Published in the August issue of the research journal Obesity, the study showed that people on calorie-restricted diets or daily exercise programs ate more on Saturdays and exercised less on Sundays, resulting in a net weekly weight gain of almost nine pounds a year.
Compared to weekday weight loss, the higher dietary intake on weekends caused the dieters to stop losing weight on weekends, while the lowered-activity exercisers gained weight on weekends. These findings provide one explanation for the relatively slow rates of weight loss observed in many studies, as well as the difficulty with maintaining significant weight loss, the researchers said.
“Remember, little changes can mean a lot when you’re dieting,” said registered dietitian Angela Shaw, D.T.R., coordinator of “The Healthy Weigh” weight management program offered at Cooper University Hospital locations throughout South Jersey.
“To lose a pound a week, you have to cut and/or burn 3,500 calories from your diet per week. If you make a habit of treating yourself on Saturdays to a Burger King lunch of a Double Whopper with Cheese, a large chocolate shake and fries, that one meal is costing you 2,550 calories. If you add the Dutch Apple Pie for dessert and an eight-ounce bag of salted potato chips while you’re watching TV that night, you’ve taken in 4,067 calories—that’s almost 600 calories more than the 3,500 calories you needed to cut from your diet that week in order to lose one pound,” Shaw said.
“If you’re going to splurge on the weekends,” Shaw added, “make sure you increase your activity. Remember, it’s calories in, calories out. Take advantage of your weekend time off and go outside for a walk,” she said.
Also, Shaw suggests taking steps to balance and moderate your weekend splurges by having a game plan before you dine out. “For instance, when you know you’re going to have a Martini before dinner, you can plan to skip the appetizer or the dessert,” Shaw said.
About The Healthy Weigh
“The Healthy Weigh” is Cooper University Hospital’s individualized weight management program featuring a refreshing approach to successful weight reduction and nutritional well-being. Participants learn to identify the personal steps they need to take to achieve and maintain their optimal weight and good health. Information on foods to lower cholesterol and/or blood pressure and to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes also is provided.