During the week I’m a great dieter, I would go as far to say that I am extremely committed and dedicated to my health and fitness goals. Getting in shape is important to me, for as long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to lose weight. My weight drives the person that I am and I’m tired of that and know that I need to do this for myself. If I’m having a ‘fat day’ my mood is geared towards feeling complete inadequacy and hopelessness, sometimes this will even result in a binge and deviation from my plan. During the week I find though that I am really good at palming this off and keeping focused, I stick to my diet, come the weekend I just can’t control myself or make terrible choices that I wouldn’t make during the week. I’m either thrown by social events or just prone to emotionally resort to food and indulge like I’ve been deprived all week! I just wish there was a diet that would fix this…
For many people adhering to their fat loss plans and keeping mindful of their goals during the week isn’t the issue, it’s the weekends that are the real flies in the ointment. With some get thrown with the out of routine circumstances others are caught in a trap of overdoing it during the week and being highly restricted that the weekends are hard to control. Let’s face it, we all enjoy indulging a little here and there and enjoy things like having a meal out with friends, family, or your partner as well as a relaxing beverage. There's no need to isolate yourself, become anxious about the weekends or turn an out of routine circumstance into an eating or drinking spree. With a few tips it is possible to comfortably incorporate the weekend and the food it entails within your goals without hindering progress.
Our Equalution client's transformation so far achieved through independently selecting foods of her choice meeting our strategised macronutrient and micronutrient intake requirements set on a weekly basis according to her progress and goals. She has been able to enjoy social events over the weekend with the inclusion of alcoholic beverages without hindering her progress.
Here's our tips:
1. Lose the cheat meals: Did you know that you DON'T have to have a write off day or meal to be able to enjoy the foods you love? Did you know a cheat meal can actually hinder your goals? One CHEAT day or meal has the ability to offset a weekly calorie deficit and stall your results or even worse lead to weight gain. How? If you’re female with a Total Daily Energy Expenditure of 1800 calories, eating in a calorie deficit of 1600 calories a day and making room for e.g. 1x Cadbury Chocolate bar at 200 calories within a 1600 calorie intake will amount to fat loss. Doing this on a daily basis will NOT incur fat gain as the individual is in a calorie deficit overall. However, if you’re TDEE is 1800 calories and you’re restrictively dieting on 1500 calories a day and then have a 3800 caloric cheat day on a Sunday this makes your weekly caloric intake average 1830 which puts you in slight surplus and fat loss is unattainable.
So what's the solution? Break the mentality that results can only be attained through clean eating and allowance of only one weekly cheat meal. It's a hit and miss approach and the concept doesn't align with the science of the body and how fat loss works. The body doesn't recognise food as good or bad, it's not discriminatory in how it utilises food and instead recognises it for its macronutrient value - for its protein, carbs and fat. Cheat meals as the name suggests can really deter your focus and if you're dieting quite restrictively can put you in vulnerable position to lose touch with your concept of moderation and control in the moment. Instead work with your intake requirements - caloric, protein, fats and carbs on a daily basis and strive to incorporate foods you love according to your intake goal allowance in a flexible dieting approach.
2. Pre plan: While you're on your body transformation don't wing nights out, factor them into you goal intake requirements and pre plan according to the details of the day/night to avoid deviation. Whether you have plans or just know yourself well enough to know you don't do well with the weekend's pre planning can for the most part eliminate any derailing possibilities.
3. Work your lifestyle into your nutrition: On the note of pre planning don’t change your lifestyle to suit your diet simply ft your lifestyle within your nutrition choices. A lot of this is revolved around dining out and integrating social outings within your goal requirements for the day. Some tips on successfully doing this include:
- Always track these days using a calorie counting tool - if you’re flexible dieting for results you’re likely already doing this anyhow however don’t drop the ball because it’s the weekend.
- Save a caloric allowance - Eat lesser during the day to save ample calories for an unrestricted social event
- Keep the macronutrient you know will likely lack high during the day (e.g if you’re consuming alcohol - carbs - you’ll have to focus on protein)
- Don’t eat alone - Avoiding eating by yourself and instead eating out in a social situation will facilitate portion and consumption control. Particularly eating with people surrounding you will make you more inclined to socialise and integrate rather than be more focused on the food and potentially gauging.
- Eat meal one later - Prolonging breakfast will make saving a calorie allowance easier in that you’ll likely have less space between the light meals and can have less meals to save a greater calorie allowance for your dine out/social event.
- Order appetisers - Control portions and calories by ordering appetisers as a meal.
- Pick the right alcohol - If you drink alcohol vodka and soda water/diet coke is the lowest calorie option at 65 calories per serve and wine is fairly standard at 120 calories per glass and can be tracked via a calorie counting tool too. Cocktails are high and should be avoided. Pre plan the number of drinks you have to avoid exceeding a caloric limit.
4. Buddy Up: There’s nothing more effective for a body transformation journey than buddying up with a partner in crime to keep each other motivated. Pairing up with a friend either competitively or non competitively can better your chances of adhering to your weekly goals as well as showing up to training and pushing yourself each session. Having someone who you can experience your journey with will make you feel supported and understood and better your overall attitude to your weight loss, you two can also make plans that fit within your goals and still allow you to enjoy the weekend.
5. Drink consciously: Avoid mindlessly drinking and stick to the pre planned allowance you’ve allocated for yourself. Doing the opposite may lead to having an excessive caloric intake and also lead to potentially over eating in conjunction with binge drinking. If you’re hung over the next day it may also affect your adherence for the following day also.
6. Make time for exercise: Fat loss is dependant on burning more calories than you are consuming so by getting active you’re increasing your daily energy expenditure benefiting your fat loss efforts. If you’re going out not only can this assist in calorie burning pre-dining out but also put you in a good mindset to be committed and controlled for the event ahead. In the grand scheme of things exercise plays a very minimal role in comparison to your nutrition but can work wonders for your mindset and focus.
7. Ensure your choices align with your goals: There’s a time and a place for all food and lifestyle choices and while flexible dieting can allow you to integrate your lifestyle like dining out and flexible/fun meal choices into a daily caloric goal there are also times when you should be more inclined to test the limits and just focus on the goal ahead. In a body transformation there is a period where you need to ‘do your time’ before acquiring further flexibility. So in week one, two, three, four etc it’s not the time to be having burger and chip dinners with beers on the side. It’s more effective to limit the incorporation of ‘overdone’ nights and instead just have a diligent and committed period of consistency and all things in moderation with little fluctuations in your intake and no deviations.
8. It’s just another day: Think of the weekend as just another day.. After all, it is. Don’t treat it as anything special or requiring some sort of reward for what is actually a minimal term of adherence in being ‘good’ for just the week days. If on the weekend you happen to have had a calorie dense meal and have fewer calories to spare, always remember that THERE IS ALWAYS TOMORROW! With that mindset, there’s less throwing in the towel and treating it instead just like any other day with limitations and consciousness. This is where flexible often succeeds as with any caloric costly meal a flexible dieter simply acknowledges that they can have it all in a reasonable and paced manner if not that day then of course the next. So while your intake requirements probably won’t allow you to fit a pizza, a donut, an ice-cream and burger all on one day there’s 7 days in a week all alike, and you’re able to then be smart and spread them out! While flexible dieting you learn and acquire a lot of control and moderation that having it all at once is far less appealing than once upon a time on a cheat day.
9. When there’s a will there’s a way: Don’t look for excuses on the weekend, if you’re committed to your goals you will make all circumstances and situations work and if you have a balanced, flexible and science based approach it can be done without any missing out.
10. Don’t throw in the towel: The key is to just plan ahead, use moderation, eat mindfully and consciously, enjoy yourself, and don’t fall victim to scrapping days and writing them off as a blow out. Pretty simple equation. The reason why most can’t attain consistency is because of the restrictive method during the week putting them in a vulnerable position on the weekend, they aren’t on an effective plan for them or science based for attainment of results or lack of planning and commitment. The worst thing you can do for your results is throw your hands in the air and deem it all too hard and write the day off. Not only will it be difficult to get back on track but with the excess food you will be more inclined to have put on more weight to add to what you would like to take off.
How can a professional help?
Seeking professional help can ensure your plan is created with knowledge and experience, gives you accountability, is strategised and offers you guidance and support. Let a professional like our team teach you how to integrate your lifestyle into your scientifically calculated goal intake requirements. The best professionals are those that have worked with an abundance of people with different goals and can therefore draw on experience to justify a suitable approach for you as well as this they acknowledge a scientific approach and therefore promote balance and flexibility without giving you a heap of rules to live by that make the week day AND weekends difficult. There is also a huge value in check-in support in increasing your adherence at all times during the week as well as giving you an educated account of where your body is at. Where concerns or doubts arise a professional can draw on both knowledge and your data to answer your speculations which can further your commitment in not derailing based on doubt that you are on track to achieving your goals. Sometimes all it takes is a little reassurance and assistance in planning from someone experienced to keep you going and on track to your goal. Just through check-ins alone we have combated binge eating problems and yo-yo dieting given that the client is accountable to us to present their results, the feedback we’ve received is that accountability ensures adherence for the sake of lack of shame or disappointment in themselves when checking in. Winging it on your own can be a real game of hit and miss. If you’re tracking your intake for fat loss how will you know how to manoeuvre your calories based on your results? Does this mean your macros change? Do you decrease your cardio? How do you maintain afterwards? What happens after a bad day? Why do you keep having bad days, is the strategy approach right for you? These are all questions that a professional can assist you with in devising strategy that couples their own knowledge and experience with your goals and progress. There’s no compromise for results at any point in your journey, you’re putting in the hard yards you deserve the results, don’t rely on possibility it only leads to giving up and being disheartened. Let a professional like the Equalution team construct a plan that incorporates balance and diversity taking the thought process away and mental pressures off you giving you guidance and direction.
You aren't an antisocial alien and you shouldn’t set yourself up for a body transformation journey that confines you to the four walls of your home and subject to feeling restricted on the weekends and prone to deviation. The weekends are easily manageable with pre planning and following some of the above tips we’ve provided. Remember, fat loss is a science, if you’re eating more than you’re burning (calorie surplus) you will gain weight, if you’re eating less than you’re burning (calorie deficit) you will lose weight, you can ensure that eating out and your weekend social life works into these calculations and doesn’t hinder your results. The successful methods and individuals who achieve their goals and keep off their lost weight are those that can be sustained for a long period of time and satisfy the preferences of the individual. You can’t expect that isolation and eating what you know is accurate or ‘within your plan’ can be kept up, it’s a sad and short lived practice that will be counteracted by a moment of weakness and throwing in the towel.
Don’t prohibit yourself from eating out or avoiding ‘fun’ on the weekend, be wise, be prepared and be flexible!
Yours in Health & Fitness,
The Equalution Team