We all know by now, that in order to achieve fat loss, the most important principle is maintaining a calorie deficit. This means that you’re consuming less energy from food than what your body needs which will ultimately result in fat loss. This doesn’t mean you have to be in a calorie deficit every single day, but instead it’s about being in an overall net energy deficit over an extended period of time. Now adhering to a calorie deficit definitely can be challenging sometimes and often requires some level of discipline. If you’re wanting to do it right, you may need to track your calories and macros each day to ensure that you are hitting those marks consistently. One of the most common things that we see our clients who are trying to lose weight struggle with, is adhering to their calories on the weekends. This is usually the time of the week where you’ll catch up with friends over some drinks or spend the night at home watching the footy with pizza. Or maybe you’re going away for the weekend and want to try out some new restaurants! Whatever the case might be, these moments are important and you don’t have to give them up just because you have body composition goals.
This is where the technique of “banking your calories” might be a useful way for you to indulge a bit more on the weekends without jeopardizing your progress or blowing through your weekly calorie deficit. An easy thing to compare it to would be like budgeting your money for the week. If you know that your favourite gym clothing brand is having huge sales this weekend, you’d budget all week and save every spare dollar to ensure you have enough to buy those gym tights without making you broke. This is the same concept as “banking your calories” throughout the week which allows you to have more flexibility to enjoy some extra food on the weekend.
As you can see in the first graph above, if you’re in an energy deficit of 1800 calories per day, that means your weekly sum of calories in an energy deficit is 12,600 over the 7 days. An example of what banking your calories might look like can be seen on the second graph where Monday to Friday, you reduce your calories down to 1600 per day which means that you’re banking 200 calories per day and 1000 calories over the 5 days. You can then use these “banked calories” on the weekend and eat 2300 calories on Saturday and Sunday. This means that over the course of the week, you’re still within that 12,600 calories and therefore still adhering to the energy deficit.
Now while this technique can be useful in terms of helping you adhere to your calories on the weekend, there are still some considerations and things to be mindful of. During the week, you have now essentially placed yourself into an even larger deficit which may come with its own challenges. It’s important to be mindful of the amount of calories you’re “banking” as it needs to be realistic to you and your goals. The larger the deficit, the hungrier you’re likely to feel, you might feel more tired than usual, feel irritable and/or hinder physical performance. All of these things could have an influence on your ability to maintain the calorie deficit in the long term and therefore might not be a sustainable approach for everyone.
Another consideration and something to be mindful of, is what type of foods are you removing during the week and what foods are you replacing it with on the weekends. If you’re skipping out on fruit and removing vegetables during the week and then using those extra calories on alcohol on the weekend, you’re not replenishing those nutrients equally. Protein intake is another vital macronutrient, especially during a fat loss phase and reaching your requirements each day is very important. Getting the majority of your calories from wholefoods and reducing your intake of discretionary items during the week, would be an optimal approach to ensure that you’re still getting a variety of micro and macronutrients.
In summary, “banking” your calories can be a really helpful tool used to distribute your calories throughout the week that suits your lifestyle while supporting your fat loss goals. It may not be for everyone and there are some things to consider to help ensure that you are still eating a well-balanced and nutrient dense diet. If you are currently a client with EBT and have any additional questions or think this is something you’d like to try, please reach out and someone from our team will get back to you.