Thursday, October 13, 2011

Skipping Meals

For some people the idea of skipping meals is the perfect plan for losing weight and maintaining a grocery budget. Not only is this an unhealthy plan but it's bound to backfire.
If you skip a meal, you are more apt to indulge in less nutritious foods like candy and junk food. The reason is your body craves fuel and junk food offers the quickest solution. They are often calorie dense with high sugar so the body can get back on track.
If you manage to sidestep the cravings, it is a good possibility that you will overeat when you finally have a meal.
If you manage to keep that under control, your body will take over and start changing how it stores energy.
That's a lot of ifs. The truth is our body is basically a machine - it requires fuel to function. Fat stores occur when the body gets too much fuel (calories) so it tucks it away for future use. This worked perfectly when we were a hunter/gatherer sort of people. When food was plentiful, we ate and created fat stores which would be used up when food became more scarce. However, food is now always plentiful because we have grocery stores. This means that fat stores are not as necessary as they once were.
To lose weight you need to reduce your calorie intake. However, the body prepares for this. If we don't take in enough calories, our body goes into defense mode. It prepares for starvation or a great lack of food. Our bodies want to survive but they don't really care what our motivation is - they have a job to do. When fuel becomes scarce the body becomes super efficient. This means that when we took in calories before our body utilized them in sort of a lazy way. The body knows more is coming (especially if you are good with eating on schedule) so if there's a little extra calories they'll store them away but it's not using calories to their fullest potential. Some just get dumped because they are not needed.
When the calories decrease drastically or stop, the body reacts by squeezing every little bit of energy it can from each calorie. Because the routine has been disrupted the body is less apt to use the stores and just work harder to utilize what comes in. This is where people get really frustrated with weight loss. They can't drop the weight because the body is holding on to it with all it's might.
On top of that, the body starts obsessing about getting more calories. The nose becomes hypersensitive to food smells. The mouth waters more easily. The brain dumps more chemicals to make us want food (that is if the system is working correctly and the lack of calories is not due to illness). The cravings become so intense that we dump all our diet plans and start bingeing. This pattern is what leads to Bulimia, even if you are fat and society says you need to lose weight. This is unhealthy, period. However, our society supports it which is very sad.
The healthiest way to lose weight is to restrict your calories to a reasonable amount. For me, it should be about 1500 calories (but I've stretched a little to just over 1600). I'm flexible. I eat anything I want, just in moderation.
Moderation is the key and so is eliminating wasteful calories such as soda (which helps the budget because have you seen the price of soda). I do want a SodaStream and that is a dream I will continue to have until I see an opportunity to get one without breaking the bank. But then I will have control over the drinks and I just happen to love seltzer so it's a winwin for me. I make my junk food from scratch. This allows me to have my cake and eat it to.
Hope some of that helps.

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