Image Map

Obesity word cloud concept

Obesity word cloud concept

Preaching To The Choir

I have said for the past 22 years in personal training that weekend free for all’s destroy any progress in weight loss attempts. Literally, weekends undermine weight loss. People are much more structured Monday through Friday while at work than on the weekends. The schedule is very rigid for most people. Get up, get kids off to school, go to work, go to gym gym,  get home, eat dinner, help kids with homework, watch TV, go to bed. Repeat. On the weekend, it’s get out of bed, make the kids pancakes(and yourself a bunch), go out to lunch with the family, go to a movie, eat popcorn and candy, order pizza for dinner. Put the kids to bed, have 4 beers and then go to bed. Get up on Sunday, have a big bacon and eggs breakfast with hash browns and toast. Go to lunch and get a burger and fries. Go to Costco grazing at all the food sample tables, go out to dinner and eat fettucine alfredo and garlic bread. That would about cover many peoples weekends. That just destroys any chance you have of losing weight. For 2 straight days you put on fat, for the next 3 you are getting into ketosis, and for 2 days you actually burn fat. Sounds like a losing proposition. Roughly 72% of the time you aren’t losing any fat at all.

A Study Now Backs Up What Experience Has Told Me

In 2008, nutritionist Susan Racette performed a year long study on 48 subjects who ranged in age from 50-60 years. The study was completed at Washington University in St Louis. The results were later published in Obesity. 19 subjects lost weight by increasing their exercise. Another 19 subjects lost weight by eating less. 10 didn’t make any attempt to lose any weight.

Results: Weekends Undermine Weight Loss

The people who exercised more lost 6.4 kg. The people who ate less lost 8 kg. This is not surprising as exercise and proper diet have been proven to aid weight loss. The subjects were monitored very closely and what researchers found was quite interesting. In both the exercise and diet groups, weight loss came to a halt on the weekends. As a matter of fact, the weight loss looked like the following:

On average, the weight loss was as follows:

Exercisers:

Mon-Wed  Lost 0.32 kg

Fri-Sat-Sun  Gained .24 kg

Dieters:

Mon-Wed  Lost .28 kg

Fri-Sat-Sun Gained .06 kg

So in both groups, people actually gained weight on the weekends. The interesting thing was the researchers tracked the subjects even before the study began and the weekend effect was even more profound. The researchers calculated the potential weight gain from this behavior could be up to 4 kg per year. That kind of knocks the idea of cheating weekends on it ear.

Conclusion:

The best theory for diet coaches and Dietitians alike should prescribe to is that the client should be more disciplined on weekend, not less. Perhaps it is better to limit it a cheat meal or a cheat hour. That will help people lose weigh more efficiently according to the study.

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Aug;16(8):1826-30.

×