Anyone who follows a healthy diet knows that a little meal planning can go a long way. A well-thought out plan for the week along with a structured 9-to-5 schedule can do wonders for setting you up for success. Most people start each day with breakfast, break for lunch in the middle around noon, and then sit down to a dinner in the evening. Some people may even plan a few snacks here and there. There are also many non-eating related tasks to complete throughout the day. Whether you are at work and completing your job requirements, or you are at home managing a household, there just may not be that much time to deviate from your set schedule. A little Sunday evening planning has made for a successful Monday through Friday. Then the weekend hits, and you find yourself over-indulging and completely unstructured.
After five solid days of sticking to a plan of healthy eating, you may find yourself overdoing it on the weekend. The good news is that you are not alone. Unfortunately, this happens to be quite the common problem, and it is caused by a variety of reasons.
For starters, there is now a lack of structure to your day compared to the weekdays. You may have kids to drive around to various events and practices, you may have errands to run, or you may have nothing to do and choose to relax. Without structure, it becomes all too easy to stop at a fast-food drive through after dropping off the kids or to grab a candy bar as you are checking out at the grocery store.
Another thing you may overlook is the availability of bingeable foods. If you are used to packing or preparing only what you are going to eat on a weekday, then you likely will not have easy access to coddle your urge to snack. It is quite common for that urge to snack to be driven by boredom and not actual hunger. Whether you are working at a day job or managing a home, boredom is probably not a problem. However, if you are home on a weekend with access to snack foods, it is just that much easier to give into that desire to snack even when hunger is not present.
And finally, you may actually be giving yourself permission to indulge on the weekends. Five days of healthy structured eating may leave you saying something like “I deserve this” or “I can eat junk because I’ve done so well.” Yes, of course you are allowed to indulge (anytime, not just on the weekend!) but this type of thinking can be a form of self-sabotage that leaves you stuck in a constant battle with your health and your weight….not something you want!
Stop the Sabotage!
If weekends are always your downfall when it comes to overeating, there are some tips and tricks that can help. Read on to learn five ways to stay on track through the week AND the weekend.
1. Take a tip from the principles of intuitive eating and honor your hunger.
If you are hungry, fix yourself something to eat, have a seat at the table, and eat it. Do so before you become excessively hungry and choose to grab a handful of some salty, deep-fried concoction simply because you are starving. Make sure you take in an adequate amount of nutrients to provide your body with the fuel it requires.
2. Practice mindful eating.
This concept has its roots in Buddhist concept of mindfulness. Through mindful eating, you are encouraged to listen to your body’s hunger signals. Learn to distinguish between what is an actual hunger signal and what is just plain old boredom. Remind yourself that eating is a means to maintain your good health. Use this time to take note of how the foods you eat make you feel. If a Denver Omelet kept you full for hours, that is worth noting. If a handful of caramel corn made you spike and crash, remember that the next time you select a snack.
3. Eat quality.
Though it is a popular saying that a food should not be labeled as either “good” or “bad”, the bottom line is that some foods are healthier and more nutritious than others. Like it or not, there are foods that are probably beneficial to limit, and these foods have a tendency to be far too easy to overeat. Deep fried corn chips are probably not an ideal everyday food. Cookies and cupcakes can be reserved for special occasions. Stick with protein, good fats, and complex carbs at mealtime and avoid the aforementioned deep-fried creations.
4. Make a schedule.
If being on a consistent schedule is what keeps your healthy eating on track during the week, then why not make a weekend schedule as well? Start by setting the alarm instead of sleeping in. Plan your meals and portion out your snacks ahead of time. Stick to scheduled mealtimes. If that boredom approaches and drives you to snack, you can either grab a prepared healthy snack or go right into the next task on the schedule to keep the boredom at bay.
5. Keep healthy snack foods on hand.
If there is a box of cookies in the house, and you find yourself digging into it on the weekends, it is time to stop bringing a box of cookies into the house. Depending on who else lives with you and what their eating habits are, this may not be the easiest task. To ensure a successful weekend of healthy eating, prepare healthy grab and go snacks such as hard-boiled eggs, olives, or veggie crudite. If seeing the cookies triggers you to want to start munching, stow them away in a cupboard (preferably on a high shelf!) where they won’t tempt you.
6. Join my Weight Loss Coaching Program.
In my program, not only will you learn all the tools mentioned above, but you will learn how to control your eating, develop a healthy relationship with food and your body, as well as managing your weight long term!
Strive for Seven
Now that you have an idea of what makes your weekday plan successful and also what is likely to throw a wrench in your weekend, sit down and make a plan that ensures you will keep up your healthy habits seven days a week. Whether it’s preparing meals and snacks in advance, giving the pantry an overhaul, or sticking to schedule mealtimes, make sure these changes are all directed at the common goal of achieving good health and feeling great!