Anyone who has tried to lose weight knows how easy it is to throw healthy habits to the wayside on the weekends.
During the normal routines of the work week, I find it pretty easy to keep it healthy. Breakfast is always planned & a healthy lunch packed the night before because I just like mornings to be as free of hassle as possible. Dinners are planned in advance as well. Sunday prep sessions ensure I have easy to grab options for quick meals & snacks.
By the time the weekend rolls around, things are a little more relaxed. I have more time, but much less structure. The food I prepped over the previous weekend is pretty much gone. While I am trying to get better about cooking meals on the weekend, we are often on the go & we eat dinner late or out of the house a lot. Lunch is more likely to be a few snacks throughout the afternoon instead of an actual meal. Bacon is a Sunday brunch staple in this house. These habits together add up to an overindulgent weekend again & again.
So, how do I change things? These are a few strategies that have worked for me in the past-
1. PLAN to indulge– I think not feeling too restricted is part of a healthy lifestyle. Want bacon? Eat bacon. Want pizza? Eat pizza. Want chocolate cake? Eat chocolate cake. Just don’t eat them all in the same 2 days. By choosing to indulge for dinner on Friday or brunch on Sunday, you are in control but still get to enjoy less healthy foods. Eat reasonable portions even when indulging. You can always indulge in another favorite next weekend.
2. Go for a walk or to the gym or get out your yoga mat. Weekends are the easiest time to fit in exercise for me. Even with the crazy errand running, friend & family visiting, living life weekends I always have, there is usually a half hour or so to get in some kind of exercise. Once I exercise, I don’t like to undo my awesomeness with unhealthy food 😉
3. Stick to regular meal times- I’ll often sit down with a cup of tea & a book on Saturday mornings and before I know it, it is nearly 11am & I have not had breakfast. It throws off meals for the whole day & leads to the habits mentioned above. By following my normal routine of taking care of basic morning things & eating breakfast at the end of that, I keep things on track. Breakfast is usually between 7-8, lunch between 12:30-1:30, an afternoon snack around 3:30 & dinner between 6 & 7- just like the work week. Sunday brunch is my exception… just because I love it.
4. Keep track- If you normally count calories or weight watchers points, do it on the weekends too. Calories still count!
5. Invite friends over- If you enjoy visiting with friends & family over the weekend, invite them over for a healthy home cooked meal. You still get to enjoy time with loved ones but you have control over the food shared. A big pot of broth based soup & a loaf of good bread is my go to healthy (&cheap) dinner for a crowd. Inviting friends over is also a good excuse to make desert without having to worry about having a lot of leftovers to eat.
6. Be prepared– this is good all the time advice. Always have a snack on hand. Almonds, granola bars & baby carrots all hold up well in a purse. If I am visiting a good friend or close family member, I will even pack a healthy lunch. My water bottle is never far.
Most of all, I think it is important to keep your goals in mind. There are reasons you want to lose weight & live a healthier lifestyle. They are bigger & better than the most delicious piece of chocolate cake. Write them down. Post them someplace you will see them. It really is something that is withing your control, so take control.
Have a great weekend!