As a dietitian more often than not I hear clients saying, “I have a dinner planned tonight so I plan to skip Lunch”, “ I have an upcoming wedding in the family so going on only fruits diet.”, “ Should I skip meals to lose weight?”. And my answer to all of such statements is ALWAYS “This is not how it works”.
Break the Myth
ü Excessive caloric restriction does not cause weight loss. On the contrary, it causes nutritional deficiencies and one tends to bounce back to the original weight quickly if not more.
ü Starving yourself the whole day for that Dinner date will not compensate for the overeating at dinner.
ü Skipping meals starves the body and it tends to store the energy from the next meal in the form of fat.
ü Excessively holding back from a craving may cause overindulgence over a very short time.
Imagine yourself shopping at a store that puts up a winter SALE only! What would you do? Mostly buy in bulk to be used for future use. This is exactly how our body works when you eat post skipping a meal or starving for long.
Ø While we skip our meals the Blood sugar drops the body goes under stress and produces a hormone called cortisol. This makes us anxious and hungry- Hunger-induced anger.
Ø The brain becomes sluggish, as the brain is deprived of its only energy source – Glucose during starvation.
Ø Keeping the stomach empty for long gaps increases the risks of acidity. The stomach produces acid every 2 hours which should be neutralized by food intake in small intervals. Skipping meals keeps the stomach empty and inflames the mucosal lining with acid.
Ø Skipping meals may affect your moods. This deep roots to the circadian rhythms. Ever heard of the term eat your Breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and Dinner like a popper. But the urbanized lifestyle has reversed the saying altogether. Breakfast should be the most wholesome meal of the day, on the contrary, it is the most skipped meal of the day. Researches prove that those who skip meals tend to have higher calories in the subsequent meals. Also, skipping breakfast deteriorates the overall diet quality.
Ø Long gaps between meals lead to overeating, as low sugar levels starve the body cells and they enter energy conservation mode. Studies also postulate that keeping oneself hungry for long makes one crave unhealthy foods.
The key to sustainable weight loss
If I had to decode weight loss in a statement it would simply read,” Energy In < Energy out”
The number of Calories we Burn should outnumber the calories we eat. Calories are burnt through Metabolism and Exercise.
When we have been a particular weight for a long time the body develops a bias to maintain that particular weight. Even efforts for weight loss might be unfruitful in the initial phase due to physiological mechanisms governed by hormones. It is therefore essential to be consistent in the efforts rather than opting for severe calorie restriction or omitting meals. As these do not aid weight loss, in fact, may lead to weight gain.
Concluding this article I would like to reemphasize the phrase “ Life is a Balance between what We can control and what we cannot” You can Control Calorie Intake and Output, that is all you need!