You've worked hard all week. Stayed on track with your eating, made good choices, gone to your PT session and taken the stairs to make sure your body is moving! You feel good. Its Friday and the weekend is fast approaching. Time. For. Wine. #poet But just one glass right, one glass of wine wont hurt. It goes down smoothly. Maybe just one more? Why not. Ah. So. Good. Now all relaxed (inhibitions loosened slightly) you don't feel like cooking and then cleaning up - why would you its been a long week and you deserve to relax, lets order in tonight you suggest to your husband, who jumps on that! He's not really into this whole health thing anyway! Next thing you know you have indulged in some takeaway, eaten a little too much. You know this because before you started eating you changed into your comfy pants to allow for the extra food! But its ok because you will get back on track tomorrow, right?!
Realistically speaking probably not. Now I am not suggesting for one minute that its not ok to relax and have easy nights, a glass of wine, cheat meals, or flex meals- whatever you want to call them. However, there is a high chance you will consume more food over the weekend. Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis followed nearly 50 overweight adults for a year and published their findings in the journal Obesity. Researchers tracked daily food intake of the subjects and found a remarkable difference in what people ate during the week in comparison to the weekend. The researchers observed the subjects eat fairly consistently Monday - Thursday, eating more Friday-Sunday. Saturday was found to be the day with the most calories consumed with Sunday being the day with the least movement, which means there was no compensation for overeating on Saturday with additional exercise on Sunday. Not surprising, subjects were also their heaviest on Mondays and lightest on Thursdays. The subjects in the study were gaining weight at a rate of almost 100 grams per week, due to their weekend indulgences. Over a course of a year, that could add up to almost 5 kilos gained. This suggests that we are not practicing healthy eating habits on the weekend. In fact 100% of my clients say weekends are the hardest. 100%!
There are some simple explanations for this, our routine is likely different, we are socialising more which means we have less control over our food environment and hence less control over the situations we are placed in. We are relaxed and seeking out to relax, prepping a meal for an entire family when kids are involved and cleaning up isn't every bodies idea of relaxing! We sleep in - there goes breaky, we have plans and rush out the door and all of a sudden its lunch time and you are starving! Cue to eat more food, quickly. We have peer support / pressure and a society that is fueled toward eating - think our cafe culture, fast food restaurants everywhere we look - you know the ones giant big red takeaway signs luring us in - think KFC, McDonalds and Red Rooster- all red- that's an action colour. Its marketed this way for a reason! When we eat more on the weekend, and move a little less, very quickly the hard work that goes into changing lifestyle and working towards health goals during the week can come undone, or slow us down significantly enough that it makes this (already challenging) journey feel a little harder. Weight loss is a hard work, its not easy, it's slow, and at times can feel like an up hill battle. It can so easily spiral out of control and before you know it the guilt has set in, you feel like a failure, and sabotage your Sunday night thinking, I will start fresh tomorrow. HANG ON... isn't that what you said Friday after the takeaway and wine? Oops!
Fear not! Firstly as I mentioned most people (and everybody I speak to) says they find weekends hard which means you are not alone! Secondly keep reading for my 5 best strategies for staying on track over the weekend- even if you use only a few of these tips, your weekends will start to feel a little better! Use all of these tips- you can say goodbye to that Sunday night guilt and feel bloody amazing moving into your new week ahead knowing you did everything you could and have likely inched a lot closer to your health and weight loss goals!
To help edge you closer to your goals I have put together top 5 tips to make weekends start working for you and not against you!
1. Re-frame the way you look at your weekend
When you start treating every day with the same intentions (working towards your goals) things become a whole simpler. Ideally when working towards new habits or making dietary changes to improve your health a few key elements should inform your behaviour changes, these are; balance, variety and moderation. If these are incorporated into your new lifestyle then the weekend coming shouldn't feel so hard. Most people just need to eat a little less! Rather than thinking of food as a weekend reward opportunity, or making an easy but highly processed food choice, simply treat your weekend exactly the same as a weekday. Sure there will be different situations, but that doesn't mean you apply different behaviour's to the way you relate to food. Just treat it the same.
2. Plan ahead
Plan ahead just as you do for your working week. Have a function? Great- be prepared. Running around with the kids- no worries have breaky ready and bring your lunch with you. This doesn't need to be complex, keep it simple- pack a sandwich, bring some fruit.
3. Meal prep
Ensuring you have easy to prepare foods available (think eggs, wholegrain pasta,
a green salad, legumes etc.), fruit in the fruit bowl, some pre cooked meals ready to pull out of the freezer so you don't have to cook, and breaky prepped will make your weekends easier! Again just as you would during the week, make your breakfast for the 3 days ahead using a simple overnights oats recipe - need one? See https://www.fitbodiez.com.au/recipe-of-the-week-blueberry-overnights-oats/
Want to make it a little more exciting with delicious Sunday pancakes or or hot English breakfast? Clean up your fav recipes with healthier ingredients! Using more wholefood ingredients, less processed foods and using healthier cooking methods.
4. Move more
We often want to relax on the weekend and so we should, but that doesn't need to mean moving less. Find ways to incorporate more movement into your weekends that support your new healthy lifestyle and goals. Simple more walking, some yoga, dancing with the kids or playing in the park can be simple, easy and budget friendly ways to incorporate some movement time into your life while simultaneously creating healthier weekend habits of getting outdoors. Not only is this healthy for our bodies but for our minds too. Win win!
5. Pay attention and catch yourself!
This is probably the most important thing you could do to get on top of your weekend ruins! Reflect often and ask yourself in the moment some key questions;
Why do I really want it (food item/amount)?
What is my driving factor?
Is it boredom? Emotional eating? Cravings? Meal Skipping? Address these by chatting to your nutrition coach about tailored strategies to overcome. Addressing the core issues in the moment or with a professional can help you to more quickly move past these patterns that may be affecting you reach your goals.
There you have it, my 5 best strategies on how to make your weekends work for you!