Self-Care - October 4, 2017

Here’s What Happens To Your Body When You Skip A Meal

navy blazer and cream sweater eating in milan

My life has been pretty hectic lately (traveling was almost the end of me + just life), and I don’t know about y’all, but there are times I have totally forgotten to eat! Which is weird because I love food so freaking much. But sometimes I don’t even notice I’ve skipped a meal until I get hangry or realize I can’t focus at all. I know this is not only horrible for my mood, energy, and those around me, but it’s also really hard on your body. And I’m not just talking about skipping ENTIRE meals because I rarely actually do that in entirety since I get intense stomach pains when I do. If things are crazy and I’m hungry, I’ll just snack here and there to make the pain go away. BUT THIS BAD TOO. In the same way that skipping meals if not good for body, skimping on what (and how much) you eat (aka when you’re not eating enough!) is also bad for you. I tend to forget this!

I figure I’m not the only one who forgets to eat (my friends with kids tell me that they are sometimes so busy with the kids that they legit forget to eat til dinner sometimes, yikes), so I thought this would be a useful article. Mainly to teach myself about the effects of skipping/forgetting meals, and to maybe scary myself a little? Ha.

So whether you forget to eat or you skip meals here and there on purpose for dieting, there are a bunch of not-so-good 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 like such a positive thing anymore, huh? It’s definitely not something you want to do more than once a day, or more than naturally during sleep.

Side note and something I want to clear up: It’s actually a good practice to go 12 hours between dinner and breakfast to let your body do it’s detox thing naturally. Yep. Anyways, 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. Not kidding y’all! And if you have low blood sugar naturally, or are anemic, a crash in blood sugar can actually make you faint – so it’s serious stuff.

You Get Lazy

It’s a fact. Skipping a meal can 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 faint extremely weak. 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. Your body needs that oil!

To prevent this from happening to me, I try to carry snacks like nuts or protein bars, with me in my purse 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’d love to hear any other ideas, though!

Do you ever skip a meal here and there? Would love to hear that I’m not the only one that forgets from time to time.