Weight loss is a basic formula...
Burn more calories > than you eat daily and you will = lose weight. Most people do so by simply eating less (dieting) and moving more (exercise).
♥ Need help determining your caloric needs? Go here.
However, there is a problem.
It's called weekends and a good explanation of why most people fail in their attempt at getting lean and mean.
There is new research coming out about how weekends are the arch nemesis of the daily dieter. Nutrition changes are simply easier to stick with during the week due to the consistency and the structure that it provides.
Monday through Friday appears to be the Mecca for weight loss success, whereas weekends include additional variables that can throw you off completely. To name a few: schedule changes, dining at restaurants, parties, backyard cookouts all can have serious consequences on your dieting efforts.
Scientists from Washington University School of Medicine completed a recent study finding that the weekend can in fact hamper your whole weight loss. Without going into all the “nitty gritty” details, the study determined that people basically eat more on Friday, Saturday and Sunday when compared to the weekdays.
Are the weekends to blame for your weight loss follies? Let’s not even get into the holidays and the damage that is done during the eating marathon we call Thanksgiving.
Another study appropriately named, CALERIE (Comprehensive Assessment of Long-term Effects of Reducing Intake of Energy) at Duke University is underway and it’s focused on the precise measurement of subject’s weight, energy expenditure, and you guessed it, calories. After a year, the study found that their dieters not only mess up royally during the holidays, but the majority of their weekends were a major calorie blunder as well. Please take note. We are not talking about the occasional family reunion when people splurge and have five helpings of peach cobbler and macaroni salad. The research found most weekends to be problematic.
As you can imagine, one of the strongest predictors of weight loss and keeping it off is stable, constant eating patterns.
The over eating weekends remained a major issue throughout the entire study even when the Washington University School of Medicine researchers tried to carefully control them. Saturday was the worst offender and sparked the largest increases in subject’s calorie stuffing. The diet group’s weight loss came to a halting stop due to the additional calories, while the exercise group actually gained.
What we can learn from this research about how to lose weight?
People typically consume more calories when without structure. Focus in on your weekends and those problem times. Plan for the weekends just like you do for the weekdays. Really focus in on the worst calorie offenders (Saturdays). Pack foods with you and avoid eating on the fly. Be in control and own your weekends. Otherwise, your dieting and exercising during the week may be in vain.
Furthermore, here are some steps to follow that will aid in your weight loss efforts.
Step Uno: Get yourself comfortable and begin formulated your master plan.
The plan should be all about how you are going to succeed at realistic weight loss including weekends.
Step Two: Think about food prep and how much time you realistically have for making meals.
There should be some give and take here. Nuking your meals every evening in the microwave is not going to aid in your overall health, but is whipping up a free-range grilled chicken breast served over a fresh head of romaine lettuce with almond slices realistic either? You can check out our free meal planner for basic ideas.
Step Three: You got to enjoy the foods you diet with!
Eating should be something that is pleasant and satisfying to you personally. If you are consuming healthy foods consistently enough, your cravings for processed junk will eventually wean down. Don’t think you will give all those treats up overnight either. Try to eat healthy 90% of the time. Having a bar-claw (doughnut) on the weekend won’t overturn all your efforts during the week.
Step Four: Make sure you always have healthy options and snacks easily assessable no matter where you are at.
Some good choices would be…
All Fruits Protein Bars Yogurt Cottage Cheese Nuts
Step Five: Own your commitment to change and be an active participant in your plan.
How do you lose weight based on the research? Plan and be realistic with yourself for the entire week.
As stated earlier, in order to lose weight you need to consume less calories than you burn not only daily, but throughout the entire week. Don't let another weekends dictate your results. Consistency is the key. Get realistic about changing your exercise and nutrition habits regardless of what day of the week it is and you will be on your way to a thinner you.
Matthew Johnson (Google+) is a certified personal trainer, nutrition expert and an on-line fitness consultant that started ChangingShape.com back in 2001.