You go to the gym and work HARD 3 to 5 days a week. TICK
You eat healthy all week. TICK
You get plenty of sleep. TICK
But you still can’t seem to get rid of that little bit of weight that stubbornly wont vacate your mid section. Your weekend habits may be the problem!
Starting Friday after work you hit happy hour with your co-workers. You have a few beers or wines and maybe then a couple sugary cocktails and BOOM!!!! 2000 calories ingested in 90 mins. Now your freaking starving and in this state (buzzed) you can’t stand the thought of having another chicken salad because you ate them every day this week because that’s what you think you have to eat in order to lose weight. So your semi intoxicated mind tells you its ok to “treat” yourself to some pizza because you’ve been “good” all week… But not only do you have pizza you have 3 slices (or more) of pizza!! Because all week you’ve been depriving yourself of foods you love (and mostly likely under eating) so now you can’t control the urge to binge on bad foods. In the morning you wake up feeling like total $h** because A. you’re hung over, and B. you ate a bunch of crap and now you’re feeling super guilty.
So it’s Saturday and you decide you should give your body a break from the gym. You already ate like a pig last night so you figure what the hell, I might as well mess up some more since I already messed up last night. So now the combination of your decreased activity (not going to the gym because its Saturday) and your increased caloric intake (The idea that “It’s the weekend and I ate good all week so what the hell”) leads to the total and utterly drastic reversal of any progress that you made all week.
How to not become a weekend statistic
Be extremely diligent during the week in preparation for the weekend.
If you’re one of those people that no matter how much sense it makes to change your weekend eating habits but isn’t going to actually do it, then this option makes the most sense for you. If you know you’re going to be in food heaven during the weekend, then the only other variable that you can control is to hit your deficit hardcore during the week and make sure that you’re on top of tracking your intake.
Think of it as preemptive damage control.
This way, even if you end up going over your calories a bit on the weekend, you’re still in a pretty decent deficit for the entire week. Strength training on the weekend helps as well in the sense that you have nutrient partitioning on your side (some of the additional calories going towards muscle repair).
Just know that this strategy alone can only take you so far and at some point, depending on your results and if you want to speed them up, you’re going to have to bring change to the weekend.
Rock out for 5 days, maintain for 2.
If you cant handle an aggressive deficit during the week, then this is a good option that gives you the best of both worlds: you can choose a less harsh deficit Monday-Friday and then on Saturday & Sunday you can simply eat at maintenance. This way you can still accumulate a pretty decent weekly deficit which is great because you’re eating to maintain on the weekend and therefore you aren’t backsliding and erasing any of the gains that you’ve already made.
I would also make sure that you include some delicious, traditionally “non-diet food” into your meal plan during the week so that you don’t feed into that sense of deprivation, decreasing the chances of you going wild with such foods on the weekend. This is something that I suggest implementing during any diet.
Find an exercise buddy
Getting a friend or family member involved in activities such as HIIT classes or strength training can be a great tool for staying motivated over the weekend period. Often times, people’s activity level can decrease Saturday and Sunday, this may be avoided if you have someone that you know is going to be holding you accountable to maintaining your exercise regime. The RFT “Bring a Buddy in May” competition is the perfect opportunity to ensure you remain consistent with your routine!
Increase your movement
As mentioned above, sometimes planned activity can take a back seat to the weekend “shenanigans”, especially during the colder months. Making a conscious effort to move more will have a dramatic impact on your health related goal. Taking part in something like the RFT Movement Challenge, running through winter, will be another way in which you can give yourself the absolute best opportunity to stay the course not just over the weekends, but through those darker, colder days!