Sleep, Breakfast, and Calorie Counting
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.
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 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!