What really happens when you skip meals?
I'm sure we have all been there before, you have a wedding on Saturday night and as a quick fix to lose a pound or two you skip a meal here and there. Or you woke up waaay too late and really don't have time for breakfast, you think it will be fine right? On top of the hunger pains, being HANGRY and feeling really low on energy, there are some very troublesome things going on in your body.
1. Blood Sugar Levels Drop & Hormones Become Affected
Just one skipped meal causes your blood sugar levels to fall, and if you are skipping breakfast they will never rise at all. Sugar is one of the things your body runs on, and if it isn't fueled properly every organ in your body is affected. It also causes a spike in your cortisol levels which causes anxiety and stress! Unstable blood sugar levels can lead to binging and just a generally feeling of being out of sorts.
2. Metabolism Slows
Your body is a machine. When you skip a meal your digestive system isn't able to do its job, this essentially means your body enters starvation mode in an effort to conserve energy. When this happens your metabolism slows way down and the food you do eventually eat isn't burned off very efficiently. So if you think you are doing yourself a favor by skipping a meal in order to eat a treat later, you are actually doing quite the opposite! If you are going to have a 'Treat' meal, try to eat wholesome foods throughout the rest of the day at regular intervals to keep your metabolism going.
3. Your Brain Doesn't Function Properly
Without a proper supply of nutrition, your brain becomes foggy and your emotional and intellectual functions are affected. You will start to become moody and irritable, and it will be harder to concentrate as you go about your daily tasks. When you do eat again the relief will only be temporary, as your metabolism doesn't know when it will be receiving nutrients again sending it in to storage mode.Your metabolism will remain low in order to conserve energy. If you continually choose to skip meals your body may eventually turn to your muscles as a source of fuel, further draining energy.
4. Overeating and Binge Eating
If you have skipped most of your meals during the day and finally sit down to have dinner you are more likely to over eat. Your body is so starved for calories and nutrients you usually don't know when to stop because all of a sudden you feel so hungry. In the long run this could cause stomach problems and weight gain. Another thing you have to be careful of when you skip a meal is what generally follows. A binge.
The scenario...You have been out at work all day or busy taking care of the kids and haven't had a moment to stop, you suddenly feel as if you could eat everything in sight. When it comes time to cook dinner you scarf down whatever easy packaged snacks are in sight. Eating far more calories than you every would have if you had proper fuel all day. And this is all before dinner. Nobody likes to binge, we all know it leaves us feeling guilty and even worse just plain sick. In order to give yourself the best chance to prevent binging, you must eat regularly throughout the day to keep your metabolism chugging and your body feeling satisfied.
"Fail to plan, Plan to fail". The best way to avoid skipping meals? PREP PREP PREP! The more planning and prepping you do ahead of time the easier it will be to stay on track.