Manage the Weekend Binge

Thursday, April 12, 2018


I talk with clients a lot about what happens on the weekends that allows for binge eating, bad choices, and sabotage of the week of hard effort put in. Based on those conversations and what I’ve learned from them and my own personal experiences, I’ve put together a list of things to consider when you are trying to manage the WEEKEND BINGE.

  1. Weekends are usually full of a lot of family time and activities. Sounds great, right? That’s what weekends are for! But the weekend often comes and the whole concept of a schedule gets lost; bedtimes go out the window, kids are here, there and everywhere, and parents have to parent TOGETHER. All these can bring up a lot of the stress that causes emotional eating. Or the regular meal planning and food prep goes out the window. Let's face it, the schedule of work and/or school can be help give us control, of not just our time but our diets as well. Doing an end of week shopping trip with a meal plan for the weekend, and some food prep, will take the guessing game out of when and what is going to be eaten during the crazy weekend hours.

  2. For some reason, many people don't make the whole family eat in the healthy way that is part of your lifestyle. Kids are allowed to eat the kid friendly, “junkier” foods. These foods are easier, they are what all the other kids are eating, and they keep the kids “happy.” This is a recipe for disaster: STRESS + TEMPTATION = FAILED WILLPOWER. You can have the strongest willpower you’ve ever had, but unless you have been choosing this lifestyle for a long time, and have had success with it for a long time, this idea of having a “two camp” nutritional lifestyle in your house is usually not going to work. You will need to find a way to slowly start making the two camps, one. Communication with the family will help them understand and get on board with a whole family effort. Because if it’s the best way for you to be living your life, then it should be the best way for the rest of the family too. Recruiting help from the “campers” is a great way to get compliance. Let them give input on meal planning, and get them involved in meal prep and cooking. When the players have skin in the game, harder effort and less attitude is usually the result.

  3. In an effort to be nutritionally perfect, or make up for a prior weekend of binging or cheating, the week can consist of a lot of calorie restriction. By the end of the week, the body is screaming for calories. Being in a calorie deficit for several days means stronger cravings, especially for the higher fat and calorie foods, and fatigue that wears out good decision making and willpower. Looking at the week and having a mindset of controlled and steady calorie intake, without a lot of deprivation, will help keep this in check. Plan for a treat here and there. If the weekend is when you want to plan them for, perfect. Just make sure that you have earned it in the right ways. If you mess up on the weekend, don’t try to make up for it. Just get back to basics and back to where you should be on a daily basis, and give yourself another chance the next weekend.

  4. Weekends bring on more social settings. Parties, evenings out, dinner dates, and hanging out time bring with them temptations for all the naughty things. Have a plan! Eat before going out. Offer to bring food and bring some of your favorite snack or dessert hacks to show off how great eating good can taste. Learn how to say “NO” and see how much better it feels to be in control and on track than it does to have a certain food/drink. It could also be that you are surrounded by a lot of people who don't share the healthy lifestyle you are creating. This is tough, but manageable. Let people know what you are doing. Allow them to understand that you are on a journey of creating a healthy lifestyle and that means eating well, lowering alcohol consumption, and being active. When everybody is sitting around in lawn chairs, suggest a group walk. Be prepared and bring your own food; chicken breast for the grill, veggies and yogurt dips for snacks, and low calorie drinks or fruit infused water. You may get a little flack for it at first, but when you persist the outcome is so worth it!

Weekend Progress Y BlogThe weekend challenge is real! It takes a plan and practice. And, it means that you have to be intentional about how you approach the weekends. Hopefully, with some of the thoughts and ideas listed here, you can start to build a weekend lifestyle that supports your weekly lifestyle. And with that... have a great weekend everyone!

Kim Elsing Greater Green Bay YMCA
Certified Personal Trainer, FNS, Nondiet Weight Management Certified, Trained in Holistic Life Coaching through GAHP (Global Association of Holistic Practictioners)