The Life Experimenter : Change Your Life, One Month at a Time

Life Experiment #21: Skip Breakfast For A Month

By Allen Rinehart

An empty bowl and spoon

Is breakfast the most important meal of the day?  How did we come to believe this and is it really benefiting us?  I’m about to find out as I challenge the status quo and say hell no to this morning meal. 

Breakfast has become an American icon.  Everyone you go you see products and services dedicated to this special meal.  There’s bed and breakfasts and hotels that serve free continental breakfasts.  There’s special restaurants like Denny’s, The Waffle House and Duncan Donuts that specialize in serving breakfast foods. 

In the US, you have breakfast foods like bacon, sausage, eggs, omelets, donuts, toast, muffins, waffles, pancakes, coffee, breakfast bars and cereal.  Just think about how different cereals there are in the market and it’s easy to see why no one out is asking the question…

Should we be eating breakfast in the first place? 
Could all this talk about breakfast being
the most important meal of the day…be wrong?”

Hypothesis: I have a good feeling about this one.  I’ve learned from my previous fasting trial that fasting can be fun.  And it can make you feel better. And lose weight.  But what I also found out that I wasn’t doing it frequently enough.  Fasting is great reminder that your body doesn’t need food when you’re not hungry.  The human body should operate like any other mammal.  We wake up.  Expend physical activity looking for food.  Find it and eat later in the day.  No animals operates on a 3-meal-a-day-eat-first-thing-in-the morning diet.  So why should we?

How We Used To Eat

Humans used to be hunters and gathers way back when.  This stage in human evolution is called the Paleolithic or Stone Age.  It was about 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago, before agriculture or refrigeration was ever invented.  Humans would wake-up everyday and spend all day hunting and searching for food.  By the end of the day, they’d take home their food and eat it.  Very little time was dedicated to sitting down and having meals throughout the day.

Ori Hofmekler’s book “The Warrior Diet” is based on this very principle.  We mostly need very little food during the day with our largest meal at dinner.  Hofmekler goes on to explain that during the “Undereating Phase” during the day our bodies:

I noticed a lot of these effects during my intermittent fast trial.  On the mornings of my fasting days, I was mentally sharper without food and I could focus for hours at a time and work without distraction.  My weight also dropped, but I still maintained my strength and energy.

Won’t I Get Fat If I Skip Breakfast Everyday?

If you Google “Skipping Breakfast” you get countless studies that come up on how people who skip breakfast are more likely to become obese.  But if you really stop to think about that, it really doesn’t make sense.  By continuing your fast into the mourning, you are consuming less calories overall than someone who does eat breakfast.

I suspect that people who skip breakfast are the same ones that overeat for lunch and snack throughout the day.  They may be people who wake-up late and miss breakfast for time management reasons and not because they consciously choose to.  Skipping because you’re late to the office versus skipping it because you want to fast is to completely different.

Other People Who Support Skipping Breakfast

I first got the idea to do this trial when I read a book written all the back in 1900 by Dr. Edward Dewey called “The No Breakfast Plan and The Fasting-Cure”.  Dr. Dewey was a medical doctor that was called in to treat special cases that other doctors had no cure for. 

His basic treatment was to stop all medicines given to patients (which at the time included a lot of milk and alcohol) and allow the patient to fast until they he improvement.  Using this method he was able to treat a wide variety of ailments. The doctor himself suffered from severe cases of indigestion, until one day he talked to a friend who had just gotten back from traveling to Europe.

The friend noticed how Europeans ate much lighter in breakfasts than Americans…consisting of just a coffee and a roll.  The doctor decided to not eat breakfast one morning and noticed his energy levels go up and he didn’t have his usual indigestion.  From that point on, he suggested that his patients refrain from not eating breakfast.  The result?  He was laughed at by most of his colleagues.  But Dr. Dewey didn’t care, because he got joy from helping his patients, which was all that mattered to him.

An article on called “7 Reasons Why You Should NOT Eat Breakfast” claims that eating breakfast doesn’t increase your metabolism or prevent muscle breakdown.  It’s also responsible for impairing your concentration.  They mention two points I brought up earlier.  Studies claiming that skipping breakfast will make you fat are more about bad eating habits and are bodies aren’t genetically made to eat breakfast.

Another writer on in an article called “Why You Shouldn’t Eat Breakfast…Again” talks about Intermittment Fasting and how they decided to do it daily.  They theorize that most of the misunderstood beliefs out there concerning breakfast come from fitness magazines which depend on supplement advertisers for their income.  There’s not a lot of money in telling people to eat less.  Maybe that’s why there’s only a few people out there doing it. 

My No Breakfast Plan

  1. Don’t eat breakfast – simple enough.  This will give me more time in the mornings to do other things such as working out and journaling.
  2. Eat a light lunch – based on the suggestions from “The Warrior Diet”, I’ll be cutting down my lunch to only fresh fruits, vegetables and nuts.  So I’ll be eating mostly a salad with fruits and some nuts.
  3. Eat a normal dinner – Eat what I normally eat for dinner, which is all vegetarian.  My personal favorites being veggie burgers or potatoes tacos.  Hofemekler suggests that you can “pig out” on your dinner in his book the “Warrior Diet”, because you’re consuming most of your calories during this meal.  I have a feeling that my eating habits will be about the same.
  4. Continue Intermittent Fasting – In addition to cutting out breakfast, I’ll be continuing my Intermittent Fasting twice a week.  What this means, is basically not eating lunch twice a week.  This will allow me to fast for 24 hours from dinner one night until dinner the next night.This brings my total meals per week down to 12.  If you compare that to my old habit of eating three meals a day, then that’s a 42% decrease in the amount of food I’m eating.  I’d say thta with a lighter lunch, it’s probably closer to 50%.  It’s exciting to how my weight will continue drop during this trial.


Photo Credits: theilr

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