Skipping Meals and Fasting: How Not Eating Can Affect Your Weight

Skipping Meals and Fasting: How Not Eating Can Affect Your Weight

Skipping meals, fasting, and just generally eating less might seem like the right approach if you're trying to lose weight. While eating too much can lead to obesity and the health problems that accompany it, eating too little can lead to a different set of health problems, including malnutrition and eating disorders. Not eating enough can have a devastating effect on your weight. Let's learn more.

Eating Too Little Lowers Your Metabolism

While crash dieting, skipping meals and eating too little won't permanently damage your metabolism, it can temporarily slow your metabolism down, leading to increased weight gain. When your body isn't getting the nutrition it needs from day to day, it thinks it's starving to death. Your body doesn't know that you're dieting to lose weight. Thousands of years of evolution have programmed your body to use less energy and store more fat during times of famine, and this is what your body will do if you're not eating enough.

You might think that if you're overweight, your body will begin to burn stored fat as fuel if you eat less. In fact, the opposite is true. When you do eat, your body will store more of those calories as fat, in an effort to conserve resources for survival. You may even begin to lose muscle mass as your body turns to muscle tissue for fuel.

Fasting Makes You More Likely to Binge on Unhealthy Foods

When you skip meals, fast, and try to deprive yourself of your favorite foods, you're going to be very hungry, and you're going to experience food cravings. Your body needs a certain amount of food for energy each day, and if you're constantly hungry, it's going to be hard to stick to that diet. No matter how determined you are to meet your weight loss goals, if you feel like you're starving all the time, you're eventually going to crack and gorge yourself. If you've been depriving yourself of favorite unhealthy foods, then chances are, when you do crack, those are the foods you're going to reach for.

Skipping Meals Leaves You with Less Energy for Exercise

If you're skipping meals and fasting in an effort to lose weight, you're missing a very big part of the point. Your body needs physical exercise; it helps improve muscle tone, burn fat and raise metabolism. It can also improve stamina and endurance, and promote feelings of emotional well-being. People put on weight because they're eating more calories than their bodies can use for energy; exercising regularly helps even out that imbalance and lower body weight.

If you're not eating enough, you'll feel sluggish, lethargic and tired all the time. Your body won't be getting the calories it needs to make energy for exercise. You simply won't be able to perform the aerobic exercises that can burn your body's stored fat. Nor will you be able to do the strength-training exercises that can raise your metabolism by increasing muscle strength and density.