I know, I know... another big old warning about how we over-eat.
But since it's Monday, let's think back to how we ate this weekend. Because even if we do ok during the week, most of us are over-eating, Friday through Sunday. And those of us who indulge on weekends are gaining a full ten pounds annually.
A Washington University School of Medicine study showed that participants "consistently ate more from Friday through Monday than they did during the week, with Saturday being the worst day for overeating. Previous studies had confirmed what anyone faced with a holiday dessert buffet could tell you: special days, especially between Thanksgiving and New Year's, often led to weight gain. But the Washington University study, funded by the National Institutes of Health and published in advance in the online edition of the journal Obesity , is the first to show that people eat more calories on most weekends of the year. "
When reading this study I was thinking that we're all busier during the week and have down time on weekends - maybe we over-eat from boredom or because we have time to! Then I thought - no - my family is much busier on weekends, we have day trips, parties, play dates, carnivals, cookouts, Sunday brunches - AHA! That's where it lies for us. If we over-eat, it's because so many of our weekend activities revolve around food and friendship. And I think it's probably the same for most people.
We not much for over-eating in my home but we certainly do it at times and we fall smack bang into the typical participants of this study - if we're going to over-eat, it's almost always on weekends.
And we don't all over-eat on fruits and veggies, unfortunately. Alcohol, salty, fried food and rich desserts are commonly eaten. "What the heck!" we cheer. "It's the weekend!"
Even though many of us lose part of the weight during the next week, we don't lose all of it, which cumulates to that yearly 10 lbs.
The studies lead author, Dr. Susan Racette, has this advice -
"The key to keeping the risk of weekend weight gain in check is consistency. Being aware of what you're eating on the weekends and setting yourself up for healthy choices by planning ahead can help you maintain your weight or keep weight loss going through the entire week. The study participants had to weigh themselves daily, which increased their awareness of small weight changes before they became big ones. They also kept a careful record of what they ate; keeping a food diary can help you see patterns in your diet."
"During holidays and weekend get-togethers, plan to enjoy a couple favorite treats and ignore the rest. Watch portion sizes, and if the event is a potluck, bring a healthy dish so you know there will be at least one available. And it's helpful to move your focus at events away from the food and towards the social aspect.
Some diets advocate having a day during the week where anything goes, as a means to avoid temptation on the other six days. That strategy is not a bad one.
Certainly, having a little more freedom once a week can be helpful as long as you don't take that to an extreme.""
Do you find that you are more careful about your eating habits during the week than you are on weekends? Has it resulted in weight gain? Do you have any tips for our Empowher readers?
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