Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Nutrition Articles  ›  Pitfalls and Plateaus

Stop Weekend Binges

Is Weekend Eating Destroying Your Diet?

-- By Megan Patrick, Staff Writer
Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.
The structure of the work (or school) week can be extremely conducive to maintaining good eating habits. If you have a very predictable daily routine, it can be easier to plan meals and snacks and eat on a consistent schedule so that you never get too hungry. But when the weekend comes, all that structure disappears and leads many people into making unhealthy eating choices that can derail all the good effort from the previous week. But by recognizing the most common weekend food pitfalls, you can be prepared to make better choices and maintain healthy eating--no matter what day it is.
 
Weekend Pitfall 1: I'm not at home much, so I end up grabbing food from coffee shops and fast-food restaurants.
There are two solutions to this pitfall. First, think ahead and always keep a few healthy choices in mind at the restaurants in your area. (You can find loads of helpful information in SparkPeople's Dining Out Guide.) Most chain restaurant websites include nutrition information so you can look it up before you head out. Your second option is to buy a small cooler or insulated bag and some ice packs. That way, you can pack whatever food you might need during the day and stop for an impromptu picnic whenever it's convenient for you. It may seem weird at first to always bring food with you, but it's worth it since you never have to worry about getting too hungry or not being able to find a decent place to eat (no matter where you find yourself). Try some of these portable snacks that don't require refrigeration, and always keep some on hand in your purse, in your car and when you're on the go.
 
Weekend Pitfall 2: One cocktail with friends turns into three--and then I just eat whatever is around.
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, making it more likely that you'll make poor food choices or simply eat when you're not really hungry. On top of that, research shows that we tend to mimic the eating habits of the people we spend time with, so if your friends are drinking and enjoying bar fare, you're more likely to do the same. That said, there's no reason to skip a drink with friends as long as you can stop at one. Wine is the most diet-friendly drink you can choose, plus it offers proven health benefits. To stretch your one drink to two, order wine mixed with seltzer water to create a spritzer. And no one will think less of you if you switch to seltzer with a slice of lime after your one cocktail. Another solution is to spend more time with friends who eat the way you want to or are also trying to manage their weight. Their good habits and lack of pressure and temptation can rub off on you, and you can support each other's diet efforts no matter where you are.
Continued ›
Page 1 of 3   Next Page › Return to main nutrition page »
Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

Related Content


Stay in Touch With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Megan Patrick Megan Patrick
Megan Lane Patrick has been a professional writer and editor for the past 16 years, and was a chronic dieter for at least 30. A combination of weight-loss surgery, mindful eating and daily exercise finally allowed her to maintain a weight loss of more than 100 pounds. When she's not lifting weights at the gym, you can find her walking shelter dogs as a volunteer for the SPCA.

Member Comments

  • Thanks for sharing. I do weightwatcher and with the 49 bonus points I have used those for the weekend. Eating that much extra food on the weekend has made my weight lost slower but they were what I needed this summer. Even with cookouts, parties and vacations, I still managed to lose about a pound a week. I decided last weekend not to indulge and spread my bonus points over the entire week. Hopefully I can break the indulging on the weekend. I am grateful that I am losing, however I know that once this habit is gotten under control I should lost at a faster pace or at least I hope so. It's Wednesday and I haven't seen a big difference but I am still optimistic. - 9/25/2013 2:51:02 PM
  • Thanks for sharing. I do weightwatcher and with the 49 bonus points I have used those for the weekend. Eating that much extra food on the weekend has made my weight lost slower but they were what I needed this summer. Even with cookouts, parties and vacations, I still managed to lose about a pound a week. I decided last weekend not to indulge and spread my bonus points over the entire week. Hopefully I can break the indulging on the weekend. I am grateful that I am losing, however I know that once this habit is gotten under control I should lost at a faster pace or at least I hope so. It's Wednesday and I haven't seen a big difference but I am still optimistic. - 9/25/2013 2:51:02 PM
  • Thanks for sharing - 9/25/2013 6:58:16 AM
  • Thanks for the nice article. Great read!! - 9/17/2013 2:36:18 PM
  • my hard part isnt just weekends. i dont work so im home all day and most of the time i dont like to pay attention to what i eat. my fiance at least understands my eating habits and he eats whatever i eat. since im the one who cooks he gets what i give him. but he looks forward to our monthly date night thats my cheat day and eat what i want. - 7/22/2013 3:44:06 PM
  • Weekends are hard for me. It seems to be the perfect storm for over eating and bored eating. I either forget to eat until I'm ravenous, or I graze all day (and those string cheese sticks and yogurt cups add up quickly) During the week I have a nice schedule, but the weekends have always been my time. But I'm learning (or trying to learn) that I can have me time and still have a schedule. - 7/22/2013 1:05:26 PM
  • Thank you Megan- Weekends are definitely my downfall. As a Jew, Friday night starts my Sabbath and I don't write down what I eat. However, Just this past weekend I found a dear friend to split a cookie with- we are now cohorts and get to have a treat and plan one sweet without going overboard! We have both lost over 40 pounds and now get to honor our weight loss and honor our sweet tooths and honor our friendship. You can find us in the kitchen with a big knife dividing thick black and white shortbread cookies! I also make certain I plan a limited exercise on my shabbat schedule. I do think that pre-planning is important, and allowing for teeny treats are important as well. - 7/22/2013 12:27:21 PM
  • week ends are definately difficult to keep on track - 7/22/2013 11:02:36 AM
  • I too struggle with meeting hubby's needs and desires while keeping my own choices healthy. I try to select items that are lower in calories from these restaurants.,,but it isn't always tasty.
    - 7/22/2013 10:06:06 AM
  • PEACENCARROTS
    My pitfall is number 4. My husband always wants unhealthy takeout on the weekends. It can be hard to eat healthy with him. - 7/3/2013 11:06:33 AM
  • I agree with Huskersalad. I have to have that "naughty" time. I'm just one of those people who HATES health food. Granted, I have withdrawals if I don't have at least 1-2 vegetable or fruit per day, but I have to essentially make myself eat healthy. It's worth it to lose weight and feel good, but I need a Carl's Jr. Western every now and then. If I get a craving for something like fries, a burger, or a margarita. I'll wait all week and let myself have it Saturday (also nice in case I decide I don't want it). It makes all the oatmeal, plain salad, nuts, wraps, and juicing bearable. - 7/2/2013 7:31:01 PM
  • '"If chocolate is what you typically crave, buy a bar of high-quality dark chocolate and break it into reasonable portions to last all week. " If only! If I could live this way, I wouldn't have a weight problem in the first place. Better not to have it in the house, in my bag, in my work cupboard, so that it's an effort to go and buy some, and rely on my laziness to stop me. This is what chocoholism is, just like alcoholism, inability restrain myself and eat rationally. - 7/2/2013 11:21:19 AM
  • The weekend is my downfall. I always eat somethings thatbi shouldn't eat. But I get back on time on monday. I find its better for me. - 7/2/2013 9:10:35 AM
  • When I go to town for shopping, I pack a tasty lunch and have a picnic at a nice spot by the river. It's a lot better than anything I could buy, and a lot cheaper too. If I'm stuck without my lunch, I have a BBQ chicken dinner with salad instead of French fries, or a food court Thai soup -- the kind with lots of veggies and plain chicken stock. - 7/2/2013 6:42:13 AM
  • EMME1010
    I do weight watchers ,and made Lifetime in June. I lost 28 lbs. it took me 8 months, but now I know what eating patterns work for me. I'm never deprived on the weekends. This makes my weight loss plan not only effective, but socially livable. - 7/2/2013 6:16:46 AM