14 Tips to Prevent Weekend Weight Gain
Do you feel like a hamster on a wheel when it comes to your weight? You’re consistently up 2 pounds Monday morning and spend the week trying to get it off. Monday through Thursday, you are as diligent as you can be. But as soon as Friday comes, your good intentions fly out the window. Weekends are a time for relaxing, eating and drinking! Whether you have the “weekend” mentality or just have more temptations, the trick will be to find a way to enjoy the weekends without overindulging. Think about how nice it would be to get off the hamster wheel! Read my 14 tips to prevent weekend weight gain. (hamster pic credit)
You’re not the only one whose diet is thrown off by the weekends. Studies have consistently shown that both men and women consume an extra 113 calories a day Friday through Sunday. (I would have thought it was more than that!). While this doesn’t seem like a lot, it can add up to a 5 pound weight gain a year.
Common weekend weight gain problems
Do any of these sound familiar?
- Hectic weekend schedules can lead to poor meal planning and not so healthy meal choices.
- Fewer real meals and more snacking …
- Invites to parties, brunches, and other events where food and alcohol is the main focus.
- Longer, harder workouts at the gym leave you feeling ravenous (or perhaps it’s a sense of entitlement to eat more!)
- The urge for an extra cocktail or glass of wine. After all, you had a hard week!
- Weekend mentality of “it’s the weekend, I deserve a little extra”
Tips to control weekend overindulging
- Ditch the weekend mentality. The National Weight Control Registry(over 10,000 people who have lost an average of 66 pounds and kept it off for 5.5 years) reveal a common trait of “successful losers/maintainers” is consistency. Participants who reported a consistent diet across the week were 1.5 times more likely to maintain their weight within 5 pounds over the subsequent year than participants who dieted more strictly on weekdays. Study
- Allow yourself one “treat” a weekend. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy … no one wants to be dull … or bored. So I often suggest to my weight loss clients that they plan one moderate treat a week (not a binge DAY)
- Plan ahead. Take a look at your weekend schedule and anticipate potential problems. If you’ll be having a late dinner, plan a late afternoon snack. If you’ll be on the golf course for 5 hours, pack an energy bar.
- Check out menus online before you head to the restaurant for healthier options. “Due Diligence” now can save you calories later. This way you don’t even need to open the menu and be tempted
- Don’t go too long without eating. Most us of skip meals on weekends. This will likely lead to overindulging at the next meal – like you want to inhale the breadbasket. Kind of like a feedbag …
- Keep your refrigerator stocked with the healthy essentials to toss a quick salad or whip up a sandwich to make last minute lunches and snacks for your weekend shift or errand running. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself hungry and grabbing for whatever is closest. (Knowing NYC, it’s probably pizza!)
- Keep problem snack foods out of the house. More free time means more time to search for snacks.
- Stock up on healthy snack options like hummus and veggies, fruit, yogurt, whole grain chips (I love Way Better) and guacamole (portion control problems – try mini Wholly Guacamole!)
- Start your day out with a good breakfast, ideally something that contains protein and fiber. This will help to prevent overeating later in the day. Good choices include: Greek yogurt and fruit OR eggs and whole grain toast OR a smoothie with protein powder, chia seeds and berries OR almond butter on a whole grain English muffin.
- Ration your alcohol. If you know you’ll be meeting friends for drinks Friday night, have a party Saturday afternoon and dinner plans in the evening, then brunch on Sunday … come up with a “moderation plan”. I often suggest a maximum allotment of alcoholic drinks with many of my clients. Maybe 5 drinks a week. That way you can choose how you want to ration them. If you want to use them all during the weekends, then you need a dry week.
- Beware of the weekend warrior exercise scenario. Cramming a weeks worth of exercise into 1-2 days can send your appetite through the roof (as well as increase your risk of injury). In addition, if you justify eating that extra piece of cake or finishing off the bottle of wine because “you worked out really hard today,” you may be setting yourself up for weight gain because it’s likely you’re “out-eating your workout” (read my previous blog on more than what you burned off!
- Eat mindfully. Eat slow and enjoy your food. That second burger probably won’t taste as good as the first one!
- Make sure you are not depriving yourself during the week and creating a calorie deficit that you fill – and even exceed – on the weekends. Your best bet is to maintain a healthy balance of indulgences and cutbacks throughout the week into the weekend and treat every day equally.
- Try to keep food records on weekends. I like myfitnesspal.com (FREE app). It can be very eye opening and can really help curb your weekend eating and drinking
Bottom line, no one is saying that you can’t loosen up a little with your eating on the weekends. If you consistently gain 2 pounds over the weekend, maybe your goal could be to only be up 1 pound …or stay flat … by Monday morning. This will help you break that dreaded hamster wheel scenario. (But keep in mind that an overnight jump of 2 pounds on the scale doesn’t mean it’s from fat … more on this at another post)
Do YOU have trouble with your healthy eating on the weekends? Add a comment and we’ll see if you we can help you!
I especially love problem-solving, whether it’s helping women defeat issues plaguing them for years, helping a busy executive find practical ways to get heart healthy, or providing tips to help you reverse diabetes. That’s why I’m on a constant quest to expand my knowledge by staying on top of the latest research.