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8/05/2009 07:58:00 AM

A Note From Kathy: I've Read Your Journal, and..


Thanks for a fabulous first two weeks! I'm inspired by your dedication, your energy, and your spirit as we continue our 12-week journey together.

I wanted to share a point of focus for Week 3 with you, and this week, it became obvious what we should discuss.

We've gone through and read the food journals for Week 1, and... we need to talk.

Kathy's Focus for Week 3: Breakfast

And I mean that: we need to talk, especially about breakfast. It's the meal that sets the stage for a successful (or unsuccessful) eating day, but often people misunderstand what they should eat for breakfast, or even skip it entirely.

In the journals I read, I saw answers all over the map for breakfast, from leftover banana bread to cold cereal to nothing at all. And almost everything I saw was missing two critical elements (and I'll get into that in Tip #2).

3 Breakfast Tips to Give Your 12-Week Program a Power Boost:

Tip #1: When you eat is as important as what you eat.

This is a point I stress repeatedly: Timing is everything, especially when it comes to food. Here is one of my "Laws of Living Lean," from my book Feed Muscle Shrink Fat Diet: Don't skip breakfast! Always eat within one hour of rising. It can work wonders on your body's metabolism and overall ability to lose weight and keep it off.

Although you've probably heard this advice before, you may not know why it is such a great idea. Your brain runs on glucose-the fuel you need to think, walk, talk, and carry on virtually all activities. After seven or eight hours of sleep, eating breakfast is like flipping a magical switch that turns on our metabolism and sets the stage for your blood sugar, energy level, and even your mood for that day. When you go a long time without fuel, your body responds naturally by entering a "safe mode" and slowing down its metabolism. So when you eventually eat, chances are you are going to overeat.

Skipping breakfast is proven to make weight control more difficult. People who skip a morning meal eat more food at the next meal, eat high-calorie snacks to curb hunger, struggle to fight off low energy and sleepiness in the afternoon, and have a hard time fitting important nutrients into their diet.

THE LESSON: Commit to eating a wholesome breakfast. Eating breakfast has been proven (many times) to not only stimulate metabolism and help with weight and cholesterol control but also to improve concentration, problem-solving ability, mental performance, memory, and mood. By eating breakfast you set yourself up for maintaining healthy eating habits throughout the day.

Tip #2: Protein & fiber get top billing at the breakfast table.

Here are some ideas and guidelines for choosing hearty breakfast foods that are high in protein and fiber.

Cereals: Select a high-fiber, whole grain variety that is also low in sugar. It can be hot or cold. High-fiber means it delivers at least 4 to 5 grams per 100 calories; "low in sugar" means it contains no more than 5 grams total. Add fat-free, soy-based, or low-fat milk and top with antioxidant-rich berries like blueberries or raspberries. Make hot cereals, such as old-fashioned or steel cut oats with fat-free or low-fat milk or water. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed for omega-3's and extra fiber, plus a dash of cinnamon for flavor and you have heart-healthy breakfast. For a touch of sweetness, add a teaspoon of agave nectar or a pinch of natural brown sugar. Top with 3 to 5 crushed raw walnuts and berries.

Eggs: Eggs get a standing ovation. Packed with high-quality protein, B vitamins, and the antioxidant selenium, eggs are one of the world's perfect foods. They so contain a small amount of saturated fat (about 1.5 grams) and cholesterol, but they still deliver a wholesome punch of nutrients. You can eliminate some fat and cholesterol by mixing whole eggs with egg whites. Try two egg whites with salsa or sliced tomatoes on a piece of whole grain toast with salt and pepper to taste. Wash it all down with a glass of fat-free, low-fat, or soy-based milk. Enjoy all the herbs and spices you want. Fresh chopped cilantro or parsley and a sprinkle of light Parmesan cheese can turn plain eggs into a delightful meal with intense flavor.

Waffles, pancakes, muffins: These tend to be the heavyweights at the breakfast table. High in calories and saturated fat and low in nutrients. See if you can switch to healthier varieties by turning to whole grain versions that contain fiber. Watch portion sizes. Instead of dousing pancakes and waffles with syrup made of mostly corn syrup, opt for the real thing - 100% pure maple syrup. Use just a small drizzle. If you are insulin resistant or diabetic, try agave nectar.

Yogurt, fruit, nuts: Nothing could be easier than a cup of plain fat-free yogurt mixed with berries and a few crushed nuts. For more volume and a dose of healthy fat, add a spoonful of ground flaxseed.

Tip #3: Have a couple of breakfast ideas ready at all times.

This way, you're never stuck scrounging for what's around the house for an unhealthy, unsatisfying breakfast. Here are a few of my breakfast favorites. Print them out and give them a try, whether you're cooking for yourself or serving up a scrumptious brunch for family and friends, these recipes are guaranteed to satisfy the taste buds.

Quick-Fix Egg Scramble

Nonstick canola oil cooking spray
1 whole egg plus 3 egg whites or 3/4 cup egg substitute or purchased egg whites
1/2 cup chopped fresh, leftover, or frozen and thawed vegetables (such as tomato, broccoli or any combination of frozen mixed vegetables)
1 ounce low-fat (2%) cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese or feta cheese, grated (Optional if using egg whites)

Mist a nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Heat the skillet over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Lightly beat whole egg and egg whites in a small bowl. Add egg mixture and vegetables to skillet. Stir gently until the eggs are set. Sprinkle with cheese (if desired).
Serves 1

Hawaiian Crunch

1 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1/2 cup cubed fresh pineapple or drained canned pineapple chunks (juice pack)
1/2 cup Kashi Go Lean or Kellogg's Special K Protein Plus

Place cottage cheese in a bowl. Top with pineapple and sprinkle with the cereal.
Serves 1


Thank you for participating, see you on Saturday!

I want you to know how proud I am of your decision to join the 12-week program, and how lucky I feel to get to associate with you each Saturday (and in between on your Keychain Trainer). My goal is to tackle one small thing each week that will add up to health and success to last a lifetime.

A Winner:

A winner is someone who sets their goals, commits themselves to those goals and then pursues their goals with all the ability that is given to them. That requires someone who believes in themselves, who will make self sacrifices, work hard, and maintain the determination to perform at the best of their ability.