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Ej Ogenyi: 4 Reasons Why Skipping Meals Is Not a Good Weight Loss Strategy

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IMG_4385 SmallWhen trying to lose weight your primary goal should be to eat less than your body burns to keep you running for your day-to-day activities. Skipping meals might sound like an effective way to do this on the surface, but it isn’t. When you look beneath the surface, you see that skipping meals can actually set you up to fail in the long run. Today, we’ll be looking beneath the surface.

A little hunger never hurt anyone, but making the habit of not eating even when your body is screaming for food can set you up for failure. In the short term, cutting calories by skipping meals can give you a quick boost in weight loss, but over time your body gets used to this lower level of calorie intake and adjusts your metabolism for that. This is only one reason why skipping meals can set you up for short-term success but long-term frustration.

Here reasons why skipping meals can hurt your chances of long-term weight loss:

You’re More Likely to Give In to Weight Loss’s Worst Enemy
Weight loss’s worst enemy is hunger. When you wait till you’re absolutely hungry to make food decisions, you’re less likely to make the healthy choices that will lead to successful long-term weight loss.

Another reason why skipping meals can lead you into a trap is that you can start mentally compensating for the meals you didn’t have.
Here’s what I mean:
You skip breakfast and it’s time to go to lunch. You get invited to go to a restaurant and as you scan the menu, you decide that you could “afford” to eat that extra side dish since you’re so hungry and you didn’t eat breakfast.

Doing this every once in a while won’t hurt you, but doing it enough times can add up, especially since your body will adjust your metabolism over time to account for the fact that you’re not getting enough food. Plus your compensating will add more calories to your diet than you think you’re eating and lead you to wonder why you’re not losing the weight as fast as you expect.

You Don’t Learn How to Eat to Maintain Your Successful Weight Loss
There’s a reason why you’re at the weight you are now. While it might have to do with how much you’re eating, it can also have something to do with the types of food you’re eating. Skipping meals only addresses only one of these problems and doesn’t require that you take the time to learn how to eat healthy to support weight loss and to help you keep the weight off in the long-term.

If you just want to lose weight for an event and don’t mind it all coming back later, then go for the meal skipping strategy. But if you’d rather lose it now and forever, then you’re better off learning how to eat healthy in a way that you can do consistently over time.

You Don’t Have the Energy to Go Through Your Day
Your body is an organic machine that needs fuel to run. If you think about it this way, it’s easy to understand that you can’t expect optimum performance out of your body if you don’t give it the right types and the right amount of fuel.

Skipping meals, will eventually catch up to you because your body will make adjustments first by slowing down i.e. you don’t feel strong enough to do the things you normally did, then by getting more efficient i.e. by burning fewer calories and dropping your metabolism.

It takes a while for the second effect to take place and this varies from one person to the next. But skip meals long enough and it will eventually catch up to you in lost productivity and a slower metabolism. Again if you’re just trying to lose weight for an event, then this doesn’t matter; but if you want to lose weight and get healthy for the long-term, then you want to do things a bit differently.

You Don’t Have the Energy to Exercise
While you can lose weight by dieting alone, the best weight loss strategy uses a combination of diet and exercise. When you skip meals, you are not giving your body enough energy to keep you running and you’re also not giving yourself enough energy to fuel an exercise habit.

The food you eat doesn’t just fuel your body, it also fuels your brain and when your brain isn’t getting the fuel it needs, convincing yourself to spend the little you have pushing it at the gym is going to be a tough sell. Willpower is a limited resource, and you deplete it even more when you don’t feed your body and your brain in a way that makes exercising the easy choice.

Take some time over the next week to identify where you can make healthy changes that support weight loss instead of trying skipping meals as a quick fix strategy.

If you’re interested, feel free to share your insights below.

EJ (Ejiro) is a writer/engineer/mom. She writes about healthy living to help busy professional women lose weight, keep it off—and actually feel amazing. She created a Registered Trademarked System (VAFs®) for healthy eating for weight loss and wrote the book Weight Loss for High Achievers to help busy women lose weight and let go of the idea that the only way to succeed is to diet for the rest of their lives. With EJ's methods, dieting isn't required and neither is spending hours in the gym for meager results. P.S. If you want to get the goal-crushing motivation to reach your weight loss goal, then you'll want to get the first chapter of EJ's book for FREE. Click here to get it now.

15 Comments

  1. the generous economist

    March 26, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Hi Ejiro…thanks for the write up…quite insightful….wanted to ask u and oda bellanaijarians a qst…all these diet plans e.g Cambridge involve skipping meals and tkin some supplements….do u recommend them as good weight loss strategies

    • Udegbunam Chukwudi

      March 26, 2015 at 3:23 pm

      From personal experience having lost 18kg in 5 months, those diets are just not worth it as they can be quite unnecessarily expensive. Save your money and use it to buy good food as fruits and some other healthy foods can be quite expensive in certain parts of naija. Just get a kitchen scale and myfitnesspal android app and start counting calories religiously. Throw in a fitness tracker and start exercising and watch the weight fall off. Brisk walking works wonders

      KEY NOTE: Oil is not your friend. Dodge that thing well well. Egusi is so out of the window if you’re on a diet. Beware of super oily fish!

      To poster, in my own experience when you are down to a 1,200 calorie allowance, skipping meals helps a lot. NOTE: If your mind no strong and you’re prone to ulcer, DON’T try it oh! You’re O.Y.O.

    • Atoke

      March 26, 2015 at 5:29 pm

      Hi,

      Even with a daily calorie allowance of 1200, you don’t have to skip meals. With proper planning, and knowledge of your body, and consumed foods, you can actually eat every meal.

      Allowing your body dip into starvation mode is not good for you.

      It’s all about balance and moderation.

      Cheers!

    • Tombra

      March 26, 2015 at 11:23 pm

      I do not recommend them. Cambridge and all those other diet plans. Sincerely, to lose weight, eat right and exercise regularly. Don’t eat too late, I’d say after 9pm, especially if it’s something heavy. They’re some foods you’d have to do away with, or at least eat in moderation. Eat more protein, less carbohydrates, drink lots of water, eat foods high in fibre and antioxidants, and most importantly, exercise. I personally do not believe in those “diets”, but that’s my opinion.

    • EJ Ogenyi

      March 28, 2015 at 3:16 am

      Hello there Generous,

      To answer your question, I generally don’t recommend those diets except you go into it with the understanding that there is very good chance that you’ll gain the weight back. The reason I say this is because of Reason #2: You Don’t Learn How to Eat to Maintain Your Successful Weight Loss. These diets do help you maintain the negative energy balance needed to lose weight – eat less than your body uses for fuel. What they don’t do is teach you how to do it on your own after the initial time frame for the diet is over.

      Your best option is to eat healthy but in smaller portions.

      Have a wonderful day,

      EJ

  2. the generous economist

    March 26, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Thanksss

  3. Gidigal

    March 26, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    @chukwudi i think the those oily fish you are talking about is good for you

    • Udegbunam Chukwudi

      March 26, 2015 at 6:04 pm

      Yep, they are good for you oh but not when you want to lose wait. It’s difficult to know the exact specie of fish we have in naija and for 3 weeks, i was stuck until I dumped the fish and swtched to eggs. Sharp sharp my body begin shed 1KG a week again

  4. Udegbunam Chukwudi

    March 26, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    @Atoke: Sorry I didn’t explain myself well. By skipping meals, i meant shifting calories to different times of the day. For example, I eat a lot a night so I tend to reserve most of my calories for dinner time. In other words, no breakfast, small lunch and normal dinner.

  5. Mmasinachi

    March 26, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Udegbunam, please how ere you able to loose so much weight in such a short time? Also, my mid riff section is a mess, what can I do to salvage the situation?. I am 28.

    • Udegbunam Chukwudi

      March 27, 2015 at 11:13 am

      @Mmasinachi: The MyFitnessPal app allows to choose how much weight you want to lose weekly. I went for the maximum allowed which is 1KG per week as I wanted to start seeing results sharp sharp. Based on the amount of weight you choose to lose weekly, it calculates how many calories you have to consume daily to achieve that target. With the help of a digital kitchen scale, you start to monitor everything you eat to make sure you stay within target

  6. Udegbunam Chukwudi

    March 27, 2015 at 11:14 am

    @Mmasinachi: The MyFitnessPal app allows to choose how much weight you want to lose weekly. I went for the maximum allowed which is 1KG per week as I wanted to start seeing results sharp sharp. Based on the amount of weight you choose to lose weekly, it calculates how many calories you have to consume daily to achieve that target. With the help of a digital kitchen scale, you start to monitor everything you eat to make sure you stay within target

  7. tanya

    March 27, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    Your article is so true. How many times have I had people approach me saying they don’t understand why they can’t seem to loose weight because they aren’t eating! Here is where the education of how the body begins. I feel a great compliment to your article would be a recent one I myself wrote on Simple Tips for Healthy Weight Loss – bit.ly/1EFVtHO. I’d love to know your thoughts!

    • EJ Ogenyi

      March 28, 2015 at 3:12 am

      Hello Tanya,

      Thank you for sharing your opinion. I did look in on the link you shared but it was for an article on a calendar challenge rather than simple weight loss tips.

      EJ

  8. LoseWeightSecret

    March 27, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    Your article is so true..

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