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Are your weekend habits the death of your fat loss goals?

'I'm doing everything I can but still not seeing the number on the scales move' is a sentence I hear very frequently when checking in with my clients.


Often, they are doing everything right.. through the week. But when I dig a bit deeper into their weekend habits, I can quite quickly identify where the barrier lies.



Okay, you may not be drinking prosecco from a bottle, poured by a toppless bartender in a club like this lady here.. but hear me out.

 

It is very easy to get to the weekend and fall out of your rhythm because of social occasions, relaxed mindsets and tiredness from the working week.


I get it, after a long week of working in the office the thought of a takeaway and half a bottle of wine seem like the only recipe to unwinding.


However, this foodie, boozy feast can often undo a week’s worth of good habits and routines.


Weekend habits are one of the most common hidden barriers against weight loss because people may think after 5 'good days' on track, a few meals, some cocktails and a skipped gym session won't hinder progress.


But let me tell you, when repeated most weekends it very easily can. If you are seeking fat loss results, feeling happier and healthier then the weekends should be treated with the same respect the weekdays are.


Visualise it this way..


This graph below shows you exactly how easy it can be to set yourself back to square one because of your weekend habits.

You can see here how a couple of days indulging on the weekends can cause a barrier, even if you eat at a calorie deficit all week.


This graph shows that if your body needs around 2,000 calories a day to maintain weight, eating below that threshold (about 1,800) should lead to weight loss. However, if you spend 3 days going over by hundreds of calories, that puts you over your weekly average which will cause weight gain.

I am a big advocate of my clients being able to still go out and enjoy themselves, but there has to be compromise if you want to achieve your goals. Below are some tips for finding some balance at the weekends.


Plan Ahead: Thursday evening is a great time to plan out your weekend. Use this as an opportunity to check your calendar and look for the barriers that might come in your way. E.g, if you're going to be out all day on Saturday ferrying the kids around then on Friday you will want to prep some meals and snacks ahead of time.


Regulate Your Sleep: We are all guilty of relaxing sleep habits and schedules at the weekends. This can result in fewer hours of sleep on the weekend and have a knock on effect into Monday. When deciding or not on another film at night, remember poor sleep is linked to an inability to lose weight.


Ditch The Cheat Meals: I like to have a 'weekend compromise' instead. If you let the boundaries down for every meal all weekend you will end up in a calorie surplus, instead make a compromise with one or two meals. Eg. if you want a burger and chips, you could pick the burger or the chips but not both. Or maybe you drink alcohol one evening, but not the other. Weight loss requires some form of compromise.


Stress Reduction: High levels of stress will influence weight gain or put a halt to your progress. At the weekend you should take advantage of time where you can and add an activity to aid stress reduction. For example, a relaxing bath, reading a book, listening to music or calling a friend. You'll be surprised on the effect of having some you time. I appreciate it’s not as easy as this those with children, but maybe tag teaming with a partner/family member could be an idea.


Low Processed Microwave Meals: These days you can get some pretty healthy ‘clean’ made meals. They shouldn't be a go to all the time but are a good idea to have in the fridge for the days on the weekend where you are less inclined to stand and cook. Not to mention they are a good idea to have on a hangover day to reduce the chance of ordering a greasy take away!


Incorporate Physical Activity with Family time: Part of the fat loss equation is moving more. Look for as many opportunities to move as possible over the weekend. Most social occasions revolve around restaurants and bars. When making plans with family and friends, think outside the box. This could be a bike ride with your children, playing tennis, gardening, wall climbing, trampolining or dancing.


Food Isn‘t A Reward: It can be very easy to get to the weekend and tell yourself you have worked so hard this week and deserve a takeaway, a tub of ice cream or a bottle of fizz. However if you continue with this mentality then every time you do something good or get to the end of the week, you will feel the need to reward yourself with food. Try and make your rewards non food based such as watching a movie, or having a hot bath or booking a fun day out at a theme park or spa!



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