People who know me know – I have an above-average appetite. I eat three full, substantial meals a day and lots of snacks in between. A lot of that food is healthy sure; and some of it is not. I mean hey, life can’t be carrots and kale all the time.
So, let’s forget about eating “healthy” foods for the time being, and focus instead on just eating.
And, for the record, I’m not talking about eating disorders. I’m just talking about the average, generally busy college student who simply forgets or neglects to eat.
Raise your hand if you’ve skipped a meal. (I’ve got my hand up high.)
Raise your hand if you regularly skip meals. Now, that I don’t do.
Why not? Well, frankly, I love food. Like I said before, I eat a lot—denying myself an opportunity to enjoy good food seems silly and unnecessary. Additionally, I love my body. Denying it the fuel it needs to study and stretch and grow stronger just seems rude.
But I often hear peers and classmates saying things like, “I haven’t eaten all day,” at 7 PM on the regular, and I’m always shocked. If I don’t eat within about two or three hours of waking up, I have a hard time functioning. I get tired, my brain doesn’t work as well, and everything’s just generally harder. When I ask how or why they don’t bother to eat, they usually say they have a slow metabolism or something to that effect. But I think metabolisms of all shapes and sizes still need food…
Turns out, I have science on my side. What are some of the scientific reasons you shouldn’t skip meals? I’m glad you asked.
Skipping meals can lead to increased fasting glucose levels and a slow response to insulin. If the pattern continues for an extended period of time, your risk of developing diabetes goes way up.
Sure, you can go until dinner without having anything to eat all day, but then you’re likely to be so hungry when you finally do eat that you eat more than if you had just fueled yourself consistently throughout the day. This pattern of fasting and overeating can lead to bingeing behaviors, as well.
Lack of energy
Those blood sugar dips can cause your energy to dip, too. If you’re juggling classes, your social obligations, a job, a life, you need to be on your game. You can only be active and involved if you have the energy to do it. Eating regularly can help you get there.
Eating regularly is just as important of a job as any other you have in your day, and it helps you do all those other ones even better. So go ahead and take that lunch break. It’ll power you through the rest of your crazy day – and your awesome life.