Many people are tempted to skip meals when they are trying to lose weight. Some people swear by the theory of hoarding calories so they can splurge later. Others try to skip a meal to make up for having eaten too much earlier in the day. The question is whether or not these tactics work or do they just sabotage your weight loss efforts.
The Meal People Skip Most Often
The most common meal that people report skipping is breakfast. This is the last meal that should be skipped. The word "breakfast" literally means "break the fast" in Latin. Studies have shown that people who skip breakfast either eat more than they normally would at their next meal or stuff themselves with high fat snacks to quiet their rumbling stomachs. These same studies verify that skipping meals, especially breakfast, actually leads to weight gain not loss.
Skipping Meals Affects Your Metabolism
Your metabolism slows down when you skip meals because your body tries to preserve your energy. When you are trying to lose weight the last thing you want is for your metabolism to slow down because that means you burn fewer calories. This can make it almost impossible to lose weight. In fact, a faster metabolism can help you burn calories all the time even when you are not exercising. An easy way to help yourself lose weight is to work on increasing your metabolism. This may mean eating more often. That is not as contradictory as it seems. Starving your body definitely leads to overeating and weight gain. Eating small portions more frequently keeps your blood sugar from spiking which also leads to weight gain.
Skipping Meals Leads to Overeating
Going without eating for too long can trigger overwhelming cravings that you try to satisfy in a hurry. The problem is that the foods you can usually get the fastest are the ones that are highest in fat like fast food. Also, going too long without eating leads to binge eating. Even wise food choices can pack on pounds if you eat too much of them on a binge.
Skipping Meals Impedes Exercise
To lose weight you need to exercise. The problem with skipping meals is that it leaves you too weak to exercise safely. As mentioned before, an added drawback to skipping meals is that your metabolism slows. The sad irony is that if your metabolism is slow you actually burn fewer calories when you exercise no matter how hard you workout.
Doctors and nutritionists advise eating small frequent meals to keep your metabolism stable. A combination of protein and good carbohydrates (such as whole grain bread) along with a fruit and/or vegetable serving is recommended every four to five hours by health professionals.
Skipping meals is not a good way to lose weight. Eating small sensible meals five times a day is the safe effective way to lose weight. So, good luck and good eating.