Monday, February 21, 2011

To break the fast or not?

Should I cut calories? Or workout more? Or both? Are carbs bad? Is meat bad? Does dairy make me fat? Or does it help me lose weight? Is sugar the enemy? Or fat? Or gluten? Or fruit?

For every single diet out there, you can find an equal and opposite diet. No wonder obesity rates are going up. How is anyone supposed to figure out what’s the right way to be healthy?

However, despite all this contradictory information, there is one thing that almost all of these diets agree on: breakfast.

You’ve got to eat it. That’s what they all say. So of course, if you want to get healthier, a good way to start (literally) would be with breakfast right?

The theory behind breakfast goes something like this: eating breakfast will keep the “hungries” at bay and kick the metabolism into gear. Plus there is the psychological boost of starting the day off on the right foot.

And then the New York Times had to go a print a story saying that people who ate a large breakfast actually consumed more calories and gained weight. I knew it was just too good to be true.

So what’s an aspiring healthy eater supposed to do? To break the fast or not?

I have always been a breakfast eater. Then and now, I ate breakfast. But once upon a time, I started every day with breakfast. Literally, it was the first thing I did. It was a habit and a ritual, like brushing my teeth or showering. And it had nothing to do with hunger.

Breakfast is good for you. You should eat it. But when the hunger strikes, and not when the clock does.

So now, sometimes I don’t eat breakfast until ten in the morning, despite the fact that I’ve been awake since 5:30 a.m.. At least one morning a week, I wake up and immediately think everything-bagel-toasted-with-vegetable-cream-cheese, but unless there is a rumbling in my tummy, I make my little cup of coffee and head over to the laptop for some blogging.
I don’t believe the New York Times was trying to get us all to stop eating breakfast. After all where would New York be without her morning coffee and bagel?

It's just time to start thinking about breakfast in the context of the entire day's calories. So I'm going to get Chipotle for lunch today? Then I might cut breakfast down by a third. Did I have a cheeseburger and fries for dinner? Then I will skip my mid-morning snack of mixed nuts.

Of course, no matter what the New York Times says, I'm still having my cup of coffee. Because, umm, yeah, I'm addicted.

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