For many dieters, the weekend is the two-day span they look forward to all week. Monday-Friday, they can count calories, eat kale, and avoid alcohol. But come Friday night? The rules go out the window, and it’s time to enjoy life again. After all, they reason, I’ve earned it!
Other dieters are less intentional about it and become “victims” of circumstance: date night Friday night, a birthday party Saturday, family brunch on Sunday – opportunities where making the healthy food choice is inconvenient. The problem is this cycle of eating well during the week and binging on the weekend is it will undermine every effort you make towards health, fitness, and weight loss.
If you find yourself trapped in a cycle of weekend binging, here are some tips to help you stop it for good:
1) Pick one time to splurge.
If you know you’ve got three events this weekend – all of which include options to “blow” your diet – choose one of them as your splurge. And once you’ve picked it, go ahead and decide what you’ll splurge on so you make a good decision. In other words, look at the restaurant’s menu beforehand to choose your dish or decide you’re going to enjoy one serving of birthday cake.
2) Let “good enough” be enough.
You aren’t going to be perfect. None of us are. Weekend binging tends to happen when we “blow it” once in a small way, and it somehow gives us license to continue indulging the rest of the weekend.
3) Eat ahead and take snacks with you.
Plan ahead by eating before you show up at the party so you aren’t hungry. Hunger makes all of us make bad food decisions. On top of that, pack healthy snacks with you so when your stomach does start to grumble, you’re prepared with a healthy option.
4) Avoid the couch
While weekends are great opportunities for resting up, being too lazy only encourages mindless eating while you flip channels or binge-watch Netflix. Choose more active ways to relax, like exercising or even finding creative hobbies to keep you busy and keep weekend binging at bay.
5) Get out of the “all or nothing” mindset.
The pressure to stick to your diet perfectly is enormous; it’s no wonder you eventually reach your limit and “go off the deep end!” Sometimes, you have to make compromises. When you realize this, you can be satisfied with choosing a salad with your burger instead of saying “to heck with it!” and having five beers and the loaded tater tots.
6) Share the love.
When you do have to eat out, avoid overeating by splitting dishes with a friend or spouse. Restaurant portion sizes are often far too big for one person to finish, and by splitting a starter salad and an entrée, you can get enough food while not eating quite so heavy.
7) Stop having “cheat days.”
As one expert said, “scarcity makes us anxious, needy, and greedy. The counter to a scarcity mindset? Abundance.” The truth is, we are all surrounded by more food than we need. We don’t ever have to worry about not having enough. Tricking yourself into a scarcity mentality will make you binge and cheat. Allowing yourself to occasionally enjoy the abundance will help you embrace a healthy perspective on food and dieting.
8) Limit your drinking.
Alcohol is an absolutely diet saboteur. If you do choose to drink, limit yourself to just one and make sure it’s an option lower on sugar.
9) Own it.
Life happens – we get busy, and the excuses we can come up with are endless. The fact is, you always have a choice and in the few situations you truly don’t have a say in what you eat, let those moments be the times you embrace a “good enough” mindset. The rest of the time, own your own decisions and stop rationalizing.
Finally, the weekends where stress and social pressure get the best of you, don’t give up. Pick yourself back up Monday morning, get back into the groove of building your new health habits, and start over. Weekend binging doesn’t have to defeat you!
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