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Skipping Meals

Intermittent fasting is a big trend in the nutrition world. There are many ways to do it, and no clear-cut rules about how long to fast and when you should eat.

Some people do 20-hour fasts, allowing themselves 4 hours to eat. Others do 16-hour fasts, which gives you enough time to eat lunch and dinner. Most people do a 12-hour fast without knowing it (it’s called sleep).

As with most nutrition trends, intermittent fasting isn’t all it’s hyped up to be. You’re not going to magically lose weight by fasting. It might improve your health slightly, although studies are inconclusive.

The most important thing to remember about fasting is that you can reduce your calorie intake by restricting the amount of time you have per day to eat. Many people do that already. We can call that “accidental fasting”. Skipping breakfast is the most common form of fasting, and is totally acceptable. Breakfast isn’t nearly as important as it was once thought to be.

As the holiday season approaches, keep in mind that fasting is a powerful tool you can use to stay on track. On Thanksgiving day, for example, you can skip breakfast or lunch and eat two meals’ worth of food for dinner. 

Let’s say your lunch is typically 500 calories. By skipping lunch on Thanksgiving day, you can eat an extra 500 calories at dinner without gaining any weight.

This is useful on days when your eating is abnormal, but what about an average weekday? Fasting still works, but you want to avoid that ravenous hunger that you can trigger by skipping meals.

At TS, our nutrition program focuses on balanced habits. If you skip meals, balanced eating might mean having a snack during the day. If you find that you skip breakfast but eat a large lunch and dinner, you might need to snack in the morning or between lunch and dinner.

Once you get to the point of ravenous hunger, it’s difficult to control how much you eat. Keep in mind that even if you fast for 16 hours, you have 8 hours during the day in which you can eat. Use that time wisely by spreading out your meals and snacks. You don’t want every dinner to turn into a Thanksgiving meal.

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