Is weekend eating a problem?
I’ve cleaned up my eating Monday through Friday and am pretty confident with how I’m doing there. But, on weekends I relax a little bit. Am I going to see results or is my weekend eating a problem?
Questions like these are super common in my #ConsistentlyLean coaching group, and to be real, I hear them discussions like this all the time in the hallways at the office. So many of us do well with our eating Monday-Friday but by the time Friday at 5pm comes around, all of our good habits go out the window.
I get it.
Before automating my eating, I ate well all week long but by Friday, I’d overdo it on boozy beverages and treats (hello sweet potato fries). All weekend long, I’d feel guilty and disappointed in my lack of willpower. That guilty feeling can make us feel like we have done everything wrong, but what if we haven’t?
Having a slightly different weekend eating plan isn’t the kiss of death. By asking yourself (and answering honestly) these 3 simple questions, we can figure out if weekend eating is keeping you from seeing results or if there are other things we can change first.
Is weekend eating keeping you from reaching your goals?
What are your goals?
Truth is, some goals don’t necessitate eating near perfectly 7 days a week. If we’re aiming to maintain weight or gain muscle, we can be a lot more flexible on weekends (or any other day for that matter).
However, if we are aiming for fat loss, we have to be a bit more careful.
As an example, when I am trying to lose body fat, I only have 2 drinks, twice a month (so 4 drinks in 4 weeks – yikes). BUT when I am in a maintenance period, not trying to gain or lose weight, I drink a couple drinks 3+ times a week without putting on weight.
It’s super important to get clear on your goals so that you can determine if you even need to consider changing your weekend eating habits.
If your goal is fat loss, yes, we probably need to take a look at your weekends and try to get a little more consistent (here’s one of my fave blogs on the topic or grab my #ConsistentNutrition cheat sheet).
Do you have the nutrition basics down Monday-Friday?
Let’s get real. If we eat four meals a day (I do – here’s why), weekends only account for 8 meals vs. the 20 meals consumed Monday-Friday.
Before calling weekend eating the reason we aren’t seeing results, we need to be super honest about how ‘well’ we are eating during the week. Sometimes, it’s easier to blame the weekends because everyone is doing it. Instead, ask yourself these questions about the 20 meals you eat all week long. Check your answers and see if there is room for improvement.
- Do we have protein at every meal?
- Are we filling every plate with non-starchy veggies?
- Do we have nutrient timing down?
- Are our portion sizes on point?
Check your answers and see if there is room for improvement. If there is room to improve, try focusing on those areas before tackling your weekend eating.
How different is your weekend eating from your weekday eating?
Now, if you’ve made it this far, you probably have a goal of fat loss. Your weekday eating is probably pretty solid.
We’ve isolated that weekend eating could be keeping you from seeing the results you want, but let’s dig a little deeper.
Many of us fall into a lot of nutrition guilt because we are depriving ourselves on other days of the week (here’s how I found the middle between deprivation and guilt). So, to ensure that we’re eating consistently every single day and not stressing too much about being perfect M-F, let’s break it down.
Time for a nutrition audit
Instead of just *assuming* that our weekend eating is so bad, let’s take stock by going through the process of a nutrition audit. Here’s what to do:
- Pick a representative weekday and record everything you eat for your meals, snacks, and drinks, without judgment.
- Next, choose a weekend day to do the same. Record everything, without guilt.
- After a few days, look at both food logs and compare the differences. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What’s the same between these two days of eating?
- Are there any glaring differences?
- If so, why are they so different?
- What patterns do I see?
By the end of this process, figuring out your next step should be pretty easy. Identify one thing to change in your weekend eating habits and do it consistently for two weeks. Then, reassess in the same way.
If you take away one thing from this post, know that weekend eating isn’t all bad.
Having some variability between Monday and Saturday is totally OK, depending on your goals and how different it actually is. Ask yourself these questions and take stock.
My friend, I know consistency with nutrition is hard. We often know what we need to do but implementing it is another story. There are days when we’re really good and days when everything is off. Sometimes nutrition is effortless, but other times, it gets so overwhelming or we get sick of making decisions, so we end up overindulging and feeling guilty later. When these things happen, we feel like there’s no middle ground between restriction and guilt.
But there is.
And I want to teach you with my #ConsistentNutrition cheatsheet. Don’t miss this.