This post is taken from the Vitamin. Every Thursday, I drop some knowledge bombs on your face to help you reach your goals faster while avoiding all the bullshit.
We all know as the weekend arrives, we let loose and enjoy more food and drink.
And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, it can end up stalling your progress if left unchecked.
For example, Racette et al. compared a year of calorie restriction with a year of daily exercise in 48 healthy men and women. During the weekdays, all participants lost weight, but during the weekends, participants’ calorie intake increased, leading to them either maintaining or gaining weight. 1
Hoffman and Carels also found people eat more on the weekends. But they also found energy expenditure was lower during weekends than on weekdays. Interestingly, despite the drop in energy expenditure, there wasn’t a significant change in the amount of time spent in physical activity from Friday to Sunday. Suggesting that while people kept up with “formal” exercise, they spent less time in “unstructured exercise” like walking. 2
But it’s not just that people eat and drink more––the types of food and drink consumed are also different
Researchers from Denmark, for example, found an increase in energy-dense foods and drinks, alcohol, and added sugars with a reduction in fibre-rich foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and protein. 3
So does this mean you should give up your weekends and become a social recluse to achieve your goals?
I’m joking–don’t have a fucking heart attack. Jeez.
The study by Hoffman and Carels noted one key difference between those who gained weight on weekends and those who didn’t.
As they explain:
Eating and activity patterns between the weekdays and weekends were significantly different and distinct. Despite this, differences in individual meals and beverages on weekdays and weekends were not associated with overall weight loss. Thus, it appears that having a little more alcohol and some larger meals on the weekend may not completely sabotage a diet.
Basically: They found that people who monitored their intake during the week didn’t gain weight because they were able to compensate for the weekend by reducing intake the days after.
Somewhat counterintuitively, a study by Jorge R and colleagues found participants who reported being less strict on the weekends were more successful at maintaining their weight loss than participants who reported being as strict or more strict with their weekend eating. 4
In fact, participants who dieted more strictly during the weekends had a statistically significant higher probability of regaining more than 3% of their weight after a year.
Why tho? The researchers write:
Weight loss maintainers often report experiencing higher burden and expressing effortful control to achieve weight loss maintenance than lifetime normal stable-weight individuals. This higher perception of burden, rigid patterns, and the constant refrain from energy-dense foods, which can be more accessible or more “socially consumed” during weekends, can be deleterious in the long run, leading to vicious cycles of overeating and restriction, feelings of guilt, and weight regain.
This is in line with the literature as a whole that a flexible versus rigid approach to eating is linked with more successful dieting and weight maintenance. I mean, if you enjoy pizza, and your diet plan forbids pizza forever–how long will you stick to it?
By the way, this isn’t a free pass to show up at your local buffet every weekend and gorge yourself sick because Aadam said I could; it means allowing yourself some flexibility on the weekend in a controlled way can help with long-term adherence.
So the problem isn’t the weekends. Rather, it’s that people don’t pay attention to how much they’re eating and don’t compensate for any potential weekend indulgences.
And on that note–
A Stupidly Simple 4-step Plan to Burn Stubborn Fat, Build Slabs of Muscle, and Basically Become Immortal
Ok, not really. But it might help you stop fucking around and avoid ruining your progress on the weekends.
1- Work out your total weekly intake
This is the number of calories you need to eat to lose fat multiplied by 7 (i.e. the number of days in a week). So, if your calorie target is 1800, your weekly intake would be 1800*7 = 12,600 calories.
2. Decide how many high days you’re going to have
This is up to you. But I wouldn’t recommend more than two high days, as it’ll make adherence harder the rest of the week. On the high days, increase calories to maintenance. For the sake of this example, let’s assume your maintenance is 2400kcal, and you’ll have one high day.
3. Adjust for the high day
Next, subtract the high-day calories (2400) from your weekly total (12600). So you have 10200 kcals remaining for the week.
4. Fuck me, this is long
Finally (I know, thank fuck), divide the remaining calories (10200) by the remaining days left in the week (6 because you’re only having one high day #quickmath).
So you’ll aim for 1700kcal on your ‘diet days’ and have one high day at 2400kcal.
Instead of breaking this down into 4 steps, you can use this formula:
👉 (daily kcals*7 – high day kcals)/remaining days
So using the example above, this would be: (1800*7-2400)/6 = 1700
And that’s it. Now you can enjoy the weekend with a bit more food and drink while keeping your weekly intake in check.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed this, you’d love the Vitamin
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