I’m sure it comes to you as no shock that individuals eating habits tend to change dramatically over the weekend.
Happy hour after work on Friday. Dinner out at your favorite restaurant on Saturday. A home-cooked feast on Sunday. Is this sounding familiar? And before you know it you have undone a week’s worth of healthy eating and exercise only to feel the pain of that alarm Monday morning… here we go again!
A study published in the August 2003 issue of Obesity Research, found that Americans 19 to 50 years old take in 115 more calories per day on the weekend (defined as Friday through Sunday) than on the other days of the week. Over the course of a year, that adds up to 17,940 extra calories — or about 3kg.
Although I am not a fan of calorie counting it just goes to show what we are doing to ourselves all in the name of a weekend splurge, and this study is only showing the food side of things. In my experience majority of people use the weekends to stop moving as much too. “It’s ‘rest’ day, I ain’t going to the gym.”
So before you know it, three years have passed, an extra 10kg has snuck onto your body and you’re sitting back wondering how it happened, you eat healthy and go to the gym every weekday. Well this could be your answer my friends.
But don’t stress, I’m now going to give you some hot tips so you can unwind and enjoy your weekend but still keep a level of healthy eating and exercise going so those 3kg don’t creep onto your body
- Start your day right! I say this all the time but generally on the weekend we have more time to wake up and enjoy a breakfast at home with our loved ones. You can make healthy protein pancakes, or beautiful poached eggs on sourdough bread with smashed avocado. Start using this time to fill your tummy with nourishing food, to sit down, and enjoy being in the kitchen.
- Move with friends. You don’t have to go to the gym or be pounding the pavement going on a 20km run, but it is important to still keep moving. Do things you wouldn’t normally do through the week. Make it fun. Meet friends for a walk and a coffee date. Go to Yoga or do something to really nourish your mind, body and soul.
- Savor the experience of dining out. “Allow yourself to enjoy good food and savor it, rather than overindulge in it,” says Moores. “People forget what the whole eating experience is about — sitting with friends, enjoying your time together, and relaxing.”
- Start with the salad. Always start with the salad or vegetables on your plate and then move to the rest of the dish. By doing this you are not only getting great nutrition in but you are filling up on the good stuff first.
- Cut your alcohol down but just a little bit. People who tend to drink more on the weekend not only eat more that night but also tend to eat worst the following day. Plus it just adds unnecessary calories to their diet. Try and limit your alcohol or at least cut down by a few drinks.
- Limit soft drinks. Studies have shown more people drink more soft drink on the weekends. Try and switch it to a nice Kombucha or soda water flavoured however you want. Add some berries, mint, and ice and enjoy. You still get the bubbles and satisfy the cravings.
- Switch the take away for cooked. Instead of eating Pizza on a Friday night, why not cook pizzas at home on a pita base? Or instead of Thai, why not whip up a delicious Thai dish at home. It will be far healthier for you.
- Get your family and friends involved. The more people you have on your cheer-leading side the easier it is going to be to stay on track. Involve your loved ones whether it be for a morning walk, getting in the kitchen together or going to the farmers markets together. You will all feel satisfied and better for it.
Beyond that, the experts say, the best way to keep the weekends from torpedoing your diet is to take a commonsense approach to nutrition — every day of the week.
Consume a variety of foods especially wholefoods, don’t skip meals, eat individual-sized portions, and whenever possible, substitute a favorite high-fat food or high-sugar food with a healthy alternative.
Best of luck.