I stopped eating breakfast about four years ago – and I don’t miss it one bit.
Before making my decision to start skipping breakfast, like most other people, I was a big fan of the first meal of the day.
Like most of us, I’d been told from a young age that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” – and frankly it would’ve been unthinkable for me to begin my day without my usual bowl of cereal and milk.
That all changed in early 2015, when I started hearing more about something called ‘Intermittent Fasting’. After having met with 2 Meal Day founder Max Lowery, I started experimenting with it.
And from that point onwards, I made the decision to banish breakfast from my life for good.
1) Fasting Has Many Health Benefits
The term ‘Intermittent Fasting’ simply refers to an eating pattern that involve fasting (not eating) for short periods of time.
I first came across it during my research into health and wellness for some articles on The Sport Review back in 2015 and after having spoken to Max Lowery, who is the founder of 2 Meal Day and an advocate of Intermittent Fasting.
To practice Intermittent Fasting, you simply divide each day into ‘fasting’ and ‘eating’ windows.
One of the most common protocols for Intermittent Fasting, and the one I follow myself, is an 18-hour fast, followed by a six-hour eating window.
Typically, I will eat my last meal of the day around 6pm, and won’t eat again until around 12pm the next day.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: 18 hours is a long time to go without eating anything.
But remember that I’m aiming to be asleep for (hopefully) eight hours of that time, and already it’s all looking less daunting.
I also feel that the word ‘fasting’ itself makes the whole thing sound more dramatic than it needs to be. It’s simply the practice of skipping breakfast and being more mindful about how often you’re eating.
There are many health benefits associated with Intermittent Fasting. I won’t go into too much detail here, but you can check out our dedicated guide to Intermittent Fasting written by Max Lowery to find out more.
Some of the main benefits believed to be associated with fasting include fat loss, reduced hunger, more energy and improved insulin sensitivity.
When it comes to the long-term health benefits, it’s suggested that not eating for significant periods gives your body the chance to direct some of its energy away from digesting food and focus on other processes such as repair at a cellular level.
When you think about it, it makes sense. Humans didn’t evolve with access to the constant supply of food we enjoy these days.
Giving our bodies some ‘time off’ from digesting food to focus on other important processes is probably very important.
2) Improved Morning Productivity
This is a tangible benefit I noticed straight away as soon as I started experimenting with Intermittent Fasting – I was more productive in the mornings.
I get the bulk of my best work done in the morning – and skipping breakfast helps to keep me focused and energized.
I immediately noticed that I was more clear-headed and had more mental energy on the days that I didn’t eat breakfast, as I set about my morning routine.
We’ve all experienced that feeling of lethargy and tiredness that creeps up on us after having eaten a big meal.
Not putting any food into my body first thing in the morning allows me to stay focused on the task at hand.
As an added bonus, I also noticed that skipping breakfast helped to amplify the effects of my morning coffee.
It allowed me to feel the effects of the Caffeine while getting the most important batch of my daily work done.
Skipping breakfast helps to keep me clear-headed and focused in the morning, and gives me the platform to begin the day on the right foot.
3) Better Discipline and an Improved Relationship with Food
Intermittent Fasting teaches you what real ‘hunger’ is.
Most people will claim to be ‘hungry’ after having not eaten anything for two or three hours. This is not real hunger.
The fact is, the human body can go without food for weeks. That’s why our bodies store fat – it’s simply stored energy for future use.
The so-called ‘hunger’ most people feel in this modern world is usually simply the drop in blood sugar levels that comes after having not eaten anything for a few hours.
Discovering the difference between that feeling and real ‘hunger’ is a valuable lesson I’ve learnt from practicing Intermittent Fasting.
There is also a tangible feeling of empowerment that comes with practicing Intermittent Fasting.
It allows you to take back control of your eating habits and go firmly against the grain of a culture that promotes eating and snacking 24/7.
Most of all, it helps to realign your habits to a way of eating that is probably much more natural to humans than what we are used to in our modern societies.
4) Enhanced ‘Fasted’ Workouts
I usually hit the gym around 11am each morning, and the thought of doing so without having eaten anything would have sounded ridiculous (and dangerous) to me about five years ago.
I don’t know why, but I had assumed that I would probably faint or just be really weak if I didn’t eat anything before working out.
Intermittent Fasting changed that perception pretty quickly.
Not only was I able to perform to the same level during my workouts after having skipped breakfast, but I also benefited from the improved energy and focus levels that I’ve mentioned above.
All in all, my workouts were better. I had more energy and was more focused. And no, I didn’t pass out.
Secondly, the post-workout window is a great time to break your fast.
There’s plenty of research into the potential benefits of ‘fasted’ training, and eating your first meal of the day after an intense workout feels like a great reward for your hard work.
Conclusion – Wrapping Things Up
So, that brings us to the end of my look at why I skip breakfast every day and have been doing so for some years.
There are plenty of health benefits associated with Intermittent Fasting, but it’s the mental plus-points that I really enjoy.
If you’re just starting out with Intermittent Fasting, don’t get too hung up on the timings. A mistake I made early on was being too rigid when counting down the hours to when it was finally time to eat.
Use the clock as a guide to feel your way into it, and then apply common sense.
Sometimes I’ll break my fast at 10:30am, other times at 1:30pm. It’s not about sticking to a rigid schedule, it’s about incorporating it into your life in a manageable way so that you’ll actually be able to stick to it.