Before I joined 8fit, I worked for a doctor that specializes in metabolism and nutrition. There, I met a lot of patients who had experimented with different diets and often skipped meals because they thought it would help them reach their goal. While strict diets and skipped meals do help you reach your goal quickly, they only work short-term.
When they came to us, they were concerned because they had trouble keeping the weight off. This was because their metabolism had been damaged as a result of strict dieting and starvation.
Why skipping meals doesn’t work
When we are invited to dinner or are preparing to eat an indulgent holiday meal, we often think it’s a good idea to skip breakfast or lunch to compensate for the calories we’ll be consuming later. What actually happens when we skip meals — or when we eat irregularly – is that our metabolism collapses.
To better understand metabolism, let’s think of it like a car. A car needs a constant flow of gasoline to drive — it’s the same with your body’s metabolism. Our bodies need constant energy from food to function properly.
If you eat breakfast most days, eat breakfast every day moving forward and do so about 1 hour after waking up. You’ll feel more energized because you’re giving your body the energy it requires. This means that your metabolism is less likely to switch to that dangerous survival mode.
Lunch should fall 4-6 hours after breakfast. Snack 2-4 hours after lunch, especially if dinner isn’t right around the corner. Dinner should be another 2-4 hours after your snack or 4-6 hours after your lunch.
If you’re someone who has five meals per day, I recommend having your second snack between breakfast and lunch.
Make meal times work for your lifestyle
If you’re up extra early or working a night shift, eat your meals during your active hours. This gives your body the opportunity to burn calories and feel energized. Follow the breakfast rule: eat about 1 hour after waking up, even if it’s at 6 p.m.
To sum it up, I suggest you take a look at your routine and make mealtimes work for you. This will help you reach your goals and keep your metabolism revved up.