If You Want To Lose Weight, Watch Your Weekends
    By News Staff | February 7th 2014 04:30 AM | 3 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments

    We have a biological clock related to sleep cycles and a new paper says we have weight loss cycles related to behavior; people are going to gain weight on the weekend so if they lose more during the week, that weight loss cycle will result in better health.

    Dr. Brian Wansink of the marketing department at Cornell University, in collaboration with researchers from the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Tampere University of Technology, looked into the impact that the seven-days-a-week human cycle has on weight.

    80 adults participated, ranging in age from 25 to 62 years old. They were categorized according to relative weight changes: weight losers (-3% weight loss), weight gainers (+1% weight gain), and weight maintainers (-3% to 1% weight change). These individuals were asked to weigh themselves after waking up before breakfast.

    Only weight measurements that were taken over at least seven consecutive days were included in the analysis.

    The minimum follow-up time was 15 days and maximum 330 days. The main objective of the study was to observe whether weight fluctuation is dependent on the days of the week. Weekly weight patterns were analyzed across the three groups: weight losers, weight gainers and weight maintainers.

    The results revealed a pattern in weekly weight fluctuation with higher weight after weekends (Sunday and Monday) and decreasing weight during the weekdays reaching the lowest point on Friday. The researchers found a difference between weight losers and weight gainers in these fluctuation patterns. Weight losers had stronger compensation pattern (i.e. after weekend the decrease started immediately and continued downward until Friday) whereas weight gainers had more variability between days and no clear decrease during weekdays. Weight losers reached week's maximum weight in 59% of cases on Sunday and Monday and week's minimum weight in 60% of cases on Friday or Saturday.

    Link: Cornell

    Among weight gainers no such a pattern was seen. Minimum and maximum weights did not systematically appear on certain days but they were evenly distributed all over the week.

    Based on these results, weight variations between weekdays and weekends should be considered normal instead of weight gain. On the weekends people have more time to go out and eat.

    Some indulging during weekends makes no harm but for successful weight loss it is important to notice these rhythms and take steps to reverse the upward trends after the weekend, even if it has to wait until Monday. Successful weight control is more likely to happen and for the long run if one is not too strict with one's diet but allows for short-term splurges.

    Citation: Orsama, A., Mattila, E., Ermes, M., van Gils, M., Wansink, B.,&Korhonen, I., (2014). Weight rhythms: Weight increases during weekends and decreases during weekdays. Obesity Facts, 7. DOI:10.1159/000356147. Source: Cornell Food  &  Brand Lab


    Coming from a college student living in an apartment, I couldn't agree with this study more. Eating habits on the weekend are very relaxed and indulgent. Dr. Oz says that planning out meals and when you are going to have fattening meals on the weekend and balancing them out with healthy options helps the beginning of the week go more smoothly. If you eat well on the weekend, you won't begin your week by making up for bad choices. Limiting excessive eating on the weekends is difficult but worth it for weight losing people. I find it easier to know when I will be eating at a restaurant or will be drinking because I will base my other meals off of that huge chunk of my daily calories. Eating healthy on the weekends is worth it because you lose weight more and don't have to make up for the bad decisions of eating fatty foods/drinks on the weekend.

    I found this to be a very intriguing and interesting accusations. I personally have been trying to become more fit by working out and eating healthier. I worry about "cheating" my diet on the weekends, and how much it will effect my diet. It's good to hear that indulging in a few sweets on the weekends will not throw my diet off if I eat healthy during the week. I also think that cutting out all of the indulgences completely is a less effective form of dieting, because people are more likely binge eat all of their favorite fatty foods when given the opportunity. I think that you shouldn't have to give up all the foods you love to lose weight. It's a matter of eating foods you love in moderation. I agree with the previous comment saying that there needs to be a balance but you also need control.
    I would love to hear about more studies done on this theory to see if this is true!

    My mother always said, "Never weight yourself on Sundays." After reading this article, I now know why and I completely agree with it. Being a student in college is hard enough, figuring out what to eat might be even harder as far as healthy food making decisions. This isn't the only blog or website I've seen an article with similar evidence that this is true.According to VTT Technical Research Center of Finland, the weekends has the most unpredictability in the items we decide to eat. As this study was repeated in Finland, they found very similar results. As many people plan this weekends, a vast majority of people plan to go out to dinner or hang out with their friends and order pizza to watch the football game. From my own experiences, I eat a healthy breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, I tend to let my good habits die on the weekends due to prior plans, running around, and having a social life all of which require relaxing & being worry free. Limiting your unhealthy intake over the weekends can be difficult, but it's worth it in the long run for people who are trying to lose weight. If people started to eat healthy on the weekends, they also wouldn't have to regret their bad eating habits on the weekends.