You’re a pretty clean eater. During the week you have no trouble choosing whole foods and eating in a way that supports your health and fitness goals. But, all of your healthy eating flies out the window on the weekends.
We all lead increasingly stressful lives during the week. Your typical “9 to 5” has been crowded out by the “7:30 to 6pm”. Whether it’s putting in extra hours at the office, driving the kids to and from, or your own recreational activities, you probably have very little time to relax. With so much rushing around during the work week, we see the weekends as a time to let go of the week’s stresses—including the stress of keeping up with healthy food choices.
While one or two days of “eating off plan” might not make a big deal in the long run, months and months of food crazy weekends will definitely have an impact on reaching your health and fitness goals. Not only does the weekend cheat quickly turn into an entire week of cheats per month, it also feeds that conventional diet mentality.
When Sunday night starts to feel like the last supper and you tell yourself you’ll get back on track on Monday, you’re playing into a diet mentality that will keep you stuck, deprived and unhappy.
With summer rapidly approaching (and thus cookouts, BBQs and beach blanket bingo), you may be even more enticed to go food crazy during those weekend days.
Here are four tips for keeping your cool during the hot summer months and sticking to your guns when it comes to those healthy food choices.
- Design a special weekend eating schedule. You have an eating schedule during the week, why wouldn’t you have one for the weekends as well? Yes, it will look a little different from your 12:00 to 1:00pm lunch hour, but it will still serve to keep you mindful of your food choices. Wake up late on Sundays? Plan a healthy brunch for 11:00am. Have a cookout on Saturday night? Don’t forget to eat during the rest of the day leading up to it.
- Eat breakfast. I’m often guilty of waking up late on Saturday and immediately jumping into the weekend’s errands and festivities, only to realize that it’s 3:00pm and I haven’t eaten anything all day. Starting your morning with some eggs, greens and fruit is a great way to put your healthy eating schedule in motion. A healthy breakfast can keep you motivated to make good food choices the rest of the day.
- Plan some of your indulgences for the work week. If you see the weekend as a time to indulge and let loose, consider swapping one weekend day of indulging for a week day. Incorporating some care-free eating into your work week may help you find balance in your weekend food choices. If you see every day as a day to relax around food and enjoy eating, the weekend indulgences will lose their luster.
- Go ahead! Enjoy that cookout! With all of your responsibilities during the week, it can feel impossible to keep that same level of diligence over the weekend when it comes to food. So, go ahead and enjoy yourself. Have fun with friends and family, eat foods that you don’t normally eat, and, once you’ve had your fill, return to your weekday food habits. After a wild party, don’t try to make up for treating yourself: if you skip a meal or eat very little the next day, you will perpetuate feelings of guilt, deprivation and restriction. Your next meal is your next opportunity to get back on track.
Do you eat differently on the weekends than the rest of the week?