Oh the weekend... the place where healthy eating habits typically go to die! Whether it is brunch with your girlfriends, a kid's birthday party, or drinks out with the boys, weekends tend to be loaded with opportunities to indulge.
I wanted to share 6 tips that have served me and some of my clients to help us stay on track over the weekend. These things are easy to do yet easy to not do also, so it will take some practice. Don't beat yourself up if you have some slip ups early on or whenever in your journey. I would love to hear your feedback on how you do with implementing these or if you have some of your tips that have worked for you. Share them in the comments below.
A lot of times the things that can throw us off track don't just pop up or on our schedule. Pretty sure your kid's birthday party isn't a surprise, hopefully you've known about his birthday for at least the last 364 days.
So how do you plan out your weekend? Start with the events, if you know what they are you likely know what kind of food you will be consuming or offered. Are you having pizza, cake, cookies, or alcohol? That's fine and you will likely still be able to hit your macros if you eat those things. It just takes a little balancing. If you are going to be carb or alcohol heavy at a certain meal then go low carb at other times. If you are going out for fatty burger and fries eat a lot of protein and veggies the rest of the day.
Also plan out some other pieces of your day, like your workout, your water, meals that don't involve going out to eat. I guess it all comes back to this, having a plan then executing that plan as closely as possible.
2. Indulge But Don't Over-Indulge
Guess what, it is possible to eat "unhealthy" foods like donuts, pizza and french fries and not feel like crap afterwards. To conquer this unbelievable feat it comes down to portion control. Well I guess, if you eat that kind of food all the time feeling crappy might be your "normal" so you might need to hit the reset button before portion control will help a ton.
Have you ever heard of the term... Law of Diminishing Returns? The idea that as you continue to do something the benefits become less and less. This my economics background coming into play but it applies with indulgent treats too. Think about it... when you have that first bite of a sweet treat or piece of pizza it tastes pretty amazing. Whether it is the actual flavors or the anticipation of just thinking about eating it, the pleasure you receive is at an all time right there, at that moment. It won't get better than the first bite!
I'm not saying bites 2-10 don't taste good, but just not as good. You know what to expect flavor-wise. Your taste buds begin to numb to the sweet, salty and fatty flavors. The returns diminish. As the returns diminish the consequences of these indulgent treats grow.
My best tip to reign in eating an entire pizza or a 6 pack of donuts is to eat slowly. Actually taste the food that you are eating. Savor each bite with some intention. Eat slowly! Do this and you will be more likely to stop before over-indulging kicks in and the only taste left in your mouth is regret.
3. Scope Out the Menus
To me this is a no brainer, I always look at menus before we go out to eat. I guess a piece of that is I have to avoid gluten due to issues when I eat it so knowing that some GF options are available is nice. However I also like to read menus and think about what foods I would order ahead of time.
This is a perfect opportunity to scope out that special treat you want to have. By doing a little reconnaissance you can figure out if your treat is going to protein heavy, veggie light, fat heavy, carb heavy and then plan the rest of your day and meal around that decision.
It also gives you the chance to see if there are some mix and match things you do with the menu. For example if you are going out for some fatty BBQ ribs slathered in carb dense BBQ sauce at a local restaurant and the normal side is french fries or buttery mashed potatoes, yet you see roasted broccoli as a side on another entree, you can likely pair those items up so you don't overload your carbs and fat. I've found nearly all restaurants will accommodate requests like this.
4. Drink Your Water
If you received a free macro plan from me a piece of that plan included the amount of water you should drink daily. Note that isn't just for weekdays, it is everyday! Although water isn't going to fill you up for a long time it does help. Personally when I'm hydrated I'm not as hungry. If you aren't hungry over-indulgence will be less of an issue.
If part of your indulging is alcohol, drinking your daily water will help slow down the alcohol consumption and help you with recovery the next day. That last thing you want is a Friday night bender to turn into feeling like crap all weekend which will likely lead to poor decisions with food. Let's be honest nobody craves broccoli to cure a hangover they want Sausage Egg McMuffin! DRINK YOUR WATER!!!
5. Pack the Snacks
One of the big things that can throw a person off on the weekend is travel. Maybe you are stuck... I mean get to drive across the state for your kids basketball game or maybe you are just out shopping around town, whatever it is being away from home means you have less control over food options, unless you plan.
Yeah I tend to always go back to that first point I made...
Convenience stores have gotten better at stocking some healthier options like fruit and protein bars. They still are a bastion of sugar and temptation. Why put yourself under that stress of having to say no to the fresh baked donuts and the peanut M&M's. Those were my favorite.
So plan ahead an pack some snacks. Get some protein dense options in there as that is the thing that will likely fall short if you are out and about. Things like greek yogurt, protein bars or shakes, turkey or chicken breast, and tuna packets are some things that I've used to help fill that void. For some other options my wife wrote a great blog post over HERE!
6. Make Some Healthy Decisions
Having coached hundreds of people with their nutrition, it's a common theme, no routine = poor decisions. The weekend is a prime example of when our routines get out of whack.
My advice and my final tip, just make a few healthy decisions. Ones that you would make during the week. Drink your water, get a workout, or plan some veggies into your meals. By incorporating some of these healthy behaviors into your weekend schedule you are more closely mimicking your weekday healthy routine. Stay in routine = stay on track!
I've personally found that when I'm engaging my brain to make healthy decisions I'm a lot less likely to all of a sudden make a boatload of unhealthy decisions. By making some healthy decisions, you put yourself in a mindset of healthy things and that you are a healthy person.
I really hope those tips can help you even if you aren't following a strict macro plan. If you are looking for some more guidance with your macros you can get a customized macro plan from me! If weekends are things that are tripping you up consistently, maybe some coaching and accountability could help.