Weekend weight gain is real. Sticking to a really good eating plan on the weekdays but splurging on the weekends puts you in the weight loss-weight gain cycle, causing your entire weight loss plan to backfire. For many, the weekend is about relaxation and social events that center around eating, often even involving alcohol. And after a week of hard work, many people feel like they deserve a break. In fact, there is a study which shows that we tend to weigh the least on Friday mornings and the most on Sundays and Mondays.
For many, Mondays are often about feeling guilty and unhappy and asking your yourself, “why did I have that whole pizza” or “why did I have that whole bottle of wine”.
Here are some effective things you can do to reduce weekend weight gain, and promote weight loss.
- Stop depriving yourself during the week. Have some of what you want during the week, so you don’t binge on the weekends. In other words, if you deprive yourself of your favorites all week, you may increase the likelihood that you will overdo it on the weekend. Incorporate a few of your favorite foods such as dark chocolate or a light beer into your eating plan throughout the week.
- Don’t let the weekend turn into one drawn out television-and-snack session. Research suggests that being a couch potato could be worse for you than sitting at a desk all day. If you want to watch a show, have a glass of wine, and a dessert, don’t have it all at once, but rather spread it out over the whole weekend. Also, take frequent breaks when watching television. Get up every hour and take 200 steps.
- Try cooking with friends instead of dining out. This way you have control over what you are cooking and eating. Spending time with friends doesn’t require a fancy, high-calorie dinner. Make it a fun evening as you cook a healthy meal together.
- Plan for parties. If you know you have an event in the evening, plan on eating fewer calories and save as many carbs as you can for the main meal. Then, you can enjoy some dessert without feeling the guilt. If there is a buffet, then take smaller portions and make only one trip to the buffet table. Fill up on proteins and veggies first, then the carbs.
- Keep up a good sleep routine. When you get less sleep on the weekday, and try to make it up on the weekends, it can adversely affect your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm increases your hunger hormones, increasing your appetite and cravings. In fact, don’t let your bedtime and wake-up time stray more than two hours from your normal sleep routine.
To get some insight into how you are handling the weekends, try logging your food intake into an app such as my fitness pal for a few weeks. Document your meals and snacks, water intake, and energy levels every day. Then compare your weekday results with your weekend ones. Are your calories and carb intake significantly higher?
Sometimes logging your food intake for the week including the weekends is a great way to stay on track and take the guesswork out of what you are going to eat that day. If you would like more information about our medically supervised weight loss program that has helped thousands of people successfully lose weight and keep it off, please reach out to us. My team and I are ready to help you lose weight and feel your very best!