Things you’ll learn in this blog:
Have you ever stepped on the scales after a weekend of eating (and drinking) and been demotivated by what you see?
How often do you hear yourself saying “I’ll start again on Monday”?
Weekends are often the downfall for even the most diligent dieter. You’re doing well all weekend, swapping sweet treats for healthy snacks and suddenly Fri-YAY night hits, and the wine and takeaway seem all too enticing.
Before you know it, you’ve gone off the rails on Saturday and Sunday too, and are left regretting your food choices on Monday.
While it’s okay to enjoy yourself at the weekend, going totally off track can derail your fitness goals.
Weekends make up over 28% of the entire week - so it's a big chunk of your time to abandon your weight loss goals.
That’s why it’s good to understand why you do it, and how to avoid it if weight loss is part of your goals.
In this blog, we're exploring why it’s harder to stay on your diet at the weekend, and some tips for staying motivated.
Why is it harder to diet at weekends?
During the week you’re organized and dedicated - staying on track with your exercise, meal prep, and sleep regime. Probably because you are busy with work, home, kids, and general life admin during the week.
Simply put you probably have a routine during the week. There’s not much time for eating out or spontaneous drinks with the girls
But when the weekend rolls around and you have more time and flexibility. Plus you want to relax and reward yourself for a stressful week.
Unfortunately, this combo often means lots of extra calories in the form of drinks, fancy coffees, cakes, takeaways, and brunches.
And one small treat can quickly spiral into an entire weekend of overindulging, ultimately derailing your health and fitness goals.
- Related content: 6 tips for staying motivated for your weight loss goals
Can weekend eating ruin my diet?
For some people, a weekend of treating themselves is a basic right after a week on the diet wagon.
But will that impact your overall fitness goals, and if so how?
It’s not a simple, straightforward answer. Yes, a whole weekend of off-plan eating and drinking can quite easily wipe out all the excellent work you did dieting during the week.
Let’s say you save 300 calories every day from Monday-Thursday by dieting, exercising, and eating well. That’s a 1200-calorie deficit (nice one!)
Then the weekend hits, and you have a glass of wine on Friday night (100 calories), brunch on Saturday (600 calories), a flapjack in the afternoon (300 calories), and a Sunday takeaway (1000 calories) plus a G&T (100 calories).
You can see how the weekend can add all those weekday calories back in – and then some. And doing this every weekend is going to add up and have a negative impact on your goals.
But, one thing to note is that you need to eat an extra 3500 calories to gain just one pound of true body weight.
YES, you might be a little heavier on a Monday if you've been eating lots of salty foods and alcohol, as you’ll retain water weight.
But realistically one weekend won’t make you 10-stone heavier - it probably won’t even make you one pound heavier. But the cumulative impact of doing this every weekend will result in weight gain.
So, if you have ambitious weight loss goals and you are finding it difficult to shift weight then you’ll make faster progress by sticking to your diet at the weekend. But remember it’s not the end of the world if you are a little less stick at the weekend than during the week - you can still lose weight.
7 easy tips to stop falling off your diet at the weekend…
Your weekend probably won’t be perfect. You’ve got friends, social events, and things to enjoy!
Here are a few ways to take control of weekend calories so you can keep losing weight without saying “no” to everything.
1. Review your weekend in advance…
What does your weekend look like?
If you can, sit down on a Thursday night and plan out what the weekend has in store. This makes it easier to stick to, rather than react to events that come up.
If you know you’ve got lunch and drinks out on Saturday, you might choose to have a lighter lunch or only have one drink.
It can help you realistically plan your weekend holistically, rather than taking each meal as they come.
2. Plan some meals…
Shall we just get a takeaway?
You can have the best intentions in the world, but that one line will make them all go out the window.
If you have a plan for your meals (and have all the food you need in the house), then you’re more likely to stick to it. You could even take it one step further and do some meal prep so all you have to do is heat the food up.
If you don’t know what to eat it will be much easier to cave and get a takeaway or two.
Plan ahead so you know what you’ll be cooking and stick to the schedule.
3. Have a few go-to meals…
Not knowing what to eat is a gateway to takeaways and unhealthy snacks.
Have a few tried and tested, fallback weekend meals that you know are nutritious, delicious, and will help you stay on track.
Some examples are a healthy breakfast such as an omelet (protein and veggies galore), or a salad packed with greens and proteins.
Have a few fallback weekend meals that you know help you stay on track, like a healthy protein-packed breakfast or a simple salad lunch with lots of veggies.
This will help you stay on track with some meals, and fill up with healthy, nutritious food - making you less likely to snack.
4. Factor in some extra calories…
You will eat more at the weekend…
If you can get to grips with that, then you’ll be much less likely to become demotivated after a weekend of eating.
This doesn’t mean you need to go crazy and have 3 McDonalds, a Pizza Hut, and a Taco Bell in one weekend (please don’t do this). But sometimes weekends are so full of fun that extra calories are a small price to pay.
If you know you’ve got a high-cal weekend ahead, trim 100+ more calories from the weekdays on either side to create a buffer. This means that in the long run you won’t be exceeding your calorie allowance and you’ll stay on track.
5. Stay active…
Don’t just slob around on the couch from 5 pm on Friday til 9 am on Monday morning.
One of the best ways to stay on track with your fitness goals is to stay active. Not only will this burn loads of extra calories but it will keep you busy so you have less time for food and drink.
It doesn’t have to be a workout, although you might have time for a longer workout to offset the eating and drinking.
But how about long walks with friends or fun one-off activities like climbing or paddle boarding?
Any activity is good and will help you towards your overall health and fitness goals (and it will help you feel great).
6. Don’t stay up late…
Have you ever reached for an extra coffee or sweet snack after a terrible night of sleep?
Lack of sleep plays havoc with your hunger and fullness hormones ghrelin and leptin, which can leave you craving carbs and sweets the next day.
Your body craves food and sugar if you aren’t well rested and so sticking to a regular sleep schedule at the weekend can help you stay on track.
7. Get support…
Dieting is easier when surrounded by people who understand your goals and are happy to back you up.
Spend time with people who share your healthy eating habits and enjoy being active and having fun without always eating and drinking. It will be much easier to stay on track without feeling like you are missing out.
How to get back on track after a weekend of binge eating…
You’ve got all these plans and you stick to none of them…
You spend the weekend eating nothing but takeaways and snacks, and you have more than a few glasses of wine.
It’s easy to step on the scales on Monday morning and feel totally demotivated about your weight loss journey. Starting on Monday can suddenly become Tuesday and Wednesday and before you know it’s the weekend again.
If you do go a little wild at the weekend it’s fine. It will happen and it’s not sustainable to pretend that it will be any other way.
However, if you find yourself in this position then…don’t panic.
As we said, you would have to eat 3500 extra calories to gain just one pound. While having an indulgent weekend every weekend will negatively impact your weight loss goals, there is a little leeway to have a good time every now and then.
If you have a “bad” meal then try to not write off the entire weekend, just get back on track as soon as possible and know that you’ll still be able to reach your goals.
And remember, your weekend is 28.5% of your week. While it’s not the end of the world if you are a litter less strict, it’s not a good plan to go completely wild for the entire 48 hours.
If you need some help then PhenQ is part of your support team that will help you stay on track at the weekends. We’re always here with information, advice, and a little helping hand when you need a boost.
- Related content: What is Binge Eating? And How Can You Control it?