Tuesday, 18 September 2012

To Eat Or Not To Eat – Pizza Or Glass Of Water?

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How do you cope when you rush out of an extended meeting that’s lasted for hours longer than anticipated?  It’s 3.30pm, you’ve missed lunch and there’s just a great British pie or pizza with soggy chips that the cafeteria will rustle up for you.  What do you do?  Do you gorge on the calories or skip it and survive on air and water until dinner?  Let’s discuss!

The good news is you are probably not alone.  This happens to everyone from time to time, but if this is a regular occurrence, you may need to do something about it.  Even so, let’s face it; if you haven't planned for this and don't have a delicious sandwich waiting for you in the fridge, then your options are pretty limited. 

Scenario one: you stuff yourself and feed your screaming tummy.  Scenario two: you choose to brave it and drink another glass of water as there really isn’t anything suitable to eat.
Sounds harsh but I believe we’ve incited a fierce debate.  It’s a little bit like weight cycling or yo yo dieting, whereby you lose weight and then regain it all over again in the space of a few days.  Did you know that some studies quote that fasting and feasting may affect your resting energy expenditure?  

Weight loss as a result of skipping meals may make you feel giddy with joy, but you may also experience a decline in your metabolic rate.  Worse, a high proportion of this weight loss may in fact be lean body mass rather than fat mass.  Not all studies are in agreement with these claims but the impact on state of mind and your food choices at the next meal as a result of skipping meals may in fact be pointing the finger towards an unhealthy diet and lifestyle.  

What's more, I can’t imagine that you will have energy for an intense hour of swimming or cycling after just a glass of water for lunch as fuel for your planned after work activity.

So if it's not scenario two should we settle on scenario one?  You decide to buy a slice of the cheesy gooey gluttonous pizza. OK, perhaps it’s only gluttonous if you go for the chips too.  And that’s exactly it, choose a small portion of what’s going on offer and top up with fruit or low fat yoghurt (instead of the soggy chips as extra) to keep you going till your evening meal.  This ensures that you are not filling your body with unnecessary calories just because you are raving mad with hunger.

Scenarios two is certainly not recommended but if you are beyond hunger, choose something light even if you only do choose a piece of fruit, cereal bar or a bit of toast.  

Be sensible and you may wake up in a weeks time finding that you have successfully managed to shed another pound.  Why?  You made the smart choice of eating to hunger instead of overriding the hunger cues.  It may not have been the most healthiest choice, but you chose an acceptable portion size which meant that you still had the energy for the planned after work exercise plans.

Purple verdict?  It’s possible you may disagree, but I say eat it and have the glass of water too.  Slot in an exercise session to work it off then forget about it.  Tomorrow’s another day.

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