You work hard all week to eat healthfully and exercise all in the hopes of losing or maintaining a healthy weight. Then the weekend comes: Happy Hour Friday after work. Pancake brunch Saturday morning and dinner and drinks at the newest trendy restaurant Saturday night. And the usual Sunday bagels for breakfast and pizza for dinner. It’s no surprise that results of a recent study showed a pattern of weekly weight fluctuation with higher weight at the end of the weekend and lower weight during the week. A little splurge here and there won’t undo all your hard work, but there are some things you can do to stay on track over the weekend. Find breakfast ideas on the Fresh Express “Lettuce Begin the Day in a Great Way” Pinterest Board.
- Start your day with breakfast. Just like during the week, you should have a healthy, balanced breakfast first thing in the morning. You may be tempted to sleep later than usual on the weekend, but don’t get too off your regular schedule. Your metabolism relies on the patterns it knows to function properly. If you’re meeting friends for brunch later than your usual breakfast time, have a high-protein snack like a hard-boiled egg or low-fat cheese stick to hold you over and get your metabolism running before the big meal. And if you can’t resist those pancakes or waffles at brunch, look for whole grain options (many restaurants now offer them) and ask for a side of low-fat yogurt, nut butter, or chicken sausage to help keep your blood sugar levels in check.
- Move your body. Balance out some of the extra calories you may take in by adding some activity into your weekend. Go to the gym, for a bike ride, or to an exercise class you may not have time for during the week. If you’re catching up with a friend, do so over a fast-paced walk in the park instead of coffee. Kids in tow? Play a game of kickball or tag at the park.
- Don’t skip meals. Even if you’re going out for a big dinner, you still need to eat lunch and probably a snack during the day. If you think you’re saving up calories for dinner, you’re in for a rude awakening – you’ll end up eating more than you would normally and regretting it the next time you step on the scale. Swap the cheeseburger or slice of pizza at lunch for a nutritious and delicious salad that will save you calories and keep you satiated throughout the afternoon. You’ll be much happier when you slip into your skinny jeans for your night on the town!
- Watch the alcohol. Cocktails are in and who doesn’t like a nice glass of wine?! But the calories from those alcoholic drinks can add up. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend moderate consumption of alcohol, which translates to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Can’t stick to that limit? Swap at least one alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic one or make a mocktail instead.
- Change your mindset. If your weekend mentality is “I’ll get back on track on Monday,” you’re at much greater risk for undoing the healthy behaviors you work hard on all week. And if you find yourself thinking in dichotomous terms like “good” vs “bad, “all” or “nothing,” you’re going to have a hard time making it through the weekend without totally throwing your hands up in the air. Instead, remember the goals you have set and that one or two indulgences are not the be-all and end-all.