It’s simple math when it comes to calories, right? Eat less, lose more. Nope. It’s not that simple. Unless you are on calorie restrictions by way of a doctor-created plan, skipping meals regularly or severely restricting calories is not the key to healthy weight loss and management. Here’s why…
4 Reasons Why Restricting Your Calories Won’t Help You Lose Weight
1) Losing nutrients by skipping meals.
If you skip meals regularly or severely restrict calories you lose out on nutrients that your organs and muscles need to function well. Taking handfuls of vitamins won’t cut it. Many antioxidants and nutrients deliver the greatest benefit when they arrive in your body in the form of food. For example, certain vitamins are absorbed best when consumed with a little fat. In addition, many fresh foods boast a combination of nutrients that can’t be beat. An orange, for example, is not just a vehicle for Vitamin C. It is also a good source of fiber, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. Eating a variety of foods throughout the day and controlling portions instead of skipping meals, provides opportunities to nourish your body with the variety it craves.
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2) Missed calories means missed energy.
You need a balance of movement and sensible eating to maintain a healthy weight. The fact of the matter is that skipping meals can kill your workouts because your body won’t have what it needs to produce energy and your brain won’t have maximum focus. You can’t “go all in” at the gym if you’re fighting dizziness or distraction due to hunger. That would be a shame, since exercise and building lean muscle tissue is a key to weight loss and weight management. Fasting can mean failure on the fitness floor and anywhere you need energy.
3) Sure, you might lose a few pounds when you skip meals.
But, the weight loss is not sustainable. Skipping meals doesn’t jumpstart your metabolism. It confuses it. In the short term, severe calorie restriction or skipping meals in an attempt to lose weight can make you focus on what you are “missing out on” even more. Couple that with the brain fog that comes with calorie deprivation and it’s a pretty yucky recipe that can result in eating even larger portions of food than you might have eaten if you hadn’t waited! When you skip meals your blood sugar drops which can trigger a larger appetite, among other problems. If you routinely, over a long period of time, deprive your body of the calories it needs for basic function, your body will eventually grasp onto and store the few calories you do consume in an effort to protect itself until the next feeding.
4) Stressing out can inhibit weight loss.
If an eating plan frames meals as skippable and/or calories as evil or labels food as “good” or “bad” it can make the world a stressful place. Increased stress means increased levels of stress hormones, like cortisol, circulating in the body that can actually inhibit weight loss and stable weight maintenance.