I’ve had clients making nutritional changes say to me…”But I was good all week. Why am I not seeing results?”
Many of us have felt this way.
We do all of the things we should all week, focusing on whole, natural foods. Eating in a deficit. Tracking our macros.
Then the weekend hits.
We go out for meals. Add in some extra treats. Have a drink or two…or five.
But then on Monday we are back at it.
We are still good for 5 out of 7 days…that’s consistency. We SHOULD be seeing results…right!?
How can 2 days seem to make more of a difference than 5!?
It’s all about the deficit we create. Not only the deficit each day, but the deficit over weeks and over months.
When we consider what we want to accomplish and we start working toward our goals, too often we overestimate what we can accomplish in a single day while underestimating what we can accomplish in weeks, months or even years.
What we don’t consider when we say “we’ve been good all week” is how the weekend affects our overall weekly average!
Want to know how 2 days can impact your entire week?
Think about it this way…
You’ve calculated your maintenance caloric intake, aka how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, at 2,000 a day.
So you create a daily calorie deficit of 500, as that is generally considered to be the maximum “safe” deficit. Every day you’re going to hit your macros and eat 1,500 calories.
And you do just that Monday-Thursday.
But then Friday rolls around. You have that little extra treat. That happy hour drink.
You didn’t really do that much off plan…you were finding a balance. You’ve still got to live life, right?!
And yes…that is true. BUT if you look at the numbers you ate 2,000 calories that day.
On it’s own….that would be fine. You’d still be in a deficit for the week.
Because up until this point in the week (Monday-Thursday), you’d created a deficit of 2,000 calories. And if you weighed on the scale at this point, you may even have seen some progress.
So eating at maintenance one day wouldn’t have increased your deficit, but it wouldn’t have detracted from it.
You’d still have seen progress that week.
But this is where trouble begins to happen….
On Saturday and Sunday, you have some parties and meals out.
You don’t go crazy, but you have some drinks, that extra cookie, that bigger portion at dinner of pasta or pizza. You snack on a few chips or pieces of candy.
What may not have felt like a lot ends up being 3,200 calories.
Now you may be thinking, “I never eat that much!”
The crazy part is…that number, while high, isn’t even that ridiculous when you consider how calorically dense most of those “bad for us treats” really are.
And if you add in those lattes and cocktails to the extra food we tend to enjoy under the influence…well…3,200 adds up quicker than you’d think.
So basically what you now are looking at is two days at 3,200 calories that KILLED the 2,000 calorie deficit you’d created over the week.
Both days you ate 1,200 calories OVER your maintenance.
In those 2 DAYS, you managed to create a surplus for your WEEK of 400 calories.
If you were just trying to maintain over the week, you should have consumed 14,000 calories total over the 7 days.
To lose based on your deficit of 1,500, you would have had to have eaten 10,500.
But with just those two days?
You managed to eat in a SURPLUS of 400 calories, consuming 14,400 over the week.
While you may be thinking, “What’s 400 calories? That’s not that much.”
It is if you do that EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK.
That becomes 800 calories. Then 1,200. Then 4,000…
You can see how with just that little surplus, even being “GOOD” 5 days a week, we can hold ourselves back from reaching our goals with just 2 days.
And if you’re thinking, “Yea but I never go THAT crazy.”
Well…A. you’re missing the point….and B. you’re probably also slightly lying to yourself.
You may not go “THAT” crazy, but what if you had a few more days at maintenance level over the week and then smaller surpluses over the weekend?
You had that business meal out one night.
That friend’s party.
That stressful day at work where you snacked a bit extra.
You didn’t overeat any of those days, but you also didn’t maintain that daily deficit of 500 calories.
Heck, I mean what if you ate in less of a deficit over the week simply because you were hungry from your workouts?!
That can happen.
But too often we then don’t account for this when we allow ourselves to just “enjoy the weekend.”
What if when Saturday rolls around, instead of having a 2,000 calorie deficit to work with, you’ve only created an 800 calorie one?
Then just 410 extra calories each day could put you over!
Heck, that’s like two drinks or even a few cookies or a serving of chips that could put you into a calorie surplus so that you’re not moving forward toward your weight loss goals.
The point is too often we create progress only to just destroy it because we aren’t conscious of how things add up, not only during a single day, but over the weeks and months.
Sometimes we need to sit down and look at the bigger picture.
But now that you can see how a daily deficit can so easily become a weekly surplus, you can change things and start getting the results you deserve.
Now you can make a change so you don’t feel like you are working hard and being good all week without seeing the results you want!
So what can you do to change things and stop holding yourself back?
You could start by tracking even those weekend days just to see how much you are truly eating and adjust things from there.
Or you could choose to eliminate any “cheat days” for a bit until you get into a new routine. Sometimes we need to stop old habits completely to create a lifestyle change.
Or maybe, because you know completely eliminating those days would only make you want them more, you choose to really plan them out or do them only once a week.
The point is…you can now go in with a PLAN! You can know that a daily deficit doesn’t equal results if it isn’t maintained over the weeks or even months.
And if you’re struggling to find a plan that works…Here are 5 more reasons I see diets fail clients….