To shed weight quickly, people avoid eating. “Skipping meals will help me lose weight” is what they believe, because it’s easy to think that less food equals to less calorie. Or people always come up with excuses like, ”I was so swamped with work I didn’t have enough time to eat.” No wonder they end up feeling exhausted!
While skipping a meal might sound easy, it comes along with other complications and therefore our Diabetes Care Expert Sampada Kulkarni at Wellthy Therapeutics does not recommend it for people with diabetes.
Understand why you should not skip meals:
- When you skip a meal, your body switches to a ‘survival mode’ where it utilises all the saved up energy.
- After skipping a meal, your body craves for food which is usually energy dense, i.e. high in either sugar (carbs) or fats.
- Since you are starving, you tend to eat more than you would usually ultimately causing weight and fat gain.
How do skipping meals affect your body?
- Weight loss? Sorry! In fact, skipping meals means your body will gain more weight in a shorter period.
- When your body converts the saved energy, it is used for glucose formation which in turn raises blood sugar level.
- Having only 2-3 meals a day might lead to deficiencies of essential micro-nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.
- Since you’re hungry or probably running late, you tend to eat in a hurry which causes excess food consumption. It takes a minimum of 20 minutes for the brain to recognise that the stomach is full. Hormonal imbalances are quite common in such cases as the body’s natural signalling is hampered.
How to break your habit of skipping meals?
There are various reasons why you would end up skipping your meal, but these easy tips will help you overcome that.
- Divide your meals: Dividing your meals doesn’t mean you need to have extra food. It involves merely dividing the same portion that you consume into 4-5 meals.
- Go for ‘energy dense’ snacks: To avoid micronutrients deficiency, switch to a healthier snacking option such as; a handful of nuts, roasted chana, peanuts, bhel, sprouts, fresh fruits etc.
- Opt for healthiest options: If you are not left with any choice other than eating outside you can smartly go for the healthiest option available, e.g., Sambar and idli, poha or upma, vegetable whole wheat sandwich over vada pav or a burger etc.
- Plan your meals: When you plan your meals, you can shop for healthier options instead of buying unhealthy stuff in a hurry. A simple trick is to make a list of things that you require for the week and stick to the list while shopping. Here are some easy and diabetes-friendly recipes for lunch.
When you eat is as important as what you eat:
“Eat your food on time!” – mommies and grannies always tell us that – and here’s why they are right:
- Since dinner is the only meal where everyone can gather at the dining table and eat together, it usually turns out to be the heaviest meal of the day. And if you don’t snack between lunch and dinner, you automatically tend to eat more at night. The net effect of such meal patterns would be a conversion of proteins and carbs from the food into fats saving it for the future due to lack of physical activity post dinner. Therefore our experts suggest walking for 10 minutes after your meal.
- Also, following a pattern of early dinner and late breakfast affects your body. This means that there is an 8 to 9 hour or longer gap between meals which isn’t healthy because it can elevate your blood sugar levels.
- An ideal time for breakfast should be within an hour of waking up, which is also supposed to be the heaviest meal. Skipping your breakfast can cause weight gain and increase not only your blood sugar levels but also chances of other complications such as Dyslipidemia (Abnormally elevated cholesterol or fats (lipids) in the blood), Thyroid, PCOD (polycystic ovarian disease).