I start my day with a good breakfast that's going to fuel my body appropriately for whatever I'm doing. Healthy and close-to-the-source protein, carbohydrate, and fat. If I'm going to work out that morning, I make sure to fuel up 1 1/2 - 2 hours before (IF I'm relying on breakfast for this fuel) since breakfast is larger than a snack, and I don't like to work out on a full stomach. If my workout is later, I'll make sure to fuel up with a healthy snack 30-60 minutes prior, usually with more carbs than protein (in order to fuel my muscles... saving the greater protein meal for post-workout muscle repair). If I'm already at the gym working with clients, and I'm planning on working out afterward with no time for a "meal" between, I may only have a protein bar. The point is, I'm fueling up. Again, I don't go any longer than 3-4 hours between meals.
This may sound crazy, but a study released in 2008 showed that women who ate a large breakfast (seriously large, by my standards!) of 600 calories lost an average of 40 pounds over a period of 8 months. This was compared to a group of women who ate a lower calorie breakfast and only lost 9 pounds in the same time period! Apparently the big key to this study is that the women who ate the big breakfast and lost the most weight were also able to maintain their weight loss, whereas the women who ate the small breakfast and lost less weight began to put the pounds back on!
Further research has shown that fueling your metabolism every 3-4 hours stands the test every time for keeping you on track toward losing fat. Consider the following from Rachel Cosgrove's THE FEMALE BODY BREAKTHROUGH, p.91:
1- In a study of meal frequency, it was shown that a group eating 6 meals per day lost more fat than a group eating 2 meals per day -- despite calories being equal.
2- A second study showed that irregular meal intake was associated with a lower thermic effect of feeding (calories burned as a result of the meal) than a regular meal pattern (6 meals per day) despite total meals per week being the same.
3- And yet a third study showed that adults who were accustomed to eating 4 meals a day switched to 3 meals a day and gained body fat and weight despite calories remaining the same.
So, Mom was right. You need to eat your breakfast. AND, you need to take in regular, moderate, healthy meals throughout the day. Starvation diets, excuses like "I'm too busy to eat", "I'm just not a breakfast (lunch/dinner) person" and the like are going to take you further AWAY FROM your goals of being fit and healthy.