Happy, Healthy Body – How to keep your weekends from ruining your progress

Happy, Healthy Body – How to keep your weekends from ruining your progress
For most of us, we look forward to the weekends to unwind, reset and relax. For those of us who are committed to our weight loss plan, the weekends can be one of our biggest challenges. This may be hard to hear but when it comes to weekends… or holidays, or social events for that matter, we all have a choice. We have the opportunity to decide what’s most important to us. If losing weight is our priority, we can choose to stick to our routines and try to make healthy food decisions as best we can. I’m not saying that there isn’t room for some planned splurges or treats (insert pic); but honestly, you will reach your weight loss goals if you learn to implement tools for your success. And since it is Friday, I thought I would share a few tips for how to stay on track over the weekend… while still enjoying yourself.
 
Watch how you eat during the week.   Some of us try to follow the “perfect” diet. We adhere to strict meal plans Monday to Friday. And, the whole week, we worry incessantly about messing things up. By the weekend, though, the willpower gives out. We get sick of our overly restrictive eating plan consisting of plain, tasteless chicken and broccoli all week,, that we can’t wait to eat food we actually enjoy. Bring on the weekend binge of pizza, desserts and food that tastes good!
Moderation is key. Eat and enjoy your favorite foods in moderation. Deprivation tends to backfire so if you really want a small treat, eat and enjoy it and then move on. One slice of pizza with a big salad would be a good example.

Use the weekend to plan for a successful week ahead.  The weekends are a great time to plan out your healthy meals for the work week ahead. Use some of your time to go to the store and take a couple hours to meal prep so you’re ready to go on Monday. Why not grill some tasty chicken breasts, hard boil some eggs, wash and cut up veggies for salads and smoothies or make a big pot of soup or chili.

Plan time to work out.  You might not get your full hour routine on on a weekend.  Try to find a way to squeeze in a workout, even if it’s just 10 minutes. Why? Ten minutes is better than nothing. You’ll still get those good endorphins that come from exercise
Exercising naturally influences you to choose healthier foods. So even if you don’t burn hundreds of calories in your workout, it might save you hundreds of calories of binging. And you’ll feel proud of yourself for not falling totally off the wagon. Trust me, you will thank yourself on Sunday night.
Make weekend plans with active friends. My personal trainer friend actually told me this because I was frustrated with all the temptation hanging out with my friends. You don’t always have to go out to eat and drink. Weekends are actually a perfect time to make exercise fun.  Especially now that summer is here!  There’s so much you can do that will be enjoyable while also getting your heart rate up. Get some friends and go for a hike somewhere beautiful. Grab some friends to go to the park to play tag football or softball. Take your dog for a walk or enjoy a  bike ride. For that matter, do some yard work or deep cleaning around the house. I know its not exciting, but it can actually burn a lot of calories!
Seriously limit your alcohol. A lot of people use alcohol as a way to relax and socialize on the weekends. Having a drink here and there is totally fine, but it’s super important to find other ways to relax and decompress. A few ideas: exercise, catch up with an old friend, read a book at a cozy coffee shop, take a bath, schedule a manicure or a massage. Of course if you do plan to indulge in a few alcoholic beverages, it’s best to drink water or another calorie-free beverage between drinks and don’t get so tipsy that you throw caution to the wind about what’s going into your mouth. I know we all hate this one, but it’s true! Studies show that one of the top sources of extra weekend calories is alcohol, so it pays to scale back.
Own. Your. Choices. (This one is my favorite because our biggest hurdle to weight loss is a mental one). Start owning your choices as an adult. Let your goals, values and deeper principles guide you when you sit down to eat (or drink). Start making food decisions by acknowledging the outcome you can expect, based on your experience. For example, “by choosing to eat the entire pint of ice cream on Saturday night, I will probably feel gross, nauseated, wreak havoc with my digestion and not sleep well. Not to mention, I will regret it later. Will it really be worth it?” In the end, own your choices: Don’t moralize them. You’re free to eat and drink anything you want. You choose your behavior. Just remember that different choices produce different outcomes. It’s your call.

And please remember, don’t let one setback keep you from working toward your health goals. If you slip-up over the weekend, don’t let it get you down, beat yourself up or let it bring on the toss in the towel mindset. Just refocus, making sure your next meal is a healthy one and keep on going!

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