Everyone has their version of "the weekend." For me, an ideal Saturday and Sunday is kicking back, relaxing and enjoying family time plus of course a glass of red wine or seven. Weekends mean a lot to me because my Monday to Friday is not exactly stress-free and I don't drink alcohol during the week (Friday night wine is life!)
A few months ago I noticed that my weekends were blowing out and the old "it's almost the weekend" excuse on a Thursday had me sucking back beers three or four nights a week instead of two!
Now don't get me wrong, balance is SO important for keeping a healthy mindset around food and exercise and if you don't allow yourself to enjoy your favourite foods and drinks then what even is life? In saying that, if you live a healthy lifestyle three or four days a week then you go all "5 year old kid unsupervised at a birthday party" on the weekend, you can end up spending almost half the week sabotaging the hard work you put in on days one, two and three.
So here are my 5 simple life hacks to help you enjoy a balanced weekend without completely blowing out! This is from personal experience after my epiphany a few of months back and I am noticing a big difference mentally and physically without feeling like I'm depriving myself of the things I love...
1. Keep your weekend at two days, not three or four. I try to keep my weekend treats for Saturday and Sunday now. At one stage we were ordering pizza every Friday night and then gorging lollies afterwards (don't judge me) This would be okay if we didn't chase it up with a carb and sugar fest on Saturday and Sunday too. On Monday I would wake up with a full on "sugar hangover" and it did not feel good! Once we realised what was happening, we decided to cut back our Friday night feasting; not necessarily for weight loss, but more from a health standpoint. Our new routine on Friday nights is making homemade pizzas using a cauliflower base and having yoghurt or Halo Top icecream (look it up, it's awesome) for dessert. It's still tasty but it means reducing our calorie intake from over 1000 to less than 500 (not kidding!) which makes a big difference!
2. Keep at least ONE meal a day small and sugar free. I practice intermittent fasting during the week so now I enforce that habit over the weekend too. It's easy for me to do as it's what I'm used to and my body feels better when I don't eat before 11am anyway. Usually we have lunch out or with family on Saturdays so I feel better having just a coffee in the morning and saving my appetite for lunch. Don't get me wrong, if there's a breakfast function I'm there with bells on but then I might skip lunch or just have something small until dinner time. Intermittent fasting isn't for everyone but choose one meal of the day that you can keep the portion size down and the meal choice healthy and that will help to reduce your calorie intake and you'll also feel less full and bloated.
3. Do something active, anything! I'm all for recovery days but exercise doesn't just mean hitting the gym; it also means a bike ride, a hike, a swim or a jog. Keep moving over the weekend and you'll be more likely to make healthier food choices. YOU CAN"T OUT TRAIN A BAD DIET, let me make that clear. Overestimating how many calories are burned during a workout session is very common but exercise is good for mental clarity and after working up a sweat, we generally reach for the healthier foods. Make a date to meet a friend for a walk and then hit up a cafe afterwards. There's something about having lunch in your active wear that makes you feel like you should order a salad ;-)
4. Don't just eat because it's there. Do you ever binge on something without even enjoying it? GUILTY!! Mindless eating is something I've really worked on over the last year or two. I hate the idea of wasting food but I also don't want to stuff my body full of crap if I don't even like the taste! I choose foods that are worth every bite and then I'm less likely to feel bad about eating it. Cinnamon scrolls are my favourite so I will always cave into that craving whereas as a muffin or a pastry just isn't worth it to me. Some snacks are easy to binge on so portion it out in a bowl to prevent yourself from mindlessly inhaling the whole packet (we've all been there).
5. Don't weigh yourself on Monday morning. You will not put on body fat the day after you eat a Krispy Kreme donut. FACT! But you may retain water from eating extra sugar, carbs and salt over the weekend so that might show up on the scales and make you feel like crap. Wake up Monday and go back into your normal routine without stressing about the extra calories consumed on the weekend. I'm not one for using the scales anyway but weighing yourself will do nothing except make you feel depressed and there's no point because you can't turn back time anyway! If you feel rubbish on Monday mornings after a big weekend then take that onboard and plan a healthier weekend for the following one. YOU ARE IN CONTROL!
Finding balance is not easy. None of us are perfect but small changes can make a big difference. If you love eating out and enjoying a drink on the weekend, there's nothing wrong with that! ENJOY IT!! Seriously, life is too short to eat carrot sticks all the time but take note of my five simple life hacks and see if they make a difference for you too.
Here's to a happy, healthy and balanced you this weekend,