Is it OK to overeat and then exercise enough to work it off?
anonymous Asks ...
My husband has asked me to stop exercising before bed and he is concerned that there is something unhealthy about my weight control habits. Is it wrong to keep track of everything I eat and calculate the calories and then calculate my daily resting caloric expenditure and then calculate how many calories are surplus and then make sure I do as much exercise at night before bed as is needed to make sure my intake and outtake match almost exactly? It is something I have been doing for about a year and it has helped me to control my weight very effectively, and in the past I have struggled to control my weight. This way I can eat as much as I want without guilt because I know I will work it all off before I go to bed.
William Anderson Says ...
What you are describing is a form of bulimia, where a person eats too much, binges, and then "purges", ridding the body of the calories that have been overeaten. There is a high risk that it will get out of control, where one's life gets taken over by a compulsive need to binge, followed by a compulsive need to exercise, followed by a never-ending vicious cycle of these two addictions. Some people have gotten so addicted with this that their whole life is consumed by it. They stop the other normal activities of their life, even sleep and work. Some have died as a result of it.
Your husband's complaint is a sign that it might be getting out of control. Make an appointment with an eating disorders therapist and check it out to either confirm or discount this possibility.
I have always discouraged this kind of "calorie balancing" strategy because it can cause so many problems. Your goal needs to be to create a healthy relationship and habits with food and a healthy relationship and habits with exercise. What you are doing does neither and risks creating a well-known, sometimes-lethal disease.
Read my book, The Anderson Method, and read the articles at my website, www.TheAndersonMethod.com, the Table of Contents at the lower right corner of the home page. These will give you a healthier way to think about the problem and solve it.
Make good health and habits your goal, and weight control a part of that. Weight control at the expense of your health and well being in a mistake.