The weekend can sometimes pose a challenge to our health and weight-loss goals. Why? During the week, we tend to plan ahead and follow the same schedule. We love routine. We get up at a scheduled time every morning, exercise for 45 minutes, eat a healthy breakfast, head to work, eat planned snacks during our breaks, enjoy lunch at the exact same time each day, and so on. Many of us do pretty well at making healthy decisions day to day and week to week.
And then comes the highly longed-for weekend. We often look forward to being able to ditch the strict routine so that we can enjoy a little leisure, indulge in a few treats, sleep in a little longer, etc. And all things in moderation are OK. However, without some sort of schedule, one weekend can easily undo a whole week of healthy habits. But weekends don't have to be this way. In fact, weekends are a great time to practice healthy behaviors because we usually have more time to do so.
A few tips for a healthier weekend:
Eat like you do during the week.
When you think about it, it doesn't really make much sense to eat differently on the weekend than you do during the week. It can be easy to skip meals on the weekend and then make up for it later by overindulging at dinner. So, make a point to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner (preferably not on-the-go or from a drive-through).
Plan a longer workout.
The best part of the weekend is that you usually have more free time. So while you might not be able to squeeze in a 30-minute workout over lunch during the week, you can use the weekend to go for a longer run at a beautiful park nearby.
Stick to your usual sleep schedule.
Do you have a firm bedtime during the week but tend to stay up late and sleep in on the weekends? Changing your sleep patterns could throw off your schedule and could also interfere with weight loss (it's hard to eat breakfast when you get up at noon!). Changing your sleep schedule can also make it harder to fall asleep on Sunday night, which could make for a tired Monday.
Limit your alcohol and sugary drinks.
While many of us forgo the soda, beer and wine during the week, we loosen up over the weekend and drink more of our calories. Just remember that the calories in beverages can add up quickly if you're not careful. Go easy on the drinks, or try healthier drink swaps if you just can't forgo that fancy coffee or sweet tea on Saturday! Practice moderation when it comes to alcohol, too. Just because you were "good" during the week doesn't mean that it's OK to make up for that with one night of all-out binge drinking.
Schedule some downtime.
Most of us are so busy during the week that sometimes our weekends are the time to play catch-up on everything, from errands to chores to kids sports and more. So how do you find time to relax? Take time to schedule some downtime for at least an hour or two each day. Whether it's seeing a movie with your spouse, practicing your favorite hobby, or even reading a book or two, be sure to schedule time every weekend doing something that recharges you. You'll not only feel better, but also beat stress.
Step on the scale - 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.
PLAN ahead for the upcoming week.
Take a Saturday or Sunday afternoon to plan your meals and hit the grocery store for the week ahead (but never grocery shop when you're hungry!). That way, when your busy week gets even busier or the unexpected happens, you'll already be ahead of the curve and will find it easier to stay on track!