Do you eat well during the week only to indulge a bit too much on the weekend? Here’s how to avoid common weekend diet wreckers.
Research reveals that we eat 230-350 more calories per day Friday through Sunday compared to Monday through Thursday. Saturdays are actually the worst day of the week for most people when it comes to overeating.
Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis followed nearly 50 overweight adults for a year and published their findings in the journal Obesity.
The researchers tracked daily food intake and weights the subjects and found a striking difference in what people ate during the week versus the weekend. They found that subjects ate fairly consistent calories Monday through Thursday then consumed more calories Friday-Sunday, with Saturday being the biggest diet wrecker. In addition, the day with the least amount of activity was Sunday, so there was no compensation for overeating on Saturday. Not surprising, subjects were also their heaviest on Mondays and lightest on Thursdays.
The subjects in the study were gaining weight at a rate of about .17 pounds per week, due to their weekend indulgences. Over a course of a year, that could add up to almost nine pounds gained.
There are several reasons why we eat and drink more over the weekends. Duh, it’s the weekend! If you want to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, getting a handle on your weekend eating and exercise habits is essential. Below are the major weekend diet wreckers and what you can do to combat each.
Three Ways to Avoid Weekend Weight Gain
The Problem: Alcohol. The extra glass of wine at dinner or a cocktail at a party can pack a calorie punch. A 12-ounce beer is 150 calories, light beer is about 100, a shot of a distilled spirit has 80 calories and 4 ounces of wine has around 100 calories.
Weekend Rx: Allow yourself no more than two drinks on each weekend night, and be conscious that alcohol can stimulate your appetite and decrease your inhibitions (I’ll have a sliver of that zillion-calorie-cake) at the same time. When you drink enjoy ultra-light or light beers and drink distilled spirits with seltzer or diet soda. For more about putting the brakes on booze, check this out.
The Problem: Lack of daily structure. While doing nothing is the ultimate weekend, having nothing to do or no place to go can lead to overeating. Many people need some type of schedule to follow to stick to their normal diet, and when they don’t have one, they snack all day long.
Weekend Rx: Stick to your regular meal and snack times that you have during the week to stop between-meal noshes. Stay out of your kitchen when you’re home. If you must, keep a journal if you must to try to be mindful of what and why you’re eating…are you even hungry? Probably not.
The Problem: Eating to decompress. You eat more because you feel you deserve it for putting up with your horrific brow-beating boss, having to travel all week or fill in the blank reason.
Weekend Rx: I’m the number 1 fan of chilaxing, but diet indulgences feel good only in the short-term and usually make you feel worse in the long-run. Instead, think about weekend “treats” that are non-food related. How about treating yourself to a massage or spa treatment or a new group exercise class? They’ll help you relax—calorie-free.