Most professionals in the field of nutrition will tell you that breakfast is the most important meal of your day. The logic for this claim is quite clear, but it is based on fear(s) and so should raise your suspicion. The main fear is that if you don’t eat early in the morning, you will encounter your real hunger later in the day, when you might not have the time or the capacity to prepare the best food for yourself, and will end up resorting to what’s easily accessible. The other fear is that you’ll miss your signs of hunger because you will be busy at work, and when it hits you without mercy you’ll have little chance of making the “right” decision and end up, again, with that which most accessible (office cookies, anyone?).
As much as I’d like to embrace a logic that sorts things out before problems occur, I could never support eating when you are not hungry, and especially first thing in the morning and on a daily basis.
Choosing this path on a daily basis means that the rest of your day is bound to be distorted. It’s the same logic that sends you to eat all your meals at roughly the same time, or the one behind the idea of “three meals a day” or “five small meals a day”. In all of them, you listen to dictates (however sound and reasonable) instead of listening to yourself.
If you are hungry, enjoy your breakfast. If not, here’s some advice which can help if you fear that you won’t be around your favourite food when your hunger knocks gently at your door.
First, following the long night fast, the morning is actually the best time to notice hunger when it is most manageable, still gentle and even nice, like a tummy rumble. Eating when you are not hungry takes away this natural experience and makes it hard to befriend the signal of your most basic need. Allow yourself to be tempted into this relationship and explore it with curiosity.
Second, if you expect to be away from great food when hunger starts, make yourself a breakfast which is suitable for “on the go”. Instead of thinking – oh, I won’t have time for a meal that has to be consumed quickly and uncomfortably, use the fact that you are ABOUT to be hungry to ask yourself kindly – what can really make my tummy happy? Make yourself what you might like and know it’s there, waiting for you.
Third, try and find the best time to eat your breakfast. It may not be perfect, but at least your body will really be open to receive it and will satisfy a need instead of ticking the box of “meal time”. Make it an enjoyable moment, for example, on a bench before you go into your work place; or at your desk, with a cup of something, before you even start the computer or connect with others. Remember, consuming a meal usually takes only a few minutes , so that time at your desk or before work should not pose great difficulties. However, they would make a very big change for your body and for your emotional system.
Instead of starting the day with an unwanted meal, by ignoring the “No” signs that your body sends and with that - opening the door to a long chain of hunger distortions; find a way to have good food at the right time for you, even when your life is (seemingly) not quite built for it. The fact that eating is now constructed by life-demands doesn’t mean that we have to stop listening to our bodies and surrender. In each and every day there are opportunities to take a few minutes to yourself, but in order to do that – your “self” must counts as important. Does it?
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