Weekends can really make or break your fitness results. Why? Because most people do OK during the week...it's the weekends that trip them up. Learn to master them, and you're going to be well on your way to mastering your health and fitness once and for all!
You’re sitting a ton. Studies have shown that reducing sedentary time on Saturdays and Sundays helped overweight people lose some of their bodyfat loss over a year's time. However, the same effect wasn’t noted on weekdays. This isn’t to say that you need to give up Netflix...you just need to pace yourself.
One idea is to pick a couple of indulgent chunks of time during your weekend to veg, but make sure you spread them out throughout the weekend. Alternately, if you must binge watch, create mini-interruptions such as a quick chore or taking some time to cook (Bonus – you won’t end up ordering pizza!).
You're sleeping late. Sleeping late on weekends disrupts our circadian rhythm, which affects hunger hormones in your body that make you want to eat (leptin and ghrelin). And and imbalance in those pesky hormones cranks up our appetite for fatty foods. Also, sleep deprivation drives up cortisol levels, which is linked to increased visceral fat.
Sold? Good! You'll want to figure out the parameters that you will want to abide by. Stick to a two-hour range of when bedtime is for you. The other thing you can do is be sure to start your day with foods that are slow to burn to get your circadian rhythm back in proper order. Think eggs and fruit, not waffles with syrup.
Your weekends are spent taking care of others' needs. This could be an ailing relative, your kids, or your spouse. Are you prioritizing what they need/want to eat more than what you know you need?
This one can be tricky. When at all possible choose a restaurant where you can get order something healthy even if the others aren’t on board with your food choices. Stash nutritious snacks in your car and in your purse or bag so you're never left with an excuse.
One of my favorite tips is to keep a shoe box in my car filled with my snacks so I can see what I have quickly and easily, and it also prevents them from getting all crushed and icky.
If you’re packing for kids, be sure to throw in a few healthy snacks that you like, in case you end up wanting to munch with them.
There's a lot of drinking going on. We all know that alcohol impairs your ability to make wise food choices. In addition, going out with friends can lead to later bed times which we already discussed is a problem.
Take care to always eat when you drink. That will help mitigate the spiral effect of making bad choices. Look for foods high in protein but not super high in calories, such as shrimp cocktail or tuna tartare. Tapas bars with veggie plates can be a good option. Make an effort to order healthy but still special foods so you don’t feel deprived. When at all possible turn in as close to your normal bedtime as you can (2 hours off from usual is a good goal).
You think the weekend should be all fun and games. If you have the attitude that you take the weekends off from exercise - fine, but what should you do if you missed days during the week? You really should use the weekends to make that missed workout up.
If you normally work out alone during the week due to time constraints and it bores you, consider making the effort to show up to a group class, or make a plan with a friend to walk, jog or hike.
And if a formal workout seems like too much, realize that any movement is better than none – just start forming the habit! Wake up, put your workout clothes on first thing and do 10 minutes of stretching or ab exercises. Gradually add tidbits of exercise into your weekend to help break the mindset that weekends are for slothlike behavior.