Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Is WHEN you eat just as important as WHAT you eat?
Do you feel like you’ve tried everything you can to lose weight and that scale is just not budging? Could it actually be related to the rhythm of your body? I mean seriously, is rhythm really that important? Let’s talk about it for a minute...
Every part of our body and our biology functions on a rhythm that is vital to our survival, and is in time with the sun rising and setting in the sky. Some of the rhythms in our bodies include our heart beats, our breathing, the pulsation of our brains, and our menstrual cycles, not to mention the contraction and expansion of every cell, vessel, and organ in our bodies. If the rhythm is off in any part of our body, we will most assuredly find disease or death to follow. So I would say yes, rhythm is really that important.
Our metabolism reaches its peak when the sun is the highest in the sky, between noon and 1:30pm. You can test this in your own body by taking your body temperature throughout the day, which is exactly how you measure your metabolism. The hotter you are, the more metabolic you’ll be.
When you sleep at night, your body temperature, and your metabolism, is at its lowest. It is at rest, doing the least amount of work. Only focusing on rest, healing, and repair. When you open your eyes in the morning, your metabolism starts to rise slowly, as the sun rises in the sky.
IT’S LIKE A FIRE
Think of your metabolism like a fire. When you sleep, it's like the low, red embers of a fire. When you rise, you want to stoke the embers gently, to create a small fire.
If you throw large logs on the embers, it will put it out completely. So instead, you add kindling first and wait for them to catch, and then you add small pieces of wood, until finally your fire is burning fully.
Your light, healthy breakfast is like the first pieces of kindling you add to the embers. Some examples of healthy choices would be a green smoothie with healthy fat like an avocado or coconut oil, or maybe some healthy protein and fat, like eggs and sliced avocado, or even some whole fruit with chia pudding. If you choose, instead, to eat a large, heavy breakfast first thing in the morning, it is similar to adding those large logs to the embers. It will “put out” your metabolism, and you will feel heavy and sluggish. Try to avoid the large stacks of pancakes and french toast with biscuits or potatoes, and sides of bacon and sausage. You might wake up hungry and feel like you really need all that substance, but really all it will do is zap your energy. Before you make any food choices in the morning, drink a large glass of water with lemon and take a few minutes to stretch and feel your body, let it wake up.
Although your metabolism will rise slightly upon waking without food, it will get an extra boost from that light, healthy breakfast. This is so important for a healthy metabolism, especially when trying to lose weight. When you choose to forego your morning meal, your body thinks you’re starving, and the survival response kicks in. Your brain senses the lack of food and fears a famine, and tells your body to store weight, store fat, and not build muscle. And since this is the exact opposite effect you’re hoping for, always remember to fuel your morning metabolism with a healthy breakfast.
NOW IT’S BURNING HOT
By midday, between noon and 1:30pm, when the sun is highest in the sky, your metabolism is at its peak and therefore your digestive force is the hottest. This is the best time to eat your largest meal. You have stoked the fire with all that great kindling at breakfast and now it’s burning hot. It’s the best time to add those large logs to the fire and keep that metabolism burning!
But don’t wait too long, because by 2pm until about 5pm, your body temperature will start dropping again for a short while. You will feel a bit tired and sluggish as your metabolism slows and you digest your midday meal. If this happens to you, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s the reason that many other countries have an afternoon siesta (nap) to rest and rejuvenate each day. During my retreat in Costa Rica last year, the entire resort closed down for about 90 minutes during this time every afternoon. Entire cultures function around our digestive rhythms. However, in America, we tend to refuel with caffeine and push through our “ruts”, rather than rest. Imagine the efficiencies we could improve if we just rested, even for twenty minutes in the afternoon.
Sometime around 5pm, your body temperature will start to rise again and it’s a great time for your evening meal. It’s best if this isn’t a very large meal, since your metabolism is rising, but not at its peak. A nice, healthy refuel is perfect, like a salad or soup, or maybe a small piece of chicken breast with vegetables.
Try not to eat again too close to bedtime, as your body temperature will be dropping again as it gets you ready for sleep. It will need all its energy for healing and repair and won’t have much left for digestion. At this point, through the night as you sleep, your metabolism resembles the low, red embers of a fire again. Allow your body to rest and recuperate during this time.
Back to our original questions: Is breakfast really the most important meal of the day? Is WHEN you eat just as important as WHAT you eat? Do calories matter as much as we think?
If you’d like to try a test, try taking all of your calories and eating them every single day at breakfast for a couple of weeks. Note the results. Studies have shown that most people will either maintain or lose weight. Now try taking those same calories and eating them all at dinner every day for a couple of weeks, and see what happens. The same studies have shown that every single person will gain weight. Timing really does matter, natural rhythms have a huge impact on our health and our weight.
This week, plan to have a light, healthy breakfast every day within an hour of waking, have your largest meal at lunchtime, and enjoy a light refuel at dinner.
For support and accountability, head on over to my Facebook page and let us know how you experience rhythm this week. Can't wait to hear from you!
And if you haven’t already, take a minute to download my free e-book, “THREE Common Mistakes that Most People Make when Trying to Lose Weight”. While you’re visiting my Facebook page, I’d love to hear what you think about this too!