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. While some get thrown by the lack of routine, others are caught in a trap of being so restricted during the week that the weekends are hard to control.
Let’s face it, we all love 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 are our tips:
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 (TDEE) 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, 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 a 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.
Pre-plan your weekly meals
While you're on your body transformation, don't wing nights out. Factor them into your 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 weekends, pre-planning can help eliminate any derailing possibilities.
Work your lifestyle into your nutrition
On the note of pre-planning, don’t change your lifestyle to suit your diet, simply fit 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 of your days using a calorie counting tool like the meal diary on our Equalution app. If you’re practising flexible dieting you’re likely already doing this anyhow, but don’t drop the ball just 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 binging.
- 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 fewer 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 our Equalution app too. Cocktails are high and should be avoided. Pre-plan the number of drinks you have to avoid exceeding a caloric limit.
Buddy up during your weight loss journey
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, 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.
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 overeating in conjunction with binge drinking. If you’re hungover the next day it may also affect your adherence for the following day.
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.
Ensure your choices align with your goals
There’s a time and a place for all food and lifestyle choices. 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.
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 weekdays. 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 flexibility 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 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 are 7 days in a week, and you’re able to then be smart and spread them out!
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. If you have a balanced, flexible and science-based approach it can be done without missing out.
Don’t throw in the towelThe 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 blowout. 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 to 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. Our team is made up of professional nutritionists, who can teach you how to integrate your lifestyle into your scientifically calculated goal intake requirements.
Our in-house nutritionists have worked with a wide variety of people with different goals and motivations, and therefore have plenty of experience catering to all types of situations. They can confidently create a suitable approach for you based on science, promoting balance and the flexibility to live your life without loads of restrictive rules. With Equalution, we also offer weekly check-ins and support which can help increase your adherence, as well as help monitor and celebrate your weight loss journey.
By tracking your progress, we can better help answer any concerns or doubts of yours when they arise by analysing the data, in combination with your knowledge and expertise. This can help to keep your commitment consistent by directly seeing your results, as well as keep a positive mindset with a little reassurance and assistance from our nutritionists. Our check-ins have also been successful in working through binge eating problems and yo-yo dieting with clients, as they give some accountability with regular delivery of results.
Another reason why working with one of our nutritionists can really help keep you on track is their ability to calculate and adjust your calorie intake. Without the proper knowledge, how will you know when and by how much to adjust your calories based on your results? Will you know if your macros need to change as well, or how to calculate maintenance goals once you reach your ideal weight, to avoid putting it back on? Our Equalution team are experienced in all of this, and create plans every day that incorporate balance and diversity, taking away the stress and pressure and giving you guidance and direction.
You aren't an antisocial alien and confining yourself within the four walls of your house and to a restricted diet isn't sustainable. The weekends are easily manageable with a little pre-planning, some guidance from our team and by following the tips above. Remember, there is a science to fat loss, and if you're eating more than you're burning you will gain weight, but if you're eating less than you're burning you will lose weight.
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