Anyone who has endeavored to lose weight knows it is a daily struggle. That struggle becomes infinitely harder on the weekends when we are away from our routines and schedules and tempted with outings. This is why all diets must start on a Monday right? What you may not realize is when you indulge and have a “bad day” you could be setting yourself up for failure even if you are perfect the rest of the week.
This chart shows in very simplified terms how indulging just two days in the week will set you up to exceed your caloric needs for the week and offset all the hard work you put in the other 5 days. How unfair is that!?!?
Recognizing the harm a cheat day or days can have on your results is only half the battle. Here are some tips on curbing those weekend indulgences and staying on track.
Stop over-restricting Monday-Friday. When you over restrict all week, it makes 5:00 on Friday feel like a finish line. “Ok I made it to Friday following my plan, now I get to reward myself”. Instead, let yourself have healthy portions of foods you like all week. If you are planning your week to treat yourself on the weekend, this is not a sustainable life change. Your diet should be manageable throughout the entire week. If it is not, it may be time to rethink your plan.
Start the weekend off right with a healthy breakfast high in protein and soluble fiber, like eggs and beans. It’s a smart move because it helps to curb appetite and reduce the number of ‘cheat’ meals you can consume. Next, try to drink caffeine and citrus juice with each meal. They help to encourage gastric emptying, while also keeping your energy high.
A lot of the failures associated with weekend dieting comes from not planning ahead. Even if you are not meal prepping for the whole weekend, knowing the activities you have planned and taking a few extra minutes to prepare can make or break your diet. For example:
- Are you going to watch a baseball game? Portion out a bag of nuts.
- Going to the lake? Cut up some watermelon!
- Watching a movie? Make sure you have some unbuttered popcorn in the cupboard.
Trust me, I used to laugh when I heard stuff like that too. It is not as hard (or weird) as it sounds. It takes just a bit of time and thought, but it can do wonders to keep your progress on track so you’re not derailed by the weekend.
Your mental mindset also plays a vital role in letting the weekend get away from you. Try to get out of the mindset of “rewarding” a hard working week with food or “punishing” a bad weekend with extra weekday workouts. Instead, after a week of strong dedication, reward yourself with a manicure, a massage, guilt free Netflix watching. These options still give you a feeling of accomplishment with a lot less calories. When you view exercise as a negative or punishment you are a lot less motivated to go and work hard, Instead, focus on the gains you are making or set goals to strive for that make you proud, not just happy it’s over.
I’m going to keep this short because it’s pretty straightforward: Alcohol is a diet killer. It’s not just the calories in the booze itself, it’s also the subsequent food cravings and the effect it has on our capacity to make rational decisions. If you want to minimize the diet damage, try choosing a less calorific drink to stick to all night and keep drinking water throughout.
Alcohol is loaded with sugar and calories, and it’s astonishingly easy to pile on weight just from booze alone. Being aware of your intake and making smarter choices puts you back in control.
Finally, try to squeeze in some exercise. The reason you can workout during the week is because it’s part of your routine. Whether you’re an early bird exerciser or you dutifully hit the gym on your way home from work, it’s your routine. It’s scheduled and you know it’s going to happen. Weekends, however, are so much less predictable! You might not get your full hour routine on on a weekend. But this is my advice: find a way to squeeze in a workout. Even just 10 minutes of exercise can make a big difference.
If you just can not find the motivation or time to hit the box then incorporate something active into your weekend in a fun way. Go kayaking, join Torch Ruck Club on an adventure, go dancing, hit an amusement park where there is countless walking around. Just getting your body moving and staying active will release those endorphins and keep you on track and motivated. Plus you may just find that Monday WOD leaves you a little less sore.
With all that being said, remember to not let one mistake or one instance dictate your future behavior. There will be times or events where you chose to or allow yourself to indulge/splurge with some less than healthy options. If you have a weak moment, make up for it by not repeating it. Make a policy of never two in a row, meaning you allow yourself to have your cheat meal or that drink, but know that your next meal is back on plan. Many people lose track and focus when they slip and they allow that to completely derail their progress. Diets don’t have to start on a Monday, and if you mess up the best thing to do is get right back to it.
Remember, you should be planning to eat healthy every day, not just weekdays. Weekends are just as important as every other day of the week. Be aware of this, and make sure that you are acting accordingly. Otherwise, you may be left spinning your wheels and not getting the results you want. Interested in more tips and ways to lose weight? Check out the latest food challenge. Contact Amanda or check the website for more details.