The “weekend” or “cheat day” mentality is so tempting, and so common. I’m not against having a little extra dessert on Friday (or any day of the week) or a looking forward to an amazing meal out on Saturday night, but a full day or weekend “off” can often set you back further than you think.
In this post, I’ll take you through the journey of a client realizing that weekends had become a 2 day period of reverting to old habits that made her weight loss progress frustratingly slow to her being excited Monday that all her weekday progress wasn’t “lost” over the weekend.
There’s no shame if you have this mentality. Our culture heavily emphasizes the need to work so hard (in all areas of life) during the week and collapse on the weekend. Diet culture says to restrict all week (or for as many days as you mentally can handle) and then you’ve “earned” all the food you want on the weekend.
There’s a better way! Pay better attention and honor your fullness cues. Pick 1-2 meals to “splurge on” if you want over the week or weekend AND still pay attention to your satiety cues. Order the pasta, pizza or whatever — but be okay leaving a few bites behind. Order the fried chicken sandwich but get a side of veggies too. Do one thing to move that meal a little towards the “BEST” side of the WORST TO BEST food spectrum.
Instead of only thinking about what you’re feeling right now, think about how you want to feel tomorrow (or Monday). Thinking about “future you” is self-care. You (probably) don’t brush and floss your teeth because you LOVE brushing and flossing, you do it because “future you” doesn’t want to have a painful dentist visit.
What I love about this text is that my client realized “it’s hard work to lose and gain the same pounds”. Taking weekends off isn’t “treating yourself”, it’s making more work for yourself.
Moderation isn’t sexy or exciting. It’s hard to package and sell the act of listening to your cravings, but also your fullness cues. You CAN have pizza and ice cream on Friday night, you just probably can’t have a full pizza and pint of ice cream WHILE reaching your weight loss goals.
If you have a habit of ignoring your health or nutrition goals on the weekend, try shortening the time you deem “off“. Or better yet, adopt a mindset where ALL foods are allowed so long as you can eat them while listening to your hunger and fullness cues. This way you might not find the need to go so “off plan” on the weekends and you can build a life where both weekday and weekend eating are satisfying, enjoyable and good for your overall health.