Is Weekend Overeating Your Weak End?
You work hard during the week. You go to work, you get the kids where they need to go, take the dogs on walks and hit your workouts. You meal prep, plan ahead, log your meals and foods, hit your macros, and feel great. Monday through Thursday are so much of a breeze sometimes that they’re on autopilot and you’re working towards your aesthetic, performance, and weight loss goals with a breeze. That is, until Thursday ends and weekend overeating commences. You have a few drinks, eat out a few times, meetup with friends and booze or eat some more. You ‘relax and have fun’ and ‘deserve to indulge’ because ‘Monday will always be there’ and ‘this is my free time’ you say to yourself.
What is this?
A perfect storm for not making progress.
The Snowball Effect
As time goes by, you begin to realize that the Monday through Thursday becomes a grind, restricting calories, being so regimented that you feel like you might be missing out or losing some of the ‘fun’ you originally saw in it, you might skip a day or two with logging and think ‘oh what’s the harm’ simply because ‘I’m not making progress anyways’. But it’s not the week that is keeping you from your goals, it is the weekend, and while you sit there confused about why things aren’t changing, you can’t (or maybe you just don’t want to) connect the dots.
Look, going rogue, not having a plan or structure, taking ‘it off’ or taking the ’80/20’ and turning it into 4 days of not caring is absolutely wrecking you, your goals, your lifestyle changes, and believe it or not, your gut health, too.
Weekend Overeating And Psychological Guilt
Then come the mental side - the underwhelming feelings of guilt, shame, remorse and more on Monday morning about how you let yourself behave the last three or four days. It’s not about the people anymore, the social events, its a reflection of your decisions to overcompensate and overindulge with unnecessary drinks and food.
Over time, it gets harder to change, it gets harder to face those behaviors and be honest with yourself about them, how they make you feel, and how they’re hindering you from the way you ultimately want to feel with the self-control you ultimately desire. Last week you only logged four days? Well this week, why log at all.
You rinse and repeat, you muster up the desire to get back on track, trudge through the weekdays again, only to fall face first into your lack of habits and self-control on the weekend again.
That is, until you get so fed up you say ‘f-it’ and you get trapped in the ‘f-it’ mentality and it all goes to crap.
Been there, done that.
We all have.
Weekend Overeating - An All Too Familiar Tune
If it doesn’t sound familiar to you, that’s okay. It might be because you’ve worked through this before and you’re currently working on other habits and behaviors in your lifestyle. Or maybe, if it sounds familiar, but you feel targeted, its because it’s something you need to work on now.
Weekend overeating can add anywhere from 500 to 4,000 extra calories to your weekly total. This is more than enough to skew the caloric deficit your macros or meal plan were set to during the week, undoing all your progress, and setting you right back where you started every Monday like a bad Merry-Go-Round.
Sick of going in circles yet?
The weekend ins’t a time where ‘normal rules’ don’t apply. It’s not a time to let the chewing, crunching, slurping and drinking take you away from the stressors, the commutes, the long hours or the looming deadlines. It’s not a time to ‘check out’ and doing it ‘because ___’. There is no because. And if your social circle is happy to support it? Binge drinking, overeating, going hog wild because it’s ‘just what people do on the weekends’ you need to ask yourself - are these convenient, stress-fueled, coping mechanisms, often social habits worth your health, your guilt, your shame, and worth more than your health and wellness goals?
That’s a big question.
Weekend Overeating Sucks After A While
After a while, weekend overeating starts to suck. Indulgence comes with consequences, and we’re talking the ones where you feel physically and mentally uncomfortable. That bloated, water weighted, nauseated physical feeling. That mental drag where you just feel crappy, angry at yourself, or maybe just angry at your situation in general.
Sure, you can cut it all out and lose weight temporarily. That’s possible. But what about getting in shape for the rest of your life? Not just getting fit, but staying fit. Not just losing the weight now, but keeping it off for good?
Weekend Overeating Takes A Toll On Your Health
Aside from the mental and physical feelings you get on Monday, there’s also health consequences to your actions, as well. Stiff joints from inflammation, damaged gut lining and gut bacteria from processed foods and chemical additives, being too full to eat breakfast the next day, laying awake in bed with meat sweats, poor sleep, hormone function (especially testosterone), and recovery from drinking, hangovers, dehydration leading to poor skin health, poor muscle development and recovery from a lack of nutrients, stored abdominal fat around our intestines from overeating and/or drinking, and more.
Probably not the things we think about while we’re cramming food at date night or drinking on Football Sunday.
But it all ads up.
How To Break Free Of Weekend Overeating
So alas, how do you break free? Is it just this ‘one trick’ to break free forever? No. Is it biological manipulation and further caloric restriction? Nah, not that either. How about reverse psychology? Nope, wrong.
Let’s talk strategies. Maybe some or maybe all will work for you, but either way, these are a great place to start when really digging into yourself about why you’re here and how to be here on purpose. Not just for the temporary change, but for the long term change, too.
Weekend Overeating Tip #1: Structure
One of the things that makes you successful during the week? Having structure and an outline to follow. You know you have to be somewhere at a certain time, you’ll work for ___ amount of hours, and you’ll have time to eat 2-4x during that day. You know if you bring food, and have food, you’ll eat it, and you know you probably don’t have enough time to go get food, so having it makes you feel better. It helps you be successful because the structure forces you to plan ahead.
Why should the weekend be any different?
Creating structure on the weekends, or the Thursday - Sunday, can help you avoid completely flying by the seat of your pants and going wherever the wind blows you. Things like sticking to your normal sleep routine (sleeping in doesn’t help much) as well as sticking to your normal eating times. Our bodies crave habits and thrive off of them, and when the weekend comes and its 10am and you haven’t eaten a thing, when you usually eat at 5:00am, 7:30am, and 10:00am during the week, it's going to wonder WTF is going on.
Other ideas? Work out. Eat throughout the day. Make time to go to the grocery store and prepare food for the weekend. Log your food (yes, log your food AND drink on the weekend) and don’t completely check out from yourself.
Weekend Overeating Tip #2: Ditch The Cheat Day Mentality
Ahh, cheat days are like Christmas, aren’t they? The happiest day of the week, you go all out, having whatever you want whenever you want, telling yourself things like ‘I’ve been so good’ and ‘I deserve this’ and ‘this is good for me because it helps’. Look, for most people who aren’t in a consistent habit of being in a caloric deficit, no, you don’t need a cheat meal or a cheat day. Especially if you ‘cheated’ during the week or spend the whole weekend ‘cheating’. If your coach recommends a cheat day, and it works for you and your self control, then yes, they can be beneficial for your metabolism, lifestyle, and goals. But if you’re the person who lets it snowball in to the next four days and then you tell yourself you have it to soothe the other poor behaviors and habits you have?
Then it's time to quit the ‘cheat day’ routine.
Like the ‘f-it’ mentality we talked about, cheat days depend on scarcity. Scarcity makes us feel anxious, needy, greedy and overindulgent. Food isn’t something to be feared, food is a privilege. It’s not something to be hoarded or binged. When working towards your goals and building a lifestyle, it’s not about ‘cheating’ because there’s nothing, and no one, to ‘cheat’ on. And if we are cheating? Cheating on ourselves, our goals, our habits and our behaviors, then we need to take a good look at the process because its probably not working if you feel the need to do this.
Weekend Overeating Tip #3: Prepare For The Weekend
Going out? Why are you going out? Oh yes, its because you don’t have any food in the house. You only bought enough for the week and you didn’t plan anything for the weekend. Pizza? Sure. Brunch and sugary drinks, waffles galore? Why not. The spouse or kids want to go out? Why not, it’s the weekend. Come Monday your wallet and your stomach hurts. Move over Monday motivation, guilt is here! Look, having food at home on the weekend can go such a long way with respect to eating, eating at regular times, and not overindulging, letting the next two or three days turn into self-sabotage central.
Think foods like canned, frozen, or even pre made. Things habits like protein pancakes on Sunday mornings or Smoothie Saturdays where you blend up veggies, fruits, and protein for a cold and delicious breakfast.
Weekend Overeating Tip #4: The Real Reasons
All of our behaviors have an origin. Overeating doesn’t just ‘happen’ and neither does binge drinking. Believe it or not, it isn’t your social circle’s fault that you did it, do it, or continue to do it. If you’re losing it on the weekends and you’re ruining your own progress, dig into the real reason(s) why you’re doing it in the first place.
Ask yourself some questions like, is my plan during the week too restrictive? How do I cope with stress? Am I starving myself during the week? Am I bored or lonely. Am I numbing my feelings or coping with feelings that I do not want to face or deal with presently? Are these feelings making me feel undeserving of my progress, am I self sabotaging myself on purpose (consciously or unconsciously), am I playing a role in my social circle or am I getting pressure for positively changing my habits from my social circle, making me feel like I’m ‘too good for them’ or ‘not the same that I was’?
When we understand the root causes of our behaviors, we’re only then able to begin to change them for the better, breaking the cycle for good.
Weekend Overeating Tip #5: Food Rules
Food rules are taught to us by restrictive diet culture. We think that they provide us with accountability and direction, when really, they just skew the role that food plays in our life and we then begin to play mind games. When we apply food rules, we begin to tell ourselves what we can and can’t have. When we can or can’t eat it and how much we can or can’t have. Then it turns into what foods we consider good and what foods we consider bad, as if our parents are going to scold us (our coaches) for ‘being bad on my day off’. The person who cares should be you, and the person who assigns those rules, is also you.
When we apply food rules we set ourselves up for the ‘screw it, I had one slice, might as well have the whole pie’ mentality. When we break the rules, we go all in. We don’t just speed up when the light turns yellow, we just straight up blow through the next red light, and the one after that, heading right towards blowing through the whole weekend or holiday week without thought.
Ditch the food rules.
Here at The Swole Kitchen we do not teach diets. You’re not on a diet. You’re listening to your hunger levels and this is called your own food response and your own food rules. Saying screw it? You’re only screwing yourself. Not the food, not your coach’s rules, you’re screwing your own progress and your own rules and you’re probably sick of it, too.
What’s the worst that could happen if you stop eating when you’re full, after all?
Weekend Overeating Tip #6: Don’t Be A Victim Of Circumstance
This one comes up all the time in check-ins when we’re addressing behavior like the weekends or ‘being off plan’. When we rationalize, we can sell ourselves anything. Excuses, motivation, accountability, anything! In doing so, you make yourself a victim of circumstance.
- “I was busy”
- “I was traveling”
- “I had friends over”
- “I got called into work”
- “It was ___ holiday or __ event”
- “Everyone else was getting drunk”
Look, we over eat and over drink in a lot of different situations but rationalizations are convenient. They make us have a cause and effect of our unhealthy or unhelpful behaviors. But the challenge? Instead of falling back on the ‘victim of circumstance’ weekly check in, maybe take a moment to ask yourself, what is really going on? Do I do this because I am bored, stressed, sad, happy, overwhelmed, underwhelmed…?
Weekend Overeating Tip #7: Take Ownership
Nobody is making you do it. Sit with that for a moment. Nobody is making your weekends your weak end. We have a choice in it all and we are not powerless. If you choose to say ‘f-it’ then that is your choice. While we cannot choose exactly what happens to us, how it happens, or when, we can always choose how we respond.
Want to feel totally helpless after a long weekend? Want to feel powerless in the face of decision? Want to blame everything and everyone around you for what happen(s)? You’re welcome to, but the same Monday morning will roll around, week after week, until you’re so sick of it and fed up that you recognize the change you are seeking is ultimately within you and your responsibility for your actions and responses.
Tough love? Not really. Self empowerment? Exactly. You are THAT powerful, capable, and able. You just have to be willing to accept that power and responsibility, for none other than yourself, and to practice it day after day, week after week. Not because pizza or sushi or beer is beneath you or because you can’t have it, but because you don’t want to feel the guilt, shame, and bad feelings that come along with it.
And hell, if you eat the pizza?
Then move on.
Is Weekend Overeating Your Weak End: In Conclusion
Do you have to give up your social settings, friends, and events, or relaxation on the weekend, just because you want to live a healthier life or change your body? No way. Do you have to recognize the fact that you are responsible for what you put in your body, for your reactions, and for how you treat yourself? Totally. When we do away with perfection, plan a little ahead, take ownership and do away with things like food rules and restrictive diet mentalities, we enable ourselves to get more satisfaction, pleasure, and enjoyment from our lifestyle.
When we recognize that the food and beer will always be there, but our health won’t, we recognize the gravity and the consequences of our behavior in the long term. And by being more honest with ourselves, digging into the origins and reasons for our poor habits, especially with the help of your coach, you begin to feel less like a victim of circumstance and you empower yourself to take charge of your health and happiness. You’re worth it, you’re better than the guilt, shame, and defeat. You deserve your own self respect and to live a life you love.
That’s why you’re here, after all, isn’t it?
THE SWOLE KITCHEN provides 1:1 nutrition coaching, macro coaching, and custom meal plans to help guide you to becoming the best version of yourself.
We believe nutrition should be simplified and delicious. We give you the tools you’ve been missing to anticipate and meet your needs on a daily basis. Discover what if feels like to truly love your body and your life with personalized 1:1 nutrition coaching.