5 Tips to Stop Overeating On the Weekends (Without Willpower)
You do so great during the week with your healthy habits only to completely fall apart and overeat on the weekends. You want to stop, but can't. You've tried and tried and nothing works long-term. Sound familiar? Let's fix it.
There is a reason why you do great during the week and then fall off on the weekends. In fact, there's a set of reasons. Very specific reasons. And if you address these reasons, you can get back in control. You can find more consistency. You can be more successful.
These aren't all the tips I have on this topic, mind you. But they're a great start. Here they are...
1. Stop depriving yourself during the week.
When people struggle with overeating on the weekends I start by asking, "Tell me a little bit about what you're doing during the week. What is an average weekday look like for you?"
It usually turns out that there's a lot of counting. There's a lot of tracking. There's a lot of weighing. Most of what they're doing is very antagonistic.
If you're using willpower and discipline during the week, that requires a lot of physical, mental, and emotional resources. When the weekend comes around you don't have the resources you need. Furthermore, the routine of the week isn't there to save you anymore.
When the week is stressful and depletes your resources, the weekend becomes a decompression period. You start to look forward to the decompression. For a lot of people, this means medicating with food and alcohol.
While you can't put an immediate end to all the stress you're under during the week, you can stop depriving yourself immediately. You can end the deprivation relationship you have with food and you can orient your fitness toward intrinsically motivated activities.
That's going to help you big time. Nobody has enough willpower or discipline to deprive consistently. You're creating weekend overeating by depriving during the week (on top of all the other stress you're under).
2. Do a better job protecting your physical, mental, and emotional resources.
For most people, the workweek tends to drain physical mental and emotional resources. This is especially true if you don't make enough time for yourself.
You're putting all this energy and effort into your work, your kids, your spouse, bills, and chores and there's not much left over for you. And the time you are investing in yourself is often spent doing exercise or other healthy habits that aren't intrinsically motivated. You don't find enjoyment in them, so even your attempts to be healthy and invest in yourself are a drain on resources.
Take for example somebody who loves to play racquetball. They get recharged by that hour they invest in racquetball because they love racquetball and get to play it with their friends. That is recharging their physical mental and emotional resources.
Now take somebody who is spending that hour with a personal trainer. Maybe they're in a mindset of losing weight. They've hired a trainer because they want to lose weight, not because they love going to the gym and working with a trainer. It's a means-to-an-end strategy. That mindset is a drain on resources.
If you do a better job of protecting your physical, mental, and emotional resources, you'll see less of a need to medicate and decompress when the weekend rolls around.
3. Adopt the bank account philosophy.
The bank philosophy says, "Make more deposits than withdrawals and stay out of debt." So your goal during the week is to make more deposits than withdrawals into your "health bank account."
Very briefly, deposits are things like real food, great sleep, or an intrinsically motivated fitness practice that restores or even boosts your physical mental and emotional resources.