Is losing weight all about breakfast?

I hate being hungry, and I am not good at it. I get grumpy. I get rude. The only benefit is that, while in the throes of hunger, I manage to teach my two children self-sufficiency. “Dinner! Did you forget how the stove works?”

When I am hungry, I eat. The only way I ever stabilized my weight was by ridding myself of my incessant hunger. But that was before having a job that has me tethered to a desktop computer all day on top of a serious commute on top of spending my weekends driving two kids to playing fields in three different counties. I still work out five times a week, but for less time and with less variety. Over the past two years I have gained 14 pounds.

I grew up slender, but my weight skyrocketed after I flunked out of college for the first time and quit dancing regularly. Blood sugar was not yet in my vocabulary, and I had no idea that I was sensitive to sugar. I spent nearly 20 years on a succession of diets gaining and losing 40 pounds. It wasn’t until I was in a race against my biological clock to conceive my second child that I began researching nutrition and did something I never imagined I could do — I gave up sugar and white flour. Without dieting, but with the help of a support group, those 40 pounds disappeared for nine years.

Sugar Sensitivity
A teaspoon of sugar in my tea I can handle, a scoop of ice cream I cannot. I end up with my head in and out of the freezer all night until the half-gallon of Jamoca Almond Fudge has disappeared. Visit Radiant Recovery for everything you wanted to know about sugar sensitivity, but were afraid to ask.

Less movement means you get to eat less, but that only works for me if I can become less hungry, which requires mastering the art of maintaining stable blood sugar. Researching how to calculate glycemic index and glycemic load gave me flashbacks of flunking organic chemistry; basically, different foods affect your blood sugar to dramatically different degrees. And the equation for each food changes in conjunction with what else you eat that food and its portion size. For example, the glycemic load of eating an apple changes if you eat that same apple with almond butter. For an explanation regarding everything glycemic that won’t give you a migraine, read Jonny Bowden’s blog, The Blood Sugar Factor Glycemic Index vs. Glycemic Load.

What I settled on was experimenting with different foods and tracking the calories consumed. I forgot to pack my protein bars for Christmas vacation, and during those 10 days I noticed that I was not as hungry. Post-protein bar, I tend to average 1,800 – 2,000 calories a day as opposed to 2,000 to 2,800 calories a day. I also noticed that what I ate for breakfast influenced how hungry I became the entire day.

Yummy Healthy Breakfasts
Protein is a must for stabilizing blood sugar. These breakfasts provide me protein and comfort:

  • Small sweet potato with two fried eggs – For two eggs, the average glycemic load is zero, which balances the glycemic load of the sweet potato.
  • Scrambled eggs with chopped vegetables – Trader Joe’s reasonably priced Healthy Six contains five servings of six raw, chopped vegetables.
  • Steel cut or regular oatmeal with nuts and fruit
  • Non-fat Greek yogurt with almonds or walnuts and cut-up frozen or fresh fruit sweetened with Stevia
  • Non-fat milk and chocolate flavored protein powder – This is the only breakfast I can eat while driving.

The first three I make the night before; I use the office microwave to heat them up.

Eggs and Breakfast
Research galore indicates that eggs for breakfast stabilize blood sugar and promote weight loss. Shape.com’s The Best Breakfast for You offers several breakfast options for those seeking a more slender shape including several that feature eggs.

So far, I have not lost any weight, but I stopped gaining and suspect that given the amount of time I sit, I might need to go back to a Paleo regime.

In case you like TMI… I had gained that same 14 pounds within two years of working at my current job and then lost those unwanted pounds in four months by loosely following the Paleo diet (Paleo Diet Month Two). It took almost exactly another two years of Desk Lady diet to reclaim those same 14 pounds.

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