Staying on track at the weekends

Ah the weekends, time to relax, unwind and enjoy time with family and friends – surely something we should be looking forward too…

This can also mean staying on track is, well, frankly damn hard!

We prep and plan our week out, fight the urge for office snacks and even swerve the treats, all to be in a limbo on the weekend, see, when at work we can only have what we’ve brought in which physiologically has us sorted.

When we unwind on a Friday night, with everything in reach, a small snack can turn into a bacon roll for the morning and this continues, all whilst making us feel guilty about it, which in itself leads to a bit of a food downward spiral.

So, what to do – the age-old question!

Let’s take a look at some tactics we could employ, now, first and foremost, we need to unwind and enjoy the weekend, and with that let’s think about the longevity of staying on track.

You are more likely to succeed if you are on point 80% of the time than 100%, will the result be a little slower? Sure, will it allow you to be more comfortable, enjoy yourself and still be able to be social – absolutely.

I’ll chuck some maths in here – please note this is a perfect linear example, our bodies don’t work like this, but it’ll highlight the point I’m trying to get across.

Week 1Week 2Week 3Week 4lbs Lost

*3500 cals lost  = 1lbs of fat (approximately)

So 100% person stays on point all the time, even on weekends, whatever that takes loses 1 lbs per week, now with this, there is zero room for manoeuvre – how enjoyable and more importantly sustainable is this?

Going to drop in here that for some people, routine is key and in that case the 100% works and that’s great, with an adaptive change to maintenance calories once their goals are achieved.

For others, we need flexibility within the plan to allow for other engagements that pop up from time to time.

Person 80% has some weekend leeway, 700 cals in this example, so got a meal to go to, lunch out with friends maybe some ice cream. Does this sound more enjoyable and sustainable?

Even with the 80% rule, we still need to make sure we have some tactics in place to help out over the weekend.

  1. Plan ahead, not your entire weekend, we’re supposed to be resting! – I’m thinking more along the lines of having a solid breakfast before going out, we will be less likely to need a snack to keep us going…
  2. Social reconnaissance, going out with friends for food, scope out the menu in advance, this way you can make your choice, have it agreed with yourself and not be trying to work out the calories whilst you should be enjoying yourself.
  3. Active time, there are so many examples of this, especially now the weather is getting better (double crosses fingers and toes – don’t blame me if it gets worse!!)
    1. So we could walk to the venue or walk part way if it’s a little far to walk, now all walking is good – we don’t need an Olympic power walk here.
    2. Plan activities that aren’t sedentary, so could you catch up over a walk in the park, maybe visit some different locations – museums, coffee on the beach etc.
  4. Schedule a light workout, we all feel better after the workout (maybe not during…) it doesn’t have to be anything mega big, just enough to feel good and when we feel good we make better food choices, that and the fact we’ve worked out makes us not want to waste the effort we put in!!
  5. No labelling, everything is OK in moderation, as they say. The thing is that we tend to put foods in a good and bad column which in turn leads to the ‘ah screw it, I’ve had some now’ moments – I prefer to look at my foods as these are all the super things I like to eat and some portion sizes are bigger (proteins) than others (fats) so if we want a bit of ice cream (can you tell I like ice cream yet?) then we can have it, just maybe not a tub at a time.

I guess the key here is to create a healthy relationship with food, sure that sounds all lovey dovey, but the reality is that once we learn how to balance our intakes without having to be super restrictive the better and faster the results will come.