Let's talk about the weekend. How tempting is throwing in the towel come Friday? It’s the end of a workweek, your colleagues are already feeling the weekend vibes, it’s 5pm work drinks are flowing, nibbles are served and all of a sudden your strict dieting mentality is switched off. Or maybe you’re at home and the kids know its takeaway night so you’re getting tested and know that by the end of the night it won’t end well and you’ll be deep into a pizza or ordering yourself something at the Maccas drive through too.
Many on a health and fitness journey fall victim to the weekend RUT. They diet hard, rigidly, strictly or diligently all week long that the weekend just proves to difficult to sustain it through and all of a sudden it turns into 2-3 days of saying ‘treat yourself’. Then it gets to Sunday night and while some are perched on the couch so pleased with themselves to have 1) ate well and 2) stuck to their exercise regime; for most it's a time of self-loathing for excessive eating and drinking and quite often an uncontrolled binge.
The weekend often proves challenging when it comes to dieting for a number of reasons.
Here's where a lot of people come unstuck:
Our Equalution client, down 6kgs and 36cms in body measurements.
This was 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.
1. An ineffective dieting strategy: Dieters who have a questionable method of dieting and are flying blind under a grey aim to try and eat 'clean' or 'healthy', can be challenged over the weekend asking on numerous occasions whether something is a yes or a no usually ending up confused or giving up.
2. Lack of lifestyle balance: When social events arise this can make dieters who are unsure of how to incorporate dine out and social events quite anxious and unsure of how to balance life with their dieting strategy.
3. Peer pressure: Influences in a social environment can challenge and trump self-discipline making dieters give in without a second thought or feel compelled to anyhow.
4. Lack of planning and uncertainty out of routine: A different schedule of a weekend can often present an opportunity to throw in the towel and stray from usual commitment and diligent planning.
5. Restrictive method: Some restrictive dieters have been so strict during the week the weekend becomes a free for all and includes binges and uncontrolled cheat meals.
Can you relate? The weekend might be the cause of weight gain, lack of progress and stress in your health and fitness journey. Let’s look at from a mathematical perspective. Fat loss of weight gain is the result of whether you’re burning more or less energy than expenditure. If you’re wanting to lose body fat you want to be in a calorie deficit (consuming less energy than expenditure) here’s how the weekend can get in the way of that…
Let’s say you’re a female with a total daily energy expenditure of 1850 calories. On a weekday you’re strictly CLEAN EATING, not acknowledging calories and macros but due to portion control and trying to ‘eat less’ you’re consuming a deficit of 1600 calories which may look something like this:
2 Eggs on 2 slices Burgen rye bread
1 Protein Shake and almonds
Chicken, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, feta balsamic salad
2 Rice cakes with peanut butter
Fish, sweet potato and beans
Total: 1600 Calories.
You then get to Friday and add onto your day a wine... or two... or three - because you can’t resist. Then comes Saturday where the treats begin, ending on Sunday with you full as a goog after two full days of treating yourself unbeknownst consuming 2500 calories a day. Easy done though, it looks a little something like this:
Cafe style breakfast 2 slices sourdough bread, 2 eggs, avocado
Regular skim coffee
Steak and chips, 2 wines and;
1 scoop of gelato
Weekly Average: 1600 x 4 days + 1900 x 1 day, 2500 x 2 days = 13300 calories, so 1900 daily. With a TDEE of 1850 this would be a slight surplus daily so weight would incrementally increase or roughly stay the same.
See how the weekend can hinder your progress?
We have the solution. Our clients through science-based flexible dieting principles are equipped to handle the weekends:
Without stress towards food
Without missing out on social events
Without going backwards with their progress
Without switching on and off in adherence and mentality towards dieting
Here’s how you can conquer the weekend with flexible dieting too:
1. Pre-planning: Flexible dieters have a clear cut path when it comes to pre-planning. In working with intake requirements rather than having to dabble with the question of whether something is ‘good’ or ‘bad’, ‘allowed’ or ‘banned’, gives the ability to simply know of the event or upcoming days and integrate it without prejudice into one’s intake needs.
2. Not restricting during the week: Being unrestricted during the week in that flexible dieters don’t avoid foods or food groups ensures that when it comes to the weekend they’re not on edge and wanting a million and one foods on their cravings list.
3. Considering it like any other day: Continuing from above, the weekend serves as no special exception to the rule. Flexible dieters understand their intake needs and know a calorie deficit is a calorie deficit and a calorie surplus is a calorie surplus no matter what day of the week it is.
4. Knowing there’s always tomorrow: Flexible dieters are extremely consistent dieters knowing that if they can’t have it one day due to intake not permitting and it would be classified as ‘overeating’ it can simply be incorporated the next. There’s never any missing out, just control, balance and moderation, while strictly following an intake goal it certainly isn’t a restrictive method.
5. Not having/needing cheat meals: The extreme calorie density of a meal or day can counteract a consistent deficit and hinder results. On that note, it can create a mentality and eating practice of no control and inclination to overeat.
Flexible dieting breaks a practice of clean eating and uncontrolled weekly cheat meals and instead effectively and consistently sustains a calorie deficit which sees results and a controlled incorporation of balanced food choices.
Restrictive dieting + a cheat meal is 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 working 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 controlled and moderate approach.
6. Working with your intake needs: Working with your intake needs while flexible dieting facilitates control over the weekend in that dieters have a sense of boundaries and awareness of what constitutes overeating and overconsumption for their body and their goals. This is a very valuable piece of knowledge when dieting for long term and ongoing results.
7. Having a good relationship with food: Flexible dieting builds a better relationship with food in not discriminating against foods and food groups and instead seeing them as the body does - as protein, fats and carbs. For that reason when it gets to the weekend adherents aren’t ticking time bombs and on edge and on the verge of caving to temptations.
8. Seeing results: Flexible dieting is a science-based practice that WORKS and produces RESULTS. Seeing as flexible dieters are seeing progress and results it’s all the more reason to keep consistent and committed to their dieting approach that is showing progress and desired changes.
Solve your weekend woes and start your fitness journey seeing results while enjoying amazing food that's customised to your body and what you love to eat!
Check out what the Equalutioners enjoy on their meal plans:
Yours in Health & Fitness,
The Equalution Team