We all know this pattern don't we? We're great during the week. Eating slowly, hydrating, fasting, managing macros, sleep, alcohol etc. The weekends - ouch! Friends, parties, relaxing (fun and amazing). We let down our guard and indulge. Maybe it starts with a few crackers and cheese, a slice or two of pizza, a couple handfuls of chips, dessert (because the damage is already done) and likely more than one glass of wine. We eat quickly, forget to drink enough water, go to bed late and then it hits - regret, remorse, guilt. It starts when we wake up on Monday morning (or Sunday night). The negativity and shame seeps into Tuesday, maybe even Wednesday. By Thursday we might be back to where we started but then it's Friday again - oopsie!
Weekend derailment will happen sometimes. And that might be ok, sometimes. It depends where you're at with your goals. It might even be good sometimes. It can be an effective motivator to work even harder during the following week. The challenge comes when it's happening every time.
Let's explore this topic a bit deeper by starting with these two questions:
How much did you enjoy it?
Allowing yourself the freedom to participate fully in social events is a positive thing but obviously losing all self-control is undesirable. Try quantifying your "enjoyment" on the weekend by using a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being "not at all" and 5 being "fantastic".
What are the consequences?
I think it starts with how you feel about yourself. Your energy, the way your mind and body feels. Consider the self-talk. Is it negative? You can also quantify this if you think it will help. On a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 "I feel terrible" and 5 being "I feel great", mentally and physically.
Compare all the numbers and draw your conclusions. Was it worth it? It depends on your goals. Now to the more "weighty" matters.
If you notice that your weight has increased by a significant amount - that depends on what you consider a significant amount - you will have to take this into account. On the other hand if you've only gained a pound, perhaps that's not such a big deal? You know that by mid-week it will be gone again. This is most true in the maintenance phase of your goals but a cycle of gain and loss and gain means a plateau (frustration) for someone who is actively trying to lose weight. Being curious about the correlation between a "big" weekend/your enjoyment rating and the resulting "number" on the scale is a good place to start when deciding whether to keep or change your weekend behaviors.
If you're in maintenance phase and/or feel like weekend "derailment" is justified (TOTALLY WORTH IT) then please accept it with your whole heart, no beating yourself up, no regret, no shame. That in itself will help set you up for success in sticking to your regular, healthy week plan. If however you decide that you need to change, that you believe the weekend choices are not worth it, here are some strategies that you might find helpful!
Carry a water bottle everywhere you go. Hydration ups your willpower!
Try to do a fun, demanding, outdoor activity like hiking at least once on the weekend to boost your empowerment.
Arm yourself at every party by showing up with a tray of raw veggies and hummus or tzatziki. At least you'll be able to munch to your heart's content even if you can't find anything else healthy to eat. It will also curb your appetite so you don't "pig out".
Always start "drinking" with a glass of water - it's especially helpful at cocktail parties. You need to have something in your hand!
Sometimes "none" works better than "some". You know yourself and if this is the case, eat before you go an event where you know the food will be outside of your "comfort" zone.
Swap the "sweets" for something creamy like greek yogurt and berries with nuts. Way more satisfying, less insulin provoking. This works well at home on lazy Sunday afternoons with your family (especially if you're a baker and have a hard time resisting your own efforts). Works during the week too!
If you really need starchy carbs or sugary treat, do ten burpees (or something like this) before consuming. Just two minutes of intense exercise can be helpful in increasing insulin sensitivity. Diminished consequences.
There's nothing wrong with fasting longer and having one meal/day! Just make sure it's super nourishing and follows the macro template.
Create a prompt to be mindful like eating three baby carrots for every chip. I know it sounds crazy but it works! Plus the math keeps your brain distracted.
Try a food tracking app. Some people (like accountants) will find this very helpful. At the very least it will make you very aware of what you're eating.
Remember that there is no famine, no scarcity. Just because there's carrot cake doesn't mean you need to go crazy. There's always gonna be carrot cake at some other point in your life. You can get it anytime. Trust me.
Thanks to my friend Erin for contributing to this list! Collaborations are always more fun!
If anyone has any other tips they've found useful on this topic please don't be shy to share in the comments.
If you'd like more tips on how to live better longer, and redefine how you age, please contact me here! xo