Breakfast can be the hardest meal of the day to fit in when you are rushing to work, or if you are just not really hungry when you wake up, but even eating a bit of breakfast can really help your weight loss efforts.

Maybe you skip breakfast because of time constraints, or because you do not like your breakfast food, or because the morning is actually the one time of day you aren’t hungry. Whatever the reason, not eating in the morning is actually costing you big time both for weight loss, and for energy levels later in the day.

We talk a lot about metabolism around weight loss, and we frequently refer to metabolism as if it had one natural setting. That’s not true. Your metabolism speeds up and slows down over the course of a day. When you have been sleeping, your metabolism is slowed down — you know this. But did you know that when you eat, your metabolism automatically kicks up a bit? It has to to process the food you just put in your belly. So eating in the morning actually boosts your metabolism for the whole day because it gets your metabolism started earlier.

Breakfast is also important because it will keep you from getting starving hungry all through the rest of the day. This is especially true if you can get some fiber and protein into yourself in the morning. The dreaded “2pm crash” so many of us experience can be removed or significantly reduced by eating a good breakfast. So you can skip that 2:30 sugar and white flour hit that you’ve been using.

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Actually, the benefits of eating breakfast are good example of a weight loss principle you need to know. Deprivation versus the binge. In other words, you can not starve yourself without having a backlash. Skipping breakfast just means you will be more hungry later. As Genenne Roth so brilliantly puts it, “behind every diet is a binge.” When you can finally escape the diet/binge cycle, then you start to lose weight for good.

So back to just eating breakfast. A boost in metabolism and no afternoon crash are the short term effects. There are also dozens of medical studies that show long term correlations between sustained weight loss and the habit of eating breakfast. Research groups include the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the University of Minnesota, and the Schools Health Education Trust.

Now that you know how critical breakfast is to real weight loss, how do you actually get yourself to eat it? I started with foods that did not need to be cooked. Like a single-serving yogurt and a slice of cantaloupe. Whole wheat toast is another favorite. Some people like to make morning smoothies. Oatmeal is a fantastic meal, but it does have to be cooked. I found some really high-fiber oatmeal that can cook in the microwave for 10 mins (while I get dressed) that also has a surprising amount of protein in it. Drop a handful of shaved almonds in there while a dob of honey and you’ve got a delicious, warm breakfast that takes less than 2 minutes of hands-on time to make. Its cheap, too.

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