Are you rushing out of the house in the morning without fixing a healthy breakfast? Do you work through your lunch break? Are you skipping dinner altogether for the fear of gaining weight? Studies show that skipping a meal isn’t doing you any favors—especially when it comes to your weight loss efforts. Read on to find out why, and how to develop a more successful weight loss plan, instead.
You’re Losing Muscle, Not Fat
Any time you skip a meal, you’re actually working against your ability to drop pounds and shed calories because of the way your body works: you’ll lose muscle before you’ll lose fat. Studies from Ohio State University suggest that you may lose “weight” initially—as in, you’ll see the number drop when you step on the scale, but you’re gain it back with unhealthy belly weight. And, the places in which you’re losing weight will come from your muscle—not your fat cells (and that’s hardly the weight loss plan you want to depend on).
Your Body Is Starving—and It’ll Panic
One of the biggest reasons that skipping meals may not actually lead to more weight lost (than someone who doesn’t skip meals) is because skipping meals leads to your body going into starvation mode. When your body doesn’t get food every couple of hours, it panics—and holds onto as much fat as possible (as it doesn’t know when it’s going to get more).
In other words, someone who is skipping meals—and consequently, “starving”—isn’t going to lose as much weight as someone who eats small, but frequent meals through the day. The better option is stay nourished and healthy with a sensible diet, and you will lose the weight more quickly than skipping meals.
You’ll Get Intense Carb and Sugar Cravings
Another response your body develops when it is in “starvation mode” is intense cravings for two very fattening types of foods: simple carbs (like tortillas, chips, bread, pasta, donuts) and sugary treats (cookies, candy, chocolate cake, etc.) Prevent your body from “starving” by staying nourished and properly hydrated throughout your day. Here are some tips to implement in your daily diet:
• Make protein part of every meal. Protein is so important. It’s not only what fills you up (similar to the feeling you get after having a fiber rich apple) but it is essentially the component that allows you to grow nails, hair, and hormones and enzymes.
• Make sure you start your morning off with a protein rich meal (a smoothie with protein powder, an egg scramble that’s loaded with vegetables or a cup of Greek yogurt topped with fresh berries or granola are all excellent sources of protein). Keep it up throughout the day.
• Stay hydrated. Your body is over 60 percent water, so just imagine what happens when you don’t hydrate it properly. That’s right—fatigue, mood fluctuation, and even a weakened immune system. A healthy adult should consume no less than six eight-ounce glasses of water (if you don’t like water on its own, add cucumber, lemon, watermelon or strawberries to flavor it up!)
Keep your body on track with a healthy diet (which includes healthy portions), a daily exercise routine and you won’t ever have to struggle to lose weight. Say goodbye to skipping meals, because when you follow our guidelines, you won’t ever have to ‘eat less’ to lose more.