Calorie Counters - Weekends "off" or at least not as strict as the week




124chicksinger
12-04-2011, 12:44 PM
I am curious to know if you diet mindfully and strictly and seriously during the week, but have given yourself a break from the rigidity during the weekend. Now, I'm not considering going hog wild on the weekends, but what I'm wondering is if, in the grand scheme of things, not tracking every little morsel and/or having a few more calories on the weekend, would make or break my weight loss? Certainly, I know that in a 7 day period if I create a 3500 calorie deficit, technically, scientifically and in theory, I should lose a pound. However, we all know that there are weeks when we have been on plan to the T and not shown a loss, or worse shown a gain, then we have weeks where we have lost despite our own worst efforts.

I also know that some people have gone into maintenance mode just to refresh and give themselves a breather from the rigidity of the journey...but I'm not up to that just yet.

So basically, I'm thinking of giving myself a break on the weekends in that I won't nit-pickingly note every morsel, and even relax a little -- for instance, have a second helping of something -- not go running to the nearest Carvel and having a banana split or eating a whole cake or anything - basically sticking to the plan but giving myself a little break from the tracking and any guilt of eating a little bit more. Pretty much at this point 99% of the JUNK isn't in my diet anymore.

Has anyone given themselves weekends off to a small degree and NOT suffered any adverse consequences in the long run.

I have given myself the next 6 months to lose ten pounds. I know it is a cowardly goal, but given the fact that I've lost 28 this year, 20 in the past 4 months, I think it will not get any easier that I'm nearer my 160 initial target. Added to that fact that in the past I've had a terribly hard time getting down under 154 I don't even know what my body is capable of.

So tell me your experiences please. Thanks, Donna


deblosingit
12-04-2011, 01:00 PM
I wonder the same thing. I would say that maybe one day on the weekend I will track my calories during the day and knowing what I have left for dinner/evening I'll just do some mental math with the thought that I can go over my target by about 200 calories. But, I have been reluctant to give myself days off. Even if I'm not faithfully logging everything, I'm keeping a running total in my head.

Sometimes it feels like I'm being a bit obsessive. I would like to be able to trust myself and trust my body to just relax and eat.

Esofia
12-04-2011, 01:10 PM
Have you considered doing a form of calorie cycling, where you deliberately plan to have higher amounts on the weekend balanced by lower amounts during the week so that it averages out at your usual number? Personally I wouldn't stop tracking, but it's such an individual thing, what works for me won't necessarily work for you. I do occasionally allow myself the odd extra treat, and it feels no less enjoyable despite being tracked. Indeed, I'm more comfortable about doing this precisely because I know what I'm doing.


juliana77
12-04-2011, 01:27 PM
If I stick to my plan for two weeks, one week I might lose zero and the next I will lose 4. This doesn't men that I cheated the first week, it just means that my body was holding on to water weight, most likely for hormonal reasons, but also due to sodium, weather, stress, etc.

The point is, one week is not nearly long enough to determine whether a shift in your plan makes a difference one way or the other.

I went on vacation in August and took a week "diet break" where I made good choices but also had dessert a few nights, drank alcohol most days, and didn't track anything. It did not affect my overall trend at all and it was good psychologically.

It really depends on your personality whether taking weekends off will derail you. For me, that would be way too often and I would find myself taking advantage. But give it a try for a month or two, and see how it goes.

Michelle2008
12-04-2011, 02:16 PM
I know if I am too strict I will never stick to my new way of life so yes I do allow myself some treats at the weekend.

I don't go wild - bit I will sometimes allow myself a cupcake with coffee - and if I go out to eat I will have a dessert if I want. I have been cutting down for over six months now and I see this as a permanent change rather than a crash diet.

Unna
12-04-2011, 02:43 PM
I don't think there is anything cowardly about giving yourself 6 months for the next 10lbs. I am similar to your size and it is super difficult to get lower. I'm actually excited to see if I can get below 155 with moderate calorie counting and exercise. In the past, the few times I got below 155, it was through super-extreme dieting.

If I were you, I'd find a way to give yourself a "break" that is still very safe so that it doesn't undo your hard work. Maybe that doesn't mean stopping calorie counting on the weekend- instead, maybe the biggest mental break for you would be skipping your exercise routine and just relaxing??

spetty
12-04-2011, 03:03 PM
I usually end up eating less then my daily calorie limit by between 100-200 calories on week days so I use these extra calories on weekends if I need/want to.

If you're really looking for a break from tracking, maybe start with one day on the weekends to see how it goes. I've have days where I'm not tracking for what ever reason and it usually goes well as long as I don't start snacking between meals (eating because I'm bored is an old habit). Just be mindful of what your old bad food habits were so you don't accidentally slip back into them because you purposefully off plan for a day.

WannaBeLoserAgain
12-04-2011, 03:11 PM
I have done this in the past and I lost weight as long as you are still exercising and burning up those calories. Now, that weight loss may be slower also. And, know that eating more on the weekends without keeping track may lead to another day and then the eating habits get out of hand. And, the weight creeps up.

lin43
12-04-2011, 03:12 PM
Have you considered doing a form of calorie cycling, where you deliberately plan to have higher amounts on the weekend balanced by lower amounts during the week so that it averages out at your usual number? Personally I wouldn't stop tracking, but it's such an individual thing, what works for me won't necessarily work for you. I do occasionally allow myself the odd extra treat, and it feels no less enjoyable despite being tracked. Indeed, I'm more comfortable about doing this precisely because I know what I'm doing.

This is exactly how I feel and what I do. I'm on maintenance calories and am allowed 1750-1800 per day (I'm still experimenting, though). The pattern that has been working for me so far is to plan to eat about 1400 calories 3 days a week, have up to 1750 or so another couple of days during the week, and use the extra calories on Saturday & Sunday.

At this point, I don't mind tracking at all, so I wouldn't really want a "break" from it. In fact, I think I would be too worried to enjoy my food if I didn't track on the weekends. I am a poor estimator, so I really need to track. If you are a good estimator and don't really love tracking, then you should try it to see how it goes. You can always try it for a couple of weekends and weigh yourself afterwards to see if you gained (or lost!)

124chicksinger
12-04-2011, 04:39 PM
Ty for all the responses so far. Unna, I'm 3 inches shorter than you and heavier...BUT I LOVE THAT YOU WROTE we're similar. Oh, to have those 3 inches that you have would be heavenly :)

Esophia, I do sort of calorie cycle now, just not extremely. I have a target of 1200 and a ceiling of 1400. Then there are the odd unhungry days where I just about meet 1000, and I'm okay with a few of those. :)

I think I've just given myself permission to not be anal retentive about it THIS weekend, so the idea of every weekend is somewhat appealing.

Like deblosingit wrote, I have that running tally in my head too--I guess there is no escaping that, and fortunately it will help to keep me in check.

I figure in the long run, any daily deficit, even if it doesn't total the 3500 weekly deficit, is a deficit. A deficit in the long run equals weight loss, just slower than can be calculated (and even the calculations are exact in practice...so).

Tomorrow, I'll be right back on the strict horse. I have not weighed in since Thanksgiving morning. I will weigh in at the end of the month if I can stay off the scale until then. I'm getting used to this weight, and I realize I've accomplished something, not near enough, but I guess I'm just less "in a hurry" and really trying to follow that mantra of dieting smart, not hard. :)

P.S. Unna, in high school, I graduated at 106 pounds in 1977. I looked deathly in the face and certainly was thin, but I am curvy, busty and round and never have been what I would call lean. Of course, I didn't eat and that's how I was thin ... after having dropped 25 pounds when I had my tonsils removed, I just continued on with that behavior. I may have been anorexic before it had a name! In my 20s I weighed between 120 and 150, always striving for 120. Its soooo hard. I gave up on that ages ago. Ten more pounds would make me very very pleased. I hope I can do it. I think I can, so.....I guess I can??? :)

Koshka
12-04-2011, 08:29 PM
I sort of do this. I do track everything I eat. I track it both on livestrong so I can count calories and carbs and I also track it on WW since I am a WW member as well. I weigh in on Saturday morning so that is a "new" WW week for me and I know I don't weigh in until the next Saturday.

For example, yesterday I ate 1567 calories. I went out for lunch and while I did pay some attention to portion sizes (this was at a Chinese buffet), I did eat more calories than I would have eaten during the weekdays. Also, I usually don't eat refined grains but at the buffet I had fried rice and dumplings. I allow myself to eat some food like that usually once or twice a week on the weekend.

However, I do record everything so that I know I am not eating too much. I look at 2 things to check this. On livestrong, I keep an eye on my total calories for the week and aim, over the course of the week, to eat an average of 1100 to 1200 calories a day. Following WW, I keep an eye on my Weekly Points and use those mostly on the weekend.

NorthernExposure
12-04-2011, 08:52 PM
My weekday target is 1550 cals, which according to my Lose It app is about a lb/week loss for me. I usually end up somewhere between 1400-1600 on a day-to-day basis. I typically allow for two higher days per week where I permit myself some extra cals, about 1800 or so. Now that it's the holiday season, though, I'm allowing more like 2,000 on weekends, which I think is just slightly less than maintenance cals for me. Overall, I'm still averaging about a lb/week loss.

Every once in a while I allow for a "no count" day. (Especially if it involves alcohol...I'm not going to sit there logging each drink and I'd probably lose count anyway if it's a good night, lol.) I still plan ahead though. If I know I'm going out for dinner/drinks, I'll eat lighter during the day and try to have a lower cal day the next day to make up for it a little.

I know my choices might result in slightly slower weight loss than if I were to strictly adhere to my budget each and every day...but for me, it's worth the tradeoff. Who knows though...you often read that you should allow for a maintenance level day every once in a while to shake things up as our bodies become very efficient (in a bad-for-weightloss way) when they're used to the same calorie level every day. So yeah, I guess it's kind of like calorie cycling?

It's true, though, that you do have to be more careful as you get closer to your goal. 70 lbs ago, I had a lot more "wiggle room" for cheat meals, etc. I hit a plateau this past fall and I think one of the causes was my sloppy estimating on weekends. I had to reign it in a bit and I did start losing more steadily.

LisaTcan
12-05-2011, 11:24 PM
I totally do this, I asked my dietician friend and she said it works the same as long as you create a deficit. I eat about 1300 calories during the week and I eat about 1800 calories on the weekend. I'm losing REALLY slowly (like .5 lbs a week) but it's worth it to me to enjoy myself and not feel deprived.

Esofia
12-06-2011, 09:23 AM
From what I've gathered, there seem to be a few things that are common in getting this to work:

1) Not depriving yourself during the week, as that's setting yourself up for rebellion later.
2) Structuring the weekend days in some way, rather than allowing yourself to eat anything and/or not tracking what you eat.

NorthernExposure
12-06-2011, 11:14 AM
From what I've gathered, there seem to be a few things that are common in getting this to work:

1) Not depriving yourself during the week, as that's setting yourself up for rebellion later.
2) Structuring the weekend days in some way, rather than allowing yourself to eat anything and/or not tracking what you eat.

Yes...I don't think you can have a free-for-all every weekend and expect to lose. Of course you'd think 5 days of strict dieting + 2 days of slacking would still average out to a net loss, but unfortunately, it doesn't seem to work that way.

I think the level of structure one needs for more "permissive" days depends on how well they do with estimating, how active they are, etc. I was surprised at how easy maintenance was for me this past summer. Aside from some random "spot checking" for calories on unfamiliar foods, I didn't log at all and managed to stay within 2 lbs of my starting weight all summer. OTOH, I am much more active in the summer (I have summers off) than I am the rest of the year when I have to sit at a desk 8 hours a day.

Koshka
12-06-2011, 11:51 AM
One of the things that I've always liked about WW is that this concept is sort of built in through having daily points but also having weekly points that you can arrange as you like them. I use most of the ones I use on the weekend. On my calorie counting website (livestrong) I keep track of the weekly calories I've eaten in addition to the daily calories so I make sure I am still in a calorie deficit.

All of that said, as you get closer to goal there is much less room for error. My DH is within 10 pounds of his goal now and doesn't lose at all if he eats too much on the weekends when before he would lose.

InsideMe
12-06-2011, 12:15 PM
I do splurge a bit on the weekends like we go out for dinners etc. But I always make healthy choices and watch portion size. I do a mental count in my head and during the week I'm really good. On the weekend I do have a treat here or there but I don't go overboard. Portion control is HUGE for me and what I eat. If we go out for dinner is almost ALWAYS SUSHI. Sashimi is a great source of protein ;) I might have a glass of wine with dinner too. Depends. I'm looking at this as a lifestlye and how I'm going to eat forever, I have to learn it or I'll just end up gaining it back, that's what I've done in the past. For instance my partner and her hockey team she coaches had their Christmas dinner at a chinese buffet this week. I stocked up on veggies, very little fried rice and sushi, fruit and a little rice pudding for dessert. I spurlged a bit but the key is not to over stuff and watch your portion size. I've been doing this every weekend since I started my journey in June

yogahoney
12-06-2011, 01:41 PM
I'm always out & about on weekends, so I'm less strict by default. I continue to track calories but allow myself to approach maintenance. I've actually seen some of my best losses after indulging a little.

At restaurants, I choose the healthiest options available that I'll still enjoy. When friends are entertaining, I sample everything - the pies, the creamy dips, the truffles (sigh) - but I make sure it's a small sample. And one glass of wine is my limit.

jayohwhy
12-06-2011, 01:48 PM
i used to let myself have some freedom on the weekends, but to be honest, i wasn't losing weight because of it. even a few more calories will lead me to not lose weight. instead, i found a calorie level that i can sustain every day-- even on days with a lot of eating, and still lose.