Sleep, Breakfast, and Calorie Counting

Salmon, eggs, and coffee for breakfast
Three fried eggs (240 cal.), 4 oz. salmon (169 cal.) and a cup of black coffee
= 409 calorie breakfast (20 g fat and 47 g protein)

Last year when I decided to get serious about losing weight again, I had a handful of healthful practices in mind that I tried to prioritize (or continue to prioritize). Ten months later, and 40+ pounds lighter, I'm ready to blog about it.

Top of my list: Sleep and breakfast.

We all know how important a good night's sleep is; study after study confirms just how much our bodies need sleep for us to be at our best and feel well. I used to skip sleep, get naps when possible, and just be tired most of the time. How did you think I managed to start this blog with 2 kids two-and-under? ;)

A few years ago, I really changed my sleep habits for the better. I stopped blogging late at night after everyone was in bed, and instead started going to bed on time or early. With two of our children being especially early risers (4:30 is nothing to them!), getting up "before the kids" has been impossible. This partially explains why, after cutting out the late nights, my blogging dwindled to basically nothing -- not to mention my email inbox and anything else computer-related.

As a result, I have felt healthier. I'm positive the full nights of sleep have boosted my weight loss and mood, as well. And now? I'm a big baby if my night involves less than 8 hours of sleep. I fight to make my early bedtime happen, because I want to feel rested in the morning! Do you know how much easier it is to be "a morning person" after 8 hours of sleep? It's a lot easier than after 5-6.

After sleep comes breakfast! I do not skip breakfast. Aside from the studies showing how important a good breakfast is for health and weight loss, I've learned something from my own weight loss efforts:

I have to "start over" a lot. A ton. I don't even know how many times I have gone to bed telling myself "I will start over tomorrow. I can do this!!"

Which brings me to... breakfast! I'm pretty sure if I were "graded" on how healthy my meals were overall, breakfast would rank at the top. My motivation and willpower is strong with a fresh day ahead.

Salmon, eggs, and coffee for breakfast
My salmon and eggs for breakfast -- a delicious combo!

I do vary my diet based on what we have on hand or were able to purchase affordably (for the most part). I know I've mentioned that one of the perks of Joshua's employment at a seafood company is discounted fish. I've been so spoiled!

One of the cases of fish we got last fall was 4-ounce salmon fillets, individually vacuum sealed, with a chili pepper-type sauce/marinade. The rest of my family didn't care for the sauce, but I found I loved this salmon. Since each piece was individually sealed, I could thaw out one for myself whenever I wished (I use the microwave to cook it).

For some reason I had one for breakfast one day (hey, like I said, my healthy-eating desires are strongest in the morning...) with some eggs. It was a delicious combo and filled me up until lunchtime!

So, I ditched my morning oatmeal for a while. We had 20# of this salmon, and that's a lot of 4-ounce breakfasts! I'm not tired of it yet, but I'm down to the last 6 pieces. I haven't decided what I'll do when it's gone. I may go back to oatmeal, or maybe I'll start doing veggie omelets. I'll probably try something and see how I feel.

How I feel is a good barometer for what to eat. With trying to lose weight, I was paying close attention to what I was eating. When I finished a day and felt energized and alert and just generally good that day, I took note of what I had eaten.

My coffee mug from Joshua
My cute coffee mug from Joshua with breakfast

I keep a food diary at My Fitness Pal, which makes it easy to keep track of what I am eating. It was like a light bulb moment when I realized that when I had a "perfect" day of good foods that made me feel great -- I could eat the same things the next day, too. Whether it was the specific foods or the times of day I was eating them, keeping a food log (which includes statistics about protein, fat, carbs, fiber, and sugar as well as calories) has been immensely helpful.

So, that is one of the reasons I've continued to have the same things for breakfast every day. Aside from, you know, having 20 pounds of salmon in the freezer. ;) I'm a big proponent of variety in my diet, but while trying to lose weight I tried to figure out what "worked" and then keep doing it.

I have lots more to write! I'll be back. :)

Find me on My Fitness Pal! If you're a member there (it's free), you can view my detailed food logs.

How to make perfect fried eggs -- I do this daily, 1 egg for Joshua and 3 eggs for me, with a dab of coconut oil. The eggs are perfect and my stainless steel skillet is a breeze to clean!

Willpower -- a book I got from the library. The chapter on dieting was enlightening! Check your library for it! (Disclaimer: I only skimmed the rest of the book. Read Catherine's review here.)


Would love to hear more--I want to work on losing weight, but in an all natural, healthy foods way. This amazing breakfast makes me think I could consider how you were successful and use some of that!

That looks delish!! I used to be a breakfast skipper until I really started focusing on losing weight. Now I practacaly wake up starving! Must be my metabolism kicked in or something and almost 50 pounds later its working! I'm so glad your back to blogging again! And great job on your weight loss. Keep the tips coming!

Enjoyed this a lot. I'm starting again to try to lose the weight that I gained with my 3 babies. It's only 10 lbs. but I'd love to lose at least 15. I do calorie counting too and love it. So of course I'm anxious to hear more about your weight loss journey. Thanks for sharing!

Hi, Tammy.

Oatmeal and other grains cause insulin spikes and other nasties. Read below:

Barb, this is a temporary switch. ;)

I love oatmeal and it was a great breakfast for me daily for a full 6 months of the past year!

I just don't agree with the claims that grains (or legumes, or dairy, or meat, or...) are bad for anyone/everyone in any quantity. :)

I completely agree with you, I dont believe that they are "bad." I am glad that you arent easily swayed by one persons advice. Ive heard of people getting ill because of cutting out grains. They arent the enemy. Keep up the good work and keep posting, I love it!

yes, yes, yes....I have two celiac children who are gluten free because of the need to be, but we all still consume grain. I too find it difficult to believe that grains are bad for us. Jesus equated Himself and The Word to bread....and I doubt He meant grain free bread..;)


I recently read a book by a natural health practitioner who said that he has never known anyone who chews their food well to be overweight. My husband and I realized that we had gotten in the habit of eating so fast that we were practically swallowing our food whole. We have starting intentionally slowing down and chewing our food well and we have started to lose weight. It was very hard to do at first but I am finding that is getting easier and we are eating much less naturally.

Good point! Definitely!! :)

I do tend to chew for a long time BUT I could also sit and eat dinner for... an hour... continuing even after I'm full. :P I really like food, even healthy foods! :)

Thanks for the reminder -- chewing thoroughly is good for the digestive system too. :)


This post was just what I needed to read. I needed to hear that someone else starts over so many times. You continue to inspire me in so many ways, and this post has helped me realize that being perfect isn't the be all end all. I am looking forward to reading more on this subject as you write it.

I also read the book Will Power and found it enlightening. No wonder I can't resist snacks in the evening. My bucket of will power is already depleted.

Best regards,

Thanks, Mary-Ellen! :)

Congratulations on your weight loss! Thanks for sharing about it. I had a baby a year ago and still have 20+ lbs to go. In the past I have lost baby weight by cutting portion sizes, but this time I am having lots of trouble just sticking to anything. Our family is learning more about whole foods and better eating, but I am still having problems sticking to eating good foods (and not overdoing it when I'm stressed). I'm glad I read this today ~ thanks for the motivation!

Thanks! :)

I have changed my cooking for my family a little... like making fewer desserts.

I also "freed" myself to eat differently than they do at times. Just because everyone else is having burgers for dinner doesn't mean I can't have a salad with a burger on top, instead of the sandwich. Or when having nachos... I skip the chips and make a taco salad instead for myself. They don't have to live on salads and I get to control my veggie intake and calories more easily. ;)

I love that you are letting us follow you on My Fitness Pal! It is so great to see what other people are eating--that is real food, not low fat, diet food. If anyone else wants to find me on there, I am vwpyland. I am jealous of all those calories you are burning by breastfeeding, Tammy. I remember those days! LOL!

Thanks! Well, since Channah just turned 1... my days are numbered. ;) The longest any of my babies have breastfed has been 16-18 months... then they self-weaned. :P :) I figure that at least I am being aware of what I am eating... and hopefully I will be less hungry when she's finished nursing and I need to eat less. :)

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