- July 2, 2008
Saturday can be the worst enemy for our waistlines, according to researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
They found that people on strict diet and exercise programs tend to lose weight more slowly than expected because they eat more on weekends than during the week.
Past research had confirmed that people tend to gain weight during the holidays, particularly between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, but this is the first study to carefully monitor daily body weight, calorie intake and calorie expenditure for several weeks throughout a year, and to demonstrate that increased caloric intake isn’t just a problem during the holidays. It also happens on most weekends.
“We thought weekends would present a problem for some people attempting to lose weight, but the consistency of our finding before and during the interventions was surprising,” says Susan B. Racette, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical therapy and of medicine. “Subjects in the diet group lost weight during the week, but over the weekend, they stopped losing weight because they were eating more.”
People have social events, parties to attend, and if they have children who play sports, they might be at fields all day long, relying on concession stands for food.”
“Planning ahead can’t be emphasized enough,” Racette says. She recommends packing healthy food if you’re running errands, eating a little something so you aren’t starving when you arrive at a party, even packing a light lunch before going to the kids’ ballgames so that you have a choice other than junk food at a concession stand.
“In addition, she says, “paying closer attention to portion sizes can enable a person to enjoy the weekend without sabotaging weight-control efforts.”