Skipping Meals

Two weeks ago I talked about DOMs, what they are and how to reduce them. In that post I mentioned how skipping meals was a bad thing, and I would like to make that the focus for today.

When I ask clients about their food consumption and how many meals they eat a day, the typical response is two meals a day. When I ask them to elaborate, I found that most skip breakfast. Regardless of what meal it is, this is a problem.

We’ve all been in that situation where our phones are just about dead. You close every app you have open, dim your screen so you can barely see anything, turn off your location and send that last text, “my phone’s about dead, I’ll text you when I find an outlet.” Or something along those lines. Life can then resume once that phone is plugged in. As crazy as it may sound, our body does the exact same thing. Much like our phones need to charge to prevent them from becoming expensive bricks, our bodies need fuel to keep functioning properly. The difference is our bodies need to be fed/charged throughout the day.

Now to get some perspective, let’s look at skipping breakfast. Say you eat dinner at 8 PM, and you go to bed a few hours later. When you wake up, you skip breakfast, go to work, and have lunch at about 12 PM. That’s 16 hours without a meal! To put that into a different perspective, that is two thirds of a day since your last meal!

When we skip meals our bodies have gone a substantial time without energy; we start to feel fatigued, can’t think, have no strength and get “hangry”. Some people call this “survival mode,” but since I used a phone reference, I’m going to call it “low power mode.” Basically, your body thinks, “I don’t know when my next meal will come. Activate low power mode!”

When your body turns on “low power mode,” your metabolism slows, and since you didn’t eat, your body breaks down stored fat and more importantly muscle to be used as energy. If you’re working out (or even if you’re not), this is crucial. Generally you want to increase your muscles, not have your body eat them away because you skipped a meal. Your body doesn’t know when it’s next supply of energy is coming. It’s going to constantly store everything you eat to be gradually used over time.

So let’s break that cycle! Try spreading those calories by eating at least three meals a day instead of two. Chances are you won’t feel dead midway through the morning, your brain will function better, and you won’t be in hangry hulk mode ready to rip someone’s face off.

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