So here we are, Wednesday. Hummmmmmmp Day!
By now, if you’re like most of us trying to be “healthier” you’re on day #3 this week of being “back on track” because inevitably over the weekend, you botched your healthy eating intention by over-eating or over-drinking and vowed to start to be “good” again on Monday. #AmIRight?
This is a dieters mentality and it took me years to stop this “Working for the Weekend” mindset. This is part of what I set out to teach clients and any reader is the power of your MINDSET in helping you accomplish any goal since what you THINK determines what you DO.
If you goal is FAT LOSS for example, taking the whole weekend “off” of healthy eating and fitness is not an effective strategy.
If your goal is MAINTENANCE, this strategy is perfect because you do need several days per week devoted to maintaining.
Since I’m in the business of helping people with their health goals, which 100% of them include FAT LOSS, I wanted to shed some light on this subject of changing up our MINDSET about weekends so we can have more success in our Fat Loss efforts!
I coach many a frustrated client who will work so hard all week, eating well, working out hard for 5 SOLID DAYS and then completely reverse all their progress in just 1 or 2 days of going overboard. That was me for years and years too.
Weekends are HARD. We want to feel rewarded and relaxed which naturally invoke a desire for delicious food and libations, our go to “reward” systems! We also don’t have our go-to routines and some of our weekends get so jam-packed with kids and sports and our social obligations that we don’t have the plans in place that help us to keep on track. These are all valid and understandable!
So what do we do about this natural tendency we have with the weekends when we want to lose fat?
Do you have to be PERFECT on the weekend?! NO WAY.
Being overly restrictive will NOT work and is really NO FUN. Life is about balance and JOY. It’s about working SMARTER not HARDER.
But, there are ways you can simply STRATEGIZE your weekends better that will make a difference!
At A.Wight Fit, one thing I specialize in is Goal Development and real life strategies to helping clients get to their desired health goals and fat loss. I have found these steps as the top strategies I use and my clients have used to see more success!
Top 5 Proven Tips to NOT Let the Weekend Wreck Your Health Goals:
#1 Proven Tip: Don’t overly deprive yourself all week:
If you are eating far too few calories and doing far too much exercise, you are naturally be inclined to binge eat on the weekend because you’ve been starving yourself! It’s the law of “Metabolic Compensation”. Our bodies are hormonally going to fight to keep you at the weight you’ve been adjusted to. After just 5 days of eating too few of calories and/or exercising too much, you’re hunger hormones are going to go crazy. Ideally, your food and exercise should stay consistent straight through the week.
How do adjust: If you think you might be pushing too hard or restricting yourself too much, change JUST ONE of those aspects at first—not both. Don’t try to overhaul your regime all at once, that will likely result in weight gain that will make you freak out and overcompensate to eating even less and exercising even more. The goal here is to take just 1 aspect of your health and make a 10% adjustment in a healthier direction. So if you are doing 5 hours of cardio a week, you are going to need to cut back on aerobic cardio to actually help your metabolism and fat loss. This means you just cut back in 10% of your time this week. The next week you’ll decide if you’ll cut back again (10%) or hold there for 1 more week, etc.
Your life likely looks quite different during the weekend as it does during the week so make different habit goals to accommodate the different routines. Focus on just your weekend for a while. Work with the systems you currently have to make those goal changes. With all goals, you have a higher chance of success when you write down exactly what your goals are and the habits you want to enforce to get you there.
How to adjust: Choose 1-2 new habits you want to enforce just for the weekend to improve in your health and stick to those for a month before adding on new goals. Focus on progress, not perfection.
For example, if you normally go to Sunday brunch and order pancakes and bacon, your first habit to adjust is just what you plan on ordering at the Sunday brunch. Make small adjustments every week—-what I call “Mini Goals.”
Weekend #1 Mini Goal: Go to Sunday Brunch and Eat 1 Pancake and 3 egg whites + 1 slice of bacon.
Weekend #2 Mini Goal: Go to Sunday Brunch Eat 1/2 Pancake, 3 egg whites + 1slice of bacon.
Weekend #3 Mini Goal: Go to Sunday Brunch and eat 1-2 bites of pancake, vegetable omelette and 2 slices of bacon.
Progress is Progress!
#3 Proven Tip: Wake Up at the Same Time Every Day- Weekend and Holidays Included:
This combines two of the most effective fat loss strategies— being consistent + getting enough sleep. Waking up at the same time every day, no matter what day of the week it is, will eventually allow your body to adjust to the Circadian Rhythms necessary to allow for effective sleeping habits and getting enough sleep will also extend the amount of time you are in the prime fat loss zone (fasting + increased growth hormone etc).
How to adjust: Set Your Alarm Clock in the morning and plan the reason WHY you’re getting up early on the weekend. So if you get up at 6am M-F, you’ll want to get up by 630am on the weekends too. But to do that, you’ll need a reason to get out of bed. It’s a perfect excuse to go hit up the gym and get your workout over with. Or it’s a great way to get up go to a Cafe, do some reading, your devotional, or work on other Mind and Soul goals you have. Creating a whole new Ritual out of your early mornings on weekends will be a special treat unto itself!
If you are tired at first, it will take an adjustment. If you need to take an afternoon nap at first, that’s fine, just keep it to the 20-min cat nap that’s been proven as most effective.
#4 Proven Tip: Mentally Prepare for the Weekend Reward:
As humans we all know we use food and drinks as a reward system. This is not a bad thing unless your food reward and drink awards get out of control. High fat, high sugar and excessive alcohol tend to be the greatest “reward” in our brains and can often turn into unstoppable eating binges. SO, preparing for the exact thing you crave and planning where and when you have it will help you to control the natural tendency to let it get out of control.
How to adjust: Think of 1-2 healthier food options that are similar enough to your old bad habits. So instead of red wine all weekend, you’ll drink sparkling water with a splash of cranberry and then 1 really good glass of wine that’s worth it for you with dinner on Saturday night.
Think of 1-2 non-food ways to reward yourself during the weekend too. So instead of your whole weekend planning from brunch, to BBQ to dinner (i.e. all food items) make sure you have a pedicure, group workout class, a walk in the park, a coffee date with a friend or something NON-food related that will add some fun to your life.
#5 Proven Tip: Add some SOUL to your Sundays:
Making sure you take one day in the weekend to get Spiritually aligned will help remind you of your “WHY” you are getting healthy to begin with. While this practice should not merely be practiced 1-day a week, it is great to have a day dedicated to thanking God for our creation and the wonder of our health blessings we have. It is not about RELIGION, but about building your personal relationship with God and doing this in COMMUNITY has been proven the most successful practice. You learn by listening to others who have more mature Faith than us. But the right fit might take a while to find. It might not be a church, but other spiritual practices you do in community with others. Building this through the weekend is the best way to carry it out into the week as well. It sets your heart on the right path again.
How to Adjust: Commit to going to church, watching a sermon/program online with others, or even going on a Spiritual or Prayer walk or hike to get your Spiritual alignment. Pray for your health, for greater wisdom on your health and how you are to use your body and your health to fulfill God’s Greater Purpose in your life.
Try out 1-2 of these new tips this weekend and see if you feel a greater sense of REWARD by Monday morning!