If you are like many Americans, 2016 began with some wonderful ambitions about getting healthy and fit. The typical New Year’s Resolution is stacked with ambitious goals to lose weight, limit calories, avoid junk food and keep to a tough workout schedule. Unfortunately for many of us, those New Year’s goals, though well intentioned, tend to be hard to keep and we end up back to our old habits by the end of January.
Well, it’s the beginning of February and I think it’s time to set aside any residual guilt that remains from breaking your resolutions, and make a new plan! Lofty goals can be life changing, but sometimes it is the little things you do day in and day out that can add up to big changes in health. Instead of resolutions, try forming a new healthy habit that becomes ingrained in your daily activities. One suggestion to help you shift your focus to maintaining health all year long is to change the way you view your first meal of the day.
We have all heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But let’s be honest, for most American’s, breakfast looks suspiciously like dessert, with far too much sugar and few, if any, truly nutrient dense foods.
One suggestion for a lifestyle change is to limit your sugar and refined carbohydrates first thing in the morning. When you first wake and “break your fast” your body has actually been in a fasted state since your last meal – roughly 8-12 hours ago. You have likely used the available stores of sugars (a normal process) and your body is just starting to think about using its own built in stores of fat. However, most of us sit down for breakfast and re-load on refined carbs and sugar, such as cereal (even the healthy ones are refined and loaded with sugars), juice, toast, muffins, bagels and “healthy” yogurt, which is usually loaded with sugar too. With a fresh supply of sugar, the body does not need to use fat. The new onslaught brings a corresponding release of insulin to handle the sugar and where there is insulin, fat burning will be kept to a minimum.
To get your body to burn fat for fuel, begin your day with healthy fats, protein and greens, none of which require much, if any, insulin and will keep your body in fat burning mode for a little longer.
If your body is used to the typical sugary breakfast, making this switch might take a few days to two weeks. Try this for two weeks and see what happens. And don’t skimp on calories! Eat to nourish your body. If you have additional questions about breakfast options, or nutrition in general, call VTFC and schedule an appointment today!