Skip a meal. A tried and tested formula. After all, who hasn’t done that in their weight loss journey? To drop off a few kilos, it’s usual to start with skipping meals, assuming not eating will help lose weight.
People who skip meals do not realize that they later gorge on high-calorie, nutrient-poor snacks and in between meals. More often than not overcompensating for the skipped meal.
Try to remember how many times you have gorged on a few biscuits or made yourself a 2-minute noodle because you were feeling low as a result of your skipping a meal.
Dealing with hunger pangs and energy drain is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what’s going on in your body when you decide to forgo an entire meal.
While your body’s exact reaction to a missed meal will depend on your age, health, and diet, the act of skipping can jump-start a range of physiological processes!
Let’s take a peek and see what really happens when you skip a meal:
- Skipping even one meal can cause blood sugar levels to fall tremendously, making you feel really hungry and eventually you end up eating a big meal, causing the sugar level to surge higher than normal. You will welcome in lethargy, tiredness and generally feel unwell.
- Also, in the absence of a fresh supply of calories, your system shifts into starvation mode (body’s natural mechanism to react in absence of food). Later, whatever you eat will get converted to fat and will be stored as energy for future use. Instead of decreasing fat and losing weight, your body stubbornly holds onto the stored fat. So the weight you lose may come from muscle, not fat, which is NOT ideal.
- Next in line, your brain takes a hit. Without a steady supply of nutrients, your intellectual and emotional functioning changes. Your mind is foggy, and you become moody and irritable.
- The high level of hunger keeps you thinking about food all the time (and usually it is the kind of food you don’t want to eat much if you are trying to lose weight).
- When you do eat again a few hours later, your body feels a sense of relief – but it’s short-lived. Your metabolism slows down since it doesn’t know when the next supply of calories is coming so the food you do eventually take in isn’t burned off very efficiently. Keep this habit going and your body will start using muscles as a fuel source, further lowering your metabolism and making you feel weak!
So what is the SMART strategy?
- Lose weight by eating smaller meals throughout the day.
- Make sure what you do eat is good quality, nutrient-rich food; lean protein combined with whole grain carbs and some good fats.
- Ramp up your workouts so you can burn more calories, as well.
Follow the routine of a newborn baby. She never skips her meal. Have you ever seen a baby not bellowing her lungs out in hunger? She feeds herself every few hours. A baby is prompt in her demands, and takes small feeds regularly to keep her tummy full. She never over-eats. She knows when to stop; however much you offer to her, she won’t take a drop EXTRA.
She is HAPPY and she is HEALTHY. And so can you!