You Won't Lose Weight if Your Goals Only Live Monday Through Friday
Happy Friday! Have you ever heard that before? What does that mean? Are the rest of the days of the week supposed to not be happy? I think they are and I bet you do too.
I write this from experience, both with clients and with myself. There was a time in my life and still are moments in my life when the picture I paint of the weekend is all too real in my own life, minus the alcohol anymore.
What I think it can mean is that the weekend is almost here so all of the goals we worked so hard to achieve during the work week can go out the window as if weekend opportunities don’t matter. Our body doesn't know the difference between M-F and Saturday/Sunday yet we often behave as though it does. This is one of the major factors in why people stall out or never gain traction towards their weight loss goals.
Let’s take a look at two “frames” we often live in, whether consciously or subconsciously in terms of our weight loss goals:
The week: It’s Sunday night and you’re ready to attack the week. You’ve got your meals planned out and your exercise sessions on your calendar. Let’s say your calorie goal for each day is 1500. You’ve thought through how many calories you’ll eat during each meal and even have your snacks mapped out. You fully intend on sticking to your plan and for the most part you do aside from the donuts purchased by the dozen by your coworker to lift the spirits (and dump the productivity) in the office. That’s a different blog post altogether. All week you follow the map and end the week feeling pretty good about your progress. Maybe you’ve even lost a pound or two and, aside from the energy you’ve lost from a week’s work, you feel pretty good. By Friday afternoon the weekend presents a perfect opportunity to recover and regroup for the next work week.
Many of us don’t see it that way though. Instead of the weekend being an opportunity to reset and refocus our energy towards our goals, many of us look at the weekend in a much different light.
Since our body doesn’t know the difference between M-F and Saturday/Sunday it doesn’t care that you don’t “have to” go to work. All your body knows is what you feed it and how you care for it. If you don’t take the weekend seriously towards your goals, you’ll be playing catch up for years, sometimes careers during the week.
The weekend: It’s Friday night and we’ve just finished a long week of work. We’ve been focused on our jobs and our lives have rhythm. Our meals have been planned and our snacks have been packed. We’ve built exercise into our schedules and stuck to our plan. It actually helps us perform our best during the week. We’re tired, maybe a bit run down, but we feel pretty good. Why then do we choose to abandon our goals when the weekend hits? I think the reasons are different for each of us and many of us might not even realize that we’re sabotaging our goals in the first place. We either don’t know or we simply don’t care. That would make me question if your goals are really that important to you anyway.
Although action can inspire commitment, “Where there is commitment, there is always action.”
This picture is one that I’ve heard played out countless times and lived out just as many in my younger years.
Friday night we go out and consume our daily value in calories with alcohol and empty calories leaving us feeling miserable on Saturday morning when we’ve vowed to kick our weekend off right with a morning exercise session. We skip it on account of getting to it later which never actually happens. Then we feel bad because we didn’t exercise so we head to the donut shop and get a few tasty treats. That makes us feel great for about five minutes until it’s time for our mid-morning nap. Naps aren’t bad, in fact a mid-morning nap is a great idea on Saturday when it’s taken because our focus is recovery and not a sugar induced coma.
Lunch? We skip it because we’re not hungry. The 1000 calories of donuts in the morning are “holding us over”. Saturday afternoon comes along and we can’t seem to figure out what to do with ourselves. We binge on some tv and have a 1500 calorie pizza for dinner. Then it’s time for round two of the empty calories. We consume another 800 – 1500 calories that add no value to our lives and hit the sack. That’s between 3300 and 4000 calories and we’re not even considering the snacks. We didn’t exercise so our metabolism stalls.
Sunday is better because we realize how horrible Saturday was towards our “goals” and vow to do better. We wake up and move. As we begin to think about our job and the week ahead we eat too much for lunch before realizing it’s time to get set up for the next week. We refocus, plan and prepare our meals and get to bed looking forward to attacking our goals again from Monday through Friday.
I’ve painted a pretty grim picture of a weekend in the life but it’s one that I don’t think is all too uncommon. The food might be different but the idea isn’t far off. Once Monday hits we’re back on board right where we started or a bit behind where we started the previous week. And we wonder why we aren’t hitting our weight loss goals.
Those two scenarios paint a polarizing picture between M-F and S/S. There are a couple of points I’d like to make to help you avoid the weekend setback:
If you’re not willing to do that I would tell you that your goals really aren’t that important to you. Shift your mindset from weekends being a release from your responsibilities to your weekends being an opportunity for rest and restoration. Once you make that shift and put it into action you’ll give yourself a chance at being successful on your weight loss journey.
Although action can inspire commitment, remember “Where there is commitment, there is always action.”
You won’t lose weight if your goals only live Monday through Friday.