The weekend is here again! Two and a half days off, including Friday evening, to do whatever you want and whenever you want to do it. So, what will you actually do? How will you spend your free time over the weekend? Do your plans include getting in a longer workout or how about going outside to do some outdoor activities like hiking, running, walking, riding bikes or signing up for a local 5K? How about taking a new cardio class at your local gym or spending some much-needed family time? Or, maybe you will be getting together with friends and dancing the night away or having a fun girls or guys night out.
When was the last time that you played tourist in your own community by going to your local farmers market, picking up some fresh and tasty fruits and vegetables? Or exploring your community including all of the local attractions, museums, beaches or parks? And more importantly, do your weekend plans include staying fit and eating healthy or will it be a weekend of eating whatever you want while relaxing and being lazy?
Despite the best of intentions, the weekend can become one of your biggest roadblocks to staying on track and meeting your diet and exercise goals. This is especially true if you’re staying in your house and all that delicious and tempting food is beckoning you to come take a huge bite out of it!
If you find that you’re always bingeing or just plain overeating on the weekend, it’s time to turn these roadblocks into a smooth sailing successful weekend! Do you have plans? Do those plans include exercising, eating well and staying on track with your health goals? If not, and for most people this is rarely a part of the plan, there are some things you can do to keep from gaining weight or falling too far off the wagon. Did you know that the average person can consume an additional 800+ calories a day over the weekend! And then we wonder why and how we gained an additional pound (or two) so quickly. These extra calories can easily pack on an additional 30 pounds over the course of a year! If you’re ready to make the following weekend the best that you can, here are a few diet and exercise tips to help you stay focused and avoid weekend weight gain.
Monitor Grazing and Munching
Will you be getting together with friends either at a restaurant or at someone’s home? Do you have a plan ready to implement when it comes to your meals or are you going to just take a chance that you’re going to be able say “No Thank You” to all of the tempting food? What about when you’re at your local swap meet or festival? Do you find that you purchase the high calorie items like nachos, hot dogs or other sugary and fatty foods?
Over the weekend, you are busy shopping, doing errands and hanging out with friends so it’s very easy to rush your way right through the day while forgetting about eating breakfast and/or lunch. This is not a great idea in so many ways, but mainly because once you do acknowledge that you’re hungry and grab something to eat, you can easily find yourself consuming way too much in one meal. In addition, you may find yourself eating more of the wrong foods like greasy fast food or junk food that’s super high in fat, sugar and calories.
Let’s put together a plan of action that allows you to have a great time wherever you go without having that good time reflecting negatively on the scale or how your clothes fit the following week. If you find that your weekend is jam-packed with activities, or you unintentionally find that you’re so busy during lunchtime that you have forgotten to eat, you should at least start packing some quick and easy snacks that can be left in your car or office so that you’ll have a snack to take with you, such as nuts, granola, a sandwich, fruit, meal replacement bar or a protein shake. You’ll find that you will have more energy, feel better and start off the right way with your weekend goals!
Just Say No To Empty Calories
Cookies, candies, cakes and sodas, oh my! It should be pretty clear that consuming processed foods is not in your best interest while trying to achieve your fitness goals, but did you also know that these sneaky snacks are filled with empty, useless calories and are high in both sugar and fat which is a double whammy! While I would like to recommend eliminating all potential junk foods completely (for those that consume these naughty treats), it may be harder to stop (or eliminate) cold turkey, so I would highly suggest starting off by decreasing the amount of empty carbs that you consume.
For example, try to limit yourself to one serving of whatever is being offered and drink at least 4 ounces of water before actually consuming the food as this will give you a feeling of fullness, which in turn will cause you to eat less. When it comes to liquids, stick to drinking as much water as possible, or even unsweetened green tea while avoiding sodas and other sugar packed beverages. If you’re at a party or out with friends and drinking alcoholic beverages, choose lighter versions of beer (Michelob Ultra) to get fewer calories while sipping lemon water between drinks. Try and make a more conscious decision to make better choices. This includes those “fruity” drinks like daiquiris or those dessert style drinks because these alcoholic beverages tend to have much more sugar and the highest number of calories in them. If you enjoy mixed drinks, go for a vodka with diet tonic or a rum with diet coke.
When heading out for that special dinner with family and friends, take the time to think about what you are going to eat or what is being offered (BBQ), as well as the company that will be with you. Often times, when people are in a group setting they tend to eat different foods without thinking about them since they are getting so involved in the company, conversation and fun. Choose foods that are healthy for you while skipping out on fatty desserts that make you feel full and bloated. If you have a sweet tooth, choose fruit or yogurt instead. When eating protein, choose lean cuts (chicken, fish), or choose the smallest steak if you will be eating red meat. Add fresh or steamed vegetables instead of the vegetables loaded with butter or gravy and when ordering your salad dressing, always put it on the side. These small changes will help you save hundreds of calories and reduce any weekend weight gain.
For many of you, sleeping in on the weekends is something that you really look forward to, or perhaps if you work on the weekends, you don’t always feel like going to the gym and working out after work. I have a few simple and easy solutions for you to incorporate throughout your day to avoid falling off the wagon all weekend. Keep in mind, your biggest challenge that you’ll have is making the time to get in a great workout. It’s time to get out of your own way and get busy! Go for a run, swim, hike, or take the kids out for a long walk or to the park. Meet up with friends at a local amusement park while reliving your childhood. Join up with a local salsa class, softball game or even dodgeball (my favorite). Or, you might try going out dancing with your friends. By doing these things you will keep your body in line with your health goals throughout the entire weekend. It’s really a win-win since you will be spending quality time with your family and friends while also burning some calories!
The bottom line for keeping and staying on track over the weekend is not an all-or-nothing event. Stay true to yourself and your fitness goals by trying to eat clean healthy foods while staying active and drinking plenty of water. Finally, the most important thing to remember is to have an awesome weekend and enjoy yourself!