As much as we would all like to deny, most of us are guilty of skipping a few meals or snacks here and there. Whether it’s because we suddenly got busy, forgot to prepare, or simply weren’t hungry, skipping mealtime can be common. However, making this a habit can lead to dangerous outcomes with weight and focus. Despite the “calorie deficit” weight loss strategy that is so infamously taking over, cutting out necessary calories can lead to these noticeable and negative outcomes:
Most of us have felt the sluggish, foot dragging feeling right before eating a scheduled meal. This is because your body’s energy has taken a dip due to the lack of “fuel,” and by fuel, we mean FOOD. When you skip meals, the body will not receive the energy it needs to remain fully awake and active. Low energy will not cause a feeling of sluggishness, but will make you less likely to stay active throughout the day or less likely to stay on track with an exercise routine – hindering the ability to burn calories and build muscle.
Generally when meals are skipped or when you body goes for an uncomfortable duration of time without fuel, your blood sugar will decrease; and when the blood sugar decreases, so does the blood flow to your brain. This will likely cause a headache or brain fog. Not only will the headache be an inconvenience, but also reduced blood flow to the brain is not ideal for work, school, or even driving.
Metabolism Will Slow
The key aspect of revving up your metabolism is food frequency. Without food constantly providing energy to your metabolism, the metabolism will become lazy and sluggish. This will also send your body into a “starvation mode” and your body is likely to reserve calories – and that means fat accumulation. To add to the disservice you will cause on your body, your cortisol levels are likely to increase. With time, increased cortisol levels can lead to weight gain, specifically in the abdominal area.
Leads to Unhealthy Choices
We are often told to not go grocery shopping hungry because this will prevent us from adding unnecessary snacks to our cart or spending extra cash. These words of wisdom can also be applied to skipping meals. When you’re (extra) hungry because you skipped a meal, you are likely to opt for a fast, and usually, unhealthy snack. Or you are likely to rationalize bigger portions later in the day to “make up” for the calories missed. Whichever the outcome, snacks that are denser in calories, fat, and carbohydrates can cause an unpleasant affect to your weight loss journey.
For whatever reason it may be, skipping a meal here and there can happen to all of us. However, a consistent habit of an unstable eating schedule can lead us into the exact opposite direction of a weight loss goal. Being able to stay prepared with meal prepping or keeping “in case of emergency” non-perishable snacks on hand can save negative effects on your waistline and brain.