As a nutritionist I get asked all the time the best way to loose weight and I have a number of suggestions which I will have in up and coming blog posts and youtube videos. 
It may seem like an easy way out when you want to drop a few pounds, but skipping meals is never a good idea. You may think that by avoiding lunch and holding out until dinner will save you some calories but this theory couldn’t be more wrong. Replacing food with juices is also considered skipping meals no matter how amazing your juicer is or how organic your fruit and veg. Juices are recognised by the body as liquid and not food and they are digested rapidly by the body giving you very little or no sustenance.
The reality is that dealing with low energy and the feeling of hunger is just minor compared to what is going on in the body when you skip meals.

Promoting belly fat storage 
You may think I'm joking when I say skipping meals can cause weight gain in your belly. I have seen first hand experience of this in my nutrition clinic not to mention the hundreds of articles I have read on the topic all proving this claim. Not only can skipping meals lead to stubborn weight gain to you middle it can also lead to insulin resistance (diabetes type 2). Other then looking unpleasant belly fat can cause huge issues for your health. Excess fat stored in the belly or trunk of your body is visceral fat and its found surrounding the organs Visceral fat is not to be mistaken with subcutaneous fat which is under the skin and used for protection and insulation (however can also contribute to a big belly). Visceral fat is associated closely with heart disease, certain cancers and diabetes type 2 as it blocks the action of insulin. Insulin signals to the liver to store the excess glucose away from the blood, but with all the fat surrounding the liver it stops responding. Glucose stays in the blood and can cause damage to other organs.

Altered Metabolism
There could be a few reasons you skipped a meal but if you are trying to lose weight skipping meals is the worst way to go about it. By skipping a meal you may actually be hindering weight loss as it directly effects your metabolism. When you eat, your metabolism breaks food down into smaller, usable nutrients, when a meal is missed your metabolism has nothing to do and doesn’t have to work. As a result your metabolism begins to slow down and the next time you do actually eat something, your metabolism is not able to work as quickly. When your metabolism slows down the food is stored as fat, and the damage can be done to your metabolism very quickly. In order to maintain a healthy weight (or even lose weight), it is essential that you eat regular small meals throughout the day. Recent research has found that five to seven small, regularly timed meals eaten over the course of a day works best when trying to maintain a healthy weight.
Blood Sugar Drops and Spikes
One of the most important reasons that skipping meals is unhealthy is due to the affect this has on your blood sugar. We all know that when you eat a meal, the body breaks up the food. Some of this food is stored as fat, while other parts of it enter your bloodstream as glucose, glucose is the fuel our bodies run on. Glucose works to provide you with energy throughout the day and if the correct foods are eaten it can provide a steady flow of energy (not an instant sugar hit). When you skip a meal, your blood sugar drops dramatically and your body goes into starvation mode (conserving energy). This not only can make you feel sluggish and tired, but it can disrupt the insulin in your body. If you regularly skip meals, you can be setting yourself up for the development of diabetes type 2 later in life. 
Your insulin levels are not the only thing affected by skipping meals, your brain function can also be impaired. You can become moody, feel irritated and snappy, "hangry" to put it! The way you feel is directly associated with the lack of food. When you do eventually eat after skipping a meal your body can feel relieved but the damage is already done your metabolism may have become slower as your body doesn’t know when the next meal is coming. This is why I always stress eating little and often

Inadequate Nutrition
This goes without saying that skipping meals means you are more than likely not receiving adequate nutrition. Eating a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats ensures that your body functions properly. Adequate nutrition also helps treat and prevent a number of serious conditions such as cardiovascular disease, strokes, and some types of cancer. You may believe that you can skip meals and still achieve optimal nutrition by supplementing your diet with multivitamins. While multivitamins do have their benefits, they are by no means as effective as real food at providing your body with nutrients and protecting you from certain diseases. 

Eating little and often is a great method to follow in order to avoid hunger pangs, stabilise your blood sugars and keep your metabolism functioning to the best of its ability. The most important factor to remember when eating little and eating regularly is to select the correct foods and to try eating every 3-4hours.

Trying to juggle work, school or college with home life and trying to support ourselves has meant we have become lazy when it comes to eating healthy and regularly. Research has shown that the average Irish person has very little time to sit down for a big meal 3 times a day and instead is consuming 4 to 6 mini meals a day. This is not necessarily a negative way of eating however the food you consume may be an area of concern. We have become a country obsesses with snack food, eating on the go and picking up chocolate and crisps from sweet shops which seem to be on every street.

Being a nutritionist, I recommend to my clients to move away from "traditional eating" patterns such as three big meals a day and instead I recommend a grazing pattern of eating. Why you may ask? Well it takes up to 3 hours for your body to digest a meal – the food is broken down into sugars and these sugars travel through the blood stream providing energy for the whole body. When you ingest a large meal you can burden the digestive system, causing bloating and lowering energy while the body struggles to digest the large quantities of food. 

The body can only use so much energy at one time so by eating large meals you are overwhelming the body. As a result your body stores the excess fuel as fat (causes weight gain).  In addition eating a large meal means your blood sugar spikes and once the body has digested the food your blood sugar level drops leaving your mood lower. The bigger the meal consumed the bigger the crash in energy and mood which means your body will crave a replacement of fuel and it’s usually in the form of a sugary snack. 

In total it takes 2- 3 hours for the peak in sugar levels to go back down so by frequently eating small meals you are supplying the body with manageable levels of energy over the day, the body can use this energy immediately and there is no need to store it as fat for later use.

The best foods to graze on
An adult is recommended to consume up to sixteen different food types over 2-3 days in order to maintain optimum health. When you eat 3 meals a day you may only be eating between six to eight food types. Someone who grazes can eat much healthier, eating less fatty foods and including more carbohydrates, fruit and vegetables. When you eat small snack and meals regularly you can consuming higher levels of vitamin C and other nutrients. Someone who eats little and often tends to have lower levels of body fat. The only downside to eating little and often is people tend to interpret snacks as chocolate or crisps (high sugar, high fat), I always suggest snacks throughout the day to be nuts, grains fruit, vegetables and yoghurts. By eating these types of foods you stay fuller for long and are not disrupting you energy levels also you avoid high-fat, high-sugar foods which contain little or no nutrients and are loaded with calories.

Changing the way you eat in the day can be mentally difficult to adjust to and I always suggest taking it slowly do small changes every week. Reduce sugar one week, then try salt the next week, then increase your vegetable intake the following week. Always eat sitting down in a relaxed family surrounding when you’re eating at home. Enjoy the flavours of your food try not to eat too fast.

Eating little and often can be beneficial for so many reasons such as:
Increasing your metabolism
By eating little and often you are keeping your blood sugar at a steady level which means your metabolism is continuously working by skipping meals or not eating something to raise your blood sugar your metabolic rate can possibly slow down meaning you can hang onto extra weight. 

Making weight loss easier
One of the main challenges people face when trying to lose weight is keeping their metabolism steady. Long periods between eating can lead to unhealthy food choice as your body craves an instant sugar hit. Usually sweets or chocolate bars are the first foods people gravitate towards, this can then lead to unnecessary weight gain. Eating little and often stops you from getting too hungry and you can then make healthy nutritious food choices when it comes to snack time.

Continuous energy
When you eat your body uses the food as energy to function. By skipping meals or going too long without eating you can upset your energy levels, when your blood sugars are high you feel energised and when the drop your energy levels plummet. Eating frequently means you avoid dipping and peaking energy levels, instead you keep sugar levels steady and you feel energised throughout the day. .

Keeps your mood stable
A term I frequently use to describe myself if I have gone too long without eating is “Hangry” or hungry- angry. There is a strong scientific connection between food and mood, the brain needs energy in order to function and glucose is what the brain uses for fuel. So when the sugar in your bloodstream goes down, so does your brainpower and you can get snappy, annoyed and irritable for no reason other than you are hungry.  The key is to include complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains, all of which help maintain levels of serotonin (a mood-boosting chemical) in the brain.

You will defiantly recognise this product from my instagram and snapchat I posted about it so much when I first got it. I was wandering around boots skincare isle as you do, and I noticed the boots botanics radiance balm on offer for €4.  I liked the sound of it - "all bright" "radiance" it sounded right up my ally. To be honest I had no idea what it was for or how I was going to use it. Is it a moisturiser, highlighter, or just something to give life back into your skin, well I say its all of the above. 

I had heard after googling it that it was supposed to be a dupe for MAC strobe cream. Now I will say its not exactly the same as MAC strobe cream (being a love of mine for so long) but its soooo close and honestly does the exact same thing.

In the tube it looks like a pinky nude colour but once spread out its more of a pearl colour. I use this over my moisturiser and under my foundation and it spreads so well being a super creamy texture. This Balm just gives a lift to my skin and makes it look glowy, without turning me into an oil slick. 

If you feel like your skin needs a little lift then this is your man! It brings life back into a dull completion. Sometimes I apply this to my face and add a little concealer on no makeup days just so I dont look completely dead!

The pearly finish it gives to the skin makes you look like you are glowing. I wont say it prolongs the wear of my foundation but it does give me that youthful radiance to my skin. I recommend this balm for all skin types as the "pearly" finish is not overly obvious once your foundation is applied.

Get it while its on offer and let me know how much you love it ;) 

Ash xxxx

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