It’s Friday, and that means the weekend is almost here! We love weekends, but they can really sabotage our healthy weekday lifestyle. Maybe you try to make good food choices during the week and work out before or after work, but when Friday comes, cheesy burgers and beer or your kids chicken nuggets and a glass or two of wine are what’s for dinner! Sound familiar?
Why does this happen? Well, during the week, we tend to plan ahead and follow a schedule. We get up, maybe do a little exercise after coffee, eat breakfast, head to work or get the kids started with school, eat a couple of healthy snacks throughout the day, maybe grab the sandwich you packed from home for lunch, then have a quick but healthy dinner. And, without a set schedule on the weekend and more opportunities for social eating, all of these good habits are forgotten and we do what we want.
But, weekends are a perfect time to practice healthy behaviors because you usually have more time. Here are some tips to stay on track:
Get in a longer workout by mixing it up:
Use the weekend to go for the long hike on that trail you’ve been wanting to check out. Or try a new hour-long class in the park without feeling rushed.
Limit your drinks:
While many of us mostly forgo drinking during the week, we loosen up over the weekend and drink more. Calories in beverages, alcoholic or not, can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Go easy on the drinks (maybe a two drink minimum), and skip that fancy Saturday coffee that is loaded with sugar (sorry Starbucks!)!
Go out in nature:
Because most of us find ourselves indoors most of the week, the weekend is our chance to get outside, see the sun, and connect with nature. It can also boost your body’s production of vitamin D which strengthens the immune system and fights depression. Studies show that people are happier when they spend time in nature. So, take your morning coffee or tea outside in the yard and eat your lunch there too.
Plan for relaxation:
Most of us are busy during the week and even our weekends seem to become non-stop errands, kid games and chores around the house. So how do you find time to relax? Take two hours to schedule some downtime to practicing your hobby, seeing a movie with friends or reading a book under a blanket somewhere. Do this every weekend to recharge your body and mind. You’ll not only feel better, but it will help to reduce stress. Stress slows your metabolism and can cause weight gain, so we want to get rid of it.
Make sure that you’re not alternating between “the good you” on the weekdays and “the bad you” on the weekends. That doesn’t mean that you can’t socialize and have a drink or two with friends or never eat that cheesy burger and fries again.Remember that being at a healthy weight is about sustainable healthy lifestyle changes throughout the weeks and years, not just a diet and exercise plan that you can maintain Monday through Friday. Revisit your goals and recommit to making healthy and realistic choices every day that set you up for success in the long term.
Weigh in on Monday:
If you need extra help being accountable over the weekend, schedule your weekly weigh-in for Monday morning. Knowing that you’ll step on the scale at the start of the week can help you to stay accountable and be more aware of your weekend choices and put you on track for a successful and healthy week.