21 Apr 2020

We all need to eat food that nourishes our body, food that brings us pleasure and food that we enjoy.

We cannot eat food, count the calories and then burn them off. This isn't accurate science (we don't actually absorb all the calories in our food) and it treats our bodies like machines, when they are so much more than this. 

Compensation is a very common behaviour or thought process we see in eating disorders.

This is the feeling of needing to make up for the calories we've eaten in some way, for example by restricting the food we eat later on or by exercising to "burn the calories off". 

Promoting the idea of "burning off" every calorie we eat just confirms this idea and could be triggering for those with an eating disorder or people at risk of developing one.

It does nothing but reinforce diet culture. It suggests that as people, we are not good enough as we are; that being thinner is better, that if you eat you must "exercise your food off". 

Exercise should not be about punishing your body or compensating for the food that you eat, it should be about enjoyment.

Food is good for us; it is essential and we do not need to be demonising it in any way.

Article

Author

Priya Tew

Dietitian