The Weekend Calorie Myth

How much does a weekend binge impact your overall weight loss goal?

By Martha McKittrick, RD, CDN, CDE
WebMD Answers to Questions


I find myself eating greasy foods on the weekends when I'm out with friends. How much of that translates to fat if I don't work out the next day?


Weight control is a matter of calories (what you eat) and calories out (what you burn off). In order to lose weight, your caloric intake needs to be less than what you burn off. The average is more important than individual days. For example, if you eat fairly low calories and exercise Monday through Thursday, but then eat more and do not exercise on the weekend, you may still be able to lose weight (or at least maintain weight!) as long as your intake is less than your output.

Say your caloric goal was 1,600 to lose one pound/week. This is taking into account the fact that you exercise four days a week (remember, it does not matter which days you exercise). If you ate about 1,300 calories during the weekdays but a lot more on the weekend, you would still be able to lose weight assuming that your weekly average caloric intake was 1,600 and you exercised four days.

Martha McKittrick, RD, CDE, is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, and certified fitness instructor who specializes in weight control, cardiovascular health, diabetes, sports, and general nutrition.

The opinions expressed herein are the guest's alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have a question about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Published April 19, 2004.

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