Weekends Killing my Gains

So, I have been training regularly and eating healthy for months now, but the problem is the weekends. There is usually always a function my wife and I go on. A wedding, a brewery or winery with food carts, family party, etc. These things are killing my progress and it's driving me crazy. I just went on a lake house trip with my friends looking pretty good (weekend before a wedding so it wasn't looking great) and by day three I looked bloated and crappy. I hated feeling like all my progress went out the door since starting the trip. I know there are ways to be better about this, but with everyone around you eating what everyone else is eating and drinking what everyone else is drinking it makes it tough. What do you guys do to have these weekends not kill your gains?


  • Theoldguy1
    Theoldguy1 Posts: 2,454 Member
    I tend to hit the gym every day on vacation. Do it in the morning before everyone up. Back in time to crack the first beer on the beach.

    Makes me feel much better.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 7,379 Member
    As silly as it sounds, I take a hot air popper with me, or pre-pop a giant kettle of popcorn and take it.

    It may ultimately be more calories than I’ve allotted, but it’s a darn sight less than the other noshes, and popcorn keeps me just as happy.

    I also take an oversized mug of chai or coffee. I find I don’t nibble nearly as much if I have a hot drink in my hand.

    For Bunco tomorrow night, I’m taking some hummus and some really cool Sardinian puffed crackers I found. 30=130 calories and the are the perfect vehicle for a little hummus. Also taking some shaved Parma ham. Most deli or gourmet type hams are in the 70’ish calorie per ounce range, and if they’re shaved, they go a lot further.

    Will also bring a container of fresh, washed strawberries.

    I try my darndest to stay away from cheeses, dips, sweets.

    Won’t lie. It’s hard, but if I’m mindful of the things I’ve brought, it does help minimize the damage.
  • steveko89
    steveko89 Posts: 2,214 Member
    I do my best to stay the course, regardless of day of the week, though I'm certainly not always successful in that endeavor. I hardly drink anymore anyway and I'm no longer shy about saying no if offered a desert or anything that's not a requisite nutritional value for my goals. The key thing though is that none of that bothers me, they're choices I'm making for my goals and I'm at a point where that's more important to me.
  • goal06082021
    goal06082021 Posts: 2,130 Member
    Plan ahead and make better choices in the moment. You're aware of the problem, which is always step one. I'm not sure exactly what is happening or what you're doing when these weekend indulgences, as you say, "kill your gains" - are you just sad about looking bloated after eating carbs/salt and drinking alcohol? Maybe don't do that, then? Or maybe stop worrying about it because one afternoon of beer and pretzels is not actually going to magically zap away all of the muscle you've built, you're just retaining water.
  • zombieblondie
    zombieblondie Posts: 11 Member
    I have the same struggles. Meal prep all week and hit the gym. Then the weekend comes, we have plans, and things just go out the window. It's a struggle for sure. I'd agree with what Springlerings said, taking your own food/drinks will be your best bet. And when your at functions where that isn't possible, have that be your one and only poor choice of the weekend keeping everything else planned out.

    Good luck! I'm working on it as well. Keep in mind though that while it may be slowing your progress down, it's likely not undoing all of your hard work. I'm still down 30+ pounds from where I started with significantly more strength/definition.
  • futuresylph
    futuresylph Posts: 2,178 Member
    The three most powerful words in my vocabulary are "No, thank you." I get more pleasure from saying that than I do from cheating and looking/feeling bloated and crappy. I'm not saying this to feel smug; it's genuinely a matter of which makes me feel better.
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 31,906 Member
    I calorie bank most days, i.e. eat a little under calorie goal, for me now that's maintenance calorie goal, so I have extra calories available for the occasional indulgence. It creates a little wiggle room.

    I neither cut so many calories most days that I'm in a major deficit (it's usually in the 100-150 range, probably), nor let the tiny deficit ride so long I'm actually dropping my weight by much (unless it's crept up a little).

    Even with that, some amount of good sense needs to apply - selectivity and consideration of portions, not just eat/drink whatever's available until I can't eat/drink more.

    While I was losing, I kept the indulgent days to a minimum, but if I felt like there was rare special case (birthday, wedding, whatever), I'd just eat above my weight-loss goal (with a little mental arithmetic about roughly how many days further in the future I was putting my ultimate goal weight, to decide if it was worth it).

    I agree with those above that the water weight/digestive contents consequences can be much, much more dramatic than the effect on actual bodyfat. (That would be especially true if low carbing during the week, and eating ample carbs on the weekends.) N=1 case study experience with impact of a big weekend:


    If you're eating way over goal every weekend, it's for sure going to distort the usefulness of the scale as a gauge of fat loss. A trending app might or might not help, but it could take weeks to see a realistic trend if scale weight is jolting up and down weekly, at a higher magnitude than fat loss (or gain) rate. (I say this from experience.)

    And of course it's possible to eat so much over a weekend that it completely wipes out a reasonable deficit the rest of the week. If that's happening, I don't think there's much answer other than "don't do that" or "give up on the bodyfat management goal". The "don't do that" could be either via eating strategies, movement strategies, or a combination.
  • ahoy_m8
    ahoy_m8 Posts: 3,052 Member
    I also was going to suggest calorie banking. If you eat 200 calories under M-F, you have 500 extra calories each Sa & Su. Not a game changing amount, but it will help you fit in those breakfast beers. It's probably still a good idea to pass on the drinking snacks, though. IME, anyway, that stuff is super hard to count accurately. If these events are things you guys do on the reg, you will need one or two strategies to keep it moderate yet enjoyable. If it is really only on rare special occasions then I would bank some calories before hand but not worry too much. The main thing is to enjoy your friends.
  • NorthCascades
    NorthCascades Posts: 10,970 Member
    Have you tried getting a part time job to fill your weekends? 🙃
  • wunderkindking
    wunderkindking Posts: 1,615 Member
    Once a week I know I'm going to be eating fast food. I compensate for those days by either - pre-deciding that I'm eating some low calorie thing that I've found on the menu or eating less the rest of the day or, as Ann said, doing some loose calorie banking.

    You don't have to do that but my point is if you KNOW you're going to be doing something on the weekend you have the advantage of being able to plan how to make it work - and minimize the 'damage' to your goals. If nothing else an opportunity to work out how to just pause your weight loss goal and eat around maintenance for the weekend.