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I’m So Disappointed… You’ve Cheated On Me Signed, Your Weekend Diet

Ah, the weekend.  Two glorious days (possibly a few hours more if you begin weekend observance on Friday afternoon!) where you are free to be the relaxed version of you.

That is great when it means relaxing and enjoying life with time spent among friends and family, fun hikes, family walks, a long bike ride.  Not so great?  When it also relaxes your commitment to healthy eating!

We’ve all been there.  We think, “what the heck?  Weekend!” and proceed to eat several days worth of less-than-healthy to downright junk.  Then comes the guilt, and probably the sluggish Ick Factor feeling too.  Stop the madness!

Why are weekends such a temptation?  There are a number of reasons, some of the biggest include:

  • Lack of Structure: Weekends are generally less structured and change from one weekend to the next, often with loosely planned events or one-time things.
  • More Entertaining: backyard barbeques, eating out at restaurants, date nights, family gatherings, kids birthday parties (and cake)… so many things include food.
  • Mentality: We think of weekends as being fun and relaxing, and too often, we associate that with freedom to eat anything that makes us feel fun and relaxed… but we have the wrong foods on that list!

So what can you do to fight this situation?  How do you reclaim your healthy eating on the weekends?

I have some ideas (you knew that I would!)

  • Remember that “Healthy Eating” is not a punishment!  There are so many great foods that are delicious and healthy… why would anyone think that rosemary grilled chicken breast with some grilled onions, red peppers and zucchini served over ½ cup of whole wheat couscous is a horrible fate?

Not only is it not a punishment, you will feel so fulfilled eating healthy, balanced and satisfying foods and will probably have a sunnier, more energetic outlook to enjoy your weekend!

  • Have a Weekend Recipes File of healthy menu ideas:

    • Things that are a little more special, maybe take a little more prep and shopping time than you have during the week.

    • Include new, never tried but sound great recipes and be adventurous.

    • Include old favorites, and things that incorporate something social like grilling during the warmer months or comforting like a crock-pot during the chilly months.

    • Just go to the Farmer’s Market or local organic store (like a Whole Foods if you have one or something similar, or just the organic meat and produce section of your own store) and let the freshest, most beautiful ingredients inspire you!

Have some Weekend Food Rules you follow, whatever is right for you:

  • Make them specific enough to really guide you and become habit.

  • Allow yourself one blow it all treat once a week so you don’t feel deprived (things in moderation are usually not evil!) and weekends can make an excellent time for that treat (that ONE treat!)

  • For dining out, know in advance the type of places that serve more healthy items, or how to order from any menu and get a better balance – salad dressings on the side, steamed veggies instead of fries, etc.

  • Don’t skip meals!  You have to treat your body right, and eating regular meals keeps your blood sugar stable and your metabolism firing!  Weekends with their odd schedules can sometimes leave you too hungry and making poor choices.

  • Exercise!  It will help you feel great, and if you choose to have your once a week treat on the weekends, you can know you are still following all your other healthy habits.

  • Plan for special events.  If you know you’ll be eating things not on your healthy plan (gasp, it does happen) then plan for it with some SUPER healthy meals in between or all week long to create a little more balance.  It isn’t ideal to do trade offs regularly, but there are actually people who are very strict six days a week and pick the seventh to just eat whatever crosses their path and really believe it helps them.  Not everyone has the willpower though – one day of “whatever” eating becomes two, then three… then trouble!

Relax, enjoy your weekend, and embrace the beautiful, healthy foods that also wear the labels of scrumptious and fun!