Here’s the thing: When it comes to nutrition and eating plans, there isn’t a real place for “shoulds” and “should nots.” At the end of the day, do whatever feels best for your health and happiness. That being said, research indicates that robbing yourself of flexible eating on the weekends might not be the key to sustaining a healthy weight. This may come as a surprise, but as Segar says, it’s all about “flexible restraint.”
Research backs Segar’s point: In one study, participants who reported dieting more strictly during weekends had a significantly higher chance of regaining the weight they had previously lost over a year’s time, compared to those who reported less strict dieting on the weekends and holiday periods.
In another study, flexible restraint was associated with more weight lost and better weight loss maintenance, while rigid restraint was associated with less weight loss.
So does this mean you should completely abandon healthy eating habits on the weekend? No, not quite. However, researchers speculate that practicing flexible restraint on the weekends may decrease boredom when it comes to food—something that often precipitates lapses in diet. Translation: If you treat yourself on the weekend (in moderation, of course), you’ll be less likely to get bored and fall out of your diet altogether.