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Breakfast – why?


I haven’t had breakfast today.  I didn’t have breakfast on Tuesday either.  We’re back on the 5:2 regime and this is the only was I can do it.  Nothing to eat until around 4pm and then Cauliflower Pizza which is very scrummy.

For as long as I can remember we’ve been told that we should/must eat breakfast to get our metabolism working. Apparently if we don’t we will not perform tasks as well, we’ll have no energy and we’ll feel sluggish.  So, for years I have followed advice and always made sure I had breakfast (whether or not I was hungry) and low and behold within 2 hours I was hungry.  It didn’t matter what I ate, porridge didn’t stay longer in my stomach, higher protein didn’t make a lot of difference and my usual toasted Rye bread with butter and Marmite also only lasts a couple of hours.

I discovered last year, when I previously did the 5:2 regime, that not having breakfast or anything to eat for as long as I could on a fasting day worked far better for me.  I noticed higher energy if anything (I guess my body wasn’t having to work on digesting food) and felt far less hungry than when I eat breakfast.  I found that once I’d had my mid morning coffee, I lost that “I haven’t had breakfast feeling” and was coffee time.

So, what are others saying about this?

Do we really need to eat breakfast?

When I tell patients this, many of them agree, saying that a good breakfast “anchors” them for the rest of the day, and prevents indiscriminate eating later on. Others insist that, if they eat breakfast, it kindles their appetites, and they’re off to the races with their food cravings. The latter group often says: “I’m fine until I eat, then it’s downhill for the rest of the day.”

Recently, some counter-think has been introduced into the breakfast debate. With the popularity of Intermittent Fasting, some argue that the longer we go without eating, the better it is for us. During the long period between an early dinner and a late brunch—sometimes up to 18 hours—the digestive apparatus rests, and ketosis is induced; ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body cannibalizes its own fat stores. Restricting eating to a narrow window of say, eight hours per day is a modified and do-able form of fasting.

Advocates of Intermittent Fasting say it reduces insulin resistance, combats inflammation, and even helps mood and memory because blood sugar is stabilized and the brain fuels itself with short chain fatty acids instead of glucose.

7 reasons why you should not eat breakfast.

Breakfast – Not the most important meal after all.

Contrary to popular belief, breakfast is not the most important meal of the day. In fact, omitting breakfast, as part of an intermittent fasting schedule, can have many important health benefits, from improving your insulin/leptin sensitivity to helping your body more effectively burn fat for fuel.

Longer bouts of fasting have also been shown to have potent health benefits, including the regeneration of your immune system, as demonstrated in recent research.

Many people find that eating breakfast leads to feeling hungry again soon thereafter, which can lead to unnecessary snacking. This is reflected in another recent study4 into the metabolic effects of eating or skipping breakfast.

As reported by Time Magazine:5 

“…contrary to popular belief, having breakfast every day was not tied to an improvement in metabolism. Prior thought—supported by research—has shown that eating early in the day can prevent people from overeating later out of hunger, and it boosts their metabolism early. The new study which examined causal links between breakfast habits and energy balance couldn’t prove that.”

The study found that eating breakfast was linked to a greater overall dietary energy intake. And again, the type of foods you eat for breakfast may be the key ingredient that is being overlooked in this type of research—both past and present. Typically, you will find that eating a carbohydrate-rich breakfast will tend to make you hungry again far sooner than a low-carb, high-fat breakfast will. The reason for this is because if your body is using sugar as its primary fuel, it will need a “refill” at regular intervals, as sugar is a very fast-burning fuel.


Myths surround breakfast and weight.

“Eating a healthy breakfast is a good way to start the day,” according to the Web site of the United States surgeon general, “and may be important in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.”

But new research shows that despite the conventional weight-loss wisdom, the idea that eating breakfast helps you lose weight stems largely from misconstrued studies.

Only a handful of rigorous, carefully controlled trials have tested the claim, the new report, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found. And generally they conclude that missing breakfast has either little or no effect on weight gain, or that people who eat breakfast end up consuming more daily calories than those who skip it.

So, here I am not feeling hungry despite being up 4 hours and only having one cup of tea and one black coffee. (Black because I refer black, not for purposes of weight loss).

I think in the hyperbole of the 5:2 debut, the idea was that you could do this and eat what you like in the other days. I also know now that it is better to maintain some control and healthy eating plan during the 5 eating days, so during the interim of the Fasting Days we’ve decided to be very low carb which is one of my favourite, healthy ways to eat. We haven’t eaten normal bread, any potatoes, or pasta, or rice since Sunday.  I have recently discovered Chick Pea pasta which is great and high protein.  So, if and when I  would normally make pasta, this is what we have.  You really only need a little, it’s incredibly filling.  We’re not talking Atkins, or Dukan.  I am still having my Rye Toast on those days, but other meals are more or less carb free.

We are both Morbidly Obese and do wish that people would try not to point it out to us the plainly obvious.  One day I am going to have to answer back.  The other night we were out for the evening and after the short film there were “aperos” (drinks and nibbles).  I picked up a drink and a small wafer biscuit.  My petite (and I suspect pretty much naturally so) friend looked at me and said, “You’re not eating again!” in horror.  There was a distraction, so no time for me to have to answer, which is just as well, as it is humiliating when you discover that even your friends judge you on your size. My answer might have been, “I’m sorry, are these for just to look at.”   I often come across people who let stuff slip from their lips when really it would be better if they kept what they were thinking in their heads.  I am sure they don’t think we see what they see.

I wanted to write about the breakfast myth and thought I’d mention what we’re up do and hope that people allow us to get on with it and not tell us about their ideas re diet, regimes and eating plans.  We’re 60 and 67 and have been there, done that and have many diet T shirts.  We know what works, we know why they don’t all work and we know why we’re fat.  We know it’s in our hands and we know that fads, shakes, special diet meals that cost £££’s is not the answer.

So, thanks for reading, thanks for listening and thanks in advance for not teaching an old dog new tricks.

Anyway, the gates are closed and we plan for them to remain so for some time!



Hello Fatty (sorry Dawn, but it fits for me too).

Posted on

Okay. So, I hate diets, have had weight problems since aged 9 and have tried several “diets” over the years with little success apart from hunger, continued thoughts about food, what I can eat, what I can’t eat, when will I next eat etc.

I recall back in the 70’s, yes over 40 years ago, attending a slimming class (possibly like Slimming World or something). I think I was the only person who arrived to be weighed and over the month rarely lost anything, actually some weeks I would have gained a pound. I don’t remember whether I ever joined a class again, as I think I felt rebellious so would be throwing my money away if I wasn’t going to stick to the plan. I vaguely think I might have joined Weightwatchers for a while too… vague is the memory, it would only have been for a month.

In 1992 the company I worked for went into liquidation and I found myself without a job, without a company car, and my choice was either the the family Skoda Estelle skoda
as you can imagine, that wasn’t an option I was interested in, so I chose to walk if I needed to go anywhere.
I applied to do nurse training, was accepted for the following September, so had to find myself something to fill the gap. After a couple of temping placements, I became a registered childminder, and for about 6 months looked after an 18 month old girl. Most days to pass the time and keep her occupied, we’d walk the just over 2 miles into town, around town and back. At the same time I was following the Rosemary Conley Fat Free diet (I think that was what it was called). Over the period between me losing my job with a car, to starting at college 11 months later, I had reduced from a size 16, to a 12 I think. I was 38 (20 years younger than I am now).

So, in 1993 I started my training, with lectures not always fitting into strict meal times, and vending machines with unhealthy snacks. Student Union with higher fat food and me sitting again and not being as active. Weight went back on over a year or two. At that time I also bought a bike, I’d separated from my first husband, and couldn’t afford to live on my student bursary and run a car. I topped up my bursary by working odd bank shifts at the local hospital, so would ride several miles (not many) to work and back. When I qualified I continued to ride back and forth to the local mental health hospital, and later in the other direction to the day hospital. So, throughout the early 90’s, I was probably maintaining a size of around 14/16.

As life became easier, I was given an old Audi 80 left-hand drive (yes given!) and I became less active. My job was a sitting job, working one to one, or facilitating groups in the local mental health day centre. So, car, sedentary, more affluent seems to have equal more food and more weight. In 2000 I managed to persuade my now husband that we should be a couple, and in 2001 we moved to Devon. We both enjoyed food, we both worked in sedentary jobs and were both overweight. I of course (I know not everybody does but it’s how I operate) showed some of my love by feeding him. We were both working in stressful jobs, and I found by Tuesday evening I was too shattered to consider cooking, so we would invariably eat take away. Sometimes Chinese (and I now know far too much) and sometimes Fish and Chips.
By the time we got married in 2006 I can see from the big wedding photo a friend framed for us, that we are both very big. Very happy and big.

In 2006 we moved to France, became a little more active again as there was much to do, and I think were eating more healthily as access to takeaway food was limited to pizza (I don’t like pizza). My cooking over the years (now I am not working and have time) is all mostly from scratch, so rarely do we have anything processed. Despite that, we managed to gain back the weight I think we may have lost at the beginning. I have become less active due to firstly a neck problem stopping me from cycling, and in the last 10 months I have something wrong with my feet. Orthopaedic insoles have helped at times, but there is still a lot of pain and I am awaiting an Xray later this month. So, no walking for me apart from daily stuff around the house and garden when dealing with chickens and sheep.

I have a very good idea about why I continue to be morbidly obese despite knowing most of what I need to know about food, nutrition and weight loss. What shocked me the other day when I once again decided that we really have to do something about our weight was when I looked up online what a portion of pasta was (and since then rice etc). It really is very small. 1 ounce of raw wholewheat pasta, and I think a little more of brown rice is the recommended portion per person. We’ve each been eating for 4 if that’s the case!! Do you measure your pasta and rice?

On a visit to the doctor last week, he mentioned my weight for first time and I could see he wasn’t at all convince there was any point in mentioning it, and that he wasn’t really invested in my problem with my feet. I guess he sees no point if I do nothing myself and continue to be this big. It felt like those consultations one has when the doctor is probably thinking what does this fat old cow know.

Anyway, I’d already been cutting back the portions of food we were eating before this appointment and didn’t bother to say, cos I don’t think people believe you when you say you’ve tried this and that. I find it really hard when commentators who really haven’t any idea how it is to be morbidly obese come up with ideas that have worked for them. I hate it when people judge my intelligence based on my weight and yet that is the world we live in.

So, I can now make sure we only eat those measurements of pasta/rice. We’d not been eating pasta/rice/bread/potatoes much anyway for the last 15 months, in an effort to lose weight and deal with insulin resistance, but it hasn’t worked. In fact I’d but on 3 kilos in the last 5 months and have been feeling bloody depressed with it. It’s odd, I was only a couple of kilos more than my constant but felt so horrible and fat, when actually (I know I am not horrible) I am fat and have been fat for a long time.

The doctors was nearly a week ago, and when we got home the following morning I weighed myself. Note I am not putting my weight on here because it embarrasses me to weigh so much (being a short arse too). However, this morning I find I have already lost 2 kilos and I am very happy. I then thought, how can I know and explain to Mark how much this is. I found a large, thick green glass storage jar in the cupboard and it weighs a fraction over 2 kilos. It’s heavy! It’s good to be able to know that is what I am not carrying around with me. I have several large, thick green glass storage jars to go, but feel that with measuring out portions and with a bit of luck getting my feet sorted and being more active, I might just manage to lose a few.

So, we’re not on a diet, as diets are not forever (in my thinking) but we’re reeducating ourselves to eat less.
I’m off now to think about other things besides food.