For some of us, skipping meals is no biggie. Some people assume that if they skip breakfast or lunch, they will be more prepared to indulge in a bigger meal later that day. Meanwhile, others have become too obsessed with their weight loss plans that they choose to skip meals to lose weight quickly. But whatever our reasons are, foregoing food isn’t healthy at all.
Bad habits such as skipping meals develop over time. This often happens among young people who become too absorbed by their body image, and employees who devote too much time to their jobs. Thus, it’s not surprising that skipping meals is a common occurrence among young and old people.
The most extreme cases suffer from anorexia nervosa, an eating disorder characterized by a person’s obsession with weight, food intake, and body shape that results in self-imposed starvation. Some patients turn to proper anorexia treatment options to prevent themselves from losing weight and develop a positive perspective on their self-image.
Whether you’ve been skipping breakfast or joining in a diet craze, letting yourself starve and skipping meals can cause serious consequences for your health. Food has the ability to power up the body and its systems, so there’s always a possibility of harming your body every time you fast or skip a meal.
If you’ve been skipping meals consistently and it has become a habit, it’s important to know the real dangers of this poor diet practice and ways to prevent it.
The health dangers of skipping meals
Going too long without a meal has serious impacts on mental health. In a study from the University of Alicante, teens who skipped breakfast suffered from stress and depression than those who ate quality breakfast. Skipping meals causes the blood sugar to dip, which drives the body to produce a stress hormone called cortisol. This will leave the person feeling anxious, irritable, frazzled, moody, and depressed.
Starving your body for long periods can also cause you to disregard your fullness and hunger cues. Your hormones can easily throw you off if you refuse to listen to what your body needs. When this happens, you’ll likely develop strong cravings for foods rich in carbohydrates and sugar. To appease hunger, your body is willing to settle for these short-term energy boosters, which can harm your body when taken in large portions.
Nutrient deficiency is another consequence of skipping meals. Obviously, skipping meals means you’re also skipping out on the opportunity to provide nourishment to your body. Letting this happen for too long can lead to diarrhea, nausea, constipation, and permanent loss of appetite.
Skip meals or eat unhealthily?
Whenever you feel like eating, always make better choices. But if the available food is something you don’t like but you really need to eat to avoid passing out, then it’s better to eat whatever food is available.
When making food choices outside your typical diet, you can always make up for the next day. A less-than-ideal option isn’t going to affect all your progress. Your goal is to do what you think is the best for your body in that situation. But if there are plenty of options to choose from, choose the ones that will benefit your health the most.
Skipping dinner if you’re not hungry is a common dilemma for those on a strict diet or those who don’t feel like eating in the evenings. Foregoing dinner may seem like a good plan, but it can also backfire and hinder your weight loss plans.
Eating a nutritious dinner can significantly affect your sleep quality and eating habits. If you don’t feel hungry during the evenings, consider having small portions of salad, chicken, or vegetables.
How to avoid skipping meals
Whether you’re extremely busy or too scared to gain weight, skipping meals is not a good excuse. If eating is a tedious task for you, you can start by having meals ahead of time. You can also create a schedule of your meal plans and stick to it.
If gaining weight is your concern, do a journal recording of your mealtimes, food intake, and current weight. You can always consult a dietitian to pick the best diet plan that works for your body.
For busy students and workers, try eating small, frequent meals the whole day instead of skipping meals altogether. A great tip is to have a stash of healthy snacks near your work table, such as granola bars, yogurt, fruits, and other snacks rich in fiber and protein.
Breaking bad habits is something that’s too hard to do. Preventing yourself from skipping meals involves a serious commitment to do things differently. It requires a change of habit and a positive perspective towards eating healthy. The secret to proper eating habits is to not push yourself. Through practice, you’ll be able to build up new habits, and you’ll eventually find eating an enjoyable activity in no time.