You know the drill: you’ve been on top of your food game all week. You’ve been eating lean and clean since Monday. Your workout game is on point for this point in your journey. “Let me get in this Friday weigh-in so I can enjoy my cheat day this weekend.” You hop on the bathroom scale and…no losses.
“What the shit?” you ask yourself. “I did all the right things this week. I ate healthy all week and drank my water. What the hell happened? Yeah, I went out to dinner on Saturday and got a little crazy, but that was last week! I had a couple beers the next day, too, but that was at a barbecue. Those two days couldn’t have just wiped out all the good I did the rest of the week, could they?”
The Math of Weekend Bingeing
When it comes to lifestyle change—weight loss in particular—we’re all affected by math. When we let ourselves go for a whole weekend, we fall under the math of weekend bingeing:
5 (good days) + 2 (cheat days) = 0 (results)
Personally, I love a good cheat day on Saturday. When I was on my weight loss journey, I’d eat well all week long, then go out for burgers and a movie with my girlfriend on the weekend. This pattern kept me at a weight loss plateau for 8 straight months. It wasn’t until I recognized and corrected my weekend binge pattern that I was able to break my weight loss barrier at 200 lbs and reach my goal of weighing 180 lbs.
If this math equation is blocking your weight loss progress right now, consider these 3 tips to break through your barrier:
1) Shift to Monday Weigh-Ins
You probably started your health plan on a Monday, so why not check your progress on the same day of the week? Monday weigh-ins mean that you’ve got to be diligent on weekends if you want to see those sweet, sweet scale results. Plus, a Monday weigh-in lets you assess what’s working in your current plan and adjust for the week’s momentum.
For more details on how Monday weigh-ins helped others, including my partner Jen, stay on track for weight loss, read “Why Monday Works for Weigh-in”.
2) Plan Your Calorie Count Down
Weight loss takes place in a caloric deficit. This means that a cheat meal’s impact can be contained, so long as you account for those calories in your daily intake. For example, if your caloric deficit is set at 2,000 calories per day, find a way to make your cheat meal fit into this number (with 200-300 calorie wiggle room). This means consuming less than you may really want, though you still allow yourself to indulge those cravings.
3) Keep Your Goals Short and Soon
In all of my time in the weight loss field, the best tool I’ve found for reaching results is setting and following short-term goals. 90 day goals work best in my experience, for reasons that I explore in this blog post.
Shifting your lifestyle takes time, patience, and a shit-ton of mistakes. Hell, it took me 8 months to realize that my weekend binges were blocking my progress, so don’t be hard on yourself if you’ve had this pattern, too. Going into this next weekend, be deliberate in how you treat yourself for following your eating plan this week. Instead of going for a whole dessert, maybe just get a couple bites. Eat half portions at the restaurant instead of the whole thing (leave the leftovers at the table). Keep your eye on that new Monday weigh-in, and I trust that you will make the right decisions for you.
I believe in you.