Time restricted eating - skipping breakfast, other had success?

I had some success with avoiding kcal intake until midday. I appreciate this won't work for everyone but was great for me.Work can be quite stressful, I would walk past the biscuits and think no not until 12.30. By the time 12.30 would come, I was so hungry I wanted a proper lunch like an egg sandwich or an omelette and salad. I also noticed a huge surge in energy mid morning when having no breakfast. My other meals would add up to around 2000 kcal in total so not massively restricting kcal.

I was also doing some running again.

Injury = no running. No post running high. Christmas which was, oh only five months ago, I developed the habit of having breakfast again and generally grazing.

I am now keen get back to my healthier ways and really ought to be a bit better, I usually wake up feeling terrible (not hungry). This Morning ate some of my child's birthday cake!

So looking for support with others who have had success with skipping breakfast, time restricted eating and their experiences and successes.

I know this won't work for everyone. We are all different, for example I once tried intermittent fasting and found I had awful insomnia yet others say they slept the best they have ever slept.

Interested to hear if this has worked for you too.
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Replies

  • eminater
    eminater Posts: 2,490 Member
    I've had great success with skipping breakfast, but I've never really liked it anyway. I used to think I had to eat breakfast because I believed the nonsense about it being "the healthiest meal of the day." Once I started skipping it I felt so much better. I am much less hungry if I wait until later in the day to start eating. Every once in awhile I'll have breakfast if it's a special event or something and I am ravenous the rest of the day/end up eating way more.

    Yes, it took me a while to get over the whole "healthiest meal of the day" thing too. Well, I know view my first meal as my 'break fast' meal and I have to say that certain break fast meals make me feel a lot better than others. Like a big salad with black beans for example. The other thing that I experienced was the sooner I ate in the day, so like you - if I forced breakfast like I used to - I actually got hungry again sooner - and was hungrier during the day.

    So for me, skipping breakfast just seems far more natural. However, I don't use a hard and fast rule of not eating until a certain time, occasionally I'll wake up and feel kinda famished a couple hours before I normally would have my lunch / break fast meal.

    Anyway OP welcome back to and good luck with it!
  • juststartedrunningagain
    juststartedrunningagain Posts: 168 Member
    I am confused because intermittent fasting is basically what you're describing- keeping your hours of eating limited. Were you trying to go entire days without eating? Lots of people do IF by eating every day but only within a certain eating window- usually 8 hours, sometimes less.

    I've had great success with skipping breakfast, but I've never really liked it anyway. I used to think I had to eat breakfast because I believed the nonsense about it being "the healthiest meal of the day." Once I started skipping it I felt so much better. I am much less hungry if I wait until later in the day to start eating. Every once in awhile I'll have breakfast if it's a special event or something and I am ravenous the rest of the day/end up eating way more.

    My schedule is all out of whack now with staying home, but in "normal life" when I am working at work the easiest thing for me to do was skip breakfast and have a small lunch so that I could save the majority of my calories for evening when I could relax and enjoy them. I found that while at work, I was too busy to really think about what I was eating anyway, so I used that to my advantage and would pack super healthy low calorie things. I found even if I had a big lunch, I was starving after work regardless, so it just made the most sense for me to save most of my calories for evening. On weekends, I tried to replicate that by not starting to eat until at least 2 PM. Now during stay at home I've pushed it even later.

    I don't think there is anything magical about IF as far as health benefits. For me, it's just an easier way to stay in a calorie deficit. If you find that too, it will work for you. If you're white knuckling it because you think it should work, it's not going to work. There are a lot of people who seem to enjoy the grazing/6 small meals per day thing because it feels like you "get to eat all day." That doesn't work for me at all- I'm constantly starving and feel like I'm never satisfied. It took me a LONG time to realize I feel so much better with fewer, but bigger meals. You just have to find what works best for you.

    -Sorry for confusion. IF I meant as a reduction in kcal, so reducing to very low kcal on some days, not every day. Time restricted eating, in my situation, I meant just delaying meals, eating within a particular time frame and trying to avoid eating all day. Like you, I have found this had worked well when going out to work. I'm currently working from home and it's harder. Especially when stressed.

    Again, like you I find grazing isn't helpful. I don't have a stop button, it (grazing) seems to make me eat more overall. I would much rather look forward to a big meal and feel genuinely hungry for that meal rather than snacking. The latter becomes a habit for me and I find myself nibbling at all sorts and eat more out of habit, or just because it's there. I like eating. I also find when I'm really hungry - I fancy more nutritious foods, I also appreciate food more, eating more slowly.

    I think there may be some health benefits to restricting eating for a certain amount of time? something to do with autophagy and brain-derived neutrophic factor. Interestingly, I noticed an improvement in energy and mood mid am (usually a time for me to slump). Although you are quite right I think the overall benefit for me is if you just end up eating less - no point doing it if you end up bingeing or having worse health outcomes. I also notice I have less hunger when I don't have breakfast! so bizarre.

    Now interesting you say white knucking :-) I actually find it easier to stick to because I don't really deprive myself I just think you can eat that, just not now.. wait. 9/10 if that was an impulsive nibble on a cake/biscuit I won't actually want it later. I feel I start to rely on huger queues for eating rather than emotional . Yourpost really resonates, that it doesn't matter if I had light healthy lunch or a massive heavy lunch and snacks at work I still wanted and was hungry for that evening meal when I came in. I also found this with breakfast I was no less hungry for having it.

    The challenging bit is getting back on it. I do enjoy my creamy am coffee and breakfast, I enjoy these for comfort reasons. So I am aware for the first few weeks I am "white knuckling" when I first start as I just automatically get up pour out the milk and coffee without thinking. Almost like a morning comfort. So it will be a challenge initially and really useful to hear your thoughts, thank you.

    I'm writing this thinking why on earth didn't I stick at time restricted eating!
  • amusedmonkey
    amusedmonkey Posts: 10,331 Member
    edited May 2020
    I have had the best success with eating when I first feel hungry. Sometimes that means having breakfast other times it means skipping it. Breakfast size also differs for me, it can range from tiny to huge depending on my hunger. I haven't noticed any difference in my energy or whatever between eating and skipping breakfast, but postponing calories when it's effortless to do so allows me better freedom with my food choices later on without having to think much about it.

    I don't do well with purposeful breakfast skipping long term because it makes food all I think about in the morning even if I don't really want to eat. Ideation, planning, counting down the minutes, all of it is mentally exhausting. Allowing flexibility makes it effortless for me because I know I can eat whenever I want if I want and when I skip, it's because I don't want - want/don't want works much better for me mentally than should/shouldn't.

    Edit:
    I do skip breakfast on purpose for a day or two to save up calories if I'm expecting a high calorie day (like birthday parties or going out), but the temporary nature of that makes it feel like a "want" not a "should".
  • juststartedrunningagain
    juststartedrunningagain Posts: 168 Member
    Thanks novusdies. You’re quite right sustainability is where it’s at. Interesting you too don’t experience hunger with skipping breakfast.

    I can eat all day long if I let myself. The more I reflect I think intermittent fasting has been the only thing that has worked for me, I achieved it for 6 months without bingeing, or feeling deprived and had weight loss, albeit small but permanent.

    I agree In itself it is not a magic bullet, but compare my days of food diary from yesterday for example:
    Breakfast 7 am two milky coffees, two eggs and a slice of fruit toast.
    Slice bread, picks at birthday cake, apple and grapes. 1/2 choc biscuit and picks at more birthday cake. Always want a snack at 10 am.
    Sandwich for lunch and salad.
    Mid afternoon protein bar, sliced pepper, square dark choc
    Evening meal fish salad olive oil, other days pizza, pasta, curry
    Yoghurt berries

    Lunch: Fasting not eating until 13.00 egg sandwich few squares dark choc apple
    Afternoon: protein bar, few nuts coffee
    Evening meal/l: large salad fish bread or soup and yoghurt. Or pizza and salad, curry salad. Same meals generally on both types of day.

    I was five pounds lighter when I followed fasting approach.

    Overall net less on skipped breakfast.
  • Maxxitt
    Maxxitt Posts: 1,282 Member
    Do what works for you :) For me, having a shorter eating window, limiting snacks to whole fruit, making sure that the meals have at least 30g of protein, and getting sufficient fat each day works the best. If I start grazing on cakes, rolls, pie, bars that are sweet, or bread I find myself feeling moderately hungry most of the day.
  • VeryKatie
    VeryKatie Posts: 5,863 Member
    I always have breakfast at lunch. I.e. skip traditional breakfast. But I tend to eat a bit later into the evening. Dinner at 630 and a small snack before 9. Its just shifted. The important thing is to eat at some point. And stay under calories.
  • SnifterPug
    SnifterPug Posts: 746 Member
    Skipping breakfast has been the most helpful contributor to my weight loss and keeping the weight off. I feel really energetic in the mornings and enjoy training fasted. It is now a way of life for me and has been for some four years. I only ever eat breakfast if we are away in a hotel and I don't want to make my husband eat alone. Even then, if we are away for more than a night or two I don't eat breakfast at all for the entire trip.

    The meal routine that works for me is:

    3-400 calorie lunch around 2pm.
    3-400 calorie snack (yogurt, fruit, oatmeal) around 5pm.
    Main meal at 8.30pm. I watch the calories depending on my current goals, but the size of the earlier meals allows a decent main meal and (in the days when we were allowed out to restaurants) eating out.
  • juststartedrunningagain
    juststartedrunningagain Posts: 168 Member
    This is so helpful thank you!
  • juststartedrunningagain
    juststartedrunningagain Posts: 168 Member
    "It was hard to give up breakfast the first two weeks after I started IF but then it got super-mega-uber easy. My whole life I woke up ravenously hungry and the main thing on my mind was foodal acquisition. Now I wake up with NO repeat NADA appetite, no interest in food whatsoever. My stomach juices start flowing around 11:45, fifteen minutes before brunch. One important thing I've learned is that stomach juices are intimately entwined with neurons - that is, hunger pangs and food fixation are partly/mostly psychological. When your brain KNOWS it isn't gonna get food, it generally settles down and stops whining. So one advantage of IF is you basically, mostly only have hunger pangs and cravings within your eating window. For me it's been pretty liberating to not be hungry and obsessed with food before noon or after 7. I do sometimes feel hungry at night but it's like 15 % of what it used to be, in frequency and ferocity. And I am now well trained to ignore those nighttime cravings. You do get used to TRE and your brain adapts."

    Igfrie this is why i was seeking motivation to start again. I remember it oddly removed my hunger but the first few weeks getting back on it was so challenging. I'm not hungry in the am when I wake up - it's just comfort but I got used to it, it was sustainable for 6-7 months. I am a bit grumpy first thing and the rest of the family having waffles with maple syrup is challenging. I oddly crave being genuinely being hungry for a meal rather than eating because it's a nice thing to do.
  • juststartedrunningagain
    juststartedrunningagain Posts: 168 Member
    SnifterPug wrote: »
    Skipping breakfast has been the most helpful contributor to my weight loss and keeping the weight off. I feel really energetic in the mornings and enjoy training fasted. It is now a way of life for me and has been for some four years. I only ever eat breakfast if we are away in a hotel and I don't want to make my husband eat alone. Even then, if we are away for more than a night or two I don't eat breakfast at all for the entire trip.

    The meal routine that works for me is:

    3-400 calorie lunch around 2pm.
    3-400 calorie snack (yogurt, fruit, oatmeal) around 5pm.
    Main meal at 8.30pm. I watch the calories depending on my current goals, but the size of the earlier meals allows a decent main meal and (in the days when we were allowed out to restaurants) eating out.

    Fantastic, well done. Thank you for sharing, so useful to see your plan.
  • juststartedrunningagain
    juststartedrunningagain Posts: 168 Member
    Maxxitt wrote: »
    Do what works for you :) For me, having a shorter eating window, limiting snacks to whole fruit, making sure that the meals have at least 30g of protein, and getting sufficient fat each day works the best. If I start grazing on cakes, rolls, pie, bars that are sweet, or bread I find myself feeling moderately hungry most of the day.

    Thanks for sharing, I am very similar. I can keep snacking on carbs quite happily all day long. I must remember to add protein!
  • juststartedrunningagain
    juststartedrunningagain Posts: 168 Member
    I wonder if there are any Recommended support groups for IF?
  • lgfrie
    lgfrie Posts: 1,446 Member
    I wonder if there are any Recommended support groups for IF?

    I don't know about support groups, but there is an active Reddit community for IF, called, unsurprisingly, "intermittentfasting". It's a solid group - lots of tips and techniques, TONS of motivating before/after pics, plenty of positive feedback from others when you announce your progress and especially if you post pics, and so on. 95+ % of the people there are diligent calorie counters, so the group doesn't have any vibe of "eat whatever you want as long as it's within a time window" that non-IF people often assume IF people are about. You can just breeze through the before-after pics of people who've lost 100-200 pounds, or you can dig in and spend whole days reading about whether 16:8, 17:7, 18:6, or 20:4 is the best approach LOL
  • rainbow198
    rainbow198 Posts: 2,245 Member
    edited May 2020
    I start eating when I get hungry, which is usually mid - late morning and I stop eating after dinner. This inadvertently gives me an eating window of eating 2 or 3 good-sized meals. This works better for me then eating small meals all day as I like feeling full, but not going over in my calories.

    However, I lost weight eating small meals all day and I'm maintaining eating larger infrequent meals. In both cases I know approximately how many calories I'm eating each day which helped me to lose weight and now maintain.

    Planning out my meals in advance also help me so that I know what I'm going to eat and how I'm dividing up my calories for the day etc.
  • lemurcat2
    lemurcat2 Posts: 7,870 Member
    edited May 2020
    I would definitely just figure out what fits your natural patterns and work with that.

    When I was working outside the home, I'd usually get up at 5-5:30, exercise (usually run) immediately, and then eat after before going to work. Now I have started sleeping in a bit longer most days (6:30), and usually exercise mid-afternoon since although I am working my schedule is more flexible. As a result, I find I don't want breakfast until 11 or 12, and just have lunch-type food (not that you can't do that at 6:30 too). Similarly, I now finish working for the day earlier and have no commute, so often eat dinner earlier, so have fallen naturally into a TRE eating type of pattern. But I'm not strict about it -- yesterday I had meetings and a class so was on the go until 9:30 and then had dinner after that.
  • pink_mint
    pink_mint Posts: 102 Member
    Yes, everyone is different. I tried to not eat breakfast and it doesn't work so well for me. I would feel ok at first but then somewhere around late morning I get shaky and ravenous and once I start eating at that point I feel like I can't stop. I don't eat breakfast because it's some official recommendation, I really am hungry to the point that I'll be snapping at people if I try to make myself not eat. My current weight loss is extremely slow, so I'm not some great inspiration, but I've learned a lot the hard way and I'm trying to do the most sustainable weight loss possible. I was "successful" before my current weight regain doing keto and intermittent fasting, but I crashed and burned hard. I eat a protein bar not long after I wake up.
  • MercuryForce
    MercuryForce Posts: 104 Member
    It definitely is so individual. When I started seeing a dietitian, one of the first things she had me do was start eating breakfast, though it could be whatever I felt like. Some days it might be a little yougurt and fruit or a piece toast, other days a full two egg, sausage, and toast "traditional breakfast". Before when I was skipping lunch, I'd be unsatisfied by lunch, go home and eat snacks that weren't so good for me, and then have a not great dinner because I was full of snacks.

    Now, breakfast means I'm also satisfied by lunch which makes it easier to make deliberate snack choices which makes it easier to make deliberate dinner choices. I mean, sure, sometimes that snack might be some birthday cake a coworker brought in, but at least I choose it deliberately, not because it was the nearest food at hand. I no longer get the mid-afternoon crash.