Post by Emily White
Do you stick to your diet to a tee during the week, only to find yourself blowing out on the weekends? Despite your best intentions, you get home on a Friday evening, tired and hungry, and start reaching for the foods that you have been avoiding all week? Do the Friday night indulgences then set you up for a weekend of over consuming food and alcohol leaving you disappointed and annoyed come Monday morning?
This weekend overeating habit is all too common with one study showing that majority of individuals will lose weight during the week and gain in the weekends which leads to a viscous ‘yo-yo’ diet cycle.
If overeating on the weekends has been sabotaging your progress there are a few changes you can make to prevent this.
Give up the need to be perfect
Do you find that perfection is robbing you of ‘good enough’?
The idea of ‘perfection’ can result in people not even trying, perhaps you missed a day at the gym earlier in the week, so what is the point in going now? Better to start on Monday with a perfect week right? Or perhaps it leads to the ‘Oh, I have ruined my diet now, better finish off the bag of cookies’ mentality, which we all know is a recipe for disaster. In fact, this is the exact point at which we need to remind ourselves that perfect is the enemy of the good. Instead of idolizing the pinnacle of perfection, be content with good. Let your diet be good enough.
Often when someone is too strict or restrictive during the week they are opening themselves up to a weekend of overeating due to feelings of deprivation. Aim to be good enough during the week, while still letting yourself enjoy the foods you love and you will find the need to overeat in the weekends is reduced.
No cheat days
If cheat days honestly work for you, then great. But often they create this ‘scarcity’ within the diet that all of the food you enjoy must be eaten in a previously decided window whether you actually feel like it or not. Chances are the cheat day mentality will see you eating well past the point of enjoyment, which leads to discomfort and guilt. Far better to enjoy small indulgences throughout the week when you actually feel like them. Letting your diet fit around your lifestyle rather than revolving your lifestyle around your diet will see a much more sustainable approach.
Eat like an adult
Eat like an adult and own your choices. It is ok to occasionally overeat. Instead of making excuses as to why you overeat, own it. Think to yourself, ‘yes I am going to eat this slice of cake, not because I am hungry, or because I feel like ‘I should’, but because I feel like it and I want to. Yes, I may feel sick afterwards, but that’s ok because it is my choice’. All too often, people make excuses for their food choices, ‘I ate the cake because it was someone’s birthday, so I felt like I had to’, or ‘I am so busy at work I didn’t have the chance to grab something healthy’. Accept that you always have a choice and understand that you are an adult and therefore are free to eat or drink anything you please. If you absolutely love burgers, make the choice to eat them occasionally when you really feel like it, not just because you are tired and give up!
Stop weighing yourself.
Scales can be a great measure of progress over the long term but if used excessively will do nothing but weigh your self-esteem. Weighing yourself on a Friday before the weekend and then again on Monday can only prompt that binge-restrict cycle. This could mean you may be happy with the number on the scale on Friday, but any fluctuations come Monday might send you into a week of restriction. Focusing on how you feel, how your clothes fit, and taking progress photos can be a great alternative for measuring your progress.
Put someone else in charge for a while
If you have been trying for a while to make progress but seem like nothing seems to work, it might be a good idea to put else someone in charge for a while and consult a nutrition coach or nutritionist. Not only does this help you to see the bigger picture and make changes you may have overlooked, it takes the pressure off you and can often alleviate the stress. While you will still need to put in the work, the added accountability and support can often make all the difference.
Want to coach people through this sort of thing?
The Holistic Performance Nutrition graduate certification can give you the knowledge and confidence to assist clients through these all too common scenarios. More than just a certificate, this program is a process of apprenticeship and mentoring to provide the support needed so that you can have the skills and practical application to best serve your clients and succeed in the holistic nutrition industry.
Applications for the July intake are now open, find out more information here.
Research and popular science articles by the members and faculty of the Holistic Performance Institute.