Do you ever feel frustrated that you’re not losing weight? Or, is your weight trending down during the week and then bouncing back up every weekend?

You may feel like you’re doing all the right things most of the time. Sure, you loosen up on the weekends a little. But most of the time you’re nailing it.

Or maybe you know the weekends are the issue. You wake up every Monday morning, resolved to “do better” this week, only to get to Friday and completely blow your diet yet again. 

If you feel like you keep blowing your diet on the weekends, one reason could be that you’re being too strict during the week.

YES, that’s right. All that “perfection” during the week builds up and explodes when Friday night hits! Eating this way can really slow your weight loss down. It’s also a big trigger for yo-yo weight cycles.

If you feel like you’re really good during the week with your diet but the scale is NOT moving, it’s time to take a hard look at how your weekends compare to the rest of your week.

When I work with clients, I help identify the mindset pitfalls and the actual habits that are causing these unhealthy diet cycles. This helps them improve their relationship with food and lose weight at the same time.

Here are 7 reasons you’re blowing your diet on weekends and how to break the cycle.

1. Stop Trying to Be Perfect

There is no such thing as perfection, and it certainly is not sustainable. It is ok, and actually beneficial, to remain flexible – even on weekdays. What if you allowed yourself to just be “good enough”? When you loosen the reigns and aim for nutritious, whole foods 80–90% of the time, it is so much more realistic – and a lot more fun!

2. Give up the Idea of “Cheat Meals” or Days

All right, I know this is tempting, but this is absolutely sabotaging your weight loss plans. When you make certain foods off-limits most of the time (i.e., you save them for “cheat days”), you create a sense of scarcity. Have you ever felt a surge of adrenaline just seeing those treat foods? With that type of response, it is almost natural to overindulge. 

3. Allow Yourself Treats Throughout the Week

Essentially, this is what happens when you apply the first two principles. When you stop thinking about cheat days, and allow yourself some flexibility during the week, treats become less of a big deal. A flavored latte on a Tuesday? Yup. A small order of fries with your entree salad? Enjoy. I don’t want you to have to eliminate your favorite foods. I help you to learn how to eat them without sabotaging your weight loss goals.

4. Continue Logging Your Food

Sometimes my clients may stop logging their food on the weekends. This is often because they know they are going to go over their calorie “budget”. Instead of calling the weekend a wash, enjoy the indulgence. But don’t let yourself completely off the hook. Stay accountable by continuing to track your meals. Then you are actually aware of the true patterns throughout the week and weekend. Knowledge is power!

5. Plan Fun Weekend Workouts

Are you a stickler at working out during the week, but turn into a couch potato on the weekends? You may feel you’re “running around” all weekend, but it’s actually just time in the car, errands, or taking kids to their activities. Stick to your workweek exercise habits, but try incorporating fun workouts on weekends. If you normally do HIIT classes during the week, go for a hike or bike ride on the weekends to mix things up. Focus on a type of exercise simply because you enjoy it.  

6. Have Regular Meal Times

The year 2020 has really thrown many of us off track with our meal routines during the week. However, this may be the case even on weekends. Stick to a similar meal schedule on the weekends as you would during the week. You can do this by eating 3 balanced meals a day and incorporating nutritious snacks, as needed. Then you will be less likely to fall off course and overeat. It’s hard for anyone to make thoughtful choices when we’re starving, even dietitians!

7. Avoid Takeout For Every Meal

There are several reasons we fall off the wagon on weekends. We’re tired, we don’t want to cook or think about making healthy choices, or maybe we just want to splurge. This is another reason to allow yourself a treat or two during the week so it doesn’t build-up to the weekend.

But, those restaurant and takeout meals add up – for your wallet and your waistline. In addition to the large portion sizes, the preparation of these foods is far less healthy than what you’d do at home. The best way to avoid a weekend of takeout is to be prepared. Stock your fridge, freezer, and pantry with healthy items. Also, always have a go-to list of meals that you can pull together quickly. One takeout meal will not have a big impact on your waistline, but 3 or 4 meals may.

Do you want a go-to list of healthy meals and meal prep hacks you can use over and over again so you can achieve more of a balance in your diet? If you want to stop going back on a diet every single Monday, my E-book 20-Minute Dinners for Busy Women is your go-to resource! It includes a month’s worth of delicious recipes, printable grocery lists, expert meal planning hacks, and a proven system to help you be consistent with eating healthy.

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