Erase Weight Gain From Weekend “Cheat Days” with Make-Up Mondays and/or Intermittent Fasting

Weekend cheat days (or cheat meals anytime) are disruptive for people trying to lose or even 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. Uncontrolled cravings can be a source of many extra calories.  High calorie desserts and alcohol often accompany these “cheat meals”.

However weight loss is still possible by making up for the extra calories on Monday. South Florida is filled with all kinds of distractions, including many high end and even more lower end casual restaurants, bars, and snack opportunities. What is clear is that if one is careful all week it is NOT possible to lose on the weekend if the cheat day includes more than a single meal.  One bad meal a week is possible, but not two or three!

A second technique is due to intermittent fasting every Monday morning. This includes fasting for 16 hours (such as 8 PM Sunday to noon on Monday.) Skipping lunch every Monday may prevent or at least lessen weekend overeating .

“Make-Up Mondays” to Prevent Weekend Weight Gain: Intermittent Fasting on Monday  vs. Monday Two Meals

“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 have cheat days on the weekend.

In this plan, you reduce food and drinks on the Monday after cheat days 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”. On Mondays, people think, “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 it’s easier to track progress when you begin at the start of the week.

1. Intermittent Fasting:–16 hours fasting with no breakfast

Skipping breakfast on Monday morning after a 16 hour fast is the simplest and most effective way to erase weekend overeating. Read much more about intermittent fasting

2. Monday Reduced Food Method:–2 meals a day-no snacking

For those that have difficulty fasting for 16 hours, consider food reduction on Monday as described below:

Eating Patterns Are Different Depending on the Day of the Week

Research from the National Institutes 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 and limit alcohol, outside eating, and snacking. For most people it’s the start of the work week.

Meal Plans on “Make-Up Monday” After a Cheat Day

  • Calories:
    • Women: 500 calories a day
    • Men: 650 calories a day
  • Carbs: No carbs in the form of rice, past, potatoes, or 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 there is no lunch. This results in a “mini-fast” which on a short basis increases metabolism. The semi-fast on these days increases metabolism and readjusts the total weekly calories to permit weight loss or just prevent weight gain from the weekend cheat day or cheat meal(s). Each “cheat meal” requires 1 make-up day consisting of 2 meals/day

What to Eat for Breakfast & Dinner on Make-Up Monday

Remember, there are only two meals on Make-Up Mondays: Breakfast (early or late) and Dinner (early or late).  If you are going to do intermittent fasting on Monday then you skip breakfast and more to lunch. Food choices are all low calorie, low carb choices 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 at 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 so low they 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 half and half, 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. You can have a small apple, carrot sticks or a sugar-free jello, if necessary. After dinner, you can eat a sugar free jello or sugar free Popsicle if needed. Try to keep these snacks to a minimum. Sugar free drinks are unlimited.

Restricted Foods (Mostly Carbs, Fried Foods)

The goal of the mini-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. It is for this reason we emphasize 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, especially after a big cheat 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:

  1. Soups, fruits (high in water)
  2. High in lean protein, greater than 10 grams
  3. 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, choose fasting days that do not fall on special occasions. Stop the fasting during major holidays. These are often considered cheat days anyway.

Breakfast Choices on Make-up Mondays After Cheat Days

The following two menus present the best suggestions for breakfast. They include 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 food 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.

After Cheat Days: Breakfast Food Choices with Calories
Prepared Breakfast Food Choices with Calories

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 After Cheat Days

Dinner Foods with Calories

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.