Whomever decided that having weekends was a good idea for people trying to eat healthy? Its like a summer vacation for those who struggle in school. You return every September forgetting what you learned and have a crash course the first month back!
We do the same thing to our bodies every Monday and Tuesday. So for those that think they are eating healthy Monday-Friday and then overindulge on the weekend-well you are technically only eating healthy from a cellular standpoint Wednesday and Thursday with a half day Tuesday and Friday. So 3 days out of 7 isn’t bad-or is it?
Depending on what your goals are 3 out of 7 may not be enough. Let’s discuss some reasons why, shall we?
1. When you eat consistently Monday-Friday and keep the same number of calories or macro nutrients and then eat completely different Friday night-Sunday your body will freak out and decide to hold onto all of it. Why? Because it’s panicking, and it doesn’t understand what’s happening. Similar to a flood. You keep the same amount of water in the reservoir then a surge of additional water comes, the dam will break and leak over. You are leaking over in sugar and fats into storage (extra weight) every time you go out of that consistent mark.
2. On the flip side of that, when we overindulge on the weekend and have a surplus of calories and/or macronutrients then come Monday we are eating significantly less food, our bodies will still store everything! Why? Because it thinks you are now starving. Your pancreas, especially, remembers everything you ate from the meal before. It is prepared at all times to send and regulate insulin. Disrupting this flow from meal to meal or weekend to weekday can disrupt your endocrine system (the hormones that regulate weight) and cause a weight problem or the slow down progress of losing weight.
3. “As published in the August 2003 issue of Obesity Research, found that Americans 19 to 50 years old take in 115 more calories per day on the weekend (defined as Friday through Sunday) than on the other days of the week. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 17,940 extra calories — or about 5 pounds” (Hatfield).
Recent reports stated that a weekend of excess leaves 47% of women feeling tired and ill-equipped to deal with the busy week ahead and that triggers for entering into a ‘binge’ were also revealed, including a stressful week at work (40%), office cakes and treats (18%), a Friday takeaway (24%) and a Saturday morning fry up or bacon sandwich (27%).
So how do we continue to meet our goals even on the weekend? First we have to establish those goals and not only establish them but make a concrete WHY of figuring it out WHY its your goal. Once you establish the why behind your goal you can rate how badly you want that goal and what are you willing to do or sacrifice to make it happen. Many of my clients come to me out of either a desperation or a necessity. On the verge of a medical diagnosis due to weight or a new diagnosis because of weight. Those that come to me out of just knowing they should, make progress much slower, because of that lack of urgency. Having that lack of urgency, motivation, drive, and/or need will slow down your weight loss efforts.
When you decide to get serious about weekend food and beverage indulgences it does not mean you have to cut them out completely. Here’s a few tips to keep it all in line with the healthier weekday eating.
• Start your day out right. “Eat a healthy breakfast on the weekend, when you have more time,” says Susan Moores, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. “You usually eat less during the day if you start with a healthy breakfast and you get some good nutrition”
• Don’t go hungry to “save up” for a big dinner out. “Saving yourself backfires — you usually end up eating way more than you would have if you ate normally throughout the day,” says Moores. “Have a little bite to eat before you go out to take the edge off your hunger, and then simply enjoy good food when you go out.”
• Savor the experience of dining out. “Allow yourself to enjoy good food and savor it, rather than overindulge in it,” says Moores. “People forget what the whole eating experience is about — sitting with friends, enjoying your time together, and relaxing.”
• Eat slowly. “It takes 15-20 minutes for your brain to signal your stomach that it’s full, so take your time,” Moores explains. “Whether you’re at a party or eating out on the weekend, remember to slow down when you’re eating.”
• Start with soup. “Take your time when you order at a restaurant, and start with soup,” says Moores. “Then, have the waiter come back so you can order an entrée — you’ll order much less than if you ordered all at once.”
• Halve your restaurant entrees. “Splitting an entree with a friend is a great way to make a significant cut in calories on the weekend,” says Moores.
• Don’t skip dessert; share it. “Make it special,” says Moores. “Choose something that is really delightful to you and split it with a friend. Keep an eye out for portion sizes, and if the dessert you want is huge, ask the waiter to slice it thin or split it with the table — but I’m all for dessert.”
• Avoid overdoing it with alcohol. “If you can cut out one or two drinks per day on the weekend, that will save you 100 to 150-plus calories,” says Moores. And, she explains, people who drink more tend to eat more as well. So drink alcohol with caution, if at all.
• Remember your waistline. “Wear a tighter pair of pants when you go out on the weekend,” says Moores. “Wear something that’s not uncomfortable but that reminds you there are limits to what you should eat.”
• Find a substitute for soda. “Use water to satisfy thirst, rather than soda, which many people drink more of on the weekends,” says Bryant. “Not only are they consuming a tremendous amount of calories, but soda is high in fructose, which stimulates the appetite.”
Another area to ask yourself is, “What are you feeding?” When you find yourself in situations on the weekend that may be overindulgent take a moment and ask yourself what is it you are feeding? Is it energy, emotions, addictions, numbing, social, or any other number of reasons. Have your WHY close by and focus on that why. It makes no sense to devote so much time week after week towards goals to allow a weekend to undo it all and start you right back at square one. Be strong this weekend, you are more than the pull to eat unhealthily!