There are many reasons why we skip meals. Some are accidental and there is nothing we can do about them. I don’t have to remind everyone of long running meetings or awful traffic while commuting. This article doesn’t aim to tackle these situations. These types of situations happen and they are hard to plan for. To help me with these events, I’ll usually have a healthy snack with me for emergencies. However, it is still hard to avoid skipping a meal sometimes.
I would like to talk about meals that are being skipped on purpose. Listed below are some reasons why you might reconsider doing this. This applies to 99% of us, who are just trying to be healthy. There have been studies regarding “fasting”, or skipping meals, which provide some benefit. However, these benefits apply to less than 1% of the population. The population that might use “fasting” is the competitive group, or athletes.
For example, a mixed martial arts fighter who has years of training experience might “fast” in order to achieve their weigh-in goal. Or, a professional football player might need to achieve a certain body fat percentage. This athletic group has extensive knowledge and experience in manipulating their body. They have dedicated teams with members specializing in different areas, such as strength training, conditioning, and nutrition. For them, “fasting” is another technique they might use to squeeze every ounce of performance out of their body. Because in their competitive world, this might be the difference between winning and losing.
If you are just trying to lose weight and feel better, skipping meals does more harm than good. Below is a short list of how skipping meals can hurt your weight loss goals:
Lack of Energy
Our body uses sugar as fuel to perform our daily tasks. This is mostly provided by the breakdown of the carbohydrates we eat. By sticking to a routine eating schedule, our body receives sugar throughout the day. Skipping meals or having an irregular eating schedule can cause energy levels to be all over the place. This can cause you to be sleepy and tired at busy times during the day. Worse, if you are trying to stick to an exercise routine, you’ll lack energy to perform.
Negative Impact on Metabolism
Your body knows when to defend itself, even without you realizing it. Constantly skipping meals can trigger your body to go into survival mode. In this mode, your body freaks out and isn’t sure when the next meal is coming. Your body then begins to store energy in the form of fat. It also triggers your body to slow down your metabolism. Your body does all of this in order to stay alive. Having regular meals allows your body to keep burning energy and have a normal metabolism.
Skipping a meal often has the consequence of eating a larger meal next time you eat. Having too big of a meal can cause your blood glucose levels to rise. This can trigger diabetes in the long run. Having regular and normally portion meals throughout the day keeps your glucose levels in a healthy range.
Skipping meals can cause your body to release extra hormones. These hormones try to compensate for the lack of glucose in your blood. Some of these hormones can cause your blood pressure levels to increase. This can lead to heart related diseases in the long run.
Skipping meals can also cause significant damage to your stomach lining. Failing to eat for long periods of time causes gastric acid in your stomach to accumulate. If it has no food to break down, it will begin attacking the stomach itself. This can cause issues such as gastric reflux, acidity, and other stomach pains.
These are just a few health issues that can happen when regularly skipping meals. Even if these things don’t happen to you, it will probably make you cranky. Who wants to be around someone who is cranky because they think skipping meals is a shortcut? It is not. The benefits clearly do not outweigh the unhealthy side effects. Even athletes do not perform “fasting” for long periods of time.
It is better to develop a healthier and natural weight loss plan. A plan that is sustainable and reasonable in the long run. Meal prepping is the best answer here. Having meals and snacks ready to eat won’t let you skip meals. If taking on the whole meal prep routine sounds like a colossal task, try starting small.
For example, if you eat a bagel with cream cheese and coffee in the mornings, try to replace that with oatmeal, whole grain cereal, or just eggs. Make small changes and stick to them until they become habit. It’s better than trying radical dieting fads, suffering while doing them, and getting no results from them.
I hope you enjoyed the read, and as always, if there’s anything I missed, let me know in the comments below!