It’s Monday and once again you’re regretting the choices you made on the weekend. You went “off the rails,” with your diet. Maybe you went out with friends, went to an outdoor BBQ, were celebrating a birthday (how is it always someone’s birthday), or maybe your whole week was so stressful so you decided to let loose with a few cheat days.
The weekend often gets the better of us, and through many years I found myself falling into a similar routine of falling victim of being a ‘weekend warrior.’ Trust me you’re not alone if you struggle!
Thankfully, I’ve figured out a few ways to help you on your journey if you’re having trouble. Truthfully, nothing felt worse than to feel like I had to start over again every Monday, or that I had to “work harder,” the following week, or that I had to spend extra hours sweating doing cardio and burning calories. All of that is avoidable and you’ll feel so much better about yourself after the fact on that Monday morning when you show up for yourself and stay committed to those goals.
If you find yourself routinely struggling for consistency on the weekends, take a look at your weekly routine that you follow on a normal basis. Analyze it in the perspective of: if it’s truly maintainable for the long term. A good nutrition and fitness program is something that is sustainable so you can not only achieve long term results but also maintain these results. Ask yourself, “Is this something I can see myself doing a year from now?”
How many times have we done diets that were extremely restrictive with minimal calorie intake?
How many times have we cut out entire food groups? I’ll be the first to tell you I cut out breads, sugars, fats, meats, and/or dairy multiple times for long stretches of time in my life, thinking that maybe these foods or food combinations were the reason why I couldn’t get the results I wanted.
Then on the weekend, or at that special celebration, I felt out of control when I finally gave myself the “permission” to eat the things that I had locked up or forbidden.
Our brains go into a frenzy and want to have it all once we release those strict and hard rules. From the perspective of the brain and your subconscious, “Who knows when we will get our favorite and tasty foods again?”
Your diet plan should include things you enjoy, but also things that sustain you to keep you thriving. Now, let me explain that just because I encourage you to eat things you love, I always want you thriving in the best way possible. That means giving your body QUALITY foods. Whole foods, foods that aren’t packaged up in a factory. Whole foods will keep us full and provide us nourishment. You and your body DESERVE the best. On top of that, when we are in a fat loss phase, whole foods are going to give us more energy and keep us full, making it easier to lose the fat that we want.
Living in the percentage of the 80/20 rule is a good way to balance the whole foods and the ‘fun foods’. 80% of foods in our diet comprise those whole food options; fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and low fat dairy products will give you incredible bang for your buck. Then 20% of the time, enjoy those foods that might not have as much nutritional value. At the end of the day, the calories will make the difference in fat loss but our adherence to that calorie deficit will be better if our diet is comprised of those whole foods.
So with nutrition, evaluating how much you’re eating throughout the week is important. Are you tracking your intake? You might be eating too little throughout the week and then one the weekend go out of control because your body is asking for fuel! Awareness is super important here especially if you’re trying to hit a fat loss goal. I highly recommend using an app such as MyFitnessPal to track your food intake.
Food isn’t the only aspect of your normal weekly routine you need to take a look at. How is your workout or exercise routine? Are your workouts enhancing your life or are they taking away from it? Are you running yourself into the ground with excessive cardio or high intensity interval training? Are you working out nonstop every single day because you are worried you can’t make progress without it? Are you constantly sore or feel under recovered? Are you gaining strength and seeing body composition changes or remaining stagnant? Do you have a consistent, periodized plan at all or are you spinning your wheels and not making any progress?
So many people are burning the candle at both ends. They are killing themselves at the gym with workouts that are frying their central nervous systems they can’t recover from. (Think massive amounts of HIIT) or workouts that their bodies can easily adapt to so it’s hard to see change (hours of cardio on a machine) Then they aren’t taking the time to recover from their workouts by having nutrition that isn’t ideal. Add all of life stress of jobs, families, and responsibilities it’s no wonder by the weekend we just want to let it all go!
There are so many factors of a good program to follow. It might not be that you lose motivation or discipline on the weekend; maybe your plan doesn’t fit your life so that you can easily maintain it THROUGH the weekend. Maybe you don’t even have a plan at all and are just winging it? I highly recommend having a coach to help you prioritize not only a good nutrition plan but also an exercise plan that fits YOU!
Another way to look at this, is through the lens of how we perceive the weekend. Our thoughts and beliefs surrounding a subject is so extremely powerful. Do you see the weekend as a “free for all?” Does it have structure? What are things you associate the weekend with? Partying? Lazy days?
Understand, that I’m all about enjoying yourself, getting rest and recovery, and enjoying time with friends and family at parties and celebrations. However, I’m also a firm believer in showing up for yourself by improving everyday not just for your health but your long-term longevity. We are talking improving the quality of your life and getting the most out of it! There is a balance.
Improvement though, starts with your perception! By treating weekends as another day and opportunity to move toward your goals is a great start. If that means that recovery is built in on these days, that’s great. If it means that it also includes some flexibility in your diet, because of your appropriate planning, that’s great too! But your progress doesn’t have to come to a halt on a weekend.
Also ask yourself the question, do you BELIEVE that you can enjoy the party, celebration or weekend and still hit your goals? Do you feel like you NEED to have 17 drinks to have a good time? Or would it be possible to have 2 drinks and still enjoy the moments?
The power and belief is yours to have.
The point is, it is possible to have and do it all. You can enjoy your weekend but also have structure enough to keep on the track to getting what you truly want: be more confident, lose weight, gain muscle and feel better in your skin.
The thought process is simple, absolutely. Easy? Absolutely not because hitting your goals and being who you’ve always dreamt of being isn’t easy and comes with sacrifice.
I know we all love to sleep in when we don’t have morning responsibilities, I am one of them! But making an effort to get up the same time each day and going to bed reasonably in the same ballpark as you normally do is extremely beneficial.
This promotes a proper circadian rhythm which firstly helps with our sleep cycle. Our quality of sleep effects every single process in the body; it allows us to recover from workouts (and let’s face it, LIFE), and directly effects our ability to develop immunity (HELLO covid 19) but also coincidentally directly influences our metabolism (or how many calories we burn)
If we throw off our normal sleep pattern too much, the rest of our body’s functions are going to be a bit off. The circadian rhythm also tends to influence and throw off our hunger cues. In a combination with activities and events that might be out of your norm, it’s easy to deter from beneficial eating habits if your hunger cues are all over the place.
Also, aim to have similar meals or structure of your meals. If you have a few options for breakfast that you like, keep to it, to start the day with consistency and a win. The less variability the better in a fat loss phase especially. Not only does it make it easier to track, but there’s more control and understanding of what we are taking in.
Tracking is so hugely important, and I feel so strongly about that. Another blog and more content on that to come. I truly feel to get progress the more data and information we have the better. Using an app such as MyFitnessPal is easy and convenient. I’m always here if you have any questions on tracking, how to track, what to track, when to track, or anything else you can think up at firstname.lastname@example.org or at this link.
Life is meant to be lived and I’m a big believer in enjoying food and the life experiences associated with them. When I was going through very restrictive points in my diet past I wouldn’t want to go out with friends or family to dinners or avoid parties because I didn’t want to go off my plan in fear of gaining weight.
Now, I’m thankful enough to be able to go out to dinner with my boyfriend and still make progress and feel good about my choices after. I’m able to go out to breakfast with my family and not be shameful if I eat biscuits or toast. If I want some of the appetizer or dinner bread when I go out to dinner, I PARTAKE.
But how is that possible? There are a few strategies you can use to work in events, or special dinners!
If you’re going out to eat at a restaurant, take a look at the menu ahead of time. If you’re able to get the nutrition facts specifically for an item that you’re interested in that’s ideal. Then you can take those numbers and account for them earlier in the day. That way, you in a way, “save” or account for these numbers early. Then, you can base the rest of the day around that meal.
If that restaurant doesn’t have exact nutrition information; once you get enough experience with tracking macros you can always estimate nutrition content and calories. If you’re new to macro counting you can always find a similar option in the My Fitness Pal database from another restaurant!
Say you’re going to a party and you have zero idea what will be available? I’d recommend up until that party getting in plenty of protein and hydration. Different situations and points in a fat loss phase require different preparations. Maybe you’re close to your goal so you want to be a bit more strict? Maybe you’re in a a diet break and allowing yourself a free meal? Having a coach is super beneficial to help you plan ahead for special life events like this one.
Generally, us humans tend to overeat when there are more options available. So if you are going to a buffet style get together, stick to minimal variability in your choices with emphasis on and proteins to keep you full. Then, if you feel like you want or have made the preparations, account for a desserts or side plates that you’d like to partake in. Remember, SOME tracking is better than NO tracking even if you’re not 100 % accurate.
In then end, it’s all about planning and making that plan work for you, not the other way around. Your progress doesn’t have to come to a halt on the weekends and instead can be further opportunities to succeed in your goals!
I hope this article helped you!
Please leave a comment if it resonated with you in any way!