Weekend Habits That Might Be Spoiling Your Weight Loss Efforts

Inadequate sleep and excess alcohol consumption can spoil your weight loss efforts. ©Shutterstock

Your weekend habits may be sabotaging your weight loss goals. We help you identify them and make the right choices.

Generally, after five hectic days of work, you are more likely to spend your time on bed in front of the TV or chowing down your favourite foods at the restaurant you love to go to. This is mostly the weekend routine of the average urban, working population. This is why you tend to weigh more on a Sunday or Monday as compared to Friday. A study published in the journal Obesity Facts has found an interesting link between weight gain and weekend habits. The study accounted for 80 participants who were asked to self-monitor their weight every day during the course of a week, before having their breakfast. Several other studies also suggest that you weigh more at the beginning of a week owing to high-fat foods during Saturday and Sunday along with little or no workout. However, you can turn around this pattern taking a closer look at your weekend habits. Here, we tell help you identify them, and make the right choices.

Miscalculating your calorie intake

During the weekend, you forget how much, how often and what you are eating. This adds to your calorie intake. In a study which featured in the British Journal of Nutrition, the researchers mentioned that on average, adults of both genders miscalculate one-fourth of their daily calorie intake. For example, during a weekend while watching your favourite movie at home, you may finish a whole packet of potato chips without even realising how much calories you just took.

Combat plan: Avoid keeping junk foods at home and eat in small bowls and plates to keep your calories in check.

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Inadequate sleep

Sleep plays an instrumental role in the success or failure of your weight loss plan. Inadequate sleep has been associated with obesity by several studies. According to the findings of a study published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology, when you get less than six hours of sleep, you are more likely to opt for a large-sized meal than your normal one. On the other hand, if you sleep like an owl during your day-off, dozing off for over 10 hours, you are putting yourself in danger of developing obesity, diabetes and chronic inflammation.

Combat plan: Make sure that you get 7-8 hours of sleep over the weekend also. While it is okay to let yourself a bit loose over the weekend, don't skip the entire bedtime routine that you follow during the weekdays.

Skipping breakfast

During the lazy weekends, you tend to skip the first meal of the day and eat a big portion during lunch. A recent study conducted at Israel s Hebrew University revealed that skipping breakfast can interfere with your body s internal clock and lead to weight gain. Also, it can affect your metabolism and lead to fluctuation in your blood sugar levels. The study authors elucidated that eating breakfast helps you have better glycaemic control which prevents weight gain.

Combat plan: Eat a healthy breakfast containing foods rich in protein. Consult a nutritionist to determine how many calories you should have at the first meal of the day.

Eating out a lot

During the weekend, you tend to have various dinner or lunch plans lined-up with your friends or with your partner. It is an amazing way to relax. However, you need to be smart about what you eat when you are heading out to eat. Some studies suggest that outside foods tend to have high volumes of sugar, fat and sodium which can spoil your weight loss efforts. It has also been found that when you eat out, you lose control over the proportion of your meal which is one of the biggest reasons behind weight gain.

Combat plan: Avoid eating at a restaurant and if you have to eat from outside. Pack your food and bring it home. This will give you better control over portions as you can choose to eat from small plates and bowls at home. Also, order grilled food instead of the greasy ones. Skip the dessert.

Over rewarding yourself

When the clock hits five on a Friday evening, you already make plans inside your head to treat yourself with high-calorie foods. Also, there is a surge in your appetite during the weekends which leads to overeating. Also, it has been found by several studies that we tend to pamper our sweet tooth a lot on Saturdays and Sundays. For example, if you love donuts and chocolate pudding, you are most likely to reward yourself with these treats on a weekend. All these can hamper your weight loss efforts. In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers noted that foods with added sugar such as aerated drinks and sweets can lead to significant weight gain.

Combat plan: To ensure that your weekend treats don t make you gain weight, look for no or low-calorie rewards. What about gifting books to yourself or buying the dress that you have been eyeing for long? It can motivate you more to stay in shape.

No workout

Rarely does one think of going to the gym or working out at home during weekends and this habit could undo all the efforts you made during the weekdays to shed those extra kilos. Fitness experts believe that if you don t break a sweat during the weekend, you may experience your body weight going up a notch when you step on the weighing scale on a Monday morning. So, being a couch potato on both the days will do you no good. In a study conducted at the University of South Carolina, scientists revealed that by reducing your sedentary lifestyle by 20 minutes you can lose around 1.6 per cent of your body weight within a year.

Combat plan: If you want to make sure that you don t gain weight over the weekend, you should work out on one of those days. No, you don't have to hit the gym or lift those dumb-bells. A simple jog or half-an-hour walk can do the trick.

Going overboard on alcohol

Everyone can relate to this weekend habit that is probably sabotaging the weight-loss goals. Our weekend chill-out plan seems incomplete with our favourite drink. While drinking is fine, overdoing it isn't. However, we tend to unleash ourselves a bit too much when we drink on a weekend night. Drinking too much alcohol is not only bad for your body, it also affects your food choices as well. Excess amount of alcohol intake infrequently increases your body mass index more than moderate drinking frequently, suggest several studies.

Combat plan: In case of a house party, limit the bottles you buy. However, if you are drinking out with friends or partner, be extra cautious to restrict yourself.

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