We love weekends, especially when the weather turns nice. It's a great opportunity to get outdoors, enjoy the fresh air, maybe take in a ballgame or a walk in the park. Flowers are out in force, local neighborhoods sponsor art fairs and, even though winter's fabulous, people seem to smile more during weekends in the spring. And, of course, there's the food...
That, sadly, may be the problem.
A study from Washington University School of Medicine tells a bitter tale about weekends. It appears that weekends, during all seasons, are fraught with danger for dieters. "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 first author Susan B. Racette, Ph.D., assistant professor of physical therapy and of medicine.
The study followed 48 adults for a one-year period to see how weekends impacted weight loss. One group reduced their daily caloric intake by 20 percent; a second group increased their daily physical activity by 20 percent; the third group consisted of the designated slackers, changing neither their caloric intake nor their daily exercise.
All participants maintained diaries to track food intake and record exercise. The results were quite telling. The calorie-restricted group ate enough extra food on the weekends to stop losing weight. So, they were simply in a holding pattern throughout the weekends. The exercise group fared even worse. This group took in enough additional calories they actually gained weight during the weekends.
"People on diets often don't lose as much weight as we would expect, and this finding helps to explain why," said Racette.
So, enjoy the glorious weekends and all they have to offer. But, if you want to maintain your weight loss, be especially diligent. Oh, yes. The foot long chili cheese dogs at the ballpark - probably not the best idea.To read more about the study, see this from Washington University in St. Louis. To learn more about eating healthy, natural foods, see this from The World's Healthiest Foods.