Avocado on toast, fluffy American-style pancakes with a slightly melted honeycomb butter, deliciously tomatoey Shakshuka with freshly baked sourdough. I love brunch. Like, really, really love brunch. Breakfast though – not so much. I know you could argue they’re very similar meals just eaten at different times of day, but that is almost exactly the point for me.

I am not really a morning person. I get up as late as I can to still get into work on time and I have my morning routine down to a fine art so that it takes a strict 30 minutes from waking up to walking out the door.

This leaves very little time to squeeze in a sit down breakfast – it’s more of a quick sip of coffee before dashing out the door and nibbling at breakfast later on at my desk kind of situation.

Breaking the ‘breakfast rule’

In the build up to Christmas last year, work was so incredibly busy that my ‘quick morning coffee and grab breakfast later’ routine was regularly disrupted, with looming deadlines and morning meetings meaning that I didn’t have time to eat anything once I’d left home until lunch time.

The first few times this happened I hardly even noticed, so wrapped up was I in the tasks at hand, but after a week had gone by and I reflected on what I had eaten, I realised that I hadn’t eaten breakfast once – but I had felt totally fine.

Instead of wolfing down a piece of toast at my desk or grabbing a croissant, I had my coffee to keep going throughout the morning and then enjoyed a healthy and sustaining meal just after midday.

I felt good, less bloated and lighter at the end of every day – but certainly not hungry. I was still being productive and was no less focused at work.

So I started to wonder, why am I trying to squeeze breakfast in every day if it doesn’t work for me? If I don’t need it?

I decided to stop eating breakfast for the rest of the month – not only during the week when I was busy, but consciously not eating in the mornings at weekends, too – and see what happened.

I was prepared for all kinds of criticism from friends when I revealed I ‘wasn’t really eating breakfast at the moment’ and asked if we could meet for lunch instead on the weekend – especially when we’re taught from an early age that breakfast is the ‘most important’ meal of the day – but instead of being chastised, what happened surprised me.

An unexpected response

My friends could not only relate to my decision to cut out my morning meal, but to my surprise they were experimenting with adjusting the times they ate each day as well. Inspired and motivated by the growing trend for fasting or consciously abstaining from certain meals, I discovered that people I knew were regularly not eating after 5pm, or ensuring that they had at least a 12 hour gap between their evening meal and the first thing they ate the following day.

What used to be known negatively as ‘skipping breakfast’ could now be cleverly rebranded as ‘intermittent fasting’, and with Scarlett Johansson’s trainer revealing she fasted for up to 15 hours between meals to get ready for her most recent superhero blockbuster movie, all of a sudden my quick coffee in the mornings followed by a healthy lunch just after midday didn’t seem so bad – and it seems like some experts agree.

Dietitian Melissa Meier explained to me that while, “Breakfast is a good opportunity to provide your body with important nutrients and energy to kickstart the day” there are also “potential benefits” too.

“There is lots of promising research emerging about the benefits of fasting, so skipping breakfast mightn’t be as bad as once perceived. At the end of the day, it’s about finding what works for you as an individual,” Melissa said.

Of course, as an accredited dietitian, Melissa is absolutely right. While there are many people that wouldn’t dream of skipping breakfast, let alone starting their day and trying to work through until lunch without eating anything, fasting in the morning appeared to work for me, and I felt really good for trying it.

Fasting and my future

By the end of my trial month, I was nearly 7kg lighter when I stepped on the scales, and I felt much more comfortable in my clothes (and in my bikini) with a flatter, less bloated stomach. Maybe that’s just me, but fasting in the morning seemed to work, so I decided to stick to it – even if it was just four or five times a week instead of every day.

While a good cup of coffee might be enough to kickstart my day and sustain me through most mornings now, there are some days where I am tired or rundown and know that I have to eat breakfast to give me the energy I need for the morning ahead. Plus, I still love those American-style pancakes, servings of Shakshuka and, of course, a good old slice of sourdough with avo on – so if there’s a brekkie or brunch before midday on the cards with my friends at the weekend, I’m not going to say no to that!

What the experts say:

“There are lots of benefits of eating a healthy breakfast every day. It improves your energy levels, memory and concentration, helps you maintain a healthy weight and provides essential nutrients your body needs to stay fit and healthy,” Melissa Meier says.

“My main concern with skipping a whole meal is that it makes it harder for your diet to be nutritionally adequate,” Melissa advises. “For the average Joe, fasting can work, but there are some people (like pregnant women, children and those with particular medical conditions) who shouldn’t try it. Health aside, fasting can have unpleasant side effects, like hanger, and affect your ability to concentrate.”

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and are not meant as advice. Consult a doctor or dietician before making any changes to your diet.

Melissa Meier is a Sydney-based Accredited Practising Dietitian. You can connect with her at www.honestnutrition.com.au or on Instagram @honest_nutrition.