How to keep weekends in check!

Good morning!

It’s Saturday morning and for a lot of you this sparks anxiety. Most clients I’ve worked with have a solid routine Monday through Friday but it all goes to pieces once the weekend hits.

Whether you’re running to events with your kids, have more downtime at home, or are eating out it can be easy to negate all of your weekday efforts.

Before we get into WHAT to do, a quick illustration of what happens to most people’s progress over the weekends is helpful.

We’ve talked before about needing a caloric deficit to lose fat.

For example, let’s assume my maintenance calories are set at 2000.  This means if I eat 2000 calories daily my weight would remain unchanged.

So to start losing fat I set myself in a slight 10% deficit and plan on consuming 1800 calories a day.

That would look like this:
  • Monday 1800 cals  (-200)
  • Tuesday 1800 cals (-200)
  • Wednesday 1800 cals (-200)
  • Thursday 1800 cals (-200)
  • Friday 1800 cals (-200)

So from Monday-Friday I’ve created a 1,000 calorie deficit. Awesome!

But now it’s Saturday and I go out to eat.  During this meal I have a fattier cut of meat, a few cocktails, extra dressing in the salad, and dessert.  Nothing crazy, however now I’m easily at 500 calories over my daily limit of 1800.

Combine that with a pork roll egg and cheese (I’m from South Jersey) the next morning or brunch out with the family, I’m again over by 500 for Sunday.

That little bit of mindlessness over the weekend erased your hard work during the week.

The psychology of this is NOT in your favor. Your brain remembers 5 days of great work. 15 great meals (assuming you eat three times per day). At this point most people throw up their hands, mark it down as another failed attempt at “dieting” and go back to whatever they were doing before.

Now that we know WHAT is happening, HOW do we fix it?

Lead With Protein

Many of you comment how “full” you feel now that you’ve included more protein in your diet.  Make sure you focus on hitting your protein targets each day. You’ll feel more satisfied and it will help control hunger throughout the day.

Get those steps in!

Remember that your calorie deficit gets set from both sides, how much you take in and how much you burn. You will NEVER out work or out run a poor diet. It’s incredibly easier to eat an extra 100 calories than it is to burn them. Don’t believe me? See how long it takes to eat a bowl of ice cream vs burning 100 calories on the Assault Bike. It’s easy to lose focus on the weekends. Get up an hour earlier and take a 30 minute walk. You’ll knock most of your steps out, but most importantly you’ll be doing something to stay focused on your goals.

Account for extra FATS… not carbohydrates.  

So many clients worry about carbs but when we review their food log it’s mostly extra fat! 

Any meat you order out, grilled or not, will most likely have extra oil or butter on it. 

Any sauce or fried food will add much more fat calories than calories from carbs. So, if you are budgeting for a meal out, keep your other meals lower in fat. 

For example, use more egg whites than whole eggs at breakfast. Have a shake with whey protein and fruit for lunch but skip adding the peanut butter.

Finally, plan ahead.

My wife and I love going to Barrel and Roost on the weekends. I’m a creature of habit, and I thrive on routine. I order the NY Strip, the shovel salad, some of those delicious crispy chicken bites, and a bourbon 99% of the time. So when I know we’re going there I put all of those things in MyFitnessPal and work backwards the rest of the day. You’re never going to get the measurements or the amount exactly right. But striving for perfection will keep you from progressing. Put your best estimate in there and you’ll see what you’re working with for the rest of the day. 

The discipline in learning these behaviors is what gives you the freedom to enjoy the weekend on your terms, and still make progress. 

You can have anything you want, you just can’t have EVERYTHING you want. Make a plan, stick to it.

Keep Moving Forward,


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