Weight Gain from”Cheat Meals” on Weekends Can Be Reduced with Make-Up Mondays
Weekend” cheats”(or cheat meals anytime) are disruptive for people trying to lose or evenb just maintain their weight. High calorie, high carb meals at restaurants or friends’ homes, events, celebrations and vacations may disrupt the best weight loss plans of just about everyone. High calorie desserts and alcohol often accompany these “cheat meals.” However weight loss is still possible. South Florida is filled with all kinds of distractions including many high end and even more lower end casual restaurants, bars and snack opportunities.
“Make-Up Mondays” is one of the techniques we have used for the past 15 years to prevent weight gain (or even to assist in weight maintenance) when dieters cheat on weekends.
In this plan, the food and drinks are reduced on the Monday after the cheat meal to lessen the impact of the higher calorie cheat meal. This is possible because its actually the calories over a whole week or even month that actually count rather than on a single day. The secret is that on Monday people are the most motivated to reach health related goals such as exercise and eating healthy. One study found that 57% of Americans view Monday as an opportunity for a “fresh start. “People think on Mondays, “I am going to be a new person and … I am no longer going to be a part of the path of failure.” Other studies suggest that its easier to track progress when you begin at the start of the week.
Eating Patterns Are Different Depending on the Day of the Week
Research from the National Institute of Health has proven that most people eat the most calories, carbs and alcohol on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Alcohol drinking is the least on Mondays. As reported in Obesity Research the average American, consumes 82 kcal more per day on each weekend day (Friday through Sunday) than they do on weekdays (Monday through Thursday). Experience has proven that Monday is easiest day of the week to reduce calories, limit alcohol, outside eating and snacking . For most people its the start of the work week.
Meal Plans on “Make-Up-Monday”:
- Calories: Women: 500 calories a day, Men: 650 calories a day
- Carbs: No carbs in the form of rice, past, potatoes, sugar,
- 2 Small Meals: Small breakfast, slightly larger dinner
- Mini fast: There is a 9 hour mini-fast between breakfast and dinner
- Timing of meals: Early fast: 5-8 am breakfast– 6-9 pm dinner,
- Late fast: 11 am breakfast–9-10 PM dinner.
- Snacking: no snacking between meals, fruits are counted as calories
There is no food for the 9 hours between breakfast and dinner and no lunch This results in a “mini-fast” which on a short basis increases metabolism.
What to Eat on Your Breakfast & Dinner on the Make-Up Monday:
Remember, there are only two meals on Make -Up Mondays: Breakfast (early or late) and Dinner( early or late.) Food choices are all low calorie, low crabs with minimal high calorie beef. They are divided into two types of choices:
- Foods that you typically prepare
- Frozen prepared foods.
You can mix and match as long as the calories do not exceed the allowance for the day. On the colored food menus in the end of this post you will see all of the choices with the calories for each choice. Obviously, if you pick a higher calorie prepared breakfast, then you must pick a choice for dinner that is much lower or you probably will exceed the allotted calories for the day. Here are some suggestions:
Free Foods are Vegetables: Most vegetables are free; the calories are as low as to make counting and measuring unnecessary; this excludes avocados, beans (baked, pinto, red, Lima, and black) and corn.
Fruits are NOT Free: They need to be counted in the calories.
Free Drinks: Black coffee, tea, all drinks with NO sugar including Crystal Light, diet soda, and sports drinks like PowerAde zero.
Free Condiments: Vinegar, PAM spray for cooking, all artificial sweeteners, mustard, sugar free Ketchup, soy sauce, Coffee mate Original, garlic, pepper, most spices, no fat 1/2 & 1/2, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Spray, Kraft No- fat mayo.
High Protein Bars & Shake Guidelines:Not all high protein bars and shakes are the same. As meal replacements watch calories, carbs and protein.
Snacks: There are few snacks on this diet. After all if you are having snacks then, you are not truly fasting. A small apple, carrot sticks or a sugar-free jello could be eaten, if necessary. If needed a sugar free jello or sugar free popsicle could be eaten after dinner. Try to keep these snacks to a minimum. Sugar free drinks are unlimited.
Restricted Foods (Mostly Carbs, Fried Foods)
The goal of the min-fasting day on Mondays is to consume low calorie, pleasing and easy to obtain foods that produce fullness for as long as possible. This makes the fasting process much easier.This is the reason for the low carb and the emphasis on lean protein, fruits and vegetables and high protein, low sugar shakes and bars.
Problems on the Make-Up Day: What To Do If You Are Hungry?
Hunger is the big killer of the make-up day. This is the reason we want foods high in protein and low in carbs especially at breakfast. Eggs and/or ham make very good choices. Even if you are careful, you will find times when you are hungry, especially late in the afternoon. You could also drink a lot of zero calorie green tea or other zero sugar drinks. For some unknown reason, dieters that fast find green tea makes them feel full. Remember, the fasting is only for a single day and only for 8-9 hours! Keep busy, some dieters go to sleep a little earlier on fasting days.
Foods Producing Fullness:
- Foods high in water: soups, fruits
- Foods high in lean protein, greater than 10 grams
- Foods high in fiber, greater than 10 grams
Foods which are high in rapidly absorbed carbs– sugar, most cereals, bread, rice, pasta, potatoes- make people hungry and should be avoided. These are all high glycemic index foods.
Will I Get a Low Blood Sugar?
If you eat high protein breakfast this should not be a problem. Most fasters do no experience this problem.
How About Alcohol and Caffeine?
Alcohol should be avoided and saved for the weekends. Caffeine in any quantity is acceptable.
Should I Exercise on Make-Up-Mondays
Restricting the foods is hard enough. Save the exercise for more normal days. After all, exercise makes many people hungry because it depletes the normal sugar stored in the liver. You do not want to do anything that will make you hungrier.
Will the Body Go Into Starvation Mode?
No, you are only fasting for one day at a time, not every day.
What about Holidays and Birthdays?
The diet is very flexible, chose fasting days that do not fall on special occasions. Stop the fasting during major holidays.
Breakfast Choices on the Make-up-Mondays
The following two menus present the best suggestions for breakfast including both foods that need preparation and those that are already prepared. The goal in both menus is to keep the carbs to a minimum and protein to a maximum. Calories count for every foods except for no sugar drinks including black coffee, green tea and regular tea. Artificial sweeteners are acceptable including Equal, Splenda and Stevia. Prepared products that can be micro waved are provided in the second menu panel. I have tried to keep the carbs to a minimum.
Ideally, there should be no snacking between breakfast and lunch. Dinner should be about 8 hours or more after breakfast. Again, carbs are to be avoided. High protein, low carb shakes include Low carb Slim Fast, Atkins, Premier Shakes, EAS carb control, Pure Protein, 100 calorie Muscle Milk and many more with only 1-2 sugars and 15 or more grams of protein. High protein, low sugar bars from Atkins, Extend, Detour should have 160 calories or less, 2-3 grams of sugar or less and at least 15 grams of protein.
Dinner Choices on Make-up Mondays
Vegetables including salads, but excluding all beans, corn and avocados are free and not counted. They are presented in the above panel to show you the many great choices. In the next menu panel you will find a group of frozen dinners. All are low carb and appropriate for this plan.