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A Good Breakfast Can Actually Help You Lose Weight

If you want to start you day with more energy, get your brain going, and head off those extra pounds, don't skip breakfast! The first meal of the day is a big deal. The editor in chief of Self magazine, Cyndi Leive, offers some tips on what to eat for the first meal of the day.

In the current issue of Self magazine, we learn that our Early Show anchor Jane Clayson eats two breakfasts and likes broccoli quiche--and that breakfast is a very big deal. Despite the fact that we've heard it before, many people still skip breakfast.

Why are there so many breakfast skippers out there?

We all know the reason--no time. We're on the go, have 3 minutes to eat, and think that skipping breakfast isn't going to affect our day or health. But we found out--that's wrong. When we did this article, in which we profiled several women, including Jane Clayson, that's what we discovered.

Let's look at some easy examples of a healthy breakfast--cereal, for instance.

Cereal is a great source of fiber, and that's important, because women, in general, have a difficult time getting fiber into their diets. It can prevent weight gain and improve overall wellness. Look at the box and check to see how many fibers the cereal contains.

What about bagels? And what should we put on them?

Bagels can be good. It's not always the best option, but if you choose the right bagel, you can make a big difference. A smart choice is a whole-wheat bagel. If you put some peanut butter on it, you will feel much fuller over the morning. Butter or cream cheese will be less filling.

Aside from having no time, a lot of people think skipping breakfast is a way of keeping trim. But tell me: How could that backfire?

Eating affects your metabolism--the way our bodies burn fat. When you eat, your body burns calories. If you don't eat, your body tries to conserve energy and burns less fat. Also, though not proven, there's research that suggests that our bodies will crave those calories we skipped and that you are more likely to snack later in the day or at night.

And what about the tasty stuff--doughnuts and Danishes? Are they better than nothing?

Yes, better than nothing, but in general, they're just fat treats and not a good way to get the day started.

We tend to think of breakfast as a little meal. What about the big breakfast, with bacon, eggs, and pancakes?

A big breakfast is fine. We should be getting one-third of our calories in the morning. There's nothing wrong with a big breakfast.

You also call breakfast a "stay-slim opportunity." Why?

Psychologists have looked at food choices and found that people are more likely to make healthy choices in the morning, probably because we feel more in control at that time of day.

Waistlines aside, the article also mentions that breakfast can sharpe our brains. How?

Studies have shown that those who ate breakfast did better on memory tests than those who didn't. One theory is that cereal and other carb foods trigger the formation of memory-enhancing chemicals in the brain.

What are the long-term benefits of eating a healthy breakfast?

This is really important. People think that just because they skip breakfast, it's not a big deal. But research shows that it's a meal that can effect your health. Particularly if you eat cereal every day, it can improve your health for decades down the line.

Does nighttime snacking ruin our morning appetite?

Not necessarily. But you should eat breakfast even if you're not hungry.

Finally, there are no excuses, thanks to the portable breakfast.

That's right, it's called "breakfast in your purse." Energy bars and power bars are great. You should check the labels. Look for less than 250 calories, at least 3 gramof fiber and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat.
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