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How to Break the Cycle of Weekend Overeating for a Healthier You

Do you find yourself sticking to your calorie goals during the week, only to see your discipline unravel over the weekend? You're not alone. Many face this cycle of strict weekday dieting followed by weekend indulgence. But why does this happen, and more importantly, how can you break this pattern? Let's explore the reasons behind weekend overeating and practical steps to maintain a healthier balance.

a table loaded with delicious food

Restrictive Weekday Diet?

One common reason for weekend overindulgence is a too-restrictive diet during the week. When you deprive yourself of certain foods or consume too few calories, it can lead to a feeling of scarcity, triggering overeating when you finally allow yourself to relax. Balance is key. Instead of extreme restrictions, aim for a sustainable and nourishing diet that includes occasional treats.

The Trap of Low-Calorie Dieting

Setting a calorie target that's too low is not only unsustainable but can also be counterproductive. Your body needs adequate nutrition to function properly, and an overly restrictive diet can slow down your metabolism and lead to a host of health issues. It’s essential to set realistic calorie goals that support your body’s needs.

Banking Calories for the Weekend?

Another common tactic is saving calories for the weekend, almost like a reward system. However, this approach often leads to overeating, as you might end up consuming far more calories than you saved.

If you are going to do this on occasion, lets say you know you have a meal out planned , then

  1. first ensure you are on a sensible amount of calories to start with e.g. if you are dieting on very low calories 1200 kcals a day or lower (I dont recommend this) - trying to "bank" any of these calories is setting you up for failure; AND

  2. make sure the amount you "bank" is LESS than 10% of your daily allowance so if you are on 1800kcals a day then banking 180 kcals a day is the max I would recommend for my clients

Although its not always possible, a better strategy is to spread your indulgences evenly throughout the week, allowing for small treats that satisfy cravings without leading to a binge.

Social Settings and Weekend Overeating Temptations

Weekends often involve social gatherings or dining out, which can present a plethora of tempting food choices. While it's okay to indulge occasionally, planning ahead can help you make smarter choices. Consider reviewing restaurant menus beforehand or deciding in advance how you'll handle a party's offerings.

Break the Cycle:

Flexible Dieting: 

  • Incorporate small treats into your weekdays to prevent a blowout come the weekend. This can help satisfy cravings and maintain a sense of normalcy around all foods.

Mindful Eating:

  •  Pay attention to what you eat, enjoy each bite, and listen to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Eating slowly and without distraction can help you enjoy your food more and prevent overeating.

Planning Your Treats: 

  • Instead of impulsive eating, choose your indulgences wisely. Savour them and remember that treating yourself doesn't mean giving up on your health goals.

Staying Active: 

  • Consistency in your workout routine is crucial, even on weekends. Physical activity not only helps in maintaining your fitness but also reinforces your commitment to a healthy lifestyle.

The key to managing weekend overeating is not in perfection but in finding a balance that works for you. It's about creating a lifestyle that includes room for enjoyment without compromising your health and fitness goals. Reflect on your habits, identify what triggers your overeating, and plan strategies to maintain a balance. Remember, a healthy lifestyle is a journey, not a destination.

Your Action Steps:

  • Reflect on your weekend eating habits and identify potential triggers.

  • Plan your next weekend with one new strategy to maintain a healthier balance.

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