We all work so hard during the week. And once Friday night rolls around, we just want to put on our sweatpants, sit on the couch, and be a vegetable – not eat vegetables.
We are worn down from all the adulting that we do during the week, that all we want to do on the weekend is NOT be responsible. Weekends tend to be a bit more relaxed. We typically have more time, so we want to sleep in, hang out with friends, have fun & not have to think about our diet.
Well, unless you have kiddos who are in soccer, baseball, basketball, go to birthday parties, and other activities. In that case, weekends aren’t such a relaxing time O.o
When we finally get through the week, we feel like we deserve a treat – and one of those treats is to not think about it.
So, there are a few things that I do to ensure that I stay on plan, and I also get to relax too!
1) You don’t have to be Perfect during the week
When I first started dieting, it was the standard advice to be on plan during the week, and then, on the weekend, you could have a cheat day. This advice is flawed, at best, because what happened with me, and my experience isn’t different than so many others, is that the pressure of being ‘good’ during the week, meant that I went crazy over the weekend.
I would eat everything and anything I could get my hands on: because on Monday, it was back to being ‘on plan’.
Try This Instead:
One day out of seven is equal to just under 15% of your weekly diet. Instead of saving all of your ‘treats’ for one day, what if you dedicated 15% of your daily calories to treats? So, in otherwords, what if instead of saving up all of your cheat foods for one day a week, what if you spread them out throughout the week?
What happened with me, when I started doing this, is that I became more discerning in what I wanted on a daily basis. I was able to make choices every day: do I want A or do I want B? Do I want A or do I want C?
Every day, I got to make the choice of how I wanted to treat myself for 15% of my daily calories.
And here’s what that does: It prevents us from feeling deprived during the week – so that when the weekend comes, we don’t feel like we have this tiny little window and need to eat everything in sight before the window closes, and it’s another week before we can have something tasty again.
When you can treat yourself daily, you get a sense of abundance (instead of scarcity, like in the weekend model) because you can always have a treat. The longest you might have to wait is a day.
2) Plan your meals, but do it strategically
One of the things that will help you if your goal is weight loss, is to plan your meals. Now, before you turn off, and say that you already know that, realize that I didn’t say “cook all your meals.” Sure – preparing your meals from scratch will help, if your goal is to lose or maintain your weight. But lots of folks are able to maintain their weight, and even lose, even with a robust social life that includes dining out.
It’s not an either/or proposition.
Try This Instead:
I do prepare 90% of the meals that I eat at home. When I plan what I’m going to cook, here’s the process that I take:
- Look at the weather and my schedule – it might be cold today, but if I plan on soups & stews, and the weather changes mid-week, I’m not going to want to cook or eat heavy meals – same goes for not wanting salads when it’s 50 degrees out.Also, I only plan meals for the number of days that I’ll be home that week – makes sense so that you don’t have uncooked food going to waste in your refrigerator.
- This one is the more important step: Knowing that as the week goes on, I have less energy, and patience, I try to plan the more complicated meals earlier in the week, and funner, less complicated meals for later (this might even include pick-up meals).Examples of ‘funner, less complicated meals’ might include burgers, tacos, or pulled bbq chicken sandwiches. Or we might plan to pick something up for dinner, although we’ve already scoped out places where we know that we can get something healthy.
- I also try to use leftovers later in the week. So, if I’ve grilled chicken for a meal on Monday, and know that I need cooked chicken again for a recipe later in the week, I’ll grill more than we need with that second meal in mind. This helps with cooking when you’re tired. It’s a LOT easier to pull dinner together when everything is already prepped versus having to slice/dice and cook everything
By observing your own behavior and feelings week after week, what we can do, is start to help ourselves avoid falling into the same pit over and over again. By knowing that as the week goes on, I have less energy to cook elaborate meals, then why would I set myself up for failure by planning elaborate meals when I know I’m not going to have neither the time nor energy?
By honoring myself, my moods, and my energy levels, I can set myself up for success and avoid the ‘eff-its’ that inevitably set in at the end of the week.
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And you don’t have to torture yourself with celery sticks and rice cakes (well, unless you’re into that kind of thing). O.o