My life has been a teeny bit hectic lately, and I don’t know about you but, there are times I have totally forgotten to eat! Now, anyone who knows me is pretty clear that this almost NEVER happens! It’s completely bizarre because I live to eat. But there are times I don’t even notice I’ve skipped a meal until I get hangry or realize I cannot focus. I know this is not only horrible for my mood, energy, and those around me, but it’s also really hard on your body. I’m not talking about going without ENTIRE meals because I rarely do it…… If things are crazy and I’m hungry, I’ll just graze here and there to make the hunger go away. THIS IS A BAD THING TOO! In the same way that skipping meals if not good for body, skimping on what (and how much) you eat (when you’re not eating enough!) is also bad for you. I think we tend to forget this!
I’m pretty sure I am not the only one out there who forgets to eat. So, I thought this would be a useful topic. Mainly to learn about the effects of skipping/forgetting meals, and to maybe shock myself back into healthy eating.
So whether you forget to eat or you skip meals here and there on purpose for dieting, there are a bunch of icky little things that happen to your body when you do this. Here are some…
Your Body Enters Ketosis
Most of us go a few hours between meals without eating, which is totally normal and even good for letting your body digest. If you’ve gone more than six hours without eating, your body actually enters ketosis, which means it starts to burn fat for energy. This doesn’t sound like a horrible thing, right!? Well, unless you’re on a ketosis (low carb) diet, switching in and out of ketosis isn’t super great for your body as it can mess with your hormones and even put stress on your kidneys. And when your hormones are out of whack, it makes it all that much harder to lose weight while dieting! Not sounding so fabulous, right? It’s definitely not something you want to do more than once a day, or more than naturally during sleep.
One thing I’d like to clarify….: It’s actually a good practice to go 12 hours between dinner and breakfast to let your body do it’s detox thing naturally. Yes. Anyway, that definitely shouldn’t be done during the day when your body is using a bunch of energy and needs food (different from when you’re sleeping).
Glucose Levels Drop
Another thing that happens after you haven’t eaten for four or so hours is your glucose levels drop, which can make you feel fatigued and sluggish, moody, and even forgetful. I totally recognize this when I skip a meal, anyone else? And the headaches usually come on strong, too. This is what most people are referring to when they say their blood sugar is low. Feeling sluggish combined with hangry is really just a recipe for disaster in my opinion – this is when I’m most likely to order a pizza and eat the whole thing to myself or just fall asleep. Truth! Really. And if you have low blood sugar naturally, or are anemic, a crash in blood sugar can actually make you faint – so it’s stuff to pay attention to.
It’s a fact. Skipping a meal is likely to impact your physical performance, too. There have been a few times I’ve forgotten to eat lunch and then skipped the gym later because I was feeling so blah or had zero energy. And times that I skipped a meal and still went to the gym – and had a horrible workout or even almost faint. Turns out, your body needs food as energy (healthy carbs are one of the best energy sources, along with foods like spinach, almonds, etc.). Your body also needs food (protein) to repair. So when you’re not giving it these things, it’s pretty much working on fumes and then being asked to keep going further. It’s kinda like not getting your oil changed, taking a road trip, then pushing it until it finally breaks down. Feed your body – it’s fuel!
To prevent that “hangry” thing, I try to carry snacks like nuts or protein bars, with me in my car at all times. I also try to schedule lunch dates or my meetings AROUND lunch time so I actually have time to sit and eat an actual (wholesome) meal. And this one sounds a little crazy, but if I know I have an insanely busy day coming up, I’ll even set alarms on my phone to remind me to eat something (and drink water! because I forget this too!). This has actually worked really well lately, so I think I’ll be sticking to this. I would love to hear how all of you handle a crazy busy day.
Do you ever skip a meal? Are you working? Catching up with a friend? Would love to hear that I’m not the only one that forgets from time to time.