What can we do for a healthier weekend?
We all know how hard it is to stay on track with exercise and nutrition over the weekend, as the weekend is seen as our time to unwind and forget about everything. We eat nothing but clean foods throughout the week days, but as soon as the weekend hits, we find ourselves knee deep in alcoholic drinks and fried foods.
The weekends are definitely a good time to eat out and spend time with friends and family, but it’s also a good time to practice moderation while still going after our goals.
Look at it this way: There are seven days in one week.
If we take off three days (Friday, Saturday & Sunday) from working out and eating healthy, that’s nearly half the week and half of our results we could have had if we used those three days wisely. This does not go to say there isn’t room from some splurges on the healthier weekend, but it rather goes to say we should still keep our healthy goals in mind when making decisions during this time.
Here are 16 helpful tips for a healthier weekend:
- Stay consistent – Consistency is a major attribute in reaching any goal we set and is the key to long-term achievement. We must stay focused and stay in tune with our bodies as we normally would during the week days. Allow yourself 1-2 meals a week that you wouldn’t normally eat (pizza, burger and fries, ice cream, etc.), and continue on with healthy, whole foods.
- Practice moderation every single day – When we eat nothing but clean foods throughout the week, we eventually cave in and eat everything unhealthy in sight. Instead, practice eating the foods you are craving during the week in moderation to prevent going overboard on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. For instance, if you have a sweet tooth, treat yourself to 1 piece of dark chocolate or a miniature snickers bar. If you are craving a drink, have 1 glass of wine/beer. Don’t go overboard just because you had a small amount of what your body was craving. Remember, the last bite tastes just like the first bite.
- Don’t forget to exercise! – Especially if you’re going to have some kind of indulgence (this does not mean a whole day’s worth of eating bad; this means one meal you wouldn’t normally eat), it’s best to have completed a workout beforehand. Plus you’ll feel better and your body will crave healthier foods. You can still enjoy a relaxing healthier weekend, but try to squeeze in at least some sort of workout or movement. Get friends and family involved in something outdoors or simply go for a nice run or bike ride. Just MOVE! It doesn’t have to be anything crazy, just get in some physical activity.
- Have healthy meals easily available – Prepare a couple healthy meals for the weekend, just as you would for during the week. This will mean no excuses for eating out multiple times. Since you spent the money and took the time to prepare the food, you’ll be more likely to eat it and not waste it.
- Use the weekend to plan – Take a moment on Thursday or Friday to consider your healthier weekend plans so you can make some choices before you get caught up in the moment. Go to the grocery store over the weekend (so that there is healthy food available and so that you are prepared for another week of healthy eating) and write down/prepare some new meals to try for the upcoming week. Plan a “diet” that is maintainable for the whole week, not just Monday thru Friday.
- Think about what you want – Write down your health, fitness, and mental goals for the coming weeks/months. Keeping track of your progress will remind you to not stray too far from your healthy eating plan and fitness regime just because it’s the weekend. Writing these goals down also sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.
- Plan healthy rewards – Often times when we’re stressed or experienced a long, busy week, we “reward” ourselves with junk food and alcoholic beverages. Instead of rewarding yourself with foods that are going to make you feel horrible, reward yourself with new workout clothes or shoes, motivational books, a fitness watch, equipment, baking a healthy dessert, etc.
- Be smart when eating out – If you already had your indulgence meal of choice, and you are going out to eat again, opt for a healthier option this time around. Eat lean cuts of meat that are grilled, blackened, baked, or broiled and ask for dressings/sauces on the side, so you can control over consumption of unnecessary fat and calories. Order steamed veggies and/or baked potato or sweet potato (dry – butter on the side). Look at the restaurant menu online beforehand, so you can decide which healthy option you’re going to order. Other healthy tips include skipping the free rolls, starting with a salad and either splitting your meal with someone else or packing the other half in a to-go box.
- Eat a healthy breakfast – This will automatically boost your metabolism and control your appetite for the rest of the day. If you tend to sleep later on the weekends, but still wake up before lunch, make sure to eat something (even a small snack) to get your metabolism going during the healthier weekend.
- Don’t skip meals throughout the day – We often think that skipping meals and saving up for our indulgence will keep calories lower, but little do we know we’re in for a rude awakening. Skipping meals often leads to over-eating and an abundance of guilt. If you are going to have a big dinner, it’s best to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch and possibly a snack or two before going out for the night.
- Pack healthy snacks for outings – This will prevent snack attacks that lead to overeating or to fast food temptations. If you are going to an event with food and you are bringing something, make sure it’s healthy (veggie tray, fruit, protein cheesecake, etc.), that way you know there will be something there to help you stay on track.
- Talk about your goals – Tell your friends and family about how hard you’ve been trying to eat well and being open about asking for their support. This will help hold you accountable to stay consistent and show your dedication and determination, which might even inspire them to do the same!
- Drink water and get rest – Aim to drink a gallon or more of water each day to help keep you feeling full and to flush out some of the “unhealthy” foods you may have consumed. Also, be sure to get adequate rest (7-9 hours of sleep) to avoid late night munchies and over-indulging.
- Limit alcohol consumption – Consume one full glass of water between each serving of alcohol. Try to stay away from mixed drinks, which are high in added sugar. Opt for wine, water and vodka (mix crystal light or any low/no calorie flavoring to the water), or a light beer. Research shows that excess calories from alcohol make up a majority of the extra weekend calories we consume, so it’s highly beneficial to limit your drinks.
- Don’t destroy your hard work – Sometimes we fall off track more than once or twice over the weekend, and end up drowning our entire healthy diet regimen with junk food and continue to fall off the deep end even more. If you fall off track, move past it immediately, and strive to make your next meal a healthy one, or start over the next day and stick with it.
- Remember, moderation is the hidden key – Eat and enjoy your favorite foods in moderation. Deprivation leads to rebounding, so if you really want a treat, eat it and enjoy it. This doesn’t mean you have to over-indulge and continue eating badly for the rest of the day or weekend, it simply means to enjoy the treat and continue with healthy, whole foods. Remember to practice moderation every single day, which includes eating and exercising in a way that you can sustain forever, not just for a few days or weeks.