What You Can Do To Prevent The Weekend Self-Sabotage

We all love the weekend, but sometimes the two days that start with ‘S’ can undo all of the healthy stuff we’ve done on the other five days.

People have no problem staying in control of their eating and exercise during the week but when the weekend comes, look out.  Often the weekend can turn into too much food and drink paired with no physical activity.

Here's to the weekend.  Let the parties begin.

Here’s to the weekend. Let the parties begin.  Flickr photo by Garden State Hiker

If you’re trying to lose weight and improve your fitness level, two days of over eating or eating the wrong foods, and being physically inactive can put you back at the starting gate on Monday morning. Keep repeating the pattern of disciplined weekdays followed by free-for-all weekends and you’ll end up discouraged and never reach your weight and fitness goals.

Here are some simple tips that you can put in place to prevent weekend self-sabotage and avoid the Monday blues.

1.  Put your game plan together on Friday.  A lot of people spend some time at work on Friday afternoon organizing their desk and writing a to-do list so that Monday morning is less stressful.  That’s a good plan.  So along with that take a few minutes to make a list of what you are going to do over the weekend to get some physical activity and keep your food under control.  People are most successful in reaching their goals when they are well thought out and written down.  You may want to include some of the following tips in your plan.

2.   Wear a pedometer – Wearing a pedometer can be enlightening.  Put on a pedometer and track how many steps you take on Saturday and Sunday.  You may find your weekend activities give you the results you need.  Or, you may find that you fall short and need to find ways to move around more.  Aim for at least 10,000 steps on both days.

3.  Do something different – Find a Saturday morning fitness class to take, invite a friend or family member to hike one of the local parks with you, or get to work on a Couch to 5K training program.  Choose an activity that provides additional exercise and make it a real treat by picking something you’ve not done before.

4.  Stock up on healthy foods – Weekends can be hectic so having plenty of high-energy low-calorie snacks as well as fruits and vegetables in the house is a must.  When you need to grab an on-the-go snack you’ll have quick and easy access to foods that are in line with your goals.

5.  Plan ahead when eating out – Phone apps make it easy to select healthy meals when you dine out.  An app recently released called HealthyOut will help you find healthy restaurants.  HealthyOut provides nutrition preferences, calorie counts, and guides for popular diets like Paleo, Atkins and South Beach. This app makes it easy to eat healthy when you eat out. (Also available for Smartphones.)

6.  Track your alcoholic beverages  – It’s not just food that gets us in trouble on the weekend.  Alcoholic beverages are a problem too.  A Saturday evening visit to a Mexican restaurant that includes a 10 ounce margarita will give you 550 empty calories.  iDrinkulator LITE is an alcohol consumption tracker that keeps you on top of the calories and costs of your drinks.  (Also available for Smartphones.)

*Tip – drinking an 8 ounce glass of water between cocktails is another good way to keep your alcoholic beverage consumption under control.

7.  Put two 10 minute workouts in your schedule – Don’t have an hour to dedicate to a weekend work out?  No problem.  A couple 10 minute workouts is all you need to bust through that weight loss plateau and undo the calorie damage of the strawberry margarita you had at happy hour on Friday.  HIIT and Tabata workouts are popular because you get a substantial calorie burn without spending a lot of time.

8.  Make productive use of down time – Parents with busy, active children have down time while they watch practices and competitions which means sitting in a bleacher at the ball park, gymnastic center, or dance studio.  Get up every few minutes to take a walking break while they practice.  If you like to watch TV or movies on the weekend, use some of your screen time to walk in place or do core and toning exercises on the floor.

9.  Visit your local farmer’s market – Walking through an open market and selecting fresh, homegrown fruits and vegetables isn’t just good for the waistline.  It’s good for the soul. You’ll have a chance to talk to farmers and other vendors, get tips on how to prepare unusual produce and go home with a sack full of foods that are low-in-calories and high-in-nutrition.

10.  Try a new healthy recipe – The weekend is the perfect time to try a new, healthy recipe.  One of my favorite web sites, Skinny Kitchen.com has hundreds of healthy recipes to choose from.  Try something different for breakfast one day and dinner the next.  Your family will enjoy the change of pace.

What weekend strategies do you incorporate that keep you from undoing your Monday through Friday efforts?

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