My worst enemy for healthy living is the weekends. Hands down. All the progress I make during the week tends to be cut down by a few extra handfuls of food here and there. I’m not even talking about gorging on food, I’m just talking about a little extra. Like one handful of cereal and one handful of nuts and raisins, or something of that sort. Once in awhile, Hubster will bring home an extra donut, so there’s that. Maybe my metabolism is far different from others, but still, something’s got to give.
This past weekend, I decided to tackle weekends, and came out the other side with nary an extra pound. Here are some strategies that might be helpful to you if you are struggling with the weekend weight creep monster like I am:
1. Gather Weekday Leftovers: By far one of my biggest problems with weekends is meal prep. I always, without fail, prep for my work week on Sundays. However, I rarely prep for the weekends themselves. Most clean perishable food will not keep for 6 or 7 days. I think even 5 days is pushing it. So my strategy is to put aside extra leftovers from dinner during the week to save for the weekend. That way I don’t have to dedicate another whole night to food prep, but I’ll always have something healthy to nibble on without waiting.
2. Kitchen Makeover: One of the pre-season tasks for the 12WBT is a kitchen makeover. For mine, I had a stockpile of leftovers from a get-together at our house that were haunting me every time I went into the kitchen. Hubster has also been stockpiling yellow M&Ms for a baking project, so guess where the rest of the M&Ms are? In the kitchen! Buh-bye! I threw the extra treats away and forced Hubster to hide the M&Ms if he still wanted them. Call me wasteful, but to me, it’s more of a waste to continue fighting that inner battle and extra layer of outer fat than to throw away a wasteland of junk.
3. Conquer BBQs: Sure, right when I’m trying to get even more super-serious about my eating, a family member goes and throws a potluck-style bbq feast. Haha! We had fun with the party, but I had to use some restraint at the dinner table. Since the paper plates were section-style plates, I just put a little scoop of a few of the best looking dishes in each section. Have a small helping of what you’re really craving and focus the rest on healthy veggie-based dishes for the rest of your meal. And guess what? This past weekend, I didn’t blow any of my progress!
4. Carry a Water Bottle: at all times! I am really good about drinking copious amounts of water at work, where I’m like 20 paces from a Culligan water cooler. At home though–that’s a different story. I can now tell how dehydrated I tend to get on the weekends by how thirsty I am on Monday mornings. Knowing that sometimes thirst can be mistaken as hunger, I decided to make it my mission to glue a water bottle to my hand from the moment I woke up Saturday morning. I even chugged quite a bit down before that BBQ to make sure I wasn’t trying to satisfy thirst with food or fill my tummy with non-healthy things.
5. Stockpile Healthy Snacks: You can’t just throw away the junk, like step #2 suggests, without finding substitutions or you’ll fail. Make a mental or written checklist of the healthy snacks and meals you have on-hand right away Saturday morning, so you know what to grab. My list included plain popcorn, Greek yogurt and acorn squash. I also made sure those snacks were the first thing I saw in the fridge or cupboard too. Out of sight is out of mind, and I wanted to make sure the healthy stuff wasn’t out of mind when the donuts walked through the door.
6. Chew Gum: In between meals, chewing sugar-free gum is a healthy habit to get into. It signals that you’re done with your meal, making it impossible to continue grazing. Yet at the same time, it’s keeping your mouth and taste buds occupied (and cleans your teeth!) so you don’t continue eating out of boredom. Also, most food tastes gross after you’ve been chewing gum. This strategy really works wonders!
7. Distraction: I find that the more I think about food and hang out in the kitchen, the hungrier I become. So dumb. Leave the kitchen already! I’m never short on projects or goals to conquer, and I find that when I’m immersed in a DIY or writing project, I not only get that much closer to my dreams, but I also forget about food for awhile. There’s no extra grazing or fistfuls of this or that. You see, I spend a lot of my time in the kitchen. It’s one of the places that always has something that needs to be cleaned and always seems to have a meal in progress. But while those noodles are boiling, find something else to work on.
There you have it! Seven bona fide, tried-and-true ways to keep yourself from sabotaging your weight loss progress on the weekends. They definitely have been working for me, so I sure hope they can help you too!
I’m eager to hear: what other ideas do you use to keep your weekends clean?