Aaron and I had lunch with Aaron’s good friend yesterday, and we got to talking about how he had reached a plateau with working out. He runs three times a week and lifts twice a week, but his weight won’t budge.
“Have you thought about changing your eating?” I asked.
“I probably should,” he replied. “And I should start eating breakfast.”
Aaron and I were both like, “WHAT?? You don’t eat breakfast?”
So that’s my segue into explaining why and how I always make time to eat a good breakfast (and I still get to work half an hour early most days).
I work out at night and dinner is usually my lightest meal of the day, calorie-wise. I eat a solid breakfast and lunch, plus snacks throughout the day to give me energy for my workout, so I’m never super-hungry come dinner time.
As a result, I am HUNGRY when I wake up.
It takes me 15 minutes to make a full breakfast while simultaneously packing my lunch and snacks for the day. This 15 minutes happens after I shower and put on makeup, and before I dry and straighten my hair (during which time I eat my delicious breakfast).
My go-to breakfast used to be two eggs scrambled or fried, but that’s not nearly enough now that I’m training for a marathon.
My new go-to is two pieces of bacon (I ate 1.5 before taking the above photo), one fried egg, and some sort of sautéed green vegetable (usually asparagus or a bunch of kale).
While everything’s frying/sauteeing on the stove, I pack food. Today: leftover meatballs & marinara from Monday night’s dinner, a serving of sunflower seed butter (to be eaten with baby carrots provided at work), a container packed full of spring mix, a bag of sweet peppers, and a grapefruit (of which I’ll eat half today and half tomorrow). I also threw a Larabar in my bag.
The funny thing is that people at work see me eating half a grapefruit every morning and probably think that’s my entire breakfast. HA!
I don’t always eat everything I bring to work because there is a lot of free food available — my company competes with nearby Amazon, Google, and Microsoft for engineers, and this is one of the perks we all get to enjoy. We get catered lunches three times a week, plus big Costco and Amazon Fresh deliveries of everything from salad, veggies & fruit to chips, candy & soda (it’s just as easy to make bad choices at work as it is to make good ones!).
I used to just eat whatever we were served for lunch, but now I’m picky and will usually only grab whatever protein there is (like a burger patty or piece of baked salmon), then supplement it with a big salad and veggies — either from the work fridge or from home. Sometimes we’re out of the healthy stuff at work, so I make my own luck and always have backup food on hand.
Anyway, back to breakfast. The usual excuse for not eating breakfast is, “I don’t have time!” I’ve experienced both a negative feedback loop and a positive feedback involving having time to eat breakfast:
Negative Feedback Loop
Eat crappy food –> Always feel tired –> Feel too sluggish to exercise –> Can’t drag myself out of bed –> Have no time to eat breakfast or plan ahead to make healthy choices –> Eat crappy food.
Positive Feedback Loop
Eat nutritious food –> Have a ton of energy –> Exercise –> Bounce out of bed on time or early –> Have extra time to eat breakfast and plan ahead to make healthy choices –> Eat nutritious food.
Obviously there’s nothing super-scientific about those, and I can’t say they’re true for everyone; they’re just my own experiences.
It really sucks to be in the negative loop, but once you make the leap to the positive, it feels like night and day — and it’s awesome.
The trick of switching from the negative loop to the positive one is to CHANGE SOMETHING. For me, it was changing my eating, and every other positive thing followed.
It starts with getting your food right. And food… starts with breakfast.
(See how I tried to tie that all back together to the original topic? OK, I’m done.)