Are you intermittent fasting or just skipping breakfast?

Are you intermittent fasting or just skipping breakfast? There’s a difference!

So some experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Some experts say fasting or intermittent fasting (IF) is super important.

However, some of you say you don’t feel like eating first thing in the morning and some of you say you can’t get by without a bowl of oats and a cup of coffee.

No one needs to have such confusion first thing in the morning. that’s stressful and BEFORE coffee?? That’s just insane.

At the end of the day, the best approach is whatever works for you.

Personally, I have tried fasting, the routine breakfast approach and a combination of the two
(Be sure to read next weeks blog ‘IF worked well for me, IF may work well for you’)

I now know what my preferred approach is.. it just takes a little planning, an initial self-assessment, a sufficient trial period and reflection.

How do you know what will or is working for you right now?

Answer the following;

1. Do you have routine OR do you stress/think about breakfast every now and then?

2. Do you have cravings OR slumps of energy in the afternoon?

3. Do you rely on coffee to get by?

4. Are you at your ideal body composition? (body fat, muscle mass)

5. Do you go through ‘phases’ in both eating habits and number of workouts per week?

Pretty thorough self-assessment right there but it should paint a good picture of where you are..

(1) If you stress or think about what you ‘do’ for breakfast, address that first up. It is no acceptable, in this day and age, to be unsure about what you do/eat first thing in the morning.

If you are happy mixing it up and it’s working out for you, sweet. If you require help – seek it out, try it out and repeat (if you have to) until you find something that ticks all the right boxes above.

(2) As for afternoon cravings or slumps in energy.. that would suggest that your body requires more ‘energy’ – right? Do something about it then! This is often due to the following;

A physiological and phycological dependance on carbohydrates. If you eat mainly carbohydrates each day, your body will run out of energy faster (energy slump) and seek out more carbohydrates (cravings).

Not enough nutrients or water. If your body is malnourished (low in micronutrients, macronutrients and/or H20) then your body will have no other choice but to slowly shut down and conserve energy for your vital organs. Your body is smart, it will keep energy out of your reach – it knows that being able to suddenly run from danger or keep your heart ticking is more important than doing work or working out.

Inconsistent routine or ‘nutritional deprivation stress’. If you usually have breakfast, lunch and snacks then your body will be ready for these meals and let you know if you’re missing one or two of them. If you are set to have lunch at your usual time of 12pm for instance but then at 11:30am get called into a last minute meeting and won’t get lunch until 1pm – you’ll be hungry and ready for food the entire time, leading to a slump in energy and increased stress.

(3) If you have coffee in the morning, you’ll know how much energy it gives you. Have you ever thought that perhaps your slump in energy is just your coffee waring off? That stuff doesn’t last forever! If this is the case than it can help to just be aware of it and change your perception. Instead of taking it as a ‘slump’ (a negative thing) think of it as your body calming down and regaining control of your busy thoughts. You’ll be surprised how good it can actually feel to not be jacked and ‘go-go-go’ all the time.

(4) Your breakfast can have a direct correlation to your body composition. How? If you eat the wrong thing every day that can obviously have a negative affect on your body composition but so can skipping it.. perhaps skipping breakfast leads you to consuming more snacks and treats throughout the day which than leads to increased fat storage.

(5) If you go through phases of ‘eating well’ and training regularly, there might be a greater issue here than just what you have for breakfast. If you are not on track it is usually due to one or more of the following;

– No goals. If you don’t know what you’re working towards…there is no reason to work.
– No plan. Failing to plan is planning to fail/fall off the rails again.
– What you’re doing isn’t actually working out for you.
– Deeper personal issues that need resolving. Some things we will never forget and will never change, but how we think about them and how they make us feel can change. Seek professional advice or just talk to someone, speaking out loud can really help things become clearer.

Do you need to try a different approach? After a self assessment, you need a sufficient trial period. Personally, I tried IF for 8 weeks. I’d say that is a minimum time frame to see if something really works or not. If you were to try consistent and routine breakfast, again that would take about 8 weeks to trial as well. So sit down, right out self assessment, your plan of attack, how long you will give it ago and good luck!
You are what you eat.

Tristan M. Forbes