Intermittent Fasting vs Skipping Meals
What happens when you skip meals like breakfast or dinner while intermittent fasting? And is intermittent fasting the same as skipping meals?
This post simplifies everything for you to have better results in your intermittent fasting practice.
I would like to tell you that before starting an intermittent fasting plan, it is advisable to consult a doctor . Intermittent fasting is not for everyone, so you need to tell your personal doctor.
The purpose of this post is to explain very simply the differences between meal skipping and intermittent fasting, based on my experience, not to give you medical or professional advice.
INTERMITTENT FASTING VS SKIPPING MEALS: THE DIFFERENCES
When I started intermittent fasting, back in 2009, I asked the nutritionist who was supervising my fasting, along with my doctor, the same question.
His answer: intermittent fasting is not about what we eat but when we eat.
For this reason, skipping meals is not recommended if you want to do intermittent fasting safely and healthily. What you need to do is adjust when you eat the meals.
When you skip a meal, you typically reduce the number of calories you consume . By doing this, you also deprive your body of the nutrients it needs to function well; this both at a macro level (proteins, carbohydrates, fats) and at a micro level (vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients present in food).
When you do intermittent fasting, you eat the same amount of food that you would normally eat, but concentrated in a shorter period of hours (your “eating window”).
For example, if you want to do a 16:8 intermittent fast , you will eat all meals within 8 hours and fast (abstain from eating) for the other 16 hours.
I understand that this can be confusing at first, especially if you decide to eat between noon and 8pm. Because, if you break your fast at noon… What happens with breakfast?
Well, even with that schedule you can eat some scrambled eggs with toast at noon, a salad and a soup at 3pm (3pm), a snack at 5pm (5pm) and dinner at 7pm (7pm).
All this while giving your body nutritious and varied food without drastically reducing calorie intake.
INTERMITTENT FASTING: WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU SKIP BREAKFAST OR SKIP DINNER
We’ve all skipped a meal or two because we’ve been busy with something and nothing happens. But…
By skipping meals day after day, it’s common to feel less energetic and a general feeling of sluggishness; and this is a common complaint among those who start intermittent fasting.
This deprives the body of the nutrients that give it energy. Skipping dinner one night is fine, but regularly going to bed hungry will (probably) result in you feeling hungry in the middle of the night, waking you up, and gradually affecting your quality of sleep.
Some people choose to skip breakfast or dinner to meet their fast start or end times. The problem occurs when you haven’t eaten enough all day and now your body asks for nutrition.
Following an intermittent fasting schedule doesn’t require going hungry; on the contrary, it is better not to starve and provide the body with the nutrition it needs .
The best way to not feel the need to skip meals, and at the same time reap the benefits of intermittent fasting , is to have a meal plan .
INTERMITTENT FASTING SCHEDULE
To avoid skipping meals, I recommend choosing an intermittent fasting schedule that fits your lifestyle, whether it’s a 12-hour , 16-hour , or 18-hour fast.
Instead of fumbling with trying to fit fasting into your busy daily life, think about how intermittent fasting can fit into your regular routine without disrupting it too much.