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woman learning how to stop overeating on weekends
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Do you find your weight trending down during the week and then it somehow creeps up again after every weekend? This is a common struggle with my clients, and much of it may be your habits are falling off on the weekends. Not to worry – you can learn how to stop overeating on weekends to achieve faster weight loss.

The first step is identifying the habits that are causing these unhealthy weight cycles. Here are 7 reasons you may be blowing your diet on the weekends and what to do to break the cycle.

1. You’re 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 in how you eat – even on weekdays. What if you allowed yourself to just be “good enough”? 

What to do instead: Follow the 80/20 rule with eating. This means 80% of the time you’re eating mostly nutritious, whole foods like lean protein, fruits, veggies and whole grains. The other 20% of the time you are allowing yourself to enjoy (without guilt) other foods that may not be as “healthy” such as a bagel, cocktail, or dessert. 

When you loosen the reigns and aim for nutritious food 80–90% of the time, it is so much more realistic. It is also a lot more enjoyable and satisfying. I help my clients move away from the all-or-nothing diet mentality and embrace imperfection in this way.

2. You’re following the “cheat meal” mentality

I hate to break the news to you, but a “cheat meal” mentality can absolutely sabotage your weight loss efforts. 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 forbidden foods? With that type of response, it is almost natural to overindulge – you’re only human. 

What to do instead – Try your best to remove the word “cheat” from your vocabulary. Treat every day the same, whether it’s a weekend or weekday, and instead, just preserve indulgences for the types of foods you really like 20% of the time. 

In this way, any extra calories will feel more worth it if it’s something you really want, versus a planned “cheat meal.”

3. You don’t allow indulgences

Are you constantly telling yourself you can’t have something because it’s too high in calories or is “bad” for you? The longer you do this for, the more the desire for that food can build up for you. This is not a sustainable way to eat.

What to do instead: Allow yourself the treats you want a few days a week, just try your best to control the portion. When you allow these treats more often, they become less of a big deal. 

And it doesn’t have to be “allowed” only on the weekends. Let yourself enjoy a fancy latte or ice cream during the week – without guilt. When you work with me, you don’t sacrifice your favorite foods. You instead learn how to enjoy them and gain your control back over them.

4. You’re not tracking your food

I often see my clients stop tracking on weekends. Many of them admit this is often because they know they are going to go over their calorie “budget” or feel embarrassed with what they ate or drink. 

I always remind my clients however that I never judge! I promise that no matter what you eat on a given day, I’ll never judge you for it. Changing your eating habits is not easy, but hiding what you’re really doing is only hurting yourself. 

What to do instead: Instead of calling the weekend a wash or forgoing tracking altogether, enjoy the indulgence and continue to track anyway. This will keep your health goals front and center through the weekend and increase awareness of your habits. 

This can help you do better and better with each passing weekend, seeing more weight loss progress. This also helps you feel more in tune with your body, regardless of the day. 

5. You’re not exercising

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, running errands, or taking kids to their activities. Intentional movement on weekends can easily fall to the wayside without a solid plan.

What to do instead: Stick to your workweek exercise habits, but try incorporating fun workouts on weekends. This can motivate you to stay active on the weekends and it doesn’t feel forced. If you normally do HIIT classes during the week for example, go for a hike, jog, or bike ride on the weekends to mix things up. 

You can even have a friend or family member join you so you enjoy a healthy activity together!

Simply focus on an activity you enjoy and keep moving. This will keep you in a positive mindset through the weekend. It also enables you to be more in tune with your body, and by default promote healthy eating habits.

6. You’re skipping meals

It’s easy for your usual meal routine to get thrown off on weekends. You may be running errands or wrangling your kids to multiple sports games, making it challenging to eat regularly. But skipping meals or going completely off your schedule sets you up for overeating.

What to do instead: Stick to a similar meal schedule on weekends as you would during the week. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, just try not to veer off more than an hour or two from the times you normally eat on weekdays. 

Plan on eating 3 balanced meals a day and incorporating nutritious snacks when you’re on the go as needed. 

Create your meal and snack plan ahead of time for the weekend so you are set up for success. Then you will be less likely to fall off course, and as a bonus you’ll probably find you’ll have much more energy!

7. You’re eating out too much

Restaurant and takeout food is always going to be higher in calories, sodium, and sugar than home cooked food. This doesn’t mean you can never go out to eat – it’s all about choosing wisely and preserving it for certain times.

What to do instead: The best way to avoid an entire weekend of restaurant eating (and save tons of $$$) is by being prepared. Stock your fridge, freezer, and pantry with healthy items – even convenience items like healthy frozen meals. 

In addition, always have a go-to list of meals that you can pull together quickly. This may be a simple stir fry with frozen veggies and instant cauliflower rice, or a chopped salad with frozen grilled chicken. Keeping quick-cooking, healthy items at hand at all times will ensure you always have an easy meal ready.

This will reduce the number of times you need to rely on eating out. One takeout meal will not have a big impact on your waistline, but 3 or 4 meals may.

Overate this Weekend? Here’s How to Reset

Sometimes despite your best intentions, you may not have followed these how to stop overeating habits this weekend. Maybe your habits slipped and you succumbed to overeating on the weekend. If this has happened to you and you feel guilty or bloated, here is how you can quickly reset:

  • Drink a large glass of water when you wake up. Water has an amazing way of spearheading healthy habits. After a particularly indulgent weekend, drink a large glass of water to get back in the game.
  • Go for a walk or any type of cardio workout that gets the blood flowing. This will help speed up digestion and reduce bloat that built up from the weekend.
  • Eat a healthy, nourishing breakfast that balances your blood sugar. You may be tempted to skip breakfast or fast after a weekend of overindulging, but this will likely only trigger more cravings and make it harder to get back to your routine. The best thing you can do is immediately get back to your usual nourishing breakfast that works for you, which will encourage improved digestion and get you back to feeling yourself again.
  • Bump up your fiber intake. This will help you to go to the bathroom sooner to reduce bloat and reset you. Many times the cause of bloat after a weekend of overeating is not just from eating too much, but also from consuming less fiber. This can cause you to get backed up and constipated, leading to the unpleasant “blah” feeling you may be experiencing.
  • Let go of the guilt and simply learn from it. Don’t beat yourself up for overdoing it, you are human and things happen. Perfection is not expected, so try to just let it go and just use it as a learning experience. Think about how you feel now and how you want to feel, and let that motivate you to get back on track.

woman drinking water

Photo credit: @Engin Akyurt via Unsplash

Take Control Of Weekend Overeating

Remember that you don’t need any crazy cleanses or elimination diets to get yourself back to feeling yourself after weekend overeating. You simply need to get back to the habits you know were working for you before. If you don’t know what these are, working with a dietitian like myself can help you figure out what works for you and how you can keep doing it.

Knowing how to stop overeating on weekends can help speed up weight loss, remove barriers getting in your way, and make it easier to maintain healthy habits consistently. 

If you need help staying consistent with your eating habits so you see more progress, I’m here to guide and motivate you every step of the way. Contact me to schedule a free discovery call to see if my program is the right fit for your needs.