If I had £10 for every time a client has asked me why they skipping meals is so bad and why if it works for models, why can't it work for them, I'd be retired and living in Mauritius by now! So here it is, the definitive answer about why it's bad for you and can even make you fat.
Why Skipping Meals Doesn't Work
1. We all need energy to survive. If you consume more energy than your body requires you will store it around your body as fat. These fat stores are almost limitless.
2. If you don’t consume as much energy as your body requires, your metabolism will slow down. Your body does this in order to cling onto whatever energy it has stored. This is the body in starvation mode. This is what it does if it thinks there is no food around. It goes into this mode after only a few hours of you not eating.
3. If you skip a meal and put your body into starvation mode and then eat something later in the day, your body is grateful. It’s crying out for energy. But it’s not yet convinced that danger has been avoided or that food is now in abundant supply. So it won’t yet snap out of starvation mode. Instead it will store as much of the energy you now give it as possible. This energy will be stored as fat.
4. If you follow the same routine tomorrow and the day after you will train your body to become really efficient at storing body fat. Your stomach may appear flatter, but I can't stress enough, YOU BECOME A FAT STORER.
Why eating regularly does work
1. On the other hand, if you eat regular amounts of the right food, your body will be comfortably persuaded that there is plenty of food around and it does not need to be in starvation mode. It will happily use the energy you consume as there is no need to store it because your body knows the next meal or snack will never be too far away.
2. If you eat regularly you will train your body to use what you eat and drink efficiently and you will minimise the amount of body fat you store.
So, please, no more skipping meals but remember:
Eat a variety of foods
Eat the right portion sizes
And for those of you with short memories, don't skip meals. It plays havoc with your memory.
PS - the reason that some models are able to skip meals and stay rake thin is because they skip A LOT of meals and for a long period of time. If they were to start eating normal portions, they'd gain weight, like the rest of us. Theirs is a long road to starvation as opposed to occasional skipped supper. You don't need me to tell you just how bad that is.
Photograph by ngering (Flickr)