Friday, October 21, 2011

Damage Control For Holiday Eating "Accidents" (Part 2)


It's lunchtime, and you're trying to decide what to make today. Normally, you would have your regular chicken salad with mixed nuts, but today is different. You're going to a party in the evening, and even though you're not quite sure what to expect, you know there will be a ton of food in an atmosphere of very little restraint. You decide that it's probably best to eat a lighter lunch than usual, to prepare for the evening calorie-surge. 

This is commonly known as "banking calories" which is analagous to saving calories like money because you're going to consume more later.

I usually do not recommend this. Here's why:

If you skip meals earlier in the day to "prepare" (bank calories) for a big feast at night, you are thinking only in terms of calories, but skipping meals is also depriving yourself of protein (amino acids), carbohydrates, essential fats, vitamins, minerals and other valuable nutrients that come from healthy food, as well as the small frequent meals which help control your appetite, stabilize your blood sugar and provide a steady flow of amino acids to your muscles. Skipping breakfast is especially detrimental.

Not only that, but eating less early in the day in anticipation of overeating later in the day is much more likely to increase your appetite, causing you to binge or eat even MORE than you thought you would at night when the big meal does arrive.

In fact, eating healthy, high fiber and lean protein food, as usual, earlier in the day is likely to make you LESS hungry for the holiday party meal and you'll be more likey to eat only a harmlessly small amount of "party" foods.

I dont like the concept of "banking calories" if it means skipping meals or if it's used as justification for binge eating.

Even if it worked the way you wanted it to, the starving and bingeing pattern may cause more damage than an occasional oversize meal, even if only on a psychological level. Some dieticians might even argue that this kind of behavior borders on disordered eating.

A better approach is to stay on your regular menu of healthy foods and small meals through the entire day - business as usual - and then go ahead and enjoy yourself at your party by treating yourself to a SMALL amount of "BAD" food.

This is supported by the 2nd Corollary of the law of calorie balance:

"Small amounts of ANYTHING - even junk food- will probably not be stored as fat as long as you are in a calorie deficit where you are eating fewer calories than you burn."

It should be a big relief for you to know that when you're at a party, a banquet, dining out or eating at a relative's house for a special occasion, you can eat whatever you want with little or no ill effect on body composition, as long as you respect the law of calorie balance ans as long as it is done infrequently.

However, you CANNOT starve and binge and expect not to reap negative consequences.

If you sincerely want to burn fat and be healthy, then you have to have the discipline to stick with your nutrition plan consistently and control your portion sizes.

 

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