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How to Lose Weight WITHOUT Dieting on Weekends

How to Lose Weight WITHOUT Dieting on Weekends

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Weekends can be the hardest part of a weight loss diet.

For us, that’s when we’re busiest running the kids around, eating out more often, getting together with friends, or just hanging out at the house as a family playing games, watching tv, and having treats.

That’s real life.

There are times when it makes sense to hold back on the weekends, but it’s not realistic to plan on doing it a long time.

So whether you have long-term weight loss goals or just want to make your weekends less stressful, the strategy I’m using for this season of weight loss is something to consider.

Why I’m Using This Strategy

I’ve been doing this “Weekday Weight Loss” thing for about a month now. The 3 reasons I chose this strategy — and why I’m losing weight right now at all — might surprise you:

1. I don’t need to lose weight.

I’m already at a healthy weight. I feel good. I’m decently strong. And I’m not limited with any physical activities, whether it be hiking, swimming, or keeping up with my kids.

So why is “not needing to lose weight” a reason to attempt weight loss?

I already have a quality of life that, physically, I feel really good about. What I want to show is that, not only is it possible to get to where I am now, you can go much further than you’d think just with moderate, realistic efforts.

2. I wasn’t motivated to do this at all.

Weight loss isn’t “fun.” I’ve never been particularly excited to do it. The fact that I’m not at a place where I need to do this makes it even less appealing.

But no one is ALWAYS motivated. So I figured this was a perfect opportunity to show that if you have the right strategies in place, motivation isn’t needed to get great results.

3. Weekends throw people off.

This specific strategy is a way for me to have regular mental breaks from the fatigue of weight loss, making the weekends easier.

On top of that, weekends have a tendency to throw people off track, and I want to show that they don’t have to.

My 5 Rules

Now that you know why I’m doing this, here are the 5 rules I’m living by to make this strategy work.

1. More Food on Weekends

When I say I’m not dieting on the weekends, what I mean is I’m eating “like normal.”

I’m not in a calorie deficit, so if I ate this way all the time I would never lose weight. But I’m also not overeating, meaning I would never gain weight either.

In other words, my life on the weekends is what my eating habits should look like for the rest of my life.

I’ve spent years ingraining these habits so I can stay in total control of my weight without having to think about it too much. But if you’ve only ever worked on weight loss specifically, you may find it’s not any easier to eat well when NOT trying to lose weight (at least in the beginning—eventually it can become second nature).

For this strategy to work, you have to be just as intentional about what you eat on the weekends as you are during the week. The difference is you get to eat more, and that feels pretty good.

2. Less Food on Weekdays

I have to eat low-calorie enough during the week to actually lose weight. The real decision is settling on how quickly I want to do it.

It’s not healthy to go too quickly (see “How Fast Should You Lose Weight”), but I also don’t want the process to be so slow that it feels like nothing is happening.

The last time I lost weight, I did it at a pace of around 1.5 pounds per week. That’s almost as fast as I can go for my size and still be healthy, and it’s as fast as I can stand without my hunger taking over.

That’s why, although I could have made up for the weekends by eating even less during the week, that seemed like a really bad idea. So I chose to eat the same amount as I did last time (when I was dieting all 7 days of the week), even if that meant a slower rate of weight loss.

What I DID change was I decided to pay more attention to my step count this time around (see “How To Use a Step Count to Lose Weight”). And after 4 weeks of doing this, I’ve lost around 6 pounds in 4 weeks.

That’s an average of 1.5 pounds per week again — even with eating more on the weekends.

3. Leave Wiggle Room

To be fair, this should be a rule for all weight loss all the time.

I’m a big believer in making goals and having a clear understanding of exactly what you’re going to do to achieve them. But I do NOT like having strict goals you can’t reasonably change at a moment’s notice without feeling like a failure.

If you need to eat 1,500 calories on weekdays, make the goal 1,500-1,600 (although we don’t recommend counting calories at all — see “Stop Counting Calories”).

And then if there’s an event on a weekday, or you’re just out and about and something comes up, have the freedom to step outside the boundaries even more every once in a while. The more you do it, the slower the weight loss will be, but if you pick and choose the right times, the effect will be small.

“Only” losing 1.3 pounds per week instead of 1.5 will NEVER be a good reason to turn down drinks with friends to celebrate a special occasion.

4. Absolutely NO “Cheat Meals”

I want to be crystal clear that the weekends aren’t “cheat days,” and none of my meals are “cheat meals.”

There shouldn’t be that big of a difference between how you eat normally and how you do it for weight loss — not so much to where you’d need to “cheat” just to enjoy good food.

You do have to eat less for weight loss, but the overarching principles stay the same.

For example, no matter what goal I’m working on, I always:

✅ Prioritize protein at every meal (while getting a good balance of ALL nutrients, including carbs and fats)

✅ Eat as many minimally-processed foods as possible

✅ Drink mostly water

✅ Do my best to eat lots of veggies

✅ I also stay aware—without being militant about it—of how often and how much I indulge in treats. I pay a bit more attention to it during weight loss, but I do NOT foster a mindset of “good” and “bad” foods that I only eat (or avoid) when I’m trying to “be good.”

That mentality just makes you more likely to lose control and undo all your hard work.

If you want to make healthy eating a more natural part of your life so you don’t have to think about food all the time, get out of the all-or-nothing mindset—which cheat meals encourage—and start building habits that will be more realistic for the rest of your life.

5. Live a Normal Life

Along with eating “normal” foods, any other strategies I use have to make sense for normal life. I’ll give a few specific examples…

I pretty much always workout just 2-3 times per week. I’m not ramping that up for weight loss. If anything, I’ll average slightly on the lower side to allow for extra recovery since I’m not eating as much.

I’m walking more than I did last time, but I’ve been building that habit for a while, so this isn’t all that different from my norm anymore. I’m just a bit more intentional about getting my steps in on slow days where I’m mostly at my computer.

I have some specific strategies with how I handle my meals (e.g. eating a big breakfast, having a later lunch, shying away from foods that aren’t as filling, etc.), but it’s all things that make weight loss EASIER for me.

The exact strategies that work for you may be different, just don’t do things simply because some “expert” says it’s a science-y way to “speed up your metabolism” or something like that. If it forces you to make separate meals for the rest of the family, or eat when you aren’t hungry (or wait to eat until you’re starved), don’t do it!

Stick to habits and routines that closely resemble real-life for YOU — or at least things you feel confident can BECOME a normal part of your life without adding undue stress.

Should You Try It?

This strategy isn’t for everyone. It can even be a disastrous idea for some people. Before trying it, ask yourself this:

Are you super confident you know exactly how much to eat to lose weight at the pace you want and exactly how much to eat to maintain your weight?

If you’re being honest, the answer is “no” (or you wouldn’t be here).

That doesn’t mean you can’t do it, it’s just going to take a bit more effort to make it work. Here are 2 recommendations if you still want to give it a try:

1. Be conservative.

Don’t eat way too little on the weekdays. Start with an estimate on a conservative rate of weight loss and adjust as you go (hint: never adjust with less than AT LEAST 2 weeks of super consistent tracking).

Also, rather than eating way more on the weekends, just bump it up a little — enough to where it feels a bit easier, but potentially still keeps you in a state of weight loss.

2. Get help.

A common mistake is thinking that once you start losing weight, you can just keep going doing the same thing and expect the same results.

That never happens.

Even figuring out how much to eat isn’t a one-step process. No matter what online calculators you find, or special “weight loss equation” you follow, it’s bound to be inaccurate to some extent (or it will change as you go).

So, unless you’re ok with a whole bunch of trial and error and potentially never reaching your goals, get help from someone who can guide you through the whole process — someone like us who can literally guarantee your success if you become a client.

One Last Thing

If you try this and it feels right and you see progress with it, that’s great, stick with it!

On the other hand, if you find you don’t like the back and forth and would prefer to keep things steady, that’s ok, too.

There isn’t any one strategy you HAVE to follow. The goal should be to follow the overarching principles I mentioned in the “NO Cheat Meals” section. Any strategy you choose beyond that should make those principles easier to apply, not more stressful.


You can eat for weight loss on weekdays and eat like “normal” (NOT “cheat meals”) on weekends — and still lose weight.

But if you want it to work, you can’t OVEReat. You still have to be mindful about your choices on weekends, you just get to eat more food, which is kinda nice.

Any strategy you try (including this one) should be aimed at making healthy, SUSTAINABLE eating habits more realistic for you, not more stressful. Start conservatively, see how it feels, and reassess as you go. Just because you lose weight at first doesn’t mean you can “set it and forget it.”

If this strategy appeals to you but you want to do it right and get guaranteed results, apply for our coaching today!


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