It’s not easy to stop overeating when you’re surrounded by food. But I did it, and here are the surprising strategies that helped me ditch the bingeing, guilt, and extra weight.
The will a weekend of bad eating ruin my diet is a question that many people ask. In this article, I will share 5 surprising strategies that helped me ditch the bingeing, the guilt, and the extra weight.
Weekend binge-eating (and binge-drinking) was “simply what people did” in my culture. It felt great to let go… till I’d had enough of the remorse, guilt, bloating, and weight gain. That’s when I figured out the *real* reason for my Friday-to-Sunday bingeing. Here are the five tactics I took to finally kick the habit (and lose weight).
I used to be a master of overeating.
This is a true story.
Sure, I was “good” for the entire week.
But what about weekend binge-eating? That was my area of expertise.
As I waited for the bus after work every Friday around 5 p.m., I began to salivate. Red wine, pizza, a huge bag of chips, and lousy movies were all on the menu at the end of the work week. It had become a Friday tradition.
While I was waiting, I would occasionally contact my spouse. What toppings should we put on our pizza? They have a fantastic pesto sauce made with goat cheese. What about a little more sausage?
The highlight of my week was Friday night, when I got to eat whatever I wanted.
My job was really demanding. It was a lengthy commute. My approach of unwinding was to come home, dump my belongings, and eat a lot of fast food and drink.
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Friday was used as a stepping stone to the remainder of the weekend.
On Saturdays, before going to the gym, I ate a large breakfast and a large lunch. On Saturday nights, I went out for drinks and a hefty meal. Alternatively, you might stay at home and order more takeout and watch movies on the couch.
Then, of course, there were Sunday brunches. On Sunday walks, picking up some of those delicious cookies from that little coffee shop. And, because it’s Sunday, you naturally cap the weekend with a large Sunday roast.
It’s Friday, after all. It’s Saturday, after all. It’s Sunday, after all.
Because it’s Thursday night, which flowed into: Friday is technically near enough. It’s Friday-ish, and that’s good enough.
Weekends, in my mind, were a time when “regular norms” didn’t apply. It was time to unwind, kick off my shoes, and let the relaxing crunching and chewing transport me.
I’m not referring to compulsive bingeing. You’ll have episodes where you eat without thinking, almost as if you’re on autopilot.
(People with binge eating disorder have a sense of disconnection when consuming, which can be difficult to escape without the assistance of a doctor or therapist.)
But it wasn’t like that for me. Rather, my overeating was the kind where you go all-in: a comfortable, stress-inducing, and frequently social habit.
My social circle was enthusiastic in their support. I had pizza companions and binge mates. Going hog wild was just what folks did on weekends, as far as I was concerned.
Looking back, I also see that my overeating ritual kept me sane and human in the face of a tough work and excessive duties.
Weekend binge-eating, on the other hand, began to grate after a time.
As any overeater knows, the pleasure of binge eating comes with a price.
You’re physically uneasy, bloated, and possibly sick to your stomach. Mentally, you’re in a bad mood. Guilty. Regretful. Maybe you’re mad at yourself. Or just irritated in general.
While weight fluctuation is unavoidable when trying to get in shape, weekend feasting might ruin your aims if you want to stay healthy and fit or make fitness and health a permanent part of your lifestyle.
There’s more to it than just the visible excess body fat or stopped performance.
As though the inflammation from last night’s junk meal is hurting your joints. You’re either too full to run properly, or you’re too full to run properly. Or you wake up with meat sweats in your bed, puffing little breaths around the food-baby in your stomach.
However, it can be difficult to interrupt the cycle.
I made an effort to keep it under control.
I started making deals with myself, such as it’s okay to overeat if it’s “genuine food.” (Think nut butter jars, spinach pizzas, and sushi buffets.)
I worked harder over the week. I ate a lot less. In a spreadsheet, I kept track of low and high calorie intake. Every attempt at hunger was, however, invariably followed by an even greater weekend binge.
My health and fitness goals remained unattainable as the cycle continued.
Then I made an unexpected discovery.
How did I ultimately escape the cycle of weekend binge eating?
Perhaps not in the way you believe.
I didn’t utilize “one strange trick,” “biologic manipulation,” or “reverse psychology” in any way.
With the guidance of a nutrition coach, I recognized that my Friday, Saturday, and Sunday eating habits weren’t the only issue. There were also several dubious weekday behaviors. Habits that were probably even more important in the grand scheme of things.
I built a healthier relationship with food… and myself… after identifying my work-week eating patterns and how they were affecting my weekend behavior.
Here are the five techniques that assisted me in reversing my fortunes.
First, instead of aiming for perfection, I chose to aim for “good enough.”
It’s something I’ve noticed in a lot of my Coaching clients.
They desire to eat the “ideal” diet.
So from Monday through Friday, they stick to tight meal plans (down to the last measured teaspoon). And they are constantly concerned about messing things up throughout the week.
However, by the weekend, the willpower has worn thin. They’re weary of restricting their diets and can’t wait to consume food they like. Let the weekend binge begin!
There are just two alternatives for most of them: perfect or garbage.
So here’s how it works:
“It’s Saturday, I’m out to lunch with my family, and I won’t be able to have my ideal pre-portioned kale salad like I always do, so I’ll simply overeat a massive bacon cheeseburger and a mountain of fries.”
Things alter when you remove the word “perfect” from the equation. You feel more in control now that you have more options. Instead of five serves of fries vs. kale salad, there’s:
“I genuinely want a salad with my burger because I had fries for lunch at work on Thursday.”
As a result, my solution is to always strive for “good enough.”
During the work week and on weekends, I began to think about my health and fitness goals, as well as what I was in the mood for, what was accessible, and so on. I devised a definition of “good enough” and set my sights on it.
Remember that the good method you use is preferable to the “perfect” method you abandoned.
Strategy #2: I let go of my dietary restrictions.
Food rules are the flying monkeys if perfectionism is the Wicked Witch of excess.
The following are some food rules:
- what you are allowed to eat and what you are not allowed to consume,
- when you’ll be able to eat it or won’t be able to eat it,
- how you can eat it or how you can’t eat it, and/or
- how much you’re allowed to have and how much you’re not allowed to have.
It’s time for a spreadsheet!
These regulations occupy a significant amount of brain space. They also prepare you for disinhibition, popularly known as the “Screw It Effect.”
The Screw It Effect operates as follows.
Let’s pretend your number one eating guideline is Don’t Eat Carbs. There will be no croutons on the salad, no sandwiches, and no potatoes with your omelet. Thanks.
However, you find yourself out with friends on a Friday night, and everyone is drinking beer and eating pizza. You keep your cool for a while. You finally give in and take a bite.
That means you can eat whatever you want because you’ve “blown your diet.” Expect a binge and unpleasant side effects.
Of course, if there’s one food rule, there’s a good chance there are more. That means there are numerous ways to “go wrong” (and disinhibit). Perhaps all night. Maybe for the entire weekend.
Following the guidelines nearly always leads to devouring junk food, because once you stray, you have nothing to guide you.
My solution: I ignored the rules and followed my instincts.
No matter if it’s Wednesday or Saturday, morning or evening, business lunch or happy hour, non-dieters (or so-called “normal eaters”) eat when they’re physically hungry and stop when they’re physically full.
Begin by observing your own eating habits and reactions.
When, when, and how do you think you’ll say, “Screw it,” and why? What if you ignored that guideline and instead paid attention to your actual hunger and fullness cues?
Strategy #3: I stopped doing “Cheat Days.”
It’s all about sticking to your diet from Monday to Saturday. Sunday, on the other hand, is Cheat Day.
Cheat Day, oh, how I despise you. It’s your happiest day of the week.
You feel like a kid on Christmas morning when you wake up on Cheat Day. Go all out for the entire day, eating whatever you didn’t let yourself during the week.
As the nighttime approaches, you begin to panic. As a result, you eat (and possibly drink) even more. Because it’s back to reality tomorrow. It’s time to get back to fidelity and compliance. And it’s not enjoyable.
Sure, some people find a weekly cheat day to be beneficial both psychologically and physically. If this is you, and it works for you, go ahead and keep doing it.
However, for the majority of the people I’ve taught, one Cheat Day means the rest of the week is eating hell.
My solution: I stopped doing Cheat Days and gave myself license to do anything I wanted the rest of the week.
Cheat Day, like the Screw It Effect, is based on scarcity.
We feel worried, needy, and greedy when there is a scarcity of resources. Is there a way to combat a scarcity mindset? Abundance.
Food is plentiful for you and the majority of those around you, not something to be hoarded or dreaded. (Be glad if this is true in your life.) It’s a great honor.)
There’s no need to “cheat” because there’s nothing to “cheat” on and no one to “cheat” on. On a Tuesday night, you might have dessert because you’re in the mood for it, or you might skip it because you’re full from dinner.
It’s entirely up to you — and your hunger and fullness cues — what and when you eat. It makes no difference what day of the week it is.
Strategy #4: I was in charge of my decisions (Really. They belonged to me.)
Do you ever engage in self-bartering? Make food-related deals, trades, or swaps?
“OK, self, I’ll skip dessert today… But I’m going to collect this weekend, and you better pay the entire pie.”
One “good deed” grants you permission to “sin” elsewhere in this thinking. These transactions seldom pay off; instead, they usually consist of a lot of mental acrobatics that allow you to avoid making difficult decisions and excuse consuming.
Let’s face it, we’re all grownups here. It’s for tiny kids and criminals to trade off “good” and “bad.” There is no such thing as “good” or “evil.” The keys aren’t in the hands of the prison warden.
This type of mental gymnastics undermines your health goals – and your control over your decisions.
My response was to take responsibility for my decisions and allow my adult ideals and deeper principles to guide me when I sat down to eat.
I began making dietary choices by recognizing the outcome I would predict based on my previous experiences. Consider the following scenario:
“On Saturday night, I’m going to consume this tub of ice cream. After that, I’m sure I’ll be sick and nervous. I’m fine with that in this case.”
Finally, take responsibility for your decisions rather than moralizing about them. You can eat and drink whatever you want. You have a say in how you act.
Just keep in mind that different decisions lead to different consequences.
It’s entirely up to you.
I stopped rationalizing (Strategy #5).
Weekends provide a plethora of convenient explanations for indulging in a variety of unhealthy meals.
Anything might be the case:
- You were preoccupied. Maybe you didn’t have anything going on.
- You were on your way somewhere. Alternatively, you may have been at home.
- You have to put up some effort. Or you didn’t have any work to do.
- You had dinners with your family and friends. Maybe you ate by yourself.
Any justification will suffice. Victim of circumstance, powerless!
Overeating is not inherently caused by busyness, boredom, travel, job, or family gatherings. In a variety of settings, people eat or drink excessively. Their reasoning just corresponds to whatever is going on at the time.
Rationalizations are a useful tool. They aid in the understanding of — and perpetuation of — our overeating and other harmful behaviors.
My strategy was to stop justifying and ask myself why I was overeating in the first place.
You’ll want to consume garbage from time to time. And there’s a lot of it. That’s quite typical.
Instead of reverting to the familiar victim-of-circumstance story, use this time to reflect on what’s really going on.
Are you tired of being bored? Stressed? Sad? Happy?
If you repeat this process often enough, you’ll begin to notice trends. That’s where you’ll find your pot of riches. That’s your chance to break your binge-eating habit and do something different to deal with your emotions instead of bingeing.
What to do next: Here are some suggestions from.
There is no such thing as a “perfect time” to start eating better. Not today; not tomorrow; not next week. It’s impossible to avoid the craziness of life.
We can only do our best with what we have. Right now, in this place.
Here’s where you should begin.
Consider this: how’s that weekend binge eating going for you?
Keep doing what you’re doing if you’re enjoying your Cheat Day, Friday junk-food binges, or gut-punching Sunday brunches and you’re happy with the results.
However, if you’re undecided, it might be time to look into it further. Consider this: What good does weekend binge eating do you? What does it lead to? What do you get or feel as a result of it? How does it help you solve an issue or serve a purpose?
In my situation, weekend binge eating was a stress reliever, a source of stimulation and novelty, and a means to socialize.
To shift your mentality and break the weekend binge-eating cycle, try:
- aiming for “good enough” rather than “excellent,”
- letting rid of your dietary restrictions,
- abandoning the Cheat Days,
- taking responsibility for your decisions, and/or
- putting an end to the rationalizations
If you consume with a sense of urgency or compulsion, talk to your doctor or a trained expert about binge eating disorder.
Use the “blank slate” method.
When it comes to coaching, the clean slate approach means that you can start over after each “mistake.”
Did you eat too much on Friday night? No issue, just start over on Saturday morning. Make no attempt to compensate. Just go about your business as usual.
You don’t “pay back” the harm in the gym, and you don’t eat a jar of peanut butter like a kamikaze. You simply pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and resume your best efforts.
For a while, put someone else in charge.
Yes, you are in charge of yourself, and you should take responsibility for your decisions. However, breaking a deep-seated habit — even one that appears foolish and harmless on the surface, such as weekend binge eating — is difficult. It was quite difficult.
The process of changing your habits, like weight loss, will involve ups and downs. It is beneficial to form a partnership with someone who will support and encourage you.
Find someone who will listen to you and hold you accountable, such as a buddy, a partner, a trainer, or a coach. Relinquishing control is a choice that many clients are happy to make.
If you’re a coach or wish to be one…
It’s both an art and a science to coach clients, patients, friends, or family members through healthy food and lifestyle adjustments in a way that’s tailored to their individual body, tastes, and circumstances.
Consider the Level 1 Certification if you want to learn more about both.
I was not happy with my weight, but I knew that I needed to change my lifestyle. That’s when I found the low calorie weekdays high-calorie weekends
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I stop binge eating on weekends?
There are many different ways to stop binge eating on weekends. One way is to not eat anything at all, which can be difficult. Another way is to go for a walk or run, which will help relieve stress and anxiety.
How do I overcome binge guilt?
Binge guilt is a feeling that many people have when they feel guilty about the amount of time they spend on their favorite TV show or video game. Binge guilt can be overcome by taking a break from whatever youre doing, and then coming back to it later.
What are some strategies to avoid overeating?
It is best to eat slowly and stop when you are full. If you feel like you need a snack, try a small plate of vegetables or fruit.