I have a female friend who is 20 years of age. She is 5 foot 5 inches and 155 pounds. She has recently convinced herself that it is time to get serious and lose weight. For the past week and a half, she has been running/jogging for 30 minutes and incorporating resistance training as well. Here's my dilemma: She told me that she only eats once a day, at dinnertime. I told her that she needs to eat breakfast and lunch as well to increase her metabolism. Is this an accurate statement? Did I give her the wrong advice?
You gave her the correct advice! The fact is that food is the primer for your metabolism.
After someone eats, their metabolic capacity increases because they have a ready supply of calories for immediate use. This means they have the energy to have a better workout, and higher energy to burn doing their regular activities.
Secondly, the body also burns calories in order to process the calories taken in. By eating frequently, you don't allow this calorie burning process to shut off. This equates to more calories burned at the end of the day.
Lastly, when someone eats only one meal a day they usually consume a large amount of calories in one sitting. The body actually cannot process all of this at once. So instead of escorting the calories into the cell to be used as energy, is shuttles it off to fat cells in order to be dealt with later. I explain it to my clients like this; Imagine having an entire semester to study for a final exam. You can study small pieces each week to gain mastery over the material or you can wait until the last week and cram the cliff notes. Which one is going to end in a better result?
Another note, if the one meal is modestly below daily caloric burn than she may lose weigh. However, if it is dramatically low, her daily metabolic rate will decrease. This is called "starvation mode". If your body senses that it is not getting the requirements that it needs it will shut sown or slow bodily processes in order to make up for it. This is the same thing as when we have extra money. We like to spend it; when we are low on money we conserve.
Eating more frequently and increasing protein intake plus exercising will help you increase your metabolism. Eat two snacks a day and try to eat high protein snacks like nuts or a protein bar these are easy options that will increase your protein intake.