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Thu, Sept. 19

Skipping meals contributes to a slow metabolism

About 28 percent of Americans skip meals. People skip meals for many different reasons. Lack of time, groceries, money, not much of an appetite, a belief that one might lose weight or consume fewer calories.

Some figure they can consume more calories at the next meal, or they figure they are making up for cheating on their diet the night before.

What do you think the results of skipping meals are?

If you are trying to control your weight by skipping meals, you may actually be having an opposite effect. In order to keep your metabolism up and continue burning calories, you need to give your body fuel regularly. Think of feeding your body as filling your car with gas. When you are hungry, your body is out of fuel like your car is out of gas. When this happens, how does your car function? Not well, if it functions at all.

Your body reacts similarly to a lack of fuel. When you skip a meal when your body needs to be fed, you deprive your body of nutrients that are not made up at the following meal. This results in your body's metabolism slowing down. A slower metabolism burns fewer calories, which will most likely result in a decrease in weight loss.

Think of hunger pangs as your body's "fuel light" going on!

Besides slowing down your metabolism, you may also be increasing your appetite at night!

Physiological and psychological reasons cause people to become hungry at night. Blood sugar levels naturally drop towards the end of the day, causing the body to crave fuel. If a meal is skipped, that drop in sugar level is exacerbated. The lower it is, the hungrier a person gets. Drinking coffee during the day can also make matters worse. Caffeine causes elevated insulin levels and cravings to kick in.

If you find yourself wanting to eat at night, ask yourself a couple of questions. Are you eating all meals and all the food in your Diet Center or other weight loss program? Are you limiting yourself to two cups of coffee per day? You may be able to avoid hunger at night by spreading out your exchanges so that you are eating every three or four hours. For example, eating breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, a mid-day snack, and dinner can help maintain blood sugar levels.

You can even have an evening snack. A great choice would be to consume a dairy exchange, such as a yogurt. It would satisfy a sweet tooth and provide a soothing effect to help you sleep (due to the sedating effect from the amino acid tryptophan in milk). Try not to eat a large meal before sleeping. Your metabolism slows down and your digestive system needs time to rest during sleep. The simplest solution is to eat healthy and consistently throughout the day.

If you feel like you have done this and are still not experiencing weight loss success, please call Diet Center today at (928) 753-5066 or stop by 1848 Hope Ave.

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