Eating Breakfast To Lose Weight – Is It Overrated?

March 12, 2009 | By | 35 Replies More

Eating Breakfast To Lose Weight

I know, you know, everybody knows that breakfast is the most important meal of the day! After all, it will kick-start your metabolism in the morning and has potential to keep you fueled for a long time, thus avoiding big hunger attacks later in the day.

We’ve all heard it over and over, – I even did a post on it! Breakfast – 3 Reasons Why It Is An Essential Part Of A Healthy Diet

But I have to honestly tell you now that I am not so sure about this whole “eating breakfast to lose weight” any more. And I can tell you exactly why.

Over the last few weeks I have really given it a good go. I ate my porridge or muesli with fruit in the morning, just to make sure I wouldn’t get hungry again early, and to get my metabolism up to speed. I mean, I want my metabolism to burn off my fat stores 24/7! And the porridge and muesli were supposed to carry me over to lunch time, as they are also low GI and keep you going for longer.

Now Iam not a person to feel hungry in the morning, and I also don’t have a big appetite (in the morning, that is!). So here I was at 8 in the morning scoffing down my bowl full of healthy food, trying to feel good about it because it was going to help me lose weight.

I've got an appetite!

I've got an appetite!

But then I noticed a funny thing happening: contrary to what I had been told and believed to be true, I actually started feeling peckish and developed a bit of an appetite during late morning every time I had had breakfast – even though I was supposed to be “satisfied” for longer. Weird! So I kept watching myself, and noticed that whenever I ate breakfast in the morning, my thoughts for the rest of the day would quite often center around food and what I wanted to eat next. Breakfast actually “wetted” my appetite!

And true to form, I put on a bit of weight (2 kg). Man, was I disappointed!! Eating breakfast to lose weight was clearly not working for me! So I started thinking (dangerous! – Blonde thinking 😉 )

If I so absolutely didn’t feel like eating in the morning, I had no appetite, I wasn’t hungry, I felt fine – why should I force myself to eat if my body clearly didn’t need anything? Because that’s how I “read” the signals my body gives me in the mornings. Why should you eat if you are not hungry, don’t crave anything and are happy and content at the time? Doesn’t make sense to me. And I am actually quite sure that many of you will agree with me because I had a chat to my friends – a lot of them say it’s the same for them, they are just not hungry in the morning.

So I started to “experiment”. I did NOT eat my breakfast any more (don’t tell!). Instead, I started to listen to my body. And sure enough, most days I go through to mid-morning without eating, and then I really feel like a piece of fruit, so I eat an apple, or a banana. And what surprises me the most is that I seem to have a lot less appetite THE WHOLE DAY, so I find it a lot easier to control my eating. How about that?

I also started to eat a healthy salad lunch (which is a lot easier now because I can resist temptation a lot better without this horrible appetite!), and guess what happened? I lost the previously gained 2 kgs again within no time and with NO EFFORT!

So – in my opinion eating breakfast to lose weight might actually be a little overrated. Whilst I do believe that it can have its benefits on your metabolism and diet, I think everybody has to judge for themselves whether they need it in the morning or not. If you are hungry when you wake up, by all means – go for it! But make sure you eat healty. But if you are like me (and probably many others) and don’t like the thought of food much in the mornings – don’t force yourself, go with the flow and try to listen what your body tells you.

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

I would love to hear your comments on this.

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Category: Healthy Diet Weight Loss Info, My Weight Loss Journey

Comments (35)

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  1. I am the same way.If i get used to eating in the morning when I getup I get ravenous & all I want to do is eat more!!!

    I also have noticed that skinny people I know personally don’t even eat very much food at all. I love eating it’s fun & exciting to try exotic or unusual foods.

    I am a little overweight but I eat! My boyfriend smokes & eats probably less than half the amount I do & is super skinny! He skips breakfast & lunch most of the time.

    • Petra Weiss says:

      Doreen – I am glad somebody else thinks like me! What I want everybody to understand though is that not eating breakfast does not mean not eating till 3 or 4 pm, it simply means I don’t sit down and eat at 8 am in the morning (or whenever) because I don’t feel hungry. I will eat something when I actually start feeling hungry, which is usually between 10 and 11 am. What you have to make sure then though is that you start with the right things – not bacon and eggs, but rather choose cut up fruit and yoghurt, or some oats if you feel like it. I really find that helps me with controlling my appetite throughout the day.

      • Weight Loss says:

        I am sorry but I think eating breakfast really is a BIG help to lose weight. Many people fail to realize the importance of eating meal in the morning. This is the best way to start your body burning calories. Eating breakfast keeps your metabolism regulated and provides you energy for the day’s work. Waiting too long in between meals make your body starve and it will store and save fats instead of burning it. Cheers!!

  2. Vance says:

    Hi,

    What I think is that everybody has a point. The post is without a doubt an observation that a lot of people would agree with. I would have agreed completely some years ago when eating in the morning was a struggle. Like force-feeding.

    I have now been eating breakfast for several years and my weight became more stable. In fact I weigh less too by about 8 pounds.

    So certainly it does take several months to a year for the body to completely adjust to eating breakfast. My theory is that the reason why most people aren’t hungry in the morning is that they eat a lot later in the day and way into late night. The body gets used to that and after the whole night of digestion and sometimes indigestion it needs a break.

    The insulin yo-yo effect caused by prolonged periods of no food tends to result in binging once we eat. Skipping breakfast may not be that bad if we have an early lunch but I know of people who don’t really have a decent meal until 4 or 6 p.m.

    Anyway, that’s my 5 cents worth of rant.

  3. Chipp says:

    I’ve spent pretty much 22 years of my life skipping breakfast. Passed Highschool with a 3.0, pretty athletic, went to college for a few years and dropped(nothing to do with diet). I’ve been eating breakfast for the past 2 years because i’ve been weight training and trying to gain mass. I honestly do think breakfast is overrated. Ever since I started eating breakfast, I’ve been more dependent on food(even when i’m off of weigh training). I’ve always been a slim person and never been over weight or underweight.

    • Petra Weiss says:

      Hi Chipp, I’m with you on this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I do believe that we shouldn’t force ourselves to eat when we are supposed to, like at 7 or 8 in the morning – if we are not hungry. If you are hungry, no worries, go for it, but eat the healthy stuff, like porridge, fruit etc. But if you are NOT hungry, why not wait until you are? And if it’s 10 or 11 in the morning, so be it. 🙂

  4. I loved the article – if you’re not hungry and don’t need the energy why should you force yourself to eat something. For the life of me I don’t see how that helps you lose weight. I think the bigger thing that the article touches on is everyone’s body is different and that it’s silly to come up with a blanket one size fits all mentality. It makes sense that each person should get to know their own body and eat accordingly.

  5. Very great post! I agree with you that eating breakfast to lose weight might actually be a little overrated. All people are different. Many people can’t live without breakfast, and other (Me too) usually don’t feel hungry in the morning and can live and feel good without breakfast. It depends on everyone’s body. As you said, we should listen to our body and eat then we really want.

  6. Okay … I’m sorry to disagree here but eating a little breakfast in the morning will help you to lose weight. Eating breakfast helps you to shed the pounds because eating first thing gives your metabolism a kick-start. And of course, your metabolism is the master key to sustained weight loss. Honestly, I know it sounds backwards but it’s true!

    A couple of quick tips: Aim to eat 5-6 smaller meals each day and you’ll really kick your metabolism into action. Do this alongside a good strength training routine, gain a bit of lean muscle and your body will burn fat naturally much faster because lean muscle burns calories constantly – even while you sleep.

    Use these tips along with a positive attitude for a couple of months and weight yourself in 😉

    Hope this helps

    Linda
    .-= [email protected] last blog ..How Stress Can Affect Your Weight =-.

  7. Might I just add that the jury is still out on the whole eating breakfast boosting metabolism thing. The co-author of my website actually disagrees with what I posted above!

    There is no “solid” proof, but I honestly have heard many people claiming to have had excellent results with regards to boosting metabolism by eating breakfast. And at the end of the day, it’s healthy to eat breakfast anyway – it shouldn’t really be missed, your body needs fuel.

    My main argument is this: When you deprive your body from food, it automatically reacts by trying to burn as little fuel as possible. And this slows down your metabolism. So surely doing the opposite will have the opposite effect. Make sense?

    Linda
    .-= [email protected] last blog ..The Slim Girl’s Box of Secrets Review =-.

    • Linda,

      I’m with you on the depriving yourself of food slowing down your metabolism. I have friends how don’t eat a lot and they have put weight on. Why? Because they eat at 8 am then don’t have lunch until 3 pm. Your body just goes on hibernation watch.

      As the general thread, for not eating breakfast, try doing some exercise before you eat breakfast…but I don’t recommend skipping it. If you feel peckish add an extra meal at 4 in the day. This will soon change your hunger pangs mid morning

      A bit controversial this post but good anyway
      Micky H Corbett´s last blog post ..Of Crunches And Big Macs…The Fat Loss Conundrum

  8. Will says:

    We should listen to our body. If your body needs breakfast, it will let you know. I don’t eat breakfast because I am not hungry in the morning and it works well for me. I am not crazy about healthy breakfast food any way, cereal, muesli… so not eating breakfast allows me to eat more food I like later on in the day. 🙂

    • Petra Weiss says:

      Will, I have just lately taken up to eat breakfast again but have to say I will stick with what I have said – when I eat breakfast, I eat more the whole day, and I start to put on weight again! So as of tomorrow again – no more brekky!

      • Michaela says:

        Hi Petra,

        You’re absolutely right. I’m apple shaped. I’ve tried all the diets – and the ones where you have to eat breakfast and 5 or 6 times a day just made me fat and bloated, and HUNGRY. I think that happens if you’re addicted to grains and sweet foods actually – anything fruity or porridgy is the worst. I just don’t want to stop eating… Now I have a nice plate of raw veggie salad and some fish or an omelette for lunch and whatever I like for dinner and the weight is falling off! I suspect that there are different body types. Breakfast is good for some and not for others…

  9. Yea, I too find that when I eat breakfast in the morning, I actually get hungry earlier in the day. If I skip breakfast, I usually don’t even notice when lunch time rolls around. However, I think the best advice is to eat 5 small meals a day, not just relying on breakfast, lunch, and dinner (or lunch and dinner in some of our cases) 🙂

  10. Holly says:

    i will definatly give it a try 🙂

  11. This is exactly the same for me too. I wouldnt fell hungry in the mornings and would force myself to have a healthy breakfast but way before lunchtime I would be craving for more food! I do not eat breakfast at all now and have a much better balanced diet. I think it is very overrated, it works for some people but I think it doesnt work for the majority of people.
    .-= Hannah @ Double Glazing Whitton´s last blog ..Scuba TV =-.

  12. Krystle says:

    I ate breakfast every single day for 27 years. For years 22-27 I started slowly gaining weight. Every morning I’m not actually hungry, I would just eat out of habit, since eating breakfast has been ingrained in me since I was a kid. Lately I’ve stopped eating breakfast. I was up at 730am this morning and just now at 11 I’m starting to feel hungry. This is when I’d usually have lunch anyways. So I basically just slashed 300-400 cals from my diet by just listening to my body (and often times more because breakfast would whet my appetite, also, and I’d find myself looking for something sweet after my Cheerios). Just like everything else in life, whats best for one may not be best for another. I’ve lost close to a pound per week for the last few weeks doing this.

  13. Portia says:

    Ive tried everything when it comes to breakfast, cereals, a fruit or may be just a handfull of nuts but every time i eat breakfast i constantly eat the whole day and i feel sleapy and tired like i did not eat for weaks and i gain a lot of weight despite the fact that i eat healthily and exercise regularly. but when i skip breakfast i have so much energy en i dont even feel sleapy @ all im so glad there are people with the same problem as me!!!

  14. Andy says:

    I agree completely with you. For the purpose of fat/weight loss, it is accepted dogma that you have to eat brakfast to kick start metabolism, reduce hunger later, etc. It is nonsense. If I eat anything, any food whatsoever before lunchtime I will be hungry the rest of the day to the point that diet adherence becomes very difficult. It has also been well established that eating does not increase metabolism. Eat six times a day or one time a day, it doesn’t improve your metabolism. It only comes down to calories in/calories out. It took me about 3 years to truly accept that. You are spinning your wheels if you believe otherwise. The fastest route to weight loss is to reduce calories below your Basal metabolic rate. Also, exercise is pretty useless for weight loss. Don’t fall into that trap of thinking you can outexercise your intake. You can’t. Skipping breakfast was the single greatest reason I was ablel to drop 30 pounds of fat in 4 months.

  15. I dont believe in it at all.Eating is eating,whether you eat food at day or night,it really doesnt matter.The actual reason for eating breakfast is because we tend to be active during the morning and therefore calories get burned quickly.
    .-= [email protected] last blog ..46 lcd samsung-Read this before you buy it =-.

  16. Debra says:

    It’s good to see other people who agree! My issue is that the sight or smell of food first thing in the morning makes me sick—I want coffee and nothing else! Plus, I like starting the day with a somewhat less-than-bloated belly, because as soon as I eat, there it goes, poof. So for me to eat in the morning would be going against my appetite and my instincts. I haven’t eaten breakfast since I was a little kid, and I keep my weight in check OK, except for my icky belly (I’m in my fifties now so it’s nearly impossible to get rid of it.)

  17. amazincurves says:

    yeah I really do breakfast is overrated also, sure Healthy eating is always going to be the main factor in having a healthy body most things you eat for breakfast has nothing but sugar anyway I skipped breakfast for the last few years and very healthy 🙂

  18. I don’t think people should get into the idea of eating breakfast ‘to lose weight’. It can be hard to know whether or not to eat breakfast, especially if you don’t feel hungry but you should remember that first of all, you should remember that you should break a fast of about 14 hours (which is how long most people go without food overnight) and if your body is used to not eating you may have to change your habits.

  19. breakfast foods should always be high in carbohydrates to provide the energy you need in the mornign `

  20. Plastic Pond says:

    breakfast foods should always be high in protein and also in carbohydrates, we need food energy during the early morning ,’`

  21. James says:

    Minor point:

    It’s “whet my appetite” not “wet my appetite”.

    Why this post: it’s those little errors that propagate because they are not picked up by a spell checker. “Wetting an appetite” is, in principle, perfectly sound.
    The same goes for apostrophes with the ” apostrophe’s ” form becoming increasingly common and eroding the posessive nature of the construct.

    Concerning the topic, it’s natural that giving your digestive system a kick in the morning will have consequences when the digestion is complete.

  22. laura says:

    I hear what your saying…Because you have skipped breakfast for so long, you body assumes it is no longer in “starvation mode” and it assumes that you will feed it more often. So even though you may be hungry mid morning, at the end of the day, your evening snack will probably be a third of what you used to eat when you didn’t eat breakfast.
    The body is like a thermostat. It’s smart. It knows when to rev your metabolism up when you’ve eaten too much and when to slow it down when you haven’t eaten enough. You’ll always go back to you “set point”. The reason why people gain weight is because they try messing around with their set point. They’ll try extreme diets which trick your body into thinking it’s in starvation mode thus causing you to hold on to every single calorie possible. As long as you “eat a balanced diet and excersise” you’ll be fine!
    Also a lot of people struggle with emotional issues and this type of weight gain can simply be solved with therapy and medication. Your body doesn’t over eat because it’s hungry, your body overeats because it’s emotionally starved. And lets face it, if everyone over ate on carrots and broccoli I’m sure we wouldn’t have that problem. Instead people over eat on high fat high sugar foods to trigger your serotonin levels and cause you to produce more and give you the sense of comfort, pleasure and happiness. However, foods containing tryptophan will give you the same feeling (bananas, lobster, cottage cheese, pineapple..), not only that but doing any form of exercise will release endorphins and make you feel good, being around friends works too and last of all…sex!

  23. mary says:

    I am so happy to read about others that find it best to not eat breakfast in the morning! I feel so much healthier, alert and on the top of my game when I skip breakfast. When I eat breakfast, even a very small one, I feel tired and hungry by 10:30 am! I too have experimented with eating breakfast as it effects my weight loss. If I wait until 12 or 1pm to eat (which is when I am hungry) then I loose about 2 pounds per week. No breakfast for me! I will eat when I am hungry!

  24. Alan S says:

    Petra,
    I completely agree with the premise that you should eat when hungry, not by the clock.

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