Thursday, September 17, 2009

Your mother was right

Well, at least she was right when she told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. She probably didn't know exactly why it was so important exactly. She probably told you that it's because that's where your energy for the rest of the day. That's partially true. Breakfast does give you energy, just not for the rest of the day. If you didn't eat again, I can assure you the stuff you ate for breakfast would run out eventually. Aside from energy though, there are a couple other reasons that it is incredibly important to eat a solid breakfast.


If you want to lose or not gain weight, maximizing your metabolism is extremely helpful. Breakfast sets the tone for your metabolism for the rest of the day. The analogy I have always heard is that your metabolism operates like a fire. The more you feed it, the hotter it burns. Now you need to give it quality fuel, but breakfast is what gets the fire burning from the start.

You haven't eaten in a long time before breakfast

This is important because while you're asleep, your body uses up all the calories you have eaten the day before. Now wouldn't it be great if your body just burned some of that body fat you've always wanted to get rid of while you slept? Sorry, that's not what happens. Your body starts to burn muscle tissue instead when it think's it's being "starved". See, your body still thinks it's back in the stone age when food was scarce and people didn't get to eat every day, let alone 3 plus meals. So when you don't eat, your body has no idea when it will get another meal. It reacts by going into self preservation mode. Because muscle tissue requires more calories to be sustained than fat tissue, your body uses the muscle tissue for energy instead of fat. This decreases the amount of calories your body needs to survive and keeps the fat stores for energy later, in case you still don't get to eat for a long time. This is a great feature if you're ever starving in the wilderness, but a real drag when you're trying to lose weight.

So that's a long way of saying that eating breakfast in the morning stops that process of your body using muscle for its fuel, which is a really good thing because if you're trying to lose weight, muscle tissue is a good thing to hang on to.

So, what to eat

Yes, almost anything is better than nothing, but I recommend something that contains plenty of protein, fat(yes, fat is ok), fiber and good carbs. Good carbs would include whole grains, fruits, vegetables.....really anything that doesnt contain a ton of sugar or flour that's not 100 % whole grain. Look out for anything that says anything about whole grains, but doesn't say 100 %. That's a trick from food companies that makes things look healthy, when they're really not. I'll actually write a whole separate blog about little tricks like this that food companies use.

So actual stuff that would be good for breakfast: eggs, bacon, pretty much any meat, milk, whole grain cereal, whole grain bread, peanut butter (preferably natural pb), oatmeal, fruit, nuts, and pretty much anything else that meets the criteria of the above paragraph. Stuff not to eat: dougnuts, pop tarts, nutrigrain bars (yeah, they try to act all healthy don't they), and most other breakfast foods you can buy in a box.

Here's what I ate this morning

That's two whole eggs, a cup of egg whites, 3 strips of bacon and a bowl of oatmeal. Keep in mind I weigh around 260 pounds and lift weights 5 days a week, but a similar meal with reduced portions of each would be a great breakfast. Not to mention delicious


  1. Great Blog! My problem is that i wake up really early and definitely don't have time to prepare all that. I like having a slim fast shake when I wake up and there's actually a lot of nutrients in it... but is it a good enough breakfast?

  2. Very helpful, thanks! And lol @ Emily :)

  3. Good to know!! My brother is a total gym nut, and I do enjoy working out(running in particular)as well. As a college student its hard to find time to exercise, but I love the fact that you're posting nutritional advice. :P

  4. Great start to your blog! And yes.. I know about you thru Emily..LOL
    Love her.. and love it when you guys interact together on utube.

    I eat eggs and bacon every morning. I do try to work out but dont have a gym its just walking. Protein keeps me full and I am insulin intolerant so Im staying away from carbs.. good and bad for now.
    I have a long way to go with my weight. Gained 50 pds in one year.. thanks to inactive thyroid but now I know! On the right meds, eating low carb, walking.. lost 30 pds since May. yay!

    Emily.. I would find just a low carb EAS protein shake to drink in the a.m. and take a multivitamin. Maybe a slice of whole grain bread and some peanut butter on it. or apple butter..YUM! Grab and go!

  5. Wow, I didn't see that coming!! I'm a fan of your wife's stuff on youtube and I just went through gastric bypass, this article really helped me understanding more about metabolism and how everything works here!!!

    Keep up the awesome work!!!

  6. this totally looks like something my husband would eat - he's currently deployed with the army (he'll be home in Nov sometime) but he's big in lifting and eating well and he drinks this protein shake. he's gained about 25 lbs of muscle since he's been there (last december).
    what would you suggest for high protein meals? that won't make us go broke? i know chicken - but any suggestions of different versions of it?

    for me - i have to eat breakfast or i fade so fast mid-morning. i'll just have a bowl of special k or a scrambled egg/piece of toast - but i have to keep up with my 3yr old too.

    anyways..good luck with the blog!!

  7. Hey tyler I have a couple questions. I am 29 and 5"5 and want to loose 40lbs and right now I weigh 170 I use to weigh 120 4 yrs ago but, now I can't seem to get it off after I had my son. I was going to the gym a few months back and lost 13Lbs, but got discouraged because I hit a plateau. I would not loose a single pound no matter what I ate or did in the gym. I did cardio 4 times a week for 25 minutes and free weights. I did more weights on my lower body since I am pear shaped and that part is my problem area the lower half! But since I stoped going I gained it all back faster than I could blink why? I really would love to do something and stick to it! Diets to me are like reading in a foreign language can you help me with some advice?

  8. I feel like I'm in a lose-lose situation with breakfast. I'm simply not hungry when I get up in the morning, and forcing myself to eat just makes me feel like I wanna puke. But I can't not eat breakfast because I'm hypoglycemic so if I don't eat something within the first 4 hours of being awake, I get all light-headed and dizzy and cold sweats and nearly pass out (I did once actually, before I went to the Doc and asked why it happened).

    Do you have any breakfast-time advise for others in my situation?

  9. DeAnna-chicken is great, if you want to save money you can buy the chicken whole and either cut it up or just roast the whole thing. Another high protein option that's pretty cheap is chilli. You can either make it yourself or buy the stuff that's premade. I think that's less than two dollars a can and it's really quick and easy. It's even cheaper if you get the kind with beans, which I don't because I'm not a fan. Eggs are another fairly cheap option. Hope this helps a little.

    Michelle, I've got a few suggestions that may help you out. First, don't judge your progress too much based on your weight (I know it's easier said than done). Weight is so deceptive. It fluxuates based on hydration and body composition. Especially if you are doing some weight training (which is great), you could actually lose body fat and still gain weight. That will just serve to frustrate you when you are actually making progress. Try to judge progress based on how your clothes are fitting instead, and only weigh yourself around once a month if at all. As far as dieting goes, try to think of it more as living a healthy lifestyle. I'll do a more detailed blog post on this later, but for now just make some gradual changes like cutting out most of the stuff you eat with a lot of sugar/high fructose corn syrup and anything with processed flour (enriched flour on the label). Also add in a lot of green vegetables. If you do that and up your exercise I bet you'll start to gradually make progress which is the way to go. Losing weight drastically is a sure fire way to burn out and gain it all back.

    Dragon, maybe you should try having smoothies for breakfast. Pick up some frozen fruit (you can get a fairly big bag with a bunch of different kinds of fruit, whatever you like personally), protein powder and splenda. Throw all that together with some ice and water and blend it up. It tastes pretty darn good and doesn't really require a big appetite. I would also recommend getting a magic bullet because it's a lot easier to clean than a blender.

  10. Nice! I don't think I have heard that explained quite as well before and I am nurse! =)

  11. I'm looking forward to your blog about the sneaky things companies do/say to pose product as healthy. Also, if you have any knowledge of vegetarian diets, I would love some vegetarian friendly and low cal ways to get more protein.
    Thanks for taking the time to share this :)

  12. Food companies are doing alot of sneaky things that I think mislead alot of us that don't know a ton about nutrition! For instance, the Zero Trans Fat thing.. they put that on all sorts of unhealthy stuff. I would definatly like to hear your take on that. My problem is I set out to eat healthy and then I run into a brick wall with trying to cook healthy and it not be bland,boring and the same repetitive meals. Is there any good websites or cookbooks you recomend?

  13. Thanks for the post, it really helped me understand the importance of having breakfast in the morning :)