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Welcome to Part 5 (and the final part) of my Skipping Meals series! Today, we will be talking about the effect of skipping meals on weight loss. If you have not already read Parts 1-4 of this series, I would encourage you to do that, as each part in the series builds upon the info in previous parts. You can find all of those here:

The Effect of Skipping Meals On Weight Loss

Skipping meals is a very common thing that women do in an effort to “manage” their weight. They may have themselves on very calorie restrictive diets and skipping meals is a good way to ensure that they don’t go over their calorie limit that day.

Well, I’m sorry, but I’m here to tell you that skipping meals is most likely having the opposite effect (and then some) that you truly desire. Skipping meals regularly can lead to:

  • Weight gain over time
  • Decreased brain function
  • Mood disturbances
  • Imbalanced hormones
  • Blood sugar dysregulation
  • Slow starvation due to lack of proper nutrition

A study conducted at Ohio State University found that skipping meals not only leads to abdominal weight gain, but it can also lead to the development of insulin resistance in the liver. Martha Belury, professor of human nutrition at Ohio State University, said:

“…you definitely don’t want to skip meals to save calories because it sets your body up for larger fluctuations in insulin and glucose and could be setting you up for more fat gain instead of fat loss.”

When it comes to brain function, skipping meals is also not a good idea. Remember from earlier posts that our brains use up 20% of all of our calories every day? If we are not getting enough calories into our body in the first place, then our brain will quite literally starve. In order to keep that from happening (because, hey! our brain doesn’t want us to die), when our brain senses that its fuel is running low, it will sound an alarm and send out signals to the rest of the body that are essentially screaming, “Feed me!” These signals include:

  • Shakiness
  • Irritability and moodiness
  • Inability to focus
  • Brain fog
  • Cold sweats
  • Food cravings
  • Headache

(Note: all of those are classic low blood sugar symptoms, which is exactly what your body is signaling.)

As we discussed in Part 1 and Part 2 of this series, when our brain senses a calorie/food restriction, it automatically believes you are entering into a time of famine. It goes on high alert, sending signals to the rest of the body that it needs food and in LARGE amounts so that it can prepare for starvation. Again, this explains why so many women who skip meals early in the day find themselves ravenous and binging in the evenings.

In addition to weight gain, over time, when we skip meals, we also run the risk of missing out on vital macro and micronutrients that help keep our body functioning optimally. It’s hard enough as it is to get all of the nutrition we need every day with food alone, so when we skip one or two meals a day, we dramatically cut our nutrient intake down to potentially dangerous levels. And while I am not against supplements, I am against supplementing as a way to make up for lack of food-based nutrition.

Note on Intermittent Fasting: As I’ve spoken about this topic of making sure women eat breakfast and don’t skip meals, I’ve gotten several questions about intermittent fasting (IF). IF is all the rage right now and there are a lot of health experts stating that this is what everyone should be doing for optimal health.

I didn’t cover IF in this series, as it’s a totally different can of worms and can be rather complex. I will say that IF is fine for certain people. I consider it an advanced technique and is not suitable for the bulk of the women I work with. Fasting can be tricky for women and if they have adrenal, thyroid, and blood sugar issues going on (and most do) fasting can often make them worse. Some women seem to do well with IF, but I know many, many others who do not. Some do well for a short period of time and then hit a wall and have a health crash. Some do really well with it once they have regained some of their health. It’s not something I recommend to anyone right out of the gates, nor do I recommend it as a general guideline for a broad range of people. It’s highly individual.

Action Steps – Stop Skipping Meals to Manage Weight

A woman’s body is such a beautiful and complex thing. It really deserves all the nourishment, self-care, and respect that you can give it. One of the ways we can practice self-care and respect is to nourish it with quality food every day.

This week, I would like to challenge you to stop skipping meals and start feeding your body the fuel that it needs and deserves. And then, I would love to encourage you to pick up one (or both) of these books and read them. They were so impactful and life-changing to me and I know they will be for you as well.

Happy Weight, by Daniele Della Valle
(find on Amazon here or click image below)

Body Respect, by Linda Bacon and Lucy Aphramor
(find on Amazon here or click image below)

Thank you all so much for reading my Skipping Meals series. I hope that it has been educational and inspirational for you. This series developed out of my work with clients and some of the most common issues I help women address when they are working on improving their health and relationship with food and body. Don’t forget to catch up on Parts 1-4 if you missed those:

If you are ready to finally make peace with food, body, and health, I would love to invite you to join my 7-day Food & Body Freedom eCourse. It’s completely free and will introduce you to a whole new world of food, body, and health freedom. Discover how to finally make peace with the scale, learn to love your body, and reclaim your energy so you can approach health and life from a truly grounded and empowered place. Join us for free here. I can’t wait to see you in the course. ❤

Find Food and Body Freedom with this FREE 7-Day eCourse! // JessicaEspinoza.com

If you have any questions at all, please do not hesitate to reach out! And always, always, always remember that this is about progress, not perfection.

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