Should I cut calories before a holiday binge?

Question:
If I know I’m going to be having a big meal at night, like for a banquet or a holiday party and there probably won’t be any healthy food there, should I cut back on my food earlier in the day?

Answer:
What you’re describing is commonly known as “banking calories” which is analagous to saving calories like money because you’re going to consume more later.

The answer is no – you should NOT do this! Here’s why and here’s what you should do instead:

First of all, if you’re being really honest with yourself, you have to agree that there’s almost always something healthy to eat at any gathering. You know those tables you see at holiday parties that are covered with yards of chips, dips, pretzels, cookies, salami, candies, cheese, punch, liquor, and a seemingly endless assortment of other goodies? Well, did you also notice that there’s usually a tray full of carrot sticks, cauliflower, celery, fruit, turkey breast and other healthy snacks too?

No matter where you are, you always have options, so make the best choice you can based on whatever your options are. If nothing else, you can choose to eat a small portion of “party foods” rather than a huge portion.

If you skip meals or eat less earlier in the day to “prepare” (bank calories) for a big feast at night, you are thinking only in terms of calories, but you are depriving yourself of the valuable nutrition you need all day long in terms of protein (amino acids), carbohydrates, essential fats, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that come from healthy food, as well as the small frequent meals required to stoke the furnace of your metabolism.

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

Eating healthy food earlier in the day is likely to fill you up and you’ll be less likely to overeat in the evening. High fiber foods, healthy fats and especially lean protein, tend to suppress your appetite the most.

I dont like the concept of “banking calories.” Your body just doesn’t work that way – it tends to seek equilibrium by adjusting your appetite to the point where you consume the same total amount of calories in the end anyway.

Even if it worked the way you wanted it to, why would you eat less (starve) in an attempt to burn more fat, then overeat (binge) and put the fat right back on? Why allow yourself to put on fat in the first place?

A starving and bingeing pattern will almost certainly cause more damage than an occasional oversize meal. 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 by treating yourself to a “cheat meal,” but sure to keep your portions small.

It should be a big relief to know that on special occasions, whether it’s a party, restaurant meal, banquet or holiday dinner, 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. 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, but you dont have to completely deny yourself either.

You can learn much more about calories, metabolism and fat burning foods by visiting www.BurnTheFat.com




 

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