What Happened when I Stopped Eating Breakfast
Intermittent Fasting (IF) has become a big part of my life and one of the keys to my Keto success thus far. IF is periods of eating and not eating. It's an eating pattern, not an "eat this not that" type of deal and it's pretty popular in the health/wellness/weight loss space right now.
Around this time last summer I started hearing about IF and I was NOT interested. Give up one of my meal times? No way. You see up until last fall, one week after my 29th birthday to be exact, food controlled my life. "What am I going to eat today?" "What do I have to snack on?" "What flavors sound good?" And other questions like that ruled my day. All I had ever known was that you eat 3 meals a day and breakfast is the most important one. It was counter-cultural to hear that you could only eat twice or dare I say it, once, a day.
I didn't want to give up another time where I could eat because I was "supposed to." It wasn't that I was hungry when I woke up in the morning or when I got to work, it's that I could eat and no one would think anything of it because it was breakfast time. At that point in my life, I was more concerned with eating as much as I could instead of stopping to think, "am I actually hungry right now?"
Everything changed when I really dove into the science behind Keto. I read this book and for the first time, I felt like it was okay for me to skip breakfast. It was like I had permission to do something new that would help me long term. Looking back, it was one of my first major step towards intuitive eating and learning how to listen to my body.
I see it as a way to let my digestive system take a break and slow down instead of it going at full speed during the hours I'm awake. The longer you fast, the more time your digestive system (mainly your liver and pancreas) have time to rest. Because no new food has been introduced, whenever the body says, "Hey, I need some energy!" It can pull energy from fat stores and burn fat instead of whatever snack was just consumed.
As I've shared before in other blog posts, I am not a medical professional, just someone who decided to learn more and try things for myself!
What are the benefits of IF?
- Decreases insulin resistance over time -- I talk more about insulin resistance in this post.
- Anti-aging -- "When you fast, it gives your cells the ability to detox and recycle, so your body can slow down aging and even prevent age-related diseases." Read more here and here.
- Weight loss -- it's real fat loss not lean tissue/muscle loss. It's the kind of weight you want to lose.
- Stimulates brain -- Check this out. Side note: I'm starting to understand now why Fasting is spiritual. Posts on that coming in the future.
- Reduces inflammation -- EVERYONE can benefit from reduced inflammation in the body read more
- And there's more, but that's a lot of info to comb through, so I'm going to stop here.
How did you actually start doing IF?
I started skipping breakfast.
It was actually pretty easy for me to get started. When I woke up I would have my coffee (coffee with a splash of cream doesn't break your fast, a bulletproof coffee will tho) and then plan to eat lunch around 11:00. Meal prepping definitely helped me get into the rhythm because I knew that I didn't have to worry about what I would eat, it was already there ready for me.
Over time I backed my lunch up in 30 minute increments. Now, I can wait until 1:00 or 1:30 before I'm thinking about lunch.
How do Keto and IF work together?
Since IF is all about when you eat, you need to make the most out of your meal times eating nutritionally dense (i.e. foods that are full of the good nutrients, I didn't know what that meant for a long time LOL) filling foods that keep you full for long periods of time. That's where Keto really shines! Because Keto is a high fat low carbohydrate way of eating, you stay fuller longer; therefore, you can go long periods of time without reaching for a snack or packing in 3 meals a day.
The Standard American Diet is high carbohydrate and low fat meaning that your body burns glucose (SUGAR) instead of it's preferred energy source ketones (FAT). That's why you hear "sugar-burner" or "fat-burner."
It's the fat you eat that keeps you satisfied (or satiated). I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't experienced it for myself. Whenever I do consume carbs, it never fails the next day my stomach is growling and grumbling wanting MORE carbs. Whenever I'm killing it on Keto, no growling stomach, no hunger pangs, and no digestive issues. That's real life talk!
So, to answer the question, "what happened when I stopped eating breakfast" the answer is simple. This is the first time in my life that I've been able to maintain a weight loss. I've been able to maintain my weight loss and progress even when I go off the rails and eat all the carbs. Not to say that IF is a license to eat whatever you want (because you definitely pay for it!), but it's something that I can do to keep me on track and feeling my best.
Honestly, it's something I never thought I could do. I never thought I would be one of those people who chooses not to eat when others are eating. It's shown me that I can exercise self control and that I can listen to my body. To me, that's more important than physical results.
I will be writing a follow up post with my tips on how to get started if this is something that you want to incorporate into your daily life. I highly encourage you to do your own research and to not be afraid of trying something different. If you have any questions or want to know more, let me know! I'm happy to dialogue with you about IF or anything else really. This girl loves to talk!
Be on the lookout for my follow up post in the next few weeks. Have a beautiful day! - JJ