New Blog Post: Thought #3 on Losing Weight — Business During The Week, Pleasure On The Weekend

30. March 2017 Blog 0
New Blog Post: Thought #3 on Losing Weight — Business During The Week, Pleasure On The Weekend

Hi again! I figured I should follow my own advice from the last blog post and break this list down into smaller chunks. So here’s weight loss thought #3: Business During The Week, Pleasure On The Weekend.

  1. Business During The Week, Pleasure On The Weekend. I suggest building into your diet plans at least one cheat day per week:
    • You’ll find it easier to follow your plan knowing that a cheat day is on its way. This idea is a sort of distant relative to Start Small: if you decide that you’re going to watch what you eat for three months and then on day 7 watch yourself eat a slab of chocolate cake the size of your head, you may feel like a failure and decide to scrap the whole “more disciplined eating” project. But you shouldn’t! Just get back on the horse again in the morning and start another string of good days.

      Recently I read a clever turn of phrase regarding marathon training: “The key building block isn’t a day of good training, it’s a month of good training.” I think that applies here as well: it’s not a day of good eating that makes a diet — it’s a month. And a few days of guilty pleasure don’t outweigh or undo several weeks of applaudable discipline.

    • Cheat days keep your body from plateauing so you get longer and longer-lasting benefits from your new eating habits. If you didn’t buy into the previous point, then consider this one instead. When you begin a new exercise program, eventually the effect that those exercises have on your body will level off. And that makes sense! You don’t expect to get infinitely faster or stronger just because you start going to the track on Tuesday evenings or hitting the weights once or twice a week.

      Well, the same holds true for an eating program: let’s say you managed to cut 100 calories a day from your diet. That’s roughly one pound per month. 100 months from now? You wouldn’t have lost 100 pounds — it’d be just a small fraction of that. Why? In time, your body would recognize that it’s not getting quite as many calories as it used to, and would adjust accordingly. The most obvious example: your metabolism would slow down slightly, in part because there’s slightly less of you to move around, and in part because your body would realize it needs to keep all your vital organs and systems running with slightly less fuel.

      By incorporating regular cheat days into your diet, you will help to stave off that eventual adaptation. Your body will see the temporary uptick in caloric intake and think “oh, that week of low calorie eating was an anomaly — I can hold off on slowing things down for now.” It won’t last forever, and your daily weigh-ins may give you a sense of two steps forward, one step back, but you’ll be able to string together more of those 2-1-2-1’s, which will ultimately get you to your weight loss goal faster.

Admittedly, my personal plan has closer to two cheat days per week than one: normally Saturday lunch through Sunday (hence Business During The Week/Pleasure On The Weekend), and I allow for special occasions. It’s likely I’d get to my ultimate target weight faster if I kept things to one waking cheat day per week (so not a 24 hour day but a wake-up to bedtime day). But for me, this approach is much more manageable: I’d rather take a slightly longer and more enjoyable weight loss journey than a short-but-less-pleasant one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *