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Confessions of a Lapsing Breakfast Eater

Saturday, October 20, 2012

I was always really good at eating breakfast. I know a ton of people who tend to skip it, but my parents never did, and neither did I. The thought that people would was baffling to me. If I didn't eat breakfast, it was because I was sick and wasn't eating much of anything.

At thirty two years old, I'd like think that habit was ingrained enough that nothing would shake it at this point.

Alas, it isn't so. You see, I have to take my thyroid pill in the morning. I can't eat within an hour of taking it, because the body doesn't like to absorb thyroid hormone, and if given anything else to digest instead will do that and ignore the little pill that's, y'know, keeping me alive and healthy.

This is a problem, because lately--just lately, mind you, and I've been on thyroid medication for almost four years now--what tends to happen is this:

1. I wake up and take my thyroid pill first thing.
2. While waiting for it to absorb, I start doing things. If I'm on a job, I get ready for work or I go to work. If I'm not, then I start working on my volunteer work or other projects.
3. The next thing I know it's noon.

Oddly I am slightly better about remembering to eat breakfast if I am on a project that involves going into an office, because when I am about to leave I have a pause point where I think things like "Do I have my lunch? Do I have my keys? Do I have my work bag?" and one of the things I think about is "Did I have breakfast yet?" and if the answer is no I make a smoothie and take it with me, or when I get to work I take out my blender ball and make a protein shake (I keep these at the office when I'm going in--I really recommend this highly.) But right now I'm between office projects and working on other things mostly. So even though I've been paying more attention to what I eat overall, my breakfast eating has gotten inconstant.

This is a problem. Not because I get light-headed--I don't! Or because i have a hard time focusing--not a problem! Or because I'm overeating later--not happening!

It's because it's leading to me having a hard time eating enough overall that day if I don't eat breakfast.

Here's what happens. I usually plan my day's eating out the night before. So I have about three four to five hundred calorie meals planned, plus a snack or a small treat, depending on the day and how much room I have. I weight my calories to my earlier meals and tend to have a light dinner, as this fits with my inclinations (usually.) I then miss breakfast. So at lunch, I make the lunch I planned to make, and go "Well, if I get hungry later, I'll make the breakfast I should have eaten or some equivalent meal and it'll all balance out."

Except I don't get hungry until dinner, and one of the few really good healthy-eating traits I've always had rather than had to learn (besides breakfast eating, which isn't going so well right now) is that I don't overeat at any meal because I hate feeling stuffed, so I don't make a meal and then make myself eat it anyway.

So I make the dinner I planned to make and eat that. I consider eating, say, a double portion if I'm not full, but the normal portion fills me fine. Now it's seven, eight, nine PM. I'm not hungry, or not very hungry. I might have the snack I planned, because that's about all I'm hungry for. Now it's ten and I'm getting ready for bed. I'm five hundred calories down, I'm at nine hundred or a thousand calories for the day, and I know that's just not enough. I'm a strong girl, I've worked hard for three years on that by lifting weights three times a week and such, and I'm trying to keep from losing any more muscle than I have to while I try to get my body fat back down to a more healthy, appealing range. I'm trying to lose weight--but not too fast! And not too much precious muscle! Not eating enough is going to hinder that. Not getting enough protein is going to hinder that.

So what I have been doing is drinking a protein shake right before bed, just to get my calories and protein up to where they ought to be. And, y'know, for hitting my goals from a sheer "I will eat this many calories and this much must be protein to keep my lovely muscle from getting ravaged" that works on paper, but I suspect it would probably be much better for my body if I just ate breakfast to begin with.

Except I can't eat breakfast first thing in the morning, because I have to take the thyroid pill, and then I get distracted and...

This morning I set an alarm on my ipod to beep at me at nine thirty, to go "hey, stupid, eat breakfast" essentially. Nine thirty is the latest possible time where I'd have had an hour or so to let my thyroid pill absorb, since eight thirty is the latest I ever take my pill (I usually take it at more like seven). I think it helped a little--I'm eating now (I got distracted by a phone call first alas) and it's not noon or one PM, which is frankly better than I've been doing, so I think I'll keep doing it and hopefully the problem will correct itself.
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