Food has gotten a bad reputation for too long as diets have instilled a false belief that eating leads to weight gain. This way of thinking is very black and white because the truth is weight gain is dependable on a variety of factors, not whether you eat or don’t eat.

However, given that most people aren’t familiar with the complexities associated with weight loss, many choose to skip meals when they are desperate to shed pounds fast.

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Are you one of those people who tend to skip breakfast due to lack of time, or skip lunch to ride out the hunger pangs until dinner? Well now there seems to be a new “trick” being promoted by the diet industry advising people to skip dinner to lose weight.

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This “skipping dinner” phenomena stems from two misconceptions: the first is that skipping a meal means you’re eating less calories which will enhance weight loss.

The second is based on the belief that evening eating contributes to weight gain. The question is does this approach to weight loss work?

At first glance, it seems to make sense.

If you go to bed on an empty stomach, your body will take from its fat stores to make up for what you didn’t get.

Well, this is not how your body actually responds to a missed meal.

When you skip a meal you are depriving yourself of calories and nutrients, which causes your blood sugar to drop and your metabolism to slow down in order to preserve your body’s energy supply (thus, holding onto fat, not burning it).

Additionally, skipping meals and depriving yourself of food sets you up to overeat at your next meal. Though there is some truth behind eating your lighter meal at night as opposed to during the day, skipping dinner altogether is not healthy, nor will it set you up for long-term weight loss success.

We live in a society where due to non-traditional work schedules, you might come home late and think it’s too late to eat dinner. The diet voices in your head shout out those unrealistic diet rules that tell you not to eat. So, you plop on the couch to watch T.V. to unwind from your day. But what happens next?

skipping dinner to lose weight2

You are actually hungry, having not eaten dinner. So, you go to the kitchen cabinet and take the box of cereal and start eating from the box. You then get some cheese and crackers and nibble away.

Before long, you had many snacks, you feel bloated and miserable all because you felt it was too late to actually eat dinner when you got home.

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So what is the solution?

Solution #1: Honor your body by honoring your hunger signals.

When dinner time rolls around, stop and ask yourself if you are hungry. If 4 or more hours have passed since your last meal, you are probably physiologically hungry and you should eat a well- balanced nourishing meal. Take the time to ask yourself what you would like to eat, prepare it, and sit down and eat in a slow, mindful way.

Solution #2: Plan ahead.

If you know that you are going to get home from work late, it is perfectly fine to plan ahead to eat a lighter meal that evening instead of the typical heavier dinner. You can also plan to eat a bigger lunch to ensure that you are getting in all the needed calories and nutrients for the day.

Solution #3: Go meatless one night per week.

Skipping dinner is not an option, but changing up your menu certainly is. Your body likes variety, so plan for a meatless dinner one night each week to add excitement and variety to your dinners.

So, back to our original question: Skipping dinner to lose weight…should you do it and if so when? Never!

Remember to honor your body by responding to your hunger signals and nourish your body with wholesome food.

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