Monday, April 11, 2011

The weekend realities of weight management.

Does this sound like you - healthy living strategies going great all week long followed by a weekend that's less put together? Consequently you see yourself lose weight all week, only to gain it back each weekend?

Many of my patients struggle with weekends. As I've blogged before, despite not feeling that way, weekends make up nearly 30% of the week, and the sad weight management truth is, a disorganized 30% can outweigh a beautiful 70%.

To put this into some numbers. Let's say during the work week, through your own personal strategies (be they balanced deficits, low-carb, counting points, exercise, combination approaches, etc) you managed to create a true 400 calorie daily deficit. Enjoyed daily, that would likely lead you to lose a pound every 8-12 days allowing for some differences in individual variation in energy efficiencies.

But then the weekend comes. You might go out with friends (food is an essential part of our celebratory and social lives); you might be less organized with eating so as to invite more of a hormonal drive to eat; you might want to kick back and have a few drinks to unwind. Truthfully, given the calorific world we live in, it wouldn't be difficult at all to amass 800 calorie daily surpluses over the weekend, rather than 400 calorie deficits.

Then it's back to your work week, and even if you're fabulous about getting right back to calorie-deficit inducing behaviours, you'll be spending Monday through Thursday just erasing your weekend surpluses, leaving you with one lonely day a week to actually lose weight.

What's so incredibly frustrating for patients with this all too common scenario, is that in actual fact, the vast majority of their week, they're managing things wonderfully, and so it feels (and is) incredibly unfair that two days a week can effectively erase five.

I don't preach that weekends can't be indulgent, I don't tell people to stop eating out, and I don't tell people they're not allowed to drink. We're on this planet once, and for many, indulgences on weekends are a welcome end to each and every week. However, I do preach that at the very least, you ensure your weekends are well organized in terms of food, so that if you do choose to indulge, you choose to do so because it's worth it, and not simply because you're hungry.