P.S. – Don’t hesitate to shoot me an email, or just leave a comment, if you have any questions. I’m here to help!