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Posted August 31st, 2017 under Nutrition

How being a work week dieter can impact your fat loss progress

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How being a work week dieter can impact your fat loss progress

How being a “Work-Week Dieter” can impact your fat loss progress

Being a “Work-Week Dieter” can have a humongous effect on the amount (or lack thereof) of progress you’re able to produce in terms of fat loss. What this type of eating pattern entails is a rigid, strict diet that is followed to a T during the traditional work week, but is completely abandoned for a partying lifestyle over the weekend. This type of dieting is characterized by “all-or-nothing” attitudes and behaviors. Leading this type of lifestyle is essentially the opposite of consistency and balance, two of the major components of a sustainable diet.

Why does this have a drastic effect? Because while the energy you expend during the work week may put you in a caloric deficit, if you’re a crazy weekend eater and drinker, it is highly unlikely that the deficit you created Monday-Thursday is large enough to offset your weekend binges.

Here’s an example:

Ashley is 5 foot 2, 130 pounds, and 21 years old. She has a sedentary desk job but exercises after work around 3-4x a week. Ashley’s basal metabolic rate, or the minimum rate of kcals she burns at rest, is approximately 1,305 kcals, according to the Mifflin-St Jeor formula. Since this only accounts for the kcals Ashley would expend at rest, we need to multiply this number by a factor based on her activity levels in order to see her total daily energy expenditure. Depending on the formula you use, and the particular type(s) and duration of exercise Ashley is engaging in, this equates to a range of anywhere from 1,700 to 1,900 calories. Thus, Ashley needs to eat this much to maintain her current weight.

In order to lose 1 pound a week, Ashley would need to eat 500 less calories each day, or expend 500 more calories each day. So, let’s say Ashley’s plan is to eat 500 less calories a day in order to lose one pound, which would equate to around 1,300 calories a day.

M: Ashley sticks to the plan and eats at a caloric deficit of 1,300 calories/day.

T: Ashley sticks to the plan and eats at a caloric deficit of 1,300 calories/day.

W: Ashley sticks to the plan and eats at a caloric deficit of 1,300 calories/day.

T: Ashley sticks to the plan and eats at a caloric deficit of 1,300 calories/day.

F: Ashley does not stick to the plan and eats at a caloric surplus of 2,500 calories.

S: Ashley does not stick to the plan and eats at a caloric surplus of 2,500 calories.

S: Ashley does not stick to the plan and eats at a caloric surplus of 2,500 calories.

As you can see, Ashley is very diligent with her calorie and macronutrient counting Monday morning-Friday afternoon, but as soon as she’s off work at 3:30 on Friday it’s straight to happy hour which leads to a weekend of poor choices, and ultimately, sabotages her progress. When you add together Ashley’s caloric intakes for the past 7 days and then divide them by 7 to get the average, you end up at 1,814 calories. Given that none of her activity levels have changed, she is right at maintenance, even though the majority of the week she tracked her foods and exercised at her usual level of intensity.

So, in conclusion, the laws of energy balance don’t care whether you’ve slaved over counting your macros and exercising intensely Monday-Thursday. If your weekends involve a lot of eating, drinking, and lack of practicing moderation, it becomes VERY difficult to see changes in terms of both the scale AND body composition. Keep this in mind when embarking upon a plan to count your macronutrients in order to transform your body.

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