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Why do we gain more weight during the weekend?

Das Leben der meisten Menschen ist von Montag bis Freitag von täglicher Routine geprägt. Sie verlassen morgens das Haus, verbringen den Großteil des Tages auf der Arbeit, in der Uni oder der Schule und kehren am späten Nachmittag oder Abend wieder nach Hause zurück.

Most people’s lives are shaped by an everyday routine from Monday to Friday. They leave the house in the morning, spend most of the day at work, university or school and return home in the late afternoon or evening.

For many people Friday evenings bring on the long-awaited weekend, with plans for both leisurely and exciting activities. These few days each week can especially play a part in the emergence of overweight and obesity.

Diverse tasks during the week generally ensure a constant amount of physical activity for people and simultaneously limit time for eating. During the week it is also easier for dieters to follow a diet or to exercise.

With the beginning of the weekend, many people want to unwind and reward themselves for the working week, so they use the free time to have excessive meals at home or visit restaurants with family and friends. People are also often tempted to break their diet or exercise programme on a weekend and resume it again only in the following week.

As early as 2008, researchers from Washington University in St. Louis investigated the influence of weekends on body weight. They were able to demonstrate that body weight essentially remained stable during the week, while on weekends it increased verifiably. This was especially caused by a higher calorie intake on Saturdays and lower physical activity on Sundays.

Similar outcomes were obtained from a survey conducted on 11,464 adults from 2003 to 2012 in the US. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed different nutritional habits between weekdays and weekends. Thus, people’s diets were clearly unhealthier on Saturdays and Sundays than on weekdays, characterized by higher energy, fat, sugar and salt content as well as a lower proportion of fruits, vegetables and fibers. At the same time, the consumption of sugary beverages and alcohol also grew on these days.

These conclusions provide evidence as to why most people are continuously gaining weight during their lifetime and why weight-loss success is commonly not permanent. Simultaneously, it has also been demonstrated that the individuals who succeed in maintaining constant eating habits during the entire week have greater success in long-term weight loss and stabilization.

Image 1 © “womue” / Adobe Stock

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