By Mairead Rodgers, RD PHEc
Ever feel like you absolutely crush your fitness and nutrition during the week, only to be struggling on the weekend? You’re not alone! This is probably one of the biggest issues our members bring to us and we want to help you out!
Why is being super strict with yourself and then “cheating” all weekend an issue?
If your goal is weight loss or fat loss, we need to be consistent in your fitness and nutrition. If you eat for those goals and are in a caloric deficit (you’re taking in less calories than you’re burning), but then you’re eating way more calories than you’re burning on the weekend, you might be ending up actually taking in more calories than you’re burning, or just breaking even, when it’s averaged over the whole week. That’s going to result in not seeing your fat-loss goals, or could even result in gaining fat overall. Bigger repeated fluctuations, like following a strict diet for a few weeks or months, and then returning to old eating habits for a while, can even result in returning to a heavier weight each time you “slip” or “cheat”, and a bigger risk of some chronic diseases.
We’ve got to be consistent in what we’re doing for nutrition and fitness, both over the course of the week, and in general for the rest of your life. When I’m working with nutrition clients to make changes, I always ask them if they can see themselves making the change we’re talking about for the next 18 months, including on weekends. I want them to be able to make the change forever, but forever is hard to wrap our heads around.
If you are struggling with your weekends, it’s worth having a look at what you’re doing during the week. If you’re finding you’re needing to overeat on treat foods, is it possible you’re being too strict or not eating enough overall during the week? It sounds counter-intuitive, but if you’re not taking in enough fuel or just feel deprived, your body can make you overcompensate as a way to protect you. Maybe we need to have a peek at your diet during the week, just to make sure you’re getting what you need. If that’s not the case, keeping things interesting on the weekend might be the change you need to stay motivated. Get yourself moving if you can; one healthy habit encourages all the others! Get to the Saturday Weekender WOD, or get out for a run, walk or bike ride; whatever sounds fun to you! Focus on the easy things and what you can add to your diet instead of trying to avoid specific foods. Make sure you’re getting enough water in and lots of fruits and veggies. Still want some pizza or beer? No problem! Just work on the things you can ADD instead of the things we’re trying to AVOID.
At the end of the day, remember that the name of the game here is consistency, not perfection, both throughout the week and in life in general. Don’t overthink it, and keep it simple!