"Calorie-Banking": Eat Less Now To Overindulge Later
Assume you're on a diet and are planning a banquet or holiday party. You anticipate a large meal being prepared for dinner, as well as an open bar with plenty of “party snacks.” You're not sure if there will be any nutritious food available, but you know you'll be in a festive, partying mood!
So, what are your options?
Should you eat less early in the day in order to make way for the big meal?
What I just mentioned is known as "calorie banking," which is similar to saving money because you'll eat more calories later, and it's a really popular activity among dieters. However, if you're serious about achieving your diet and health goals, the answer is no, you shouldn't "bank calories!" Here's why, and what you should do in its place:
First and foremost, if you're being completely truthful with yourself, you must admit that there is almost always something nutritious to eat at any meeting.
Do you know those tables at holiday parties that are covered in yards of chips, dips, pretzels, cookies, salami, candies, cheese, punch, liquor, and an endless array of other goodies?
Did you also note that a tray of carrot sticks, cauliflower, celery, fruit, turkey breast, and other nutritious snacks is typically present?
You still have choices no matter where you are, so make the best decision you can based on your options. At the very least, you should choose a small portion of "party foods" rather than a large one.
If you skip meals or eat less earlier in the day to save calories for a big meal later, you're depriving yourself of the valuable nutrition you need every day in terms of protein (amino acids), carbohydrates, essential fats, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients found in healthy food, as well as the small frequent meals needed to stoke your metabolism.
Not only that, but skipping meals early in the day in preparation for an evening feast is more likely to increase your appetite, leading you to binge or consume even more than you planned when the banquet finally arrives.
Eating nutritious foods earlier in the day will fill you up and reduce your chances of overeating later in the day. Foods high in fiber, healthy fats, and particularly lean protein all help to curb your appetite.
"Calorie banking" is a term that I dislike. Your body simply does not function that way; it seeks balance by changing your appetite to the point where you eat the same total number of calories in the end.
Why would you eat less (starve) in order to burn more fat, then overeat (binge) and put the fat back on if it worked the way you wanted it to? Why did you let yourself get overweight in the first place?
A binge-eating and starvation trend would almost certainly do more harm than a single large meal. Some dieticians believe that this type of behavior is on the verge of being disordered eating.
A smarter strategy is to stick to the daily menu of nutritious foods and small meals for the whole day - business as normal - and then reward yourself with a "cheat meal," but only in small portions.
It should be a huge relief to know that on special occasions, whether it's a party, a restaurant lunch, a banquet, or a holiday dinner, you can eat anything you want with little to no negative impact on your body composition as long as you follow the calorie balance rule. However, you CANNOT hope to avoid harmful effects if you starve and binge.
You don't have to be a "party pooper" or totally deprive yourself of foods you love to lose weight and stay healthy, but you do need the discipline to stick to your daily meal plan most of the time and monitor your portion sizes at all times.