Hi, Kris Stokes, from Custom Fitness your personal trainer in Amarillo, here to talk about something that just might come up in your life this weekend: Food Banking.  If you have any questions or would like further information, please call the studio and one of our trainers would be happy to help: 806-322-3188.

So what is food banking anyway? Food banking means that you are skipping meals so you can eat a large meal later in the day.

Don’t try to tell me you haven’t done this. We all do. Maybe it’s a date night, Christmas dinner or some other big event. Heck it can even be a small but fantastically “full of calories” meal. Whatever it is, we’ll refer to this as your “focus” meal for today’s purpose.

People usually do this because they believe they will be eating huge amounts at their “focus” meal or they know that meal will be full of calories so they look to save calories by skipping a meal or two earlier that day.

Well, I don’t want to be a bubble buster but when you “save” your calories for later, your body lacks nourishment of nutrients. Remember that the word calorie is the same to food as inches is to length. It is a unit of measurement. Calorie is the name used to determine how much ENERGY each specific food has. Some calories sources are good for us, others not so much and an over indulgence of calories in general only leads to trouble later on.

When you food bank, you cause a deprivation of nutrition within the body basically meaning you didn’t put gas in your vehicle that day. Without gas, you can run on “fumes” or stores of calories for only so long before the body will cease to go. What you’ve just created is a state of starvation. Your body is now beginning to shut down all non life creating functions, basically everything outside of your lungs breathing and heart beating all starts to slow or shut down. This includes your metabolism, cognitive function and more! You start to store fat and use muscle instead as your fuel source to continue on.

Muscle is critical to raising your metabolism but we’ll talk about that another time. For now, let’s take a look at what you’ve just caused through your good efforts of food avoidance all day…

Now you’ve primed your body for this focus meal to work a bit differently than normal. Normally your body takes in nutrition (i.e. Calories), digests them and absorbs only what it needs and then lets the rest go. But today my friend isn’t normal anymore. Now that you’ve managed to avoid food for a period of time and started this starvation mode within the body, you have, through your behaviors, told the body that food is in short supply. The body has translated this to “I need to store more than I normally would in case I don’t get fed again tomorrow!”

This means that at your “focus” meal today, your body will begin storing as much food as possible and most of it will be stored within your fat cells. That way when the food is not being delivered to the body at the right times, it will be able to pull from its stores to survive.

Another downside to food banking is that during that “focus” meal, you are extremely likely to consume 2-3 times or sometimes more food than what you would at a normal meal. Meaning that later that evening, well, you are not going to feel very well.

Now if this is a habit of yours, you are just going to have trust me that a change of pace on these days will do you a world of good. Especially if you are wanting to transform the look of your body (whether that’s losing weight or gaining muscle). When transformation is the goal, you are going to have to feed the body more consistently to allow it to hold the muscle (remember how I mentioned it helps you raise your metabolism…therefore burn more fat?) and let go of the fat. Eating 3-5 meals throughout the day and giving equal timing between them will be your best defense against storing extra calories.

You also will need to be sure to plan your meal. I’m all about having a joyful meal once each week to rev up the system and take away that dreadful deprivation mentality. But if you are planning to include some joy, make sure it’s planned out in advance. Don’t leave room for a hail mary decision. On that same note, may I ask, why are you planning on overeating in the first place? If you are saving calories during the day for the “big” meal, that tells me that you are planning on overindulging at it. If you want to eat those foods, GREAT! But you don’t need 6 servings of chicken fried steak (hey, give me a break I’m a personal trainer in Amarillo, TX…that’s what people do around here) ;o) Try to limit your serving sizes of the less healthy foods but still enjoy them.

Last but not least, try front loading your meals ahead of time. Either before you go to the restaurant or right as you sit down, eat some raw oral dente’ veggies. Have a salad (and some other veggies) 30 or less minutes before you eat your meal and you’ll not have as much room for or want to eat as much at the meal.

To sum it all up today, if you’re a food banker, I have 3 points to bring to your attention:

1) Try eating 3-5 meals throughout the day and giving equal timing between them to prevent over eating during any meal.

2) Plan your meal but don’t PLAN to over eat!

3) Front load your meals up to 30 minutes before with raw or al dente’ veggies like a salad to help decrease your appetite.

Instead of food banking, the best idea is to follow these three points when you aren’t preparing the food yourself (and even if you are) instead of “saving up” for a big night out.

If you would like some help learning to implement these 4 points and to receive some customized guidance, our team would love to help! Together our team has over 30 years of experience in the fitness and wellness industry. We use research backed programs of nutrition, exercise and lifestyle modification that have the ability to begin to create life lasting changes within just the first 2 weeks!

To set up your consultation, just call us at 322-3188 or e-mail us at info@customfitness.biz.  Thanks for joining us.