We didn’t always dash out the door with half a dry piece of toast in our hand!
In fact, we didn’t dash out the door much at all until working practices changed in the 60’s and we all got super busy!
And these changes in working hours have had a massive impact on our eating habits and, consequently, our health. Before then (and in my living memory!), breakfast was seen as a much more important meal of the day. We might not have taken hours over it, but we made sure we got proper sustenance when our bodies needed it at the beginning of the day. It was often cooked, and it mainly contained eggs, butter and old fashioned bread (before the milling process changed, and it became un-recognisable as the loaf we buy today).
And not just adults, but children too ‘went to school on an egg’ to paraphrase a famous advert!
Breakfast cereal arrived en-masse in the mid 70’s, and became an accepted food as it was easy, quick, and had lots of reassuring vitamins and minerals added to it! Unfortunately, the way cereals were manufactured meant that our brains didn’t register that we’d eaten them…there literally wasn’t enough to ‘chew on’. This began to leave the body with a vague sensation, somewhere deep in our nervous system, that we haven’t actually eaten. Bread is also very different now, and doesn’t get ‘seen’ by the brain, as the milling process changed in the 70’s to accommodate a larger market. So many of us now leave the house with a huge message going on in our collective brains that were all literally starving!
And right there, somewhere in the 1970’s, the misery of the holding pattern known as The Yo-Yo cycle was unwittingly created!
I know that might sound too hard to imagine or understand how that’s possible…after all, if you’ve eaten, then you’ve eaten, right? But unfortunately, we have to eat in a certain way for the brain to register that food has entered our body. It’s all about the little messages that signal satisfaction.
The signaling begins in the mouth with the amount of chews it takes, the amount of saliva produced, and then down through the whole digestive process, to the hormones we produces to metabolise our food, (such as insulin). It’s very subtle, and can seem almost insignificant, but trust me…this matters. If your brain doesn’t register properly that you’ve eaten, then it will trigger CRAVE later on that same day. It’s an absolute given, and there’s not much we can do about it.
Evening grazing and out of control food choices are all a result of that one simple meal not being quite enough for us in the morning!
Think of it this way…your fight or flight survival mechanism has been keeping you alive for 1000’s of years. It uses the nervous system to send a ‘threat’ message when it senses danger (and if you’ve got any kind of phobia, or you’ve ever felt anxiety or stress, then you’ll know what that threat message feels like…it is not to be ignored and is very insistent!).
Do you really think it will let you starve to death?? It’s the most basic survival instinct we have! No matter what your intentions are, your fight or flight mechanism will always win because it is designed that way!
There are a number of ways to tackle these out of control eating urges, and I’ve been looking into a lot of them over the last decade or so. The thing is, our relationship with food is a very intimate and personal one, so these irresistible food urges tend to have a life of their own after a while.
Our bodies have become confused over what a real appetite can actually feel like.
So then we can be left with sugar addiction, as a good example, which will often be seen as just ’emotional eating’ or having a ‘sweet tooth’ (if you think you might have a problem with sugar, then take a look at this quiz and see what your own relationship might be to the sweet white stuff!).
Out of control eating and grazing later in the day can be helped. How? Feed yourself a breakfast that your brain can take notice of! Once it does that, it will switch on a hormone called leptin, which will signal to your survival mechanism “we’re fed”, and you will feel a deep sense of satisfaction.
It’s a great feeling. You’ll feel it for what it is. You’ll know that feeling, and 20 minutes after your meal, your brain will have taken care of your appetite…no motivation required!
You know, so many of my clients have told me that they’ve experienced that sense of satisfaction very rarely, and then when they do? The word ‘peace’ is often used! Peace. Imagine that. It immediately stops that addictive food obsessing. It stops the sugar calling you so strongly from the cupboard.
It stops you worrying about avoiding the biscuits in the meetings. Or the dough-nuts in the staff room. Or craving 6 packets of crisps all in one sitting, without touching the sides. It stops your JUSTIFIER kicking in later in the day, with a voice that just won’t shut up! It might be difficult at first to fit breakfast into your morning if it’s a busy one. I get that. So here are a few ways you can enjoy a good start:
- BOIL eggs the night before, and simply mix them up with butter ready for the next morning
- EAT leftovers from dinner (yes really! I do that all the time!)
- TAKE something to cook in the microwave if your staff room has one?
- GET a good low carb bread (your brain will find it easier to spot than normal bread) and treat it as a ‘fat delivery system’…as in…toast it and add lashings of butter and vintage cheddar to start your day
- THE weekends are made for having luxury breakfasts, so have a fry up and notice how many hours you actually stay full for…your appetite literally drops on its own like this…no willpower required. Fancy that!
Not only will eating a good breakfast in the morning help you tackle out of control food urges later on, but your brain will actually be sharper too, as not only will you get rid of the ‘processed carb sugar fog’, but you can enjoy ‘brain friendly fats’ instead that help to keep it firing on all cylinders!
I’ve often heard new clients say that they feel like it’s a waste of calories if you eat in the morning when you’re not hungry, but that is truly short-term thinking, and will set up that CRAVE cycle later in the day. You end up sabotaging all your best intentions from the morning, and this cycle (the Yo-Yo cycle), will keep on happening unfortunately! Keep the faith and give it a try for a month. What have you go to lose, apart from the pounds?
There have also been plenty of studies too, that show eating a meal in the morning stimulates the thermogenesis process that kick starts your metabolism. And this happens more easily in the morning than any other time of day.
So enjoy your breakfast. Remember the old fashioned saying…”Breakfast like a queen, lunch like a lady, and dinner like a pauper”?
…there’s a lot more truth in that than we realised until now!
Let me know how you get on, and what your favourite breakfast might be. I’ve created ‘Breakfast February’ over on the @Breakthroughweightloss page on facebook..Yes there’s lots of pictures of scrummy breakfasts (mainly mine!), but thee’s also lots of help to enjoy your breakfast, dropping the pounds if necessary and getting healthy into the bargain! What’s not to love?!
I’m always happy to read your comments so please do tell me what you think at the bottom of this article. Or share it with your friends if you think it will help- all you need to do is copy and paste the link at the top.
Love Bridgette x