It being Friday and all, I thought I would shed some light on why the weekends are so damaging.
There are a vast majority of us who are able to keep themselves under control Monday through Friday. We can eat clean. We can get our workouts in. And we don’t seem to be battling what I call “The Hungry Horrors” all that badly.
But that all changes once Friday evening arrives. Even with the best of intentions, we overeat Friday night, most of the day Saturday, Saturday night, and most of the day Sunday. Sometimes we regroup Sunday night, sometimes we don’t.
The worst part is that we “justify” by saying to ourselves……It’sthe weekend!!!!
Now I agree that there needs to be some time to indulge. What better time than the weekend? But how much is “too much?”
Let me fill you in on how this whole thing works. When you are indulging, you are usually taking in large quantities of carbs, right? And probably large quantities of fat as well. But I want to focus on the carbs.
When you start your clean phase (which is usually every Monday morning) your system is saturated with carbs. Your blood sugar is high and both your liver and your muscles are storing as many carbs as they can. Btw……all carbs become sugar in your system. Glucose and glycogen are just other ways to say “sugar.”
So, you start Monday morning by getting some cardio in and you start eating normal (restricted) amounts of carbs and fat. These two actions cause your blood sugar to start to drop because you are using glycogen during your workouts and are not replacing them with a ton more.
Over the course of the next 4-5 days your blood sugar will drop. As it drops your body will replace it with some of the carbs that are stored in your liver and muscles. Once the levels reach a certain point and there is nowhere to find extra carbs, your body will then begin to convert body fat into usable energy. In other words you liver will convert body fat into sugar and dump it back into the blood stream.
This is when you actually START to burn significant body fat. The problem is that it is Friday and the fat burning just started. There isn’t much time to burn fat because you know you are going out for pizza and some drinks within a few hours.
Once the weekend food and drink fest begins you will be refilling carbs into the blood stream, liver and muscles. Hence your body has no more need to convert body fat into energy and the fat burning ceases.
The reason the scale moves down from Monday to Friday is more attributable to the loss of water associated with the reduction of carbs and exercise……not fat loss.
Most people wonder why they have only lost a pound or two over the course of an entire month. What I just explained is the reason. We never stay in that “fat burning” zone for very long before we are right back into the decadence. Seemingly we lose and gain the same 4-5 pounds week after week.
I have a simple cure for some of my clients who have a problem with this concept. I call it “The Two Week Diet.” I ask them to get through one weekend…..just one……without indulging. Most people say they can handle that.
What this gives us is 7-8 straight days in that “fat burning” mode. At the end of two weeks they have lost the 4-5 pounds of water PLUS 1-3 pounds of body fat. So if you counted on this path of two weeks of dieting followed by a weekend splurge, you would still lose 3-6 pounds of body fat per month instead of none or a pound or so.
More importantly than the actual weight loss is the lesson learned about the cost of over-indulging. Most clients are able to cool it on the weekends after this little experiment.
On a side note, one cheat meal will not usually refill your entire carb storing system. Therefore, if you have a cheat meal but are pretty much in control for the rest of the weekend, you will not set yourself back in the same way and entire weekend of splurging will.
If you are struggling with this problem give the two week diet a try. Let me know your results.