By Claire Georgiou, Reboot Naturopath, B.HSc ND
A common dilemma that many people face when they are trying to lose weight or make healthy changes is the weekend. It might make sense to eat clean and whole-food based during the week, but on the weekend it’s easy to get derailed.
With an more flexible schedule, you might be faced with social obligations, long periods between meals, more snacking, excess alcohol consumption, emotional eating, celebrations and all the excuses that come with the weekend.
Have you found yourself saying over and over to yourself or others, “It’s the weekend so I can eat pizza, ice-cream, chips.” or insert any other unhealthy food or unhealthy drink.
Another mantra we might say, “I’ve eaten so well ALL WEEK, so I deserve this” or “It’s Friday night and I’ve had a hard week” and by Monday morning you are back to square one.
Are these weekend habits and mantras helping us or hindering us? Having some food off plan or cheating a little is OK, but too much and you’re NOT going to get the health results you want.
If your feeling sluggish, heavy or tired on Monday morning, it really can just be as simple as looking at what you are doing and eating on the weekend. Unfortunately, you might be undoing the many good choices you are making throughout the week. Who wants to take one step forward and two steps back?
In clinic, I often find the weekends are the biggest issue when trying to make those healthy permanent changes, so let’s talk about what we can do on the weekend without ruining all the fun!
Alcohol unfortunately can reduce our care factor, once we start having a few drinks on Friday night, our desire to be well and healthy is often thrown out the window. That pizza you’ve said no to all week now doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Make sure you are drinking plenty of water and have a cap on how many drinks you’ll have over the weekend. It’s ideal to stick to no more than two standard drinks per day over the weekend.
I often recommend to Rebooters and clients to check out the menu before you go out to ensure you don’t make a choice while you’re hungry. Chips and garlic bread can seem like an excellent idea when you’re hungry but they usually just add extra calories to a meal. Choosing a healthy meal online earlier in the day is the best tactic for staying on track. Always order a side of extra vegetables or a vegetable soup starter to help fill you up!
A common issue I see many make is getting busy and not eating enough and then it’s 3 p.m. and you’re STARVING. Suddenly, you think it’s Saturday and I’d like to indulge in a chocolate bar since it’s the weekend. Eating regularly is a sure way to stay on track, making food decisions when you are hungry usually doesn’t end well. Take the time to ensure you’re eating regular healthy meals and snacks.
Filling up on juices can help to regulate the appetite and keep you hydrated along with keeping the electrolytes up for energy! If your juicing through the week, make sure it’s a part of your routine on the weekends too. Maybe you make a juice on Saturday morning and then plan to meet a friend for a walk in the park.
I know it’s boring, but I can’t tell you enough how many people tell me that they are great with their water during their week while at work, at the gym and during all their other weekly activities, and then the weekend comes and their routine is out the window and dehydration follows. Dehydration brings sweet and salty cravings so you can easily fight them with water. Make a habit of drinking a glass each time you walk into the kitchen. Or set your phone alarm every hour to help remind you to drink up.
During the week, people can make excellent choices of salad, vegetable-based meals, juices, morning smoothies but the weekend comes and rainbow eating can go out the window. Make sure you’re incorporating smoothies, juices, salads and healthy meals on Saturdays and Sundays too.
Meal planning often includes the working week but it may not include the weekend. Get into the practice of meal planning for the entire seven days so you know what and how you’re eating on the weekends too. You can even plan a fun treat such as Mushroom Pizza or Pumpkin Spice Chia Breakfast Cookies.
At social events you can easily consume your entire days’ worth of calories just on the snacks and that’s even before you get to the main meal. Bring a plate of chopped vegetables with a healthy homemade dip and munch to your heart’s content.
Write down what you want to achieve with your health changes and share this with online buddies who have the same objective such as the Reboot community or close friends and family. Get clear with yourself about what you need to do to achieve it. Are the weekend excuses hurting your efforts? If so create a plan that reduces the triggers and creates alternatives to help your own success.
This habit is one way to over eat without knowing it. While a handful of nuts is healthy, too many handfuls can easily happen. Whatever you eat, try to do it while sitting down and on a plate, not over the counter or standing in front of your fridge. Make a rule that you follow so you don’t mindlessly pick and practice eating more mindfully.
Drinking a vegetable-based juice, smoothie or munching on some vegetables before going out on the weekend is a great habit to form so you don’t arrive at a party hungry. This simple switch will avoid excess snacking and extra portions at the social event.
Food is not the only way to enjoy yourself and relax on the weekend. Make sure to schedule other activities such as walks, outside activities, crafts, game nights, trips to see family and friends and other special treats such as massage, yoga, movies, concerts, plays or shopping for a new cute outfit! Finding other means to reward yourself for your hard week is always a better way to relax without the sabotage.
Making sure you take good care of yourself during the week and the weekend will give you lasting health results so you can quickly and successfully experience those changes you desire.