Do you eat pretty well Monday to Friday and then go bonkers at the weekend?
Have you considered the fact that it’s most likely going to be Tuesday or Wednesday before you have lost the few pounds of weight you gained over the weekend (which almost certainly won’t actually be fat) and got back to where you were on Friday, and that you are cutting the available time to make progress towards your goal to only two or three days of the week? It’s a bit of a thought when you think it through like this, isn’t it.
So. Is the solution to turn down every last bite of anything you fancy which is off-plan? Well – that certainly would lead to bigger results on the scales, but in my experience, the bigger the restriction, the bigger the fall off. You might double your resolve and say no to everything off-plan for quite a while (and this approach is right for some people some of the time), but at some point, you will fall off the rails.
There are two ways to approach the idea of ‘taking the weekend off’, and they can either work together or separately.
The first is to loosen your grip of the week days so the weekends don’t continue to shine out in your mind as a magical time off where you get to reward yourself for the effort you’ve put in all week.
Let’s say, for example, your ‘thing’ is chocolate on a Saturday night, and you find it impossible to stop at a sensible amount. At least in part, this is because you know that’s your allotment of chocolate and it has to last you the whole week. Try allowing yourself a bit of chocolate during the week if you fancy it – and if you don’t fancy it, don’t have it. Very often, feeling that you’re allowed to have something off-plan if you want it gets rid of the desire to eat all that much of it at all.
You can apply this logic to anything – if you have a big weekend social life and you find the off button hard to push, try to find a way to make the weekends less of an event. This might mean allowing yourself a glass of wine or two during the week, or it might be allowing yourself a bit of the pudding or junk food which you can’t usually say no to at the weekend. The idea is to dull the excitement of the forbidden fruit. Or to make it less forbidden.
Of course, you may find certain foods which you just cannot find an off switch for, no matter what you try, and I shall write about this next week.
The second approach is to look at your intake as a weekly amount rather than a daily amount. Some days we eat more and other days we eat less – that’s fine, its part of being human, and actually, there is quite a lot of research to back up the fact that this isn’t a bad thing. People who cycle calories as part of a weight loss plan actually do better long term than people who just cut the calories every day.
Assuming you’re not cancelling out any deficit you’ve worked hard to achieve, everything will average out ok. The major thing to be aware of with this approach is that you need to watch that it doesnt turn into a game of punishment (“I had chocolate last night so if I don’t eat breakfast this morning I’ve cancelled it out”). This doesn’t work; it needs to be a fairly natural thing. You need to view it as a big picture, and often tracking the numbers for a couple of weeks helps get this straight in your head.
As always, losing weight is simple. Eat nutrient dense real food when you are hungry. That’s it. Everything else is a tactic to make it easier to do.