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Fasting and Your Metabolism

Not so fast! Skipping meals to lose weight sounds logical, right? Wrong, says Haylie Pomroy. Here's why.

Nutritionist Haylie Pomroy, the author of The Fast Metabolism Diet, has explained how it’s possible to speed up a slow metabolism and shown how eating healthy fats can help us lose weight. Here’s what she says to people who try fasting and skipping meals to lose weight (hint: don’t do it!). 

“If I could only eat less, I’d be able to lose weight.”

This is a sentence I hear all the time in my clinical practice. And on the surface, it makes sense, right? Less calories in means more calories burned. The problem? It just doesn’t work like that, and I’ve got 20 years of experience to back me up on this one. Deprivation diets just don’t work.

Your metabolism is incredibly sensitive. The metabolic process involves all of your organs, body systems and hormones, reacting at an instant’s notice to your environment. When you start skipping meals, your metabolism raises the alarm. It’s thinking “Whoa, we haven’t had any food coming in for a while. Better store whatever fuel we can in case no more food is coming.”

Your metabolism is just trying to save your life! It’s being super conservative with fuel because it doesn’t know when you’re going to fill up the tank again. So it slows way down. And what does it do with the little bit of food you’ve eaten? It stores it as fat. That’s right! It sounds cruel, but if you’re not eating enough healthy food, your body will store LETTUCE as fat.

By skipping meals, your body actually goes into starvation mode. I have clients who skip breakfast and don’t eat until 2:00 p.m. Think about it: When you do this, you’re asking your body to wake up, get dressed, get the kids ready for school, drive, work all day, and sometimes exercise on ZERO fuel. So where does your body turn for energy? It would be great if it just burned all that belly fat for fuel, but it doesn’t work that way. Instead, your body starts “eating” your muscle tissue.

You know that feeling when you skip a meal and get really, really hungry? Then after a while, the hunger goes away? Well, it’s not because you didn’t eat – you DID eat. Your body ate its muscle for fuel. It sounds gross, but it’s true.

The good news? You can turn all this around in a really pleasant way: By EATING. Chow down on the right whole, healthy foods and the right balance of nutrients, and you don’t need to go hungry, skip meals or starve yourself to lose weight. Your body will start burning stored fat right alongside the lean proteins, veggies, grains, fruit and healthy fats you’re eating. That’s what my Fast Metabolism Diet and lifestyle is all about.

So make this resolution today: No more deprivation diets. Not eating does NOT equal weight loss. Plus you can end up losing muscle and making yourself really cranky and miserable. It’s not worth it!

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Illustration: Marie Guillard


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'The Fast Metabolism Diet' by Haylie Pomroy
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