Most people tend to be at their lightest weight on Friday and at their heaviest on Sunday and Monday, according to a recent study. But don’t necessarily beat yourself up for weekend weight gain – researchers said these small weekly fluctuations may actually be a sign of normal weight control.
Researchers tracked the self-reported weight measurements from 178 people for 80 days. Most of the subjects were overweight, with an average body mass index (BMI) of 27.3. The results showed that many of the subjects began to gain weight on Saturday and started to drop weight by Tuesday. This pattern was particularly strong for people who either maintained or lost weight during the 80-day period. People who gained weight overall were less likely to see significant fluctuations in weight during the week.
Researchers believe these changes in weight are attributable to cyclical relaxations in dietary habits over the weekend. Prior studies have shown that caloric intake tends to increase and physical activity levels tend to decrease over the weekend. The study’s authors suggested that allowing for some dietary freedom over weekends and holidays may decrease “dietary boredom” and prompt people to compensate and keep better control of their diet at other times.
Researchers also stated that weight gain over the weekend does not indicate poor weight control. Rather, fluctuations in weight during the week “may have a positive role in supporting long-term successful weight management.” Consequently, slight increases in weight over the weekend may actually be treated as “normal weight variation instead of signs of weight gain,” the study authors wrote.