Listen, I totally get that weekends are indulgent and a time to relax from normal responsibilities. And though it took me about 30 years to realize just how detrimental unhealthy weekend eating can be, I’ve worked hard to find a balance. Still taking health into account, it’s important not to go overboard and let loose completely in terms of food and laziness. Hopefully these tips can help keep you stay active and focused on personal health goals while having a blast – especially with big weekends like Labor Day lingering.
Avoid “cheat days”
Cheat days sound good in theory, but they can actually be dangerous if you have issues with control (like I do!). Rather than depriving yourself of your favorite foods most of the time, you can splurge on treats on any given day, with respect to portion size. For example, if I want to eat chocolate or ice cream during the week, I do it, but in small portions. This way, I can maintain a healthy diet in general, without having to completely cut out certain foods – or binge hard on the weekends.
Commit to one workout – just one!
Since the weekend is usually a time to relax, it can be a challenge to get a workout in – been there. But rather than dismissing exercise completely, I think it’s great to commit to at least one workout. I usually get mine over on Saturday mornings and then enjoy the rest of the weekend knowing I got my movement in. This workout doesn’t have to be strenuous or involve HIIT exercises or anything crazy. It can be as simple as walking in the park or dancing around the house. It’s a great time to try a new class, too!
Trade sitting time for outdoor time
Instead of sitting around the house with a bag of chips, as I’m sometimes tempted to do, you can go on a hike or play flag football with friends. These activities still feel like they’re for the weekend, or downtime, but they involve more movement than lying on the couch or lounging at an eatery. Involve your friends in whatever you choose to do outside or as a sports activity. Getting other people to join outdoor activities can be encouraging for you to keep moving on weekends!
Choose between wine and dessert
I can’t remember where I first picked this up, but it’s something I usually stick to on the weekends. As tempting as it might sound to choose both, discarding one of these for the weekend can make all the difference. That way, you’re not feeling like crap from a total sugar crash thanks to dessert and a glass or two of vino. Especially when you’re out with friends, try to be mindful about choosing what truly sounds better. Maybe a glass of wine will relax you more than a piece of cheesecake will. Maybe it’s that time of the month and it’s going to be the freaking cheesecake! See if this little tip helps.
Usually for me, eating poorly on the weekend is because we have no healthy food in the house and takeout is all we eat. To prevent this, you can do mini meal preps, either in the middle or close to the end of the week so that you have leftovers for the weekend. Around Wednesday, stop by the grocery store and find items for meal prepping (or at least to have a stocked kitchen come Friday). Items include: vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and plenty of protein. If you have more healthy food options in the house, you’ll likely keep from getting takeout on the weekend.
I’d love to know how you maintain your health on the weekend, so please share!