Many of us work hard at losing weight during the work week only to have it fall apart on the weekend. We carefully prepare our meals for the week and then and all of that discipline and hard work go right out the window when the weekend rolls around.
Yet seven of the twenty–one meals we eat happen on the weekend, that’s 33% of our meals for the week.
I think of a client who was having a hard time losing weight. She carefully planned out her weekly meals and exercised daily but was consistently maintaining her body weight and she still wanted to lose weight. Looking back on her weekend, it was discovered that the weekend had become one endless grazing session. And although she still performed physical activity on the weekend, the calories she consumed during that time kept her from losing the extra weight. The calorie restriction of the week + the calorie overconsumption on the weekend = weight maintenance.
Once she developed a weekend plan she was able to lose the weight she desired.
Most of us are like this client. We eat pre-planned meals during the week, overeat on the weekends, and then feel the need to reset on Monday. We repeat this cycle over and over and over again. Overeating and splurging on the weekends can hinder our weight loss efforts and make it hard to maintain the weight we worked so hard to achieve.
Here are my tips on how to avoid overeating on the weekends:
Make a weekend plan
Look at the calendar and review your weekend plan. Pick one or two meals starting on Friday night that you know will be outside of your usual eating pattern. Write down or plan ahead what each meal looks like. NO plan = overeating!!!
Have defined meal times
Having defined meal times eliminates endless weekend grazing where one meal blurs into the next. It may be easier to start with your usual breakfast routine and then modify the day based on your pre-determined “eating out” meals. Create a routine around this. The morning may even look a lot like your weekday morning routine.
Enjoy your pre-planned meals
Once you decide on your pre-planned “eating out” meals, enjoy them. Try to eliminate any guilt that you feel as you purposely structured your weekend routine to accommodate this meal.
Make hydration a priority
Attempt to consume as much water on the weekend as you do during the weekday. This may help keep hunger in check and determine if your hunger is really thirst from being dehydrated.
Review the weekend
Take the time to reflect on how you feel your weekend went in terms of your eating. This step is not meant to invoke judgement. This action will provide information in determining what worked and what did not work. This information can be used for the upcoming weekends so that a lasting change can be made.