The weekend is coming!
That thought usually conjures up feelings of happiness, fun, relaxation, time with family and friends, free of work worries and…the dreaded post-weekend weight gain.
You’ve worked hard all week making healthy food choices, watching your portion sizes and hitting the gym every morning. Yet, somehow you give yourself permission to take the weekend off from healthy living. True, weekend eating is very different for most of us than weekday eating. While you have the weekend off from work and the usual daily chores, it doesn’t mean you have to have the weekend off from your healthy eating plan that you work so diligently on during the week. Doing this sabotages your weight loss goals and comes Monday, you are back to square one.
Well, worry no more. This article will provide you with your very own Weekend Weight Gain Escape Plan. We will explore the most common Weekend Diet Wreckers and provide a solution for each.
Weekend Diet Wrecker #1: You have a diet mentality
Do you ever say to yourself “it’s the weekend, I can eat what I want, and I’ll start my diet again on Monday?” Or, “I was so good during the week I am entitled to a cheat day or two on the weekend”? If this sounds familiar, then you have what is called a diet mentality or a diet mindset. Think about it. A diet is typically something you go on and eventually go off. Not many people actually live on a diet forever. So, you follow your diet during the week, but when the weekend comes, all bets are off and you return to your old eating habits.
Weight Gain Escape Plan: Shift away from the diet mentality. Understand that diets don’t provide long term success. Instead, allow yourself to eat what you love when you are hungry, and focus on stopping when you are comfortably full. In this way, there are no foods on the “not allowed”, “I can’t have” list. Those foods then become less desirable and you will find that you will make healthy food choices most of the time, and still be able to enjoy your favorite fun food without overindulging.
Weekend Diet Wrecker #2: You have less structure to your days
During the week you get up, go to work, return home, go to sleep and repeat this cycle the next day. You typically have structure to your day, which makes it easier to eat according to your healthy eating plan. On the weekends, you are busy running errands, and taking care of your family obligations. You end up skipping meals and find yourself ravenous by the time you sit down to dinner.
Weight Gain Escape Plan: Pack for the road. If you know that you will be running errands all day and will not have time to stop for lunch, plan ahead and pack a healthy lunch with some power snacks. Keep a small cooler in the car, or take an insulated lunch bag if you are concerned the food will spoil. A turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread, PB & J, baby carrots with hummus, homemade trail mix in a baggie, fresh fruit and yogurt are all easy to pack items that will fuel you during the day and prevent you from stopping at the nearest drive-thru.
Weekend Diet Wrecker #3: Your weekend calendar is filled with social events
It is definitely challenging when you are a social butterfly and your weekends are filled with Friday night parties, Saturday BBQs and Sunday night dinner dates.
Weight Gain Escape Plan: If you are heading to a friend’s home for dinner or a cocktail party, offer to bring a healthy dish along with you. Steer clear of socializing near the buffet table. First, walk the buffet line without a plate in hand. Survey the choices and make a mental note of the healthiest options. Then return to the start of the line with a plate and head directly to dishes you decided on. Never ever arrive at the party or restaurant hungry. Be sure to eat your meals earlier in the day and have a small snack before you head out the door to prevent you from overeating at the social event.
Weekend Diet Wrecker #4: No exercise on the weekends
You exercise during the week, but somehow on the weekend, exercise takes a back seat, along with healthy eating. Working out often goes hand in hand with dieting and when you “go off your diet” on the weekend, the exercise also falls off your radar. Or, you are just plain old busy and can’t seem to find the time.
Weight Gain Escape Plan: Plan, plan and plan! Just like you exercise at 6:00 am every morning during the week, plan what time you will exercise on Saturday and Sunday (i.e. 9 am Saturday, 10 am Sunday). Then plan the rest of your day’s activities around your exercise. It may help to log your exercise plan in your daily planner or smartphone until it becomes routine. Let your family know that this hour is reserved for your exercise. Afterwards, you are all theirs.
Weekend Diet Wrecker #5: Change in sleeping patterns
Ahh, it’s the weekend. You can sleep late in the morning and not have to get up to the alarm clock ringing. But then you realize it’s a little late for breakfast so you’ll just wait for lunch. When lunch arrives, you are so hungry you make less than desirable food choices and overeat. Or worse yet, you leave the house to run errands having just grabbed a cup of coffee. This is a recipe for disaster.
Weight Gain Escape Plan: It’s important to fuel your body in the morning, no matter what time you wake up. It’s perfectly fine to have breakfast at 11:00 am. Your lunch will be a little later than normal, but the key is to tune into your inner signals and eat when you are hungry, not by the time on the clock. Remember, you are breaking your overnight fast. Studies show that those who eat breakfast and eat throughout the day to fuel their body have a more efficient metabolism and will lose weight quicker than those who skip meals and eat erratically.
Weekends are a wonderful rescue away from a busy week. Yet, they can sabotage your health when you make poor choices. You can take control by planning ahead and making conscious decisions about your food and exercise choices and how you want to feel on Monday morning.