Friday, July 20, 2012

Worried About the Weekend? Relax! Tips for Weekend Eating

It's the weekend! For a lot of us, that means all of our hard work is about to go down the drain. I hate to be so negative, but be honest. Am I wrong? I hear it all the time: 

"During the week, I'm fine. Then the weekend hits and before I know it I'm eating crap and promising to do better tomorrow!" 
The Very Hungry Caterpillar ate waaaaay too much on Saturday
and had to eat leaves on Sunday to make up for it.
Come on now. Don't be like that.

This plagued me for years, and I was eternally frustrated about it, not to mention ticked off that I managed to cancel out my workouts and healthy eating in just two days. But over time, I created some strategies to get over the weekend hurdle and come out the other end feeling much, much better.  Here's how:

1. Create structure. What makes the weekend different then the regular week? Lack of structure. During the week, pretty much every day is the same. We go to work, eat our meals, go to bed (hopefully) early, and don't socialize too much. At least that's me. You might have a more exciting social life than I do!  But on the weekend it's all up in the air. We go out, we party, and most dangerous of all, we "reward" ourselves for being so "good" during the week. By creating some structure around the weekend, we can trick our brains into forgetting that we aren't on a regular old Wednesday. This takes time and discipline, but it does happen!

Tips for creating structure:

  • Keep as many meals the same as during the week as possible, and log them in advance. If you log into your food journal and enter in what you plan to eat (which should be pretty much what you eat during the week), you will be more organized and have something to reference when you get distracted.
  • If you're going out, check out the restaurant menu online and decide what to order before you arrive. Then, once you are there, order first before you lose your resolve and get sucked in by other people's plans.
  • Workout. Starting the day with exercise helps reduce your appetite for splurges and revs up your metabolism!
2. Prep your healthy meals. You know I am all about the advance prep. When I finish my salad at lunch on Friday, I immediately make Saturday's and stick it in the fridge. I am much less likely to eat something unhealthy on Saturday or snack on chips or crackers or something when my healthy meals and snacks are there. Make it easy to be healthy. 

From left to right: breakfast, snack, lunch, snack.
 All ready for me tomorrow!
Easy ways to plan meals in advance:
  • Chop fruits and veggies all at once and pack them in little containers or baggies. It's easier to grab them out of the fridge than take out a piece of fruit, knife, and cutting board.
  • Put a white board on your fridge and write out your menu for the weekend. Seeing it in black and white will not only keep you organized, but serve as some extra accountability when you try to open that door and grab something to snack on.
  • Don't buy junk. If it's not there, you won't eat it. And don't say you're buying it for the kids or your husband or wife or whatever. They don't need it either.
3. Be loud and proud! Sharing your intention to be healthy over the weekend to a buddy, family member, random people at the coffee place, gives you extra accountability and makes you feel more in-charge of your weekend! Plus, you may inspire a friend to follow with you, and then you can keep each other honest.

Some great ways to voice this goal:
  • Keep it positive. Focus on what you're doing for yourself (having a healthy weekend), not what you're missing (I'm skipping dessert). 
  • Keep it present-tense. Talking about being healthy in the future is great, but the difference between, "I'm having a healthy weekend," and, "I'm going to have a healthy weekend," can be huge. The second one could have the word, "tomorrow," added way too easily!
And finally, remember: a cheat day only cheats you. You deserve better! You work hard all week to establish healthy behaviors and fuel your body, so don't wreck it all in the name of moderation. Moderation is over-rated. Success is way better.

You can have a healthy weekend, and you will. Or rather, you are. :)

Get out there and get healthy, even on the weekend!


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