5 Simple Strategies to Beat the Weekend Binge
According to the US Department of Agriculture, Thanksgiving is the most indulgent day of the year when it comes to food consumption. Super Bowl Sunday follows closely behind as the second most extreme “cheat day” of the year.
Irrespective of holidays & special occasions though, there’s an inherent tendency in American culture to overindulge on the weekends. Come on admit it, you’re part of the weekend warrior contingent! Carefully restricting your diet all week long until Friday comes around and then OOPS! Somehow you did it again. You derailed your diet for 72 hours.
“Don’t expect to make progress with your weight loss or overall health when your bad habits account for more than 25% of your week.”
By all means, if you don’t mind waking up on Monday morning feeling like you went trekking in the Sahara or a baby elephant took a nap on your head then go ahead, enjoy letting loose! But don’t expect to make progress with your weight loss or overall health goals when your bad habits account for more than 25% of your week – and let’s be honest, how ‘perfect’ are you really being Monday through Friday?
If you’d rather start your week off feeling like a winner then do away with cheat days and check out these strategies for keeping your indulgences in check. Enjoy your Sunday Funday without the guilt and Monday Blues.
1. Plan Ahead
Newsflash! None of us are perfect. Whilst it might be reasonable to go out now and again without indulging, you’re kidding yourself if you think you can always resist those platters of delicious treats that are going to be staring you in the face. Your friends don’t care if you’re on a diet or tracking macros, they’ll eat what they want to eat and you will eventually succumb to temptation.
So let’s be realistic. Plan your day so you can include some treats at your friend’s party. Ask your friends what will be on offer or if you’re going to a bar think about what you’re going to have and plan accordingly. Start with that and work your way backwards The majority of foods that will be available when you’re out will be high in fats and carbohydrates. So it’s never a bad idea to save a good portion of these macronutrients for later in the day and get some lean protein in throughout the day. If you want to be able to track exactly what you’re eating then prepare your own dish to take with you or choose something off the menu that is easy to track and you know will satisfy you. That’s probably not the grilled chicken salad with no dressing.
The bottom line, plan to have some treats whilst you’re out. Make your selection in advance and stick to it in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed and to help resist any temptation to completely splurge and go wildly off track. Remember a healthy lifestyle is all about balance & long-term sustainability. A couple treats here and there & one night of imperfect tracking is not going to ruin your overall progress, but don’t allow one night to turn into three days…
2. Keep Alcohol to a Minimum
It’s easy to forget that calories can come in liquid form too. Alcohol is not a macronutrient but it contains 7 calories per gram making it almost as calorically dense as fat. If you’re tracking your macros you’ll want to account for your alcoholic drinks by treating them like carbohydrates. Don’t forget to also account for any mixers you’re consuming too. Check out Jason’s video about how to account for alcohol.
Not only does alcohol take a big chunk out of your calories, but it usually impairs your decision-making abilities, easily turning those 2 cookies you had planned into an entire plate of cookies and a slice of cake. Waking up the following day with a hangover is also unlikely to motivate you to eat well or go and train. Hello snowball effect!
If you like to have a drink or two, try to avoid cocktails with sugary mixers as well or you can kiss good bye to your carbs for the day. Mix your spirits with club soda & fresh lime instead and be sure to space out your drinks with plenty of water in between. Ideally, set yourself a limit and stick to it.
Don’t skip your workouts. If your weekends are your rest days from the gym, then no big deal. A little refeed can do the body good and may make all the difference to your performance in your next workout. But make sure you plan a workout for Monday and commit to it. Find yourself a workout buddy and set a time to meet at the gym. Having a date will make you less likely to back out as you won’t want to let your friend down.
If you can though, do your best to continue to be active over the weekend. Snacking can easily become a mindless habit when you’re just sitting around the house. If you know you’re going to be eating out and enjoying a little more food than normal, then why not work up a bit of an appetite with some quick HIIT (high-intensity interval training) style workouts.
We’ve put together some awesome high-intensity workouts that are under 30 minutes from start to finish including warm-up & cool-down. Check out our Beach Body Ready workout guide. You can do these workouts anywhere and without any equipment, all you need is your body & some kick-ass tunes! Short and intense workouts like these are amazing calorie burners as your body continues to burn calories for hours post-workout unlike regular cardio activity.
4. Eat Sensibly Before You Go
Fasting all day before going out is not a good strategy for a lot of us. We all know what happens when we go to the supermarket when we’re hungry, so why would you think going to a restaurant on an empty stomach would be any different? The only difference is instead of filling your shopping cart with lots of delicious treats, you wind up filling your belly!
If you know you have a tendency to overeat and destroy your macros when you’re famished, then plan to eat sensibly throughout the day instead. Stay on top of your lean protein and steer clear of denser carbohydrates like rice, bread, pasta & cereals. Having a green, protein smoothie before you go out is a great way to pack in some nutrients & keep your hunger at bay so you don’t turn up to your event like some kind of starved raptor. Give yourself a good buffer of carbs and fats as those will always be easy to come by.
5. Drink Water
Beware of the salt content of food when eating out. Bar food and fast-food in particular, contain up to half the recommended daily amount of sodium per dish with roughly 1250 milligrams. US dietary guidelines call for no more than 2,300 mg per day. Too much salt in your diet can lead to adverse side effects over time because excess sodium causes your body to hold on to water. Eventually, this leads to problems such as high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Aside from serious health risks, excess sodium can cause you to bloat from all the water your cells are retaining. You can pre-empt this by staying well-hydrated throughout the day and whilst you’re out. According to the Institute of Medicine Food and Nutrition Board, most adult men and women need somewhere between 64 and 128 ounces a day. To ensure you’re meeting your minimum daily water needs, take your bodyweight in pounds and divide in half. As a general rule, I try to drink a big glass of water before I start eating to ensure I’m not confusing hunger cues with thirst signals.
“Remember a healthy lifestyle is all about balance & long-term sustainability.”