5 Guaranteed Ways To Avoid The Weekend Weight Gains That Are Keeping You Fat

5 Guaranteed Ways To Avoid The Weekend Weight Gains That Are Keeping You Fat

You’ve had an insanely busy week filled with urgent meetings, reports, or a stressful business trip.

Amazingly, you still managing to dominate in the gym. Because you pretty much dominate everything you do.

You crushed three or four tough workouts, set a PR (personal record) on your favorite exercise, and stuck to your diet. You kept everything in check and lost a couple of pounds.

You feel energetic and unstoppable. You’re killing your weight loss journey.

Then, Friday afternoon arrives. The whirlwind of a stressful week hits you hard. All you want to do is forget about it. Next, you gaze down at your computer screen and it says 5pm. Guess what?

The weekend has begun!

You just need to unwind. You need your favorite cocktail and a tasty, authentic, large grease-filled pizza from that amazing new restaurant down the street. You want to lose weight, but you tell yourself things like:

“I worked out a few times this week, so it’s ok if I eat whatever I want.”

“It’s fine. I’ll start my diet again on Monday.”

“What’s the big deal? A few cocktails and some pizza won’t hurt. I can still lose weight and enjoy myself, right?”

Finally, Monday morning arrives. The damage has been done. You’re tired and bloated. You feel awful so you hit snooze 12 times. Eventually, you roll out of bed, look in the mirror to see a bloated stomach. After using the bathroom, you step on the scale. 

“Oh shit! I gained three pounds. Why can’t I lose weight?”

For fat loss, controlling your diet during the weekend is the biggest hurdle.

If you want to lose weight and keep it off forever, shift your mindset and practice habits that help you make consistent progress along the way.

You can lose weight and enjoy the foods you love on the weekends, but you need to use some common sense to avoid self-sabotage, while still allowing flexibility.

You need a game plan focused on these five tactics.

Tactic #1: Eliminate Cheat Days

“I’ve been working out and eating healthy, so I deserve a cheat day.”

I’ve seen and heard this a million times. If your goal is to train and you don’t care about how you look with your shirt off when you roll out of bed each morning, eat whatever you want. It’s predictable that your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension will increase, but eat your heart out my friend.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that’s you. 

You’re serious about losing weight and keeping it off forever.

“Cheat Day” doesn’t belong in your vocabulary. If you’ve just started your weight loss journey, this is especially true for you:

Unless you’ve trained your ass off, stuck to your diet by maintaining a caloric deficit, and seen dramatic changes in 90 days, you don’t deserve an entire day of eating crap.

What You Should Do Instead:

Begin your weight loss journey by eliminating cheat days.

When you train hard, then decide to eat crap, you hold yourself back from getting the body you SAY you want.

You must relentlessly match your actions with the goals. You simply can’t out train a bad diet. Period.  Your actions and goals must be congruent. Slamming back pizza, beer, and fries every weekend? Just say no. #Sorrynotsorry.

Tactic #2: Use Calories Like a Budget

Here’s a little nugget about how to shed body fat and still enjoy a slice of pizza or a couple of tacos:

You don’t have to eat the same number of calories each day to lose fat. Distribute them throughout the week like a budget.

Let’s say that you’ve settled on a 2,500 calorie max each day or 17,500 calories for the week (2500 x 7 = 17,500). Track your calories using an app like MyFitnessPal. Let’s say you average 2,000 calories Sunday through Friday. If you and your partner want to enjoy a date night Saturday, you’ll have 3000 calories extra to play with that day (2500 – 2000 = 500, then 500 x 6 = 3000). 

3,000 extra calories for the week and the 2,500 calorie daily max you should still use gives you 5,500 total calories for the day. Holy crap!

Theoretically, you can get away with scarfing down a higher calorie meal one day per week and still see steady progress, but here’s the rub:

The FDA allows restaurants and food manufacturers an inaccuracy buffer of 20-30% on their nutrition facts.

For example, a Big Mac is listed as containing 540 calories. If McDonald’s can be off by as much as 30% on their calculations, your big juicy Big Mac might be 702 calories! Add large fries to the mix and it’s an additional 510-663 on top of that.

So the issue becomes how to avoid the potential extra calories.

What You Should Do Instead:

Take the calories you thought you could have and cut them by 30%. Using the previous example, instead of 5,500 calories, cap it at 3,850 for the day (5500 x 0.30 = 3850). You’ll still be able to have an enjoyable date night, social event, or evening out with your friends and annihilate your favorite foods without sabotaging your weight loss.

Tactic #3: Prioritize Protein

Your calories come from three macronutrients or “macros” for short.

  • Protein – (i.e. chicken, turkey, white fish, whey protein)
  • Carbohydrates – (i.e. fruits, veggies, bread, rice, potatoes
  • Fats – (i.e. nuts, olive oil, coconut oil, seeds, butter)

Of the three, protein is by far the most important. Why?

Time after time, it’s been proven that if calories and protein are calculated correctly, you will lose fat. The mix of carbohydrates and fats doesn’t matter.

Regardless of the day, you must always reach your daily protein target. Generally, 1g/lb. of bodyweight is what you need for fat loss. For example, a 200-lb. man must consume 200g of protein each day. As the weight drops, he’ll require less.

What You Should Do Instead:

Consume high protein foods outside of your high calorie meal. You will remain full for longer periods of time during the day which will keep you from overindulging on junk food. Plus, higher protein slows your absorption of alcohol so you can enjoy a cocktail without turning into that annoying drunk guy at the bar who eventually gets kicked out for trying to start a fight.

(We all know him. If you don’t know someone like that, then that’s probably you. You’re welcome!)

Tactic #4: Fasting for 16 Hours

So, you’ve had an enjoyable outing, gotten a bit tipsy, and messed up your diet for  a meal. You’re glad you did it because you needed a mental break from the norm. If you weren’t flexible and maintained your strict diet for another week, there’s a chance you were going to have a mental breakdown. Instead of a cheat day, you were headed into a disastrous cheat weekend. 

Luckily, you avoided a huge setback on your weight loss journey. However, you still have this icky, annoying feeling that you ate or drank a bit too much. You feel sort of sick and tired because you ate foods you normally wouldn’t touch.

I get it. Many people feel like this after eating inflammatory foods like pizza or a burger and fries. You need time to let your body digest and rid itself of the extra calories by fasting.

What’s Fasting? It restricts the period you can eat for the day. The most popular fasting period is 16 hours followed by an eight-hour window where you can consume your calories that day. This is commonly referred to as Intermittent Fasting (IF). You’re only allowed to have zero calories drinks like water, tea, and coffee during your fasting period.

For you to see any health benefits from fasting, the minimum amount of time required is 16 hours. Fasting does the following:

  • Elevates growth hormone which support muscle building and fat burning
  • Improves insulin sensitivity which helps limit fat storage and lowers the risk of diabetes
  • Spares muscle so you don’t have to worry about losing your gains from the gym
  • Increases metabolism by elevating adrenaline and noradrenaline which promotes the release of body fat

What You Should Do Instead:

If you decide to eat your higher calorie meal Saturday and you stop eating at 8 p.m., you wouldn’t have your first meal Sunday until noon. That’s a 16-hour fasting period. You don’t have to use those hours. You can make it 6 p.m. to 10 a.m. or 9 p.m. to 1 p.m.

Tactic #5: Monitor Your Alcohol Intake

Like you after a long week, I like to relax and have a drink to take the edge off. One night each week you can catch at home or at one of my favorite restaurants with a glass of red wine.

You have a life outside of the gym and we’re not in Prohibition. If you can stay under your calorie goal, a couple of glasses of wine or your favorite cocktail won’t hurt. You’re just trying to forget about the week and get a buzz, right?

The problem is when you decide that crushing a six-pack, knocking back eight cocktails, or slamming a dozen shots won’t stop you from losing weight. 

Sorry my friend, but it will get you every time.

If you want a six-pack, you can’t continue to crush six packs. Step up and be decisive about improving your health.

Here’s the thing. The biggest issue with alcohol may not even be the alcohol itself. When you drink, your inhibitions are lowered.

When this happens, your judgment becomes impaired which will cause you to eat what’s available versus what’s healthy. Most restaurants and bars have limited low-calorie food options. Instead of ordering a salad with grilled chicken or steak and broccoli, you want pizza or a burger with fries. If you’re under your calorie count for the day, that meal is fine, but who is counting calories when they’re hammered at a bar? Therefore, controlling your intake is vital. Be aware so things don’t get out of control.

In addition, too much alcohol will destroy your muscles. It lowers your testosterone, sleep quality, and increases yeast in your stomach leaving you bloated for hours.

You want to feel a bit buzzed, not bloated and lazy.

What You Should Do Instead:

Stick to low-calorie alcohol options like these:

  • Vodka (1.5 oz.) + club soda – 106 calories
  • Tequila (1.5 oz.) + club soda – 100 calories
  • Red wine (5 oz.) – 121 calories
  • Light beer options that are 100 calories or less (i.e. Michelob Ultra, Miller Lite, Corona Light)

For each cocktail or a glass of wine, drink a glass of water. Drinking water will keep you hydrated, lower the chance of you ordering more drinks and consuming empty calories, and save you money.

The Takeaway

Your meals can be flexible. Not everyone needs a rigid nutrition plan to lose weight.

But you can’t allow the stress of a busy work week to excuse jeopardizing your health and fitness with crazy weekend binges.

Use the tactics in this article to help take back control. 

You CAN build the body and mindset of your dreams. You CAN take control of your life without giving up pizza, beer, and cocktails.

Recognize your weekend demons and fight like hell to win the battle so you can win your weight loss journey and become the person you were meant to be: your best self.