The Rule of Compensation

The Rule of Compensation is a KEY factor to keeping weight off. It is also very important during any weight loss process but it is absolutely essential once your goal has been reached and you strive to maintain your ideal weight.

The Rule of Compensation is:

If you over-eat or under-exercise, you must compensate for your indulgence at the very next eating or exercising opportunity.

Life is long and filled with wonderful eating and social opportunities. We will drink too much wine; we will eat too much chocolate; we will over indulge on occasion.  But instead of surrendering all discipline for the day thinking, “Forget it! I blew it! I’m going to devour the rest of this cake”. You stop. You think about how much you over-ate and HOW you will compensate for it. Plan it out. 

For example, a Saturday night out with friends, you had: 3 glasses of red wine, big creamy pasta and a chocolate dessert. You ate approximately 600 over your daily limit. Plan your compensation for the very next day:

  • Add 30 minutes to your morning work out (250 calories burned)
  • Skip the latte, have a black coffee (90 calories saved)
  • Cut out 2 carbohydrate servings for the day (160 calories saved)
  • Do a 30 minute power walk at night after dinner (180 calories burned)
  • Total: 600 calories – you compensated for your indulgence.

You don’t have to calculate every calorie as above.  This is just a guide as to what compensatory behaviours could look like.

The MOST important aspect of the Rule of Compensation is that it is done as quickly as possible after the dietary indulgence. If you enjoy an extravagant breakfast complete with bacon, croissants and fried eggs, then you should start thinking about how you will compensate for the rest of the day (and perhaps the next day as well if you really went overboard).  A green salad with a bowl of vegetable soup  for lunch;  sparkling water instead of wine with dinner; and an extra 30 minutes added on to your workout THAT day or the next, will help compensate for your excess and keep your body in check.

If you planned to go for a run or hit an exercise class, but you just didn’t make it out. How will you compensate for it? Consider adding an extra 15 minutes to your next 3 workouts and cutting out dessert that night. Don’t beat yourself up, just compensate!

 Some tips on food substitutions to save calories:

Instead of:  Select: Calories Saved
12oz  nonfat latte  (126 cals) 12 oz nonfat Americo Misto (66 cals) 60 calories
1 oz cheddar cheese (113 cals) 1 oz skim milk mozzarella (72 cals) 41 calories
8 fl oz lemonade (100 cals) 200ml sparking water & lemon (0) 100 calories
1 banana (110 cals) 2 plums (30 calories each) 50 calories
French fries (small) (225 cals) Small baked potato (130 cals) 95 calories
4oz hamburger patty (240 cals) 4oz bison patty (190 cals) 50 calories
Chocolate mousse (300 cals) ¾ cup mixed berries (52 cals) 248 calories
1 cup Boston Clam Chowder (180 cals) 1 cup Chunky Vegetable Soup (recipe below)  (65 cals) 115 calories

A great recipe for everyone’s file is a clean, low-calorie, high-flavour vegetable soup.  Use it as a tasty “compensation meal” for over-indulgences, or add some white beans or a few ounces of skinless chicken breast for a heartier dish.


Chunky Vegetable Soup

Serves: 4


  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced fennel
  • ½  cup sliced carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cup diced green cabbage
  • 1/2 cup green beans
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh herbs of your choice (basil, dill, oregano, thyme)
  • Pinch of salt and pepper


  • In a large saucepan, add 2 tsp olive oil and sauté carrot, onion, fennel and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Add broth, cabbage, beans, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
  • Immediately lower heat and simmer, covered about 15 minutes or until beans are tender.
  • Sprinkle fresh herbs on top.
  • Serve hot.

Nutrition:   65 calories per cup.



Share This: 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.