It is 9:15 am, I am sitting at Taksu, a little gem in Ubud, Bali, enjoying my breakfast. The buffet here is amazing, various, healthy, yummy. Perfect.
My point here is not to advertise Taksu, or to explain how breakfast is the most important meal of the day for your metabolism. Even if it is part of the story I want to tell here. What I rather want to emphasize, is how initiating the habit of having healthy breakfast has changed my life, by bringing structure, dynamic and positive intentions for my day. It is a pure act of self-respect, first thing in the morning.
Shifting my habits on breakfast has been a major contribution to my life change in general. Far more than on a health 101 point of view.
I have realized recently that my former non-morning routine was actually a symptom of an unfulfilled life.
There is a saying I like: Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.
I still struggle with the pauper evening thing, though. I love food so much...
Do you stick to this quote full of wisdom? For me, it has been a clear and loud NO during roughly 34 years. As far as I can remember, I have never eaten breakfast in the morning, apart from weekend's exceptions, often made of french croissants full of butter, or a brunch every once in a while.
I have introduced the habit of a healthy breakfast in my life when I have decided to quit my job in corporate, mid-2014, and it has become a daily habit, step by step. I was willing to heal myself in a holistic way, and I had no excuses anymore to change my habits: I had time, and nowhere to hide anymore.
I see two main reasons to my past non-breakfast eating habit:
- I anchored this behavior while I was a young teenager, waking up so early to catch my bus to school, that I could not eat anything without feeling queasy… In other words, I was not following my natural rhythm. When I finished high school, I started my engineer studies and was finally living 5 minutes by walk from college's campus. What a relief! But my breakfast habit did not change, I was too lazy… This laziness existed because….
- ... I was living an unfulfilled life, I was not where i was meant to be, I was not doing what i wanted to do, and i did not know what i wanted to do, actually. Which was exacerbating my anxious nature. Which meant, as a consequence : comfort food for the win! I had no good reason to break my habit and change my lifestyle, and my diet.
In the years following my graduation as an engineer, when I could start calling myself a grown-up, I wasn’t yet even starting to think about a morning routine, including a breakfast. Or maybe just when I was in hotels for work travels. For me in was just a matter of fact : I was not a breakfast person, period… I used to be keen on food cooked with butter and sauce (french style), cheese (dito), but also junk food and sweets,… I was the queen of comfort food. Vegetables? not really part of my routine… Fruits? yes, once in a while, but it is way more yummy to eat candies or a good french pastry, right? I am lucky I have a good metabolism, so I never gained a lot of weight... But still, it surely wasn’t helping with tiredness, bad sleep, stress management, and health in general.
Truth is, this was all happening because I was not living the life that was meant for me, I was forcing myself in a self that had nothing to do with my true nature. I was just partly aware of it, and luckily had boardsports in my life to balance this high unfulfillment, and not collapse… Even if, after a while, it wasn't enough anymore. The feeling of living someone else's life was taking all the space... In my everyday life, I was looking for every possible hiding places, and easy junk food was one of them.
Reflecting on my story, and on what happened this past year and a half, there is one thing I can state without blinking:
My journey through healthy breakfast has been the seed of a journey through self-respect, and self-awareness.
It led me very naturally to a healthy lifestyle in general. Through this journey, I discovered a lot about my patterns, my dirty habits, and developed a strong will to change them, through babysteps. Healthy food cleared my mind and made me feel proud. I was finally enjoying taking time for cooking and juicing. While going on my journey about re-designing my life (work and personal), I have started using breakfast as a pivot, an anchor, to develop a positive morning routine.
Extraordinary things happen to your body, and more importantly to your mind, when you start treating it well. Apart from not feeling drained anymore because of not enough or too much food, this energy feeling makes you want to take advantage of that wonderful moment of the day. When your day is still an empty page to draw and color. An opportunity to create your day with positive intentions.
This is how I have naturally started small habits stacking:
Right after jumping from bed, I am meditating 15 to 20 minutes every morning, then I do a quick yoga (that can be longer if I have time and motivation). After that, I prepare and enjoy my breakfast while reading an inspiring book, or food for thoughts blogs, or I watch Ted Talks. Breakfast is often followed by some writing, 300 to 500 words. It can be random thoughts, or an ongoing blog post, or something related to my professional projects. Very naturally, after that, I deal with actions related to my current hustle for my future work: sending challenging emails or doing researches most of the time.
And like that, since I wake up between 6 or 7:00 am, by 9:00 am, I have already achieved a lot of things, which generates a strong fulfillment feeling. I can then head to the coworking space, socialize few minutes, and go on with more actions related to my project, so that by 11:00 am, I can look back on an already effective day. It creates a strong feeling of achievement, through achievable babysteps.
It is not that perfect combo every single morning, I still work on it. It is also easier to achieve when I have breakfast at home, rather than going out like this morning. But I don’t feel bad about that: this morning I felt in a writing mood, I know something would come out, I just did not know what it was… And look, here I am!
Definitely, morning is the most important part of your day, and how it unfolds gives you rhythm, confidence, and enthusiasm for the rest of your day.
Stacking habit around your breakfast is basically claiming power on your life and creating your own happiness and sense of fulfillment.
And for those who will tell me that they don’t have time, I will answer this: you don’t need to stack as much habits as I do starting day one, and you also might not have a specific project to work on, and it is perfectly fine! The basic routine takes me slightly more than one hour, including breakfast.
Everybody can choose to wake up a little earlier in order to offer him/herself an inspiring, healthy and stimulating start to the day, in they own terms and pace. It is all about creating space for your own growth.
So yes, a healthy breakfast is a remarkable tool to change your life!
I'd like to say a big thank you to Tomas for the inspiration and motivation to make this happen! See you soon in Bali, the land of Gods and Goddesses