Many people on weight loss diets are able to eat well and exercise according to the “plan” Monday through Friday. Then, the weekend comes and it all falls apart. Overeating, snacking, drinking and, in two days, the results from a hard-working week are gone. That’s not entirely true.
A recent study shows that overeating during weekends may not significantly affect your weight loss results. Small weight gains on weekends are normal, and as long as you can compensate during the week, indulging a bit may even help you lose weight long-term.
The study, “Weight Rhythms: Weight Increases during Weekends and Decreases during Weekdays,” was published in the journal Obesity Facts. Researchers analyzed data from 80 adults, ranging in age from 25 to 62 years old, who recorded their weight each day after waking up. The participants were grouped according to their weight changes over the study period: weight losers who lost at least 3% of their body weight; weight gainers who put on at least 1%; and weight maintainers who stayed in between those minimums.
All three groups recorded higher weights on Sundays and Mondays than other days of the week but those who successfully lost weight had lower weights during the week, with their lowest generally recorded on Friday. This shows they managed to compensate for the weekend gain during the work week, researchers say.
“There is a clear weekly rhythm to weight variation for most people,” says one of the study authors, Anna-Leena Orsama, a research scientist with VTT Technical Research Center of Finland. “On the weekends there is more variability and unpredictability in what we eat.”
Weight loss success depends primarily on your ability to compensate for those splurges on other days of the week. So, allowing yourself that brownie or beer on Friday night may help you sustain overall healthy eating habits over time.
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