Is Skipping Meals a Good Idea?
We’ve all been taught that in order to lose weight, we have to reduce our calories, and many people try to accomplish this by skipping meals. It seems like a good idea up front…it’s easy to do, just rush out of the house and skip breakfast or work straight through lunch.
However, while you might see a few pounds fall off right at the start, by skipping meals you are setting yourself up for a tremendous problem in your near future. So, to answer the question….skipping meals is definitely NOT a good idea.
What’s the Matter With Skipping Meals?
By skipping meals you may see some immediate improvement, but what you don’t see is the damage being done to your metabolism. Restricting your calories can plummet your calorie-burning capacity by up to 50%! When you do this, your body will burn approximately 500 less calories a day.
You see, your thyroid thinks your body is starving when you diet, and as a result your metabolism will slow down in order to conserve the little food you’re eating. Once your body has turned down the thermostat, it can take years to turn it back up. For this reason, people who suffer from a thyroid imbalance need to pay particular attention to the timing and quality of their meals!
Dieting this way will destroy your metabolism.
There are three basic diet rules to follow to make sure you keep your metabolism fired up. (1) never skip a meal, (2) eat protein and complex carbs with each meal, and (3) eat at least 5-6 small meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner and two-three snacks).
No doubt you’ve heard this before…breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Why? Because you’ve literally been fasting from the night before your last meal (thus the name break-fast). So, if you don’t eat breakfast and you get up and-go in the morning without eating, your body will slow its metabolism to conserve energy because it doesn’t have an immediate source of energy (food).
So, eat breakfast!
This leads to rule number two. Eat protein with each meal. If you get up and eat a Danish with a cup of coffee, you’re just feeding your body sugar and stimulating your nervous system. This may give you the morning jolt you’re looking for, but ultimately your blood sugar will drop causing mood swings, cravings, and hunger.
This type of meal is a quick fix and will not sustain your energy. However, if you feed your body some protein such as eggs, meat, or fish along with some fibrous veggies or whole grains, it will keep you full and give you energy throughout the morning. Also, this type of food heats up the body because it takes a lot of energy to break it down. This is your metabolism at work – you’re burning calories. So the idea is to use the right kind of fuel to keep your metabolic rate up.
Lastly, don’t skip meals. Skipping meals like lunch or dinner is the same as skipping breakfast. If your body doesn’t know when the next meal will arrive, it will protect itself by conserving and slowing the metabolic rate. And guess what controls your metabolic rate…your thyroid. People with thyroid issues are especially at risk of slowed metabolisms and must pay particular attention to when and what they are eating.
It’s important to snack between meals. Choose snacks like almonds, hardboiled eggs, veggies and hummus, combined with a piece of fruit or whole grain crackers. Also, you should make sure you eat every 2 ½ -3 hours. Don’t eat lunch at 11 a.m. and then wait until 7 p.m. to eat dinner. Having a regular food schedule is important because if your body doesn’t know when the next meal is coming, it will slow down. (It doesn’t have to be the exact same time every day, just start the clock when you get up, eating within the first hour of waking.)
These rules sound simple, but you’d be surprised how many people break them. It is very important to follow the diet rules of eating breakfast, eating protein and complex carbs with every meal, and not skipping meals!