Suppose you’re on a diet and you have a banquet or a holiday party coming up. You’re expecting a big meal to be served for dinner, and there will be open bar with lots and lots of “party snacks.” You’re not sure if there will be any healthy food there, but you are sure that you’re going to be in a festive, partying mood! What should you do? Should you cut back on your food earlier in the day to make room for the big feast?
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 bank calories for a big feast at night, you are thinking only in terms of calories, but yo’re 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.
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 don’t 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 say that this kind of behavior borders on disordered eating.
To burn fat and be healthy, you don’t have to be a “party pooper” or completely deny yourself of foods you enjoy, but you do need to have the discipline to stick with your regular meal plan most of the time and control your portion sizes all of the time.