FORT MYERS, Fla. – Whether it’s sleeping through breakfast, working through lunch, or getting home late and heading straight into bed, skipping meals can have a negative effect on your health and weight loss goals. Wink News Fitness Expert Mike Drumm is here with his fitness tips and why you shouldn’t skip meals and the importance of sticking to a regular eating schedule.
We’re all sometimes tempted by what we think is a shortcut, only to realize we in fact took a detour. In an attempt to lose weight quickly, many turn to fasting or skipping meals. When done a few times, it doesn’t present a big problem. It’s when it becomes a habit or a part of a dieting strategy that it can have negative effects on the body. In fact, not only does it usually make it harder for you lose weight, many times you ended up GAINING weight!
Despite everything you’ve heard about “calories in, calories out,” the links between meal skipping and losing weight are tricky. More studies suggest the weight you lose may come from muscle, not fat, which is hardly ideal.
Low Blood Sugar
When you skip a meal, you’re not supplying your body with the fuel it runs on. Your blood sugar becomes compromised within four to six hours of your last meal or snack, and having low blood sugar means your body needs to use less efficient methods to keep its normal processes going. Low blood sugar can also impact your memory, concentration and mental or physical performance.
Eating regular meals keeps your energy levels consistent throughout the day. When you skip a meal, on the other hand, your energy and blood sugar levels will dip and surge throughout the day. Low energy and blood sugar levels can make it difficult to focus and may also cause mood swings, fatigue, headaches, shaking or sweating. You become what I refer to as being “HANGRY”. Hungry+Angry. You feel fatigued, sluggish, and moody! If you regularly exercise for health or weight loss, skipping a meal may also make you more likely to skip your workout, since your energy and fuel levels will be lacking.
Fasting to Feasting
Skipping a meal is likely to make you feel hungrier at your next meal than you would otherwise. That intense hunger makes it harder to focus on eating what’s nutritious and easier to grab the first foods that come your way, which may not be the healthiest choices. Your brain is in a fog. It’s the “fast-now, binge-later effect” When you deny your body food, it only wants it more — making your appetite insane and sending you reaching for sugary and starchy diet no-no’s.
Skipping Meals Changes Your Metabolism
When you increase your metabolism it becomes much easier for you to lose weight, you essentially burn calories faster with less effort. However, when you skip meals, this slows the metabolism down. With no new supply of calories your system shifts into starvation mode. In an effort to conserve energy the food you do eventually take in isn’t burned off very efficiently and transforms into fat more readily and gets deposited in all the places you don’t want it to be. With time, the body gets used to the shortage and starts holding on to fat stores, while reducing your lean muscle tissue which SLOWS metabolism. Completely the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. It’s referred to as Metabolic damage and is VERY common.
What you Can do?
The smart strategy? Lose weight by eating smaller, healthier meals throughout the day. Make sure what you do eat is high-quality, nutrient-rich food: lean protein combined with carbs from whole grains and some monounsaturated good fats. PLUS you know I want you to ramp up your workouts so you burn more calories, as well. Losing pounds slowly by keeping your food intake up means your system will barely notice the difference—and you’ll also be less miserable in the process.
Proper nutrition is very important to your health. There are no shortcuts, and in the long run, skipping meals will only harm you. It’s much better to design a sustainable eating and exercising plan and make it a part of your daily life. Bottom line: Not only does skipping meals take a toll on your system, it conspires against you, setting you up for a slower metabolism and crazy hunger pangs that are tough to resist giving in to.