How to eat breakfast… When you HATE breakfast
I hate breakfast.
It’s true. And it’s not just an “ugh, I don’t want to eat but I’ll force myself to” hatred, it’s a “I will avoid breakfast at all costs and the thought of eating right now makes me feel ill” kind of hatred.
It’s a complaining every morning about how much I hate that first meal kind of despair. A back and forth conflict of I’m hungry but I HATE breakfast that often leads to tears.
Crazy thing is, I actually like most breakfast foods.
I know this sounds dramatic, but it isn’t. Not when when you have an eating disorder.
I don’t really know if my issues with food can be defined in a single diagnosis. Yeah, I have symptoms of anarexia. I usually eat less than half the calories I’m supposed to on a normal day. But I also binge about 1-2 times every couple weeks. Throwing up became pretty normal for me after being pregnant and maybe continued a little longer after giving birth than was healthy. And now, over a year later, I still get nauseas after eating, and it’s really hard to bury that desire to throw up. But it’s still been awhile since I actually have thrown up, and I didn’t go to extremes to make myself do it. But I didn’t not try and make it happen…
None of these things are severe enough for me to really define myself has having any of the official eating disorders. However, my relationship with food is highly conflicted, unhealthy, emotionally charged, and causes a lot of symptoms of those eating disorders.
Breakfast is my prime example. I’ve never been a big fan of breakfast, often skipping it growing up. My stomach didn’t tend to agree with many things in the morning, and I felt less hungry later if I skipped breakfast. Which I liked.
It became worse this past year though. It got to the point where my husband would encourage my eating a meal in the morning, anything I wanted, and I would simply say, “breakfast is stupid” and walk away and refuse to eat. Sometimes days like that would lead to skipped lunches too, meaning many days of eating just one meal at the end of the day.
So we made a plan. A breakfast plan. We also made a lunch and dinner plan with help from my therapist and a book on intuitive eating, but the breakfast plan is what I want to talk about today.
My husband and I plan our dinners for every week ahead of time to help guide our grocery lists. So to help with the breakfast issue, we decided to start planning morning meals as well. This eliminated the need for me to make a decision about what to eat in the mornings, which is part of my issue with food. I despise deciding what to eat.
It also allowed us to choose simple meals that would be easy to make and to plan ahead for.
So step one for eating breakfast if you hate breakfast: plan each and every morning meal ahead of time.
If you prefer cold cereal, that’s fine. But plan it. Write it down. Plan to have cold cereal in the morning. Make it official.
Step two for eating breakfast if you hate breakfast: never plan on something you only sometimes feel like having or won’t feel like making.
When you plan out each breakfast for the week make sure the most stressful days have the simplest meals, and that each meal is something you like.
We always plan cold cereal on days that are particularly busy. And on weekends we plan more intense meals that I love, like homemade coffee cake.
I never plan for scrambled eggs because they make me feel sick. I never plan for fried eggs or oatmeal because I only like it sometimes. I never plan for yogurt because it makes me gag in the morning. I have a big no list, and a sometimes list, and a go to list. They’re mental lists, but you can also write them down if that helps.
Step three for eating breakfast if you hate breakfast: prepare everything you can ahead of time.
If you like muffins, stock up on muffin mix. If you like waffles, make a bunch one day and freeze them, or buy ones already frozen. If you like scrambled eggs, whisk the eggs up the night before and store them in Tupperware over night.
My husband mass makes waffles every couple weeks and freezes them. I also make sure we have a variety of cold cereals around so I always have an option I like. I also make sure I always have homemade bread around. A slice of warmed homemade bread with butter and jam is one of my go to foods when I don’t want to eat.
Step four for eating breakfast when you hate breakfast: get yourself a support system.
By the way, I did figure out why my phone wasn’t ringing… In case you were wondering.
You may have noticed my husband is super involved with this. That has been vital for me. He either makes the planned breakfast for me and sets me a plate without giving me a choice about whether I want it or not (which usually means I’ll just end up eating it) or we plan ahead of time when I’ll be in charge of making breakfast, and the morning of he’ll remind me without asking if I want to or not.
He helps me follow through and helps eliminate as many morning food decisions as possible (because making even one food decision can totally shut me down.)
Not everyone has such supportive spouses to help them eat breakfast. But ask anyone you trust to keep you on track. They don’t even have to live with you. Have them text you every morning asking what you ate. Share with them your breakfast meal plan for the week so they know what to tell you to make if you’re tempted to skip. Ask them to brainstorm ideas with you.
My mom is good at shooting ideas off me when I don’t know what to eat. She texts me lists of quick and easy ideas I can whip up in a snap. She’s my go to support person when my hubby is at work.
Step five of eating breakfast when you hate breakfast: challenge social norms.
If you don’t like breakfast food in the morning, don’t eat breakfast food.
I’ve had icecream for breakfast a couple times. Sure, not the best meal, but it was at least something.
Have pizza for breakfast. Have a sandwich for breakfast. Have leftover dinner for breakfast. Plan to eat what you know you’ll like.
And try new things. If you’ve been unsuccessful with your current list of options, check out Pinterest or Facebook for breakfast casserole ideas, or those fun breakfast pull away breads or French toast dippers. If you make it new and interesting and fun, it’ll help take the stress away and make breakfast enjoyable.
Think outside the box! Don’t limit yourself with the “normal” breakfast options.
Now. This isn’t a solve all. If you have major food issues like I do, you may need to seek professional help as well.
Also, if you mess up sometimes, it’s not the end of the world. It doesn’t mean you failed. It just means it’s a process.
I still don’t eat breakfast some days. Or I skip the plans and default to icecream or leftover popcorn. I had dessert for breakfast this very morning! And that’s ok! I’m still eating breakfast WAY more than I have probably since my mom was feeding me.
I still hate breakfast too. But I hate it a little less than I used to. And I often end up eating it, even when I do hate it. And once I get over that first bite, I usually end up actually enjoying it.
2 thoughts on “How to eat breakfast… When you HATE breakfast”
I HATE BREAKFAST SO MUCH. I never ate breakfast between age 10 – 20. Never. I only eat it now because I am literally forced to – if I don’t eat with my stupid medication, I throw up.
I would ‘classify’ you as having EDNOS. It’s what I have. I was anorexic from 15-17 and then I learned how to make myself throw up and never looked back. I can literally throw up on command, completely silently, just by tensing my stomach muscles a certain way. It’s so easy for me to purge that it’s very difficult for me to NOT be bulimic. I had actually convinced myself to stop after I got pregnant, because I was “involuntarily bulimic,” right? I went to see a therapist 5 months after Toby was born for PPD and the therapist told me that I wasn’t depressed, I was just fat and I needed to get more exercise and sunlight. WELP. There went recovery. So I was very actively bulimic from ages 21-27 and have only been able to start calming down with the barfery for the last few years and even now it’s difficult sometimes. Also it’s really sad to be able to barf on a dime and it’s a talent I can’t share with anyone. Sad.
Anyway. That’s my life story, sorry. But I wanted you to know that you’re not alone and I know what it’s like and it sucks and I wish food wasn’t such a continual struggle. And breakfast, ugh. I like that you said to challenge social norms because that’s one thing that has helped me with eating in the morning. I hate most breakfast food anyway so leftover dinner has been great in the mornings.
I can’t believe a therapist told you you weren’t depressed and to just exercise more! Sorry, but exercise isn’t a solve all…
I’m glad your breakfast routine has improved, even just for the sake of medicine. I looked up EDNOS and I think that’s describes exactly what I go through, in a nice tight little acronym. I didn’t know about EDNOS, thanks for letting me know!