my 12 hour anti-diet break-fast
i know you’ve heard it a million times, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, eating breakfast revs up your metabolism, not eating breakfast can contribute to weight gain, illness, etc etc etc. but i also know the feeling of not eating breakfast, of just having coffee, and feeling wired, and light. my breakfast of champions used to consist of cigarettes and coffee. i could not stomach the idea of food until lunch, and the nicotine disguised the hunger. that’s how out of touch i was with what my body needed.
thank god i’ve come such a long way, and i’m a different person now. there’s quite a few tips and secrets to how i went from being very unhealthy, depressed, and without energy to being free of depression, healthy, and fit. it’s a long story, but to get you started, here are my 3 morning tips: timing, water, breakfast.
once i got pregnant, i had a whole new range of challenges. i gained 45 pounds. my body just started packing on the weight, even thought i wasn’t inhaling donuts. in fact i could barely stomach food in the first trimester, and yet my body was converting every bit of it into fat for the baby.
after i gave birth and started nursing, i was hungrier and ate more than ever. my sugar cravings were out of control from nursing 24/7. and yet i still lost my 45 lbs of baby weight without dieting, or working out, within 8 months. now i realize my system works for losing weight sustainably as well, without giving up desserts, or guzzling kale juice.
i call it my anti-diet. and breakfast is a key part of my system. anti-diet because i love food. it’s one of the greatest pleasures in life. and i will never count calories. and i avoid buying anything low fat. instead i developed my own system for embracing food, and being present with my body, and manifesting the changes i wanted.
whether you want to get amazing glowing skin, sustainably lose weight, get healthy, get fit, toned, or feel more energy, you have to start with revolutionizing your breakfast routine. and it’s really easy and simple.
breakfast is about breaking the fast, hence the word breakfast. that’s right your body is fasting, or should be fasting at night, while you sleep, or toss and turn, or read, or nurse your baby. that’s why the timing of when you last eat at night and when you first eat in the morning is an important aspect of my anti-diet.
1. TIMING: let your body rest at night without eating or snacking for 12 hours
obviously if you’re up with a newborn half the night, or pregnant, EAT at night, snack, whatever your body needs, but if you’re getting some sleep at night, make sure to eat dinner early, ideally before 8pm if you’re going to bed 10-11pm.
don’t drink sweets or alcohol after, just water, or hot tea, and don’t snack after dinner! have wine, if you must, before or with dinner.
i don’t drink anymore, but i have a serious sweet tooth, and i have hot chocolate with whipped cream quite often in the winter evenings, at varying times, so i am not crazy strict about this, but on MOST nights i naturally go for 12 hours without even having to think about it. once you get into the habit, you will as well. your body will adjust quickly.
12 hour example:
8pm hot chocolate (just under the wire)
9pm hot tea
7am get up, drink 16 ounces of water with lemon
8am superfood breakfast
so in this example i went from 8pm to 8am without eating, without depriving myself or starving myself. adjust the timing to your schedule, and try it out!
2. WATER: drink 16 ounces of room temp water with lemon or lime juice as soon as you wake up, before coffee or breakfast.
the water hydrates you, wakes up your body, kickstarts your metabolism, the lemon/lime has an alkalizing effect on your body, flushes toxins from your body, and makes the water taste great, so you can drink more easily.
i keep a 24 ounce Contigo Autoseal Grace Water Bottle at my bed filled with tap water and lemon juice EVERY NIGHT. i have sips at night if i’m thirsty, and first thing in the morning i have my 16ounces. because my favorite Contigo water bottles have line markers showing you how much 8, 16, 24 ozs is, and the special sipping autoseal spout allows you to drink much more water than a normal glass.
i HIGHLY recommend you buy yourself a Contigo, especially the Autoseal Grace version. they are BPA free, completely spill proof, and the measurements and sealed spout will help you drink so much more water than you’ve ever imagined. you take a sip, and you’ve guzzled half a normal glass. you have to try it to believe it, but this has been my salvation for the last five years.
it turns out that even BPA-free plastic might leach BPA, especially if it’s heated in the dishwasher, so i recommend you wash your water bottles by hand, with hot water, and bottle brushes, to make sure you get any mold out. i use my set of Contigo Cleaning Brushes every week to clean every nook and cranny of mine and my baby’s sippy cups, otherwise mold will build up in the cap, and the drinking valves.
sometimes i use fresh squeezed organic lemons, sometimes limes, sometimes bottled organic 100% lime or lemon juice if i’m trying to save money. i go through a lot of lemons and limes, and bottled is less messy and cheaper. but make sure it’s 100% juice, and try to go organic.
how much you squeeze in the water is up to you. i like mine lemony. i can’t drink a lot of water unless it tastes good. don’t use ice in your night time or morning water. why?
3. BREAKFAST: eat superfood breakfast within 2 hours of waking
this is critical. if you’re not a breakfast person, force yourself to eat. within a few days, your body will adjust and you will be hungry in the morning. if you don’t feel hungry it’s because you’re so removed from what your body needs. your body has been fasting for 12 hours, it needs nourishment in order not to go into starvation mode!
this is when you need to have superfood to kickstart your metabolism, capitalize on the fasting your body did at night while you were resting, and allow you to digest and absorb the vitamins and nutrients in your meal.
WHAT you eat is also important, obviously. when i say superfood breakfast, try my go to breakfast: superfood breakfast yogurt bowl, or bake yourself a batch of my cinnamon sweet + salty homemade superfood granola.
want something savory? try soft-boiled organic eggs and avocado on real multigrain bread (by real bread i mean bread that is freshly baked, not full of preservatives and sugar).
and remember, it’s timing, water, and breakfast. try this for a week, and see what it feels like. once you’ve gotten a hang of this morning routine, you’re ready for the next trio of tips! i promise they don’t involve counting calories, or having to eat only greens. it’s going to be all about healthy comfort food, snacks, and water (yep there’s more so get yourself a Contigo so you can see how much you’re drinking without having to think about it!)
Great article! Quick question. I stay around 5 pounds of my ideal weight but not without a lot of effort. I’ve tried the 12 hour system and it has worked, but it is very hard with scheduling. I get up at 5, have to be to work at 8, come home around 5, but then I go to the gym after work which often means eating a post workout dinner past the 12 hour mark from when I got up. Any suggestions? Thanks so much = )
thanks Skye! working out in the evening is tough. it seems to make you so much hungrier, and you don’t have the benefit of being able to burn off what you eat throughout the day. if morning or lunchtime workouts are not an option, i would suggest to have your biggest meal at lunch, and eat a lot of snacks during the day. then make sure to eat your lighter dinner within an hour of your work out. eating within an hour of working out provides the optimal calorie burn. you should always nourish your body with a light meal or snack right after working out. a lighter dinner will make it easier for your body to get into nighttime digesting and fast mode. if you’re going 10 hours during the week, and 12 hours on the weekends, that’s pretty great! the most important thing is how you feel! energy wise, health wise. do you do cardio after work, or yoga? what kind of a workout you have makes a big difference on the timing, and how it affects your nighttime sleep and restoration.
“superfood yogurt breakfast bowl” … i googled and found a zillion recipes. What do you choose? Thanks!!
hi Susan, here’s my simple 5 minute superfood breakfast yogurt bowl