Ditch the ‘Banking Calories’ Myth for a Balanced Approach

So, picture this: You’re on a diet, and you’ve got this grand banquet or a fabulous holiday party on the horizon. You know there’ll be a feast waiting for you, accompanied by an open bar and a parade of tempting “party snacks.” Now, you’re not certain if any healthy options will make an appearance, but you’re absolutely sure that a festive, partying mood is on the menu. The big question: Should you trim down your meals earlier in the day to make room for the impending feast?

What I just described is what they call “banking calories,” a bit like stashing away calories for later, analogous to saving money. It’s a common strategy among dieters, but if you’re dead serious about your diet and fitness goals, my advice is a resounding no – don’t “bank calories.” Here’s why and what you should do instead:

Banking Calories : Always Healthy Options

Let’s be real here. If you’re honest with yourself, you’d agree that there’s almost always something healthy on the table at any gathering. Amidst the sea of chips, dips, pretzels, and the sugary temptations, did you notice the tray of carrot sticks, cauliflower, and other healthy snacks? Options are always there; it’s about making the best choice based on what’s available. Opt for a small portion of “party foods” rather than going all out.

Banking Calories : Nutrition Matters All Day

If you opt to skip meals or eat less during the day to save up for a grand feast at night, you’re fixated on calories alone. The problem is, you’re depriving yourself of essential nutrition like protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals that you need throughout the day. Your body needs those small, frequent meals to keep the metabolic furnace burning.

Moreover, the anticipation of overeating later can backfire, increasing your appetite and leading to unexpected bingeing when the banquet finally arrives. Eating healthy earlier in the day can fill you up, making it less likely to overindulge later. Foods high in fiber, healthy fats, and lean proteins are particularly effective at suppressing appetite.

Banking Calories : No to Starve and Binge

The concept of “banking calories” doesn’t align with how your body operates. It strives for equilibrium, adjusting your appetite to ensure you consume a similar total calorie amount in the end. Even if it did work the way you wanted, why go through the cycle of starving and then overeating, essentially putting the fat right back on? It’s counterintuitive.

This starving and bingeing pattern can do more harm than the occasional indulgent meal. Some dieticians even argue that this behavior borders on disordered eating.

Embrace the Balance

A more effective approach is to stick to your regular menu of healthy foods and small meals throughout the day – business as usual. When those special occasions roll around, be it a party, a restaurant outing, a banquet, or a holiday dinner, treat yourself to a “cheat meal,” but keep those portions in check.

It’s comforting to know that on special occasions, you can enjoy whatever you want with minimal impact on your body composition, as long as you respect the law of calorie balance. Starving and bingeing, however, will undoubtedly have negative consequences.

To burn fat and stay healthy, you don’t have to be a “party pooper” or completely deny yourself the foods you enjoy. What’s crucial is having the discipline to stick to your regular meal plan most of the time and control your portion sizes all the time.

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