This morning, I weighed in and the scale read 190.0!

Because I rarely do anything in a conventional fashion, I neglected to do an initial “weigh in” on January 1, 2012 when I began my weight loss journey. I’m guessing that I was in the vicinity of 225-220 pounds because that is the weight at which I had been for quite awhile, but I don’t know for sure. Unfortunately, this means I don’t have an exact count on the amount of weight that I’ve lost. At the very least, I’ve lost 30 pounds over the past two and a half years. Praise God!

BeforeAfter

One of the biggest things that helped me lose weight was making several small substitutions in my diet and small changes in my eating habits. Over time, the effects of these changes added up to have a very positive impact on my health. In my opinion, none of these changes are exceptionally expensive or hard to make.

Over the next three weeks, I’ll be sharing a series of three posts with a few small, yet powerful, changes that folks can make in their own diets on the journey to health and wellness. This week’s post will be about small changes that folks can make at breakfast. Next week’s post will be about lunch, and I’ll end the series with a post about dinnertime! (I prefer to call it suppertime, but most people don’t like to call it that. Why is that?)

1) Eat Breakfast

You can’t make changes in what you eat for breakfast until you start eating breakfast. Some well-intentioned folks who are trying to lose weight don’t eat breakfast because they don’t want to consume calories, while others succumb to a busy morning schedule and run out of time to make breakfast in the morning.

Eating breakfast is crucial if you want to lose weight! I know that it may seem counter-intuitive to say that eating food is essential to losing weight, but it is.

According to a study by the National Weight Control Registry, 78% of the participants who lost 30 pounds or more ate breakfast every day and almost 90% of the participants who lost 30 pounds or more ate breakfast at least five days per week. (Source) Additionally, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that missing breakfast has either little or no effect on weight gain or that people who eat breakfast end up consuming more daily calories than those who skip it. (Source)

eat breakfast

You would have to walk for over 216 hours to burn off those 53,020 calories! (Source)

Why do they do that? We’ve all been there. You know how it goes on a day when you skip breakfast; when lunchtime rolls around, you find yourself feeling hungry and cranky, and your best intentions of weight loss are quickly forgotten when a co-worker suggests a trip to your local fast food eatery or the fragrances of unhealthy food in the cafeteria waft into your noise.

I can’t think of a day on which I’ve skipped breakfast in the past two and a half years. Given that I’m not a morning person and usually wake up as late as possible, how have I been able to pull this off? Keep reading!

 

2) Make Breakfast the Night Before

I never go to bed at night unless I know what I’ll be eating in the morning. (Sounds pretty privileged, huh? It’s amazing how we can take things like that for granted. There are many in this world and in this country who couldn’t say the same thing. Even when things are “rough” for many of us, we still have it pretty good in much of the world’s eyes.)

I think there have been a grand total of 10 mornings since eighth grade when I haven’t had coffee in the morning, so there’s that. In addition, I’ll drink a green smoothie and eat some sort of low-calorie, whole-grain bread product—we’re getting pretty scientific here, aren’t we?—in the morning.

Given my aversion to early mornings, how am I able to do this? By making everything the night before!

Sometimes, this means laying out a Lunabar. (I know that some folks have raised concerns about the amount of sugar in these, which is why I don’t do this very often.) Other times, I’ll lay out a Belvita. (Again, I know that processed foods aren’t the best choice, but they’re a lot better than a Pop Tart.) If we have some delicious bread around, I’ll throw two slices into a baggie. On the rare occasions when I purchase a container of egg whites and actually remember that I have them after I’ve opened them, I’ll make an egg white patty sandwich.

egg white patty sandwich

To make this, pour some liquid egg whites (don’t use egg substitutes unless you’re allergic to eggs!) into a small microwave safe bowl (ramekins work well) and cook them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. The liquid will form into a patty. Once it’s cooled down, take it out and put it on your bread of choice. I love to top mine with hot sauce and spinach. It doesn’t take long to heat this up in the microwave the next morning. Enjoy!

When I have a bit more time in the evenings, I’ll prepare some overnight oats. What are overnight oats? Overnight oats are a delicious dish that you can prepare before you go to bed. Many other bloggers can speak more eloquently about overnight oats than I, so head on over to Peanut Butter Fingers, Nut Butter Runner, and Kath Eats Real Food by clicking on their blog names and checking their recipes! (You don’t have to use chia seeds.) Once you master the basic recipe, you can try out your own variations!

Like overnight oats but don’t like to do dishes? Put your overnight oats in an empty yogurt container or glass jar. After you’ve eaten your breakfast, toss that empty container into the recycling bin.

 

3) Drink Two Glasses of Water In The Morning When You Wake Up

I can’t remember where I first read this tip—I think it may have been Jessica Gets Fit—but I have started doing this in the morning over the past few weeks and I have found myself staying full far into the morning.

drinking water in the morning

Drinking water in the morning has other health benefits besides assisting with weight loss! (Source)

 

Not a fan of the taste of plain water? I won’t lie, it’s a lot easier to chug that water when it has a bit of flavor attached. Earlier in the year, I read a post on Run Stretch Go that talked about True Lemon packets. Essentially, True Lemon packets contain a small amount of crystallized lemon that you put directly into a bottle of water. I’m a huge fan of these! (These packets also come in lime and orange.) Best of all, they aren’t made with artificial sweeteners.

true lemon

In addition to their health benefits, these are great because they’re very portable! I always keep a few in my glove compartment. (Source)

 

4) Get Your Vitamin C By Eating Whole Fruits And Vegetables Instead of Drinking Juice

In an earlier era, I thought that drinking large amounts of juice was the best way to get my Vitamin C. Any teacher will tell you that germs run rampant in every school building, and I thought that the best way to keep up my immune system was to start off my day by consuming three or more glasses of juice.

Unfortunately, this meant that I was taking in at least 300-400 calories per day and still feeling myself hungry afterwards. Why is this? Because juice didn’t fill my body up!

juice is sugar

Ha! (Source)

 

I very rarely drink juice anymore, and yet I’m still healthy and consuming plenty of Vitamin C because I’ve started consuming whole fruits and vegetables instead of drinking juice. Most of my smoothies contain pineapple, but I’m not averse to consuming a clementine or two when they’re in season or breaking out a grapefruit from time to time. For those of you who enjoy green smoothies, spinach is a great source of Vitamin C. By intentionally selecting and consuming foods that will satisfy my hunger, I’m able to take in enough Vitamin C without consuming empty calories. Total win!

green smoothie

Plenty of Vitamin C in this green smoothie! Throw some spinach, pineapple, and fat-free milk into the blender and you’ve got a delicious beverage to help you get through your morning.

 

5) Break Up Your Breakfast!

There’s nothing worse for someone who is trying to lose weight than eating a healthy breakfast at 7:00AM and finding yourself feeling hungry at 10:00AM. It’s a lot harder to pass by the donuts in the break room when that happens! Worse yet, this feeling can often make one feel hopeless about their prospects of being able to lose weight.

One thing that works for me and that will hopefully work for you too is to spread breakfast out throughout the morning. By doing this, you’ll be able to curb your hunger before you become ravenous. I’ll consume my coffee, water, and bread product at home and on my way to work in the morning. When the middle of the morning arrives, I’ll consume my green smoothie and a glass of water. If you’re eating a multigrain bagel in the morning, you could always eat half of the bagel when you wake up and eat the other half during the middle of the morning.

 

I hope that some of you find these tips to be helpful on your journey to health and wellness!

Do you have any tips not listed here that help you have a healthy morning? Please share them in the comments!