Looking for an easy way to lose some unwanted fat? Don’t eat. Skipping meals is one of the best options for losing unwanted pounds.
Sounds easy enough but this message almost always brings the critics out and ultimately discourages a workable and easy solution to a difficult problem.
Let’s examine the method and the objections.
Fasting For Fat Loss
Losing fat should be the goal of anyone trying to lose weight. When you drop pounds, you lose muscle or fat (we don’t care about water weight) and muscle should always be preserved on any diet plan.
With this in mind, we simply need to follow one, primary rule to lose fat; You must expend more energy that you take in. Calories are energy and you have to use up more energy than you consume. It’s really this easy.
Forget Atkins, Weight-Watchers, Jenny Craig or doing all those torturous hours of physical labor on The Biggest Loser. It’s simple math. Play more and eat less. Add some good regular quality sleep to the equation and you’re on your way.
Most people are surprised to learn that cardio machines aren’t even required to lose fat. You can be carrying an extra 300 pounds of fat and get as slim as you want by simply providing your body with less fuel than it requires to function every day. If your body doesn’t have the calories to burn, it turns to burning fat for energy needs.
Understand this concept and you can plainly see that occasionally skipping meals is doing nothing more than contributing to your overall calorie deficit and helping you to burn more fat.
Meal Skipping Critics
So what’s the problem? Is losing weight really this easy and if so, why the objections to not eating?
What we’re talking about it occasional meal skipping. Unfortunately, like anything in life, some people take this to extremes and it becomes harmful. Skipping one meal a day will help you achieve weight loss, assuming you’re not over-eating the rest of the day. Skipping all your meals for a few days leads to anorexia.
Critics also point out that skipping meals will cause a drop in metabolism. This is completely false and a statement based in ignorance. Research conclusively shows that metabolism actually speeds up and is optimum at 36-48 hours of fasting. It’s only after this time that it starts to dip down again, in the complete absence of food. During this time, resting energy expenditure is increased. In other words, if you’re sitting on the couch watching TV, you’re burning more calories. Not a bad little bonus of skipping a meal.
It should be noted that after the 48 hour mark, metabolism starts declining so it’s important to not push this any further. We recommend the occasional meal skipping at first and if you can handle that, extend the window to longer periods. If you’re eating at maintenance or slightly less the other six days a week, you can get as extreme as a full day fast and reap some serious benefits. For some, this will simply be too long but for those that skip meals and get used to it (blood sugar levels normalize when food isn’t constantly being eaten), skipping a whole day is not difficult at all. Stop eating at 9pm, skip the entire next day and start eating again on waking up. Drinking lots of water and black coffee will help a lot when going this long without food.
Another problem of meal skipping is that it can cause a larger problem for people with self-control problems. Very often, when people skip a meal, the “gut” reaction is to pig out later on.. feeling as though they’ve earned the extra calories by going so long without eating. By binging at the next meal, people tend to end up eating more than they would have had they never missed a meal.
This problem can be easily overcome by understanding that the next meal must be a normal-sized meal and without any excess in calories. If we are aware of why we’re skipping a meal and the benefit it provides in reducing body fat, it becomes psychologically easier to achieve.
Nutritionists will likely always denounce meal skipping as an effective means of losing weight but the evidence clearly demonstrates that it works and if you can handle the long periods of abstaining from food, you can take inches off your waist in a few short months.