In this fast-paced world we live in, it is very difficult not to resort to drastic measures in order to achieve our goals in the shortest amount of time. Achieving instant gratification seems to be the preference for many, myself included.
One area of our lives that this way of thinking should not apply to is weight loss. When skipping meals seems appealing because we feel it will allow us to reach our weight loss and/or fitness goals quicker, we are mistaken. While skipping meals may (not always) help you lose weight initially, there are several reasons why skipping meals for weight loss is detrimental to our long term goals and our health.
For those of us looking to lose weight (and keep it off), the best way to get our bodies to respond is to follow a clean eating plan of 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day (about 2-3 hours apart) while also incorporating an exercise program into our lives. I know that is not what most people want to hear but it is a formula that has been proven to work!RELATED: RECOMMENDED PLANS FOR YOU
When we deprive our bodies of calories (i.e. skipping meals), we are robbing it of the nourishment that it needs. Without the proper amount of calories, we lose energy and our metabolism slows down.
Our metabolism can slow down as much as 10-15%! Another important reason not to skip meals is because it will promote binge eating and we all know how destructive that is to a diet! Also keep in mind that any weight loss achieved through skipping meals or through a drastic caloric deficit will only return when you add the calories back in.
In order to successfully lose weight, you need to consume fewer calories than your body uses. Any excess calories will be stored in the body as fat. Each meal of typical day should include the following foods and follow these guidelines:
1. Low fat
2. Include 1 to 2 cups of fruit and vegetables
3. Include 2-3 ounces of whole grains
4. Include 1-2 ounces of meat (or meat alternative)
It is important to avoid “empty calorie” foods as much as possible. These foods are generally high-calorie, high-fat, and nutritionally deficient. Examples of “empty calorie” foods are: fruit juices, soft drinks, energy drinks, and alcohol.
High fat foods should also be avoided as these lead to weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease. Unfortunately, these are the foods we usually turn to when we skip meals in the attempt to lose weight.
If you find yourself skipping meals because you are too busy or because you think it will bring on quicker weight loss, please take a moment to reconsider. Below are a few tips to help you stay on track:
1. Prepare meals ahead of time – you can prepare an entire week on Sunday
2. Keep fruit and veggies handy
3. Invest in snack bags and fill them with nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and cashews
4. Stay hydrated to avoid overeating
Remember, while instant gratification may work with many things in life it does not work when it comes to dieting and weight loss. It is best to develop healthy eating strategies that keep you on track over the long haul.