Trigger #5: Skipping Meals, Reducing Calories or Letting Yourself Get Hungry

skipping meals and getting hungry

When you skip meals or do a fasting program, your blood sugars decrease, stimulating several hormones. The stress hormone cortisol (from the adrenals) increases, which turns your body tissues (muscles from the legs, buttocks and arms) into sugar fuel. This is a survival mechanism to provide quick energy or to help you stay alive during starvation. However, as you learned in chapter 5, if this sugar is not completely burned up, it will be changed into fat and specifically deposited around your vital organs in the abdomen.

Lowered blood sugar from skipping a meal also creates cravings for the wrong foods—sweets. These then cause an increase in blood sugar, signaling another hormone—insulin—to come in and remove it from the blood. Where does it go? It is again converted into fat around your belly.

The rule of thumb here is EAT BEFORE YOU GET HUNGRY and NEVER SKIP A MEAL, ESPECIALLY BREAKFAST. One action is to keep raw nuts (walnuts and almonds) available at work or in your car. Another is to keep cheese, apples or cut vegetables available so that you have something to eat between meals. Unless you have a Liver body type, I recommend you eat frequent meals (four to five smaller meals throughout the day). This keeps a constant fuel source and prevents unnecessary destructive hormones from being triggered. It will also prevent cravings for sweets several hours later. These actions will keep cortisol from putting fat on your stomach and prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue.

There seems to be a huge confusion about calories. Calories are units of energy in food. What is being taught broadly is that excess calories cause weight gain and decreased calories cause weight loss. Too many calories absolutely can trigger weight gain from the powerful fat-making hormone insulin. But cutting calories will also trigger fat-making hormones and make you fat.

Understanding the dynamic aspects of hormones can give you an advantage in losing weight. For example, when you eat a low-calorie, lowfat bran muffin, insulin is activated, which not only converts the muffin into fat but prevents any burning of stored fat. However, consuming fats, which have higher calories, doesn’t have this same effect; in fact, fat doesn’t trigger insulin. That is why a tiny piece of low-fat, low-calorie candy can actually prevent the loss of fat much more than a fatty piece of low-carbohydrate cheesecake.

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