How do you maintain your goals on the weekends? Are your weekends damaging to your goals? If your goals include increased lean body mass (muscle), decreased fat mass or weight loss, you may want to rethink your weekend habits... especially during and after the holidays when the temptation is highest. First off, you must know what your goal is. If you don’t, take some time to think about a quantifiable goal. If you are serious about your goal, you are most likely already hitting the gym 3-5 times per week and watching what you are eating. If you are looking to lose body weight or fat mass, you are most likely on a small daily caloric deficit (of about 250 calories). This is the healthiest way to lose weight and keep it off! Now if you think about quantifying everything, make sure the math is in your favor.
Calories are calories, whether they are fat (9 calories per gram), carbohydrates (4 calories per gram) or protein (4 calories per gram). Clean eating may help you with gaining other important health benefits, but a calorie is still a calorie and 3,500 calories equals one pound. If you are on a calorie deficit of 250 calories per day, this puts you at a 1,750 calorie deficit per week- or half a pound lost. If when the weekend rolls around, you tell yourself you deserve a cheat day or have a night out on the town; it is very easy to consume 1,750 calories that weekend. The average beer contains 200 calories, and the average cocktail contains just as many calories, if not more. This could be the equivalent of just 4 to 6 drinks. Alcohol contains 7 calories per gram, that’s almost as much as fat!
Here’s an example. If Monday through Friday I work out for 45 minutes and create a 250 calorie deficit each day in order to lose 0.5lbs per week, and I decide to have one cheat day where I consume 1750 calories more that day during lunch and dinner combined, OR have 4-6 alcoholic beverages, then by Monday I am right back to where I started - with zero weight lost or zero fat mass lost. Five great days of eating healthy and working out does NOT mean you can automatically splurge and “earn” a cheat weekend. Perhaps one cheat MEAL (not DAY) or splurging in moderation can help you keep your balance. If you are unsure why you aren’t making any progress, start doing the math. The best way to stay on track towards your goal is to track the numbers.