You know how it goes. Mondays you're amped and ready to kick ass in the clean eating and working out hard department. You maybe even planned your meals and your workouts. But by the time Thursday afternoon hits, your weekend vibes are high and weekend eating becomes a free for all.
This isn't uncommon at all. In fact, researchers looked at the differences between week and weekend eating. Their findings? Calories went up mostly from sugar-sweetened beverages, alcohol, and other more discretionary foods. Not only that, but servings healthier foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains actually went down.
Why does this happen? Our routines through the Monday-Thursday schedule are usually structured by school and or work. Weekends lack that structure, and so our healthy weekday habits tend to be lacking as well. We eat more fast food and move less.
I see this in practice too, not just with my clients, but with myself. So, I admittedly am writing this somewhat selfishly because I work on mindset shifts daily and it's a habit I think we could all benefit form doing on the weekend too. Here are the mindset shifts to help you eat healthier this weekend.
1. Sleep Better
As tempting as it is, all nighters can really change your eating habits. Sleep has a major influence on our hunger and appetite hormones. A change in your sleep patterns can create a shift in those hormones that tell us when to eat, when to stop. The physiological change might explain the behaviors that cause us to eat more energy than we need. Women, especially more so than men, were found to eat more during times of insufficient sleep. Since we're home more on the weekends, the additional wakeful hours drive us to see more energy. Easy access to food can mean surpassing our energy needs.
2. Commit to Any Physical Activity
Monday through Friday workout routines can keep us from going to the gym on the weekends. On the other hand, gyms are typically busier on the weekend which could keep you from wanting to go. However, healthy habits (and not so healthy habits) tend to cluster. This means that those who exercise also eat healthfully or vise versa.
3. Ditch the Diet Mentality
The followers of Intuitive Eating are very familiar with this concept of ditching the diet mentality. Diets can create the polarized thinking behaviors that make us go from structure to chaos. Making mindful shifts about our eating habits can go along way in making us eat better. Those of us who feel confident rocking leaner physique from a place of self-love will be more successful with fluidity in the week. This is why I don't believe in "cheat days" but instead encourage (and practice) eating to fulfill our energy needs. If we're more active we need more calories, if we're sedentary we need less. That's just basic energy balance, which is what nutrition science and human biology are founded on.
4. Eat Like You Eat At Home
Going out to eat is one of my favorite hobbies. Yes, I think eating can be a hobby and eating with friends and family is really good for our well-being. The Mediterranean diet Pyramid shows the foundation of a healthy diet is socialization and physical activity. Countless studies support eating with others in all age groups. Avoiding going out to eat is never the recommendation, but instead eat like you would eat at home* assuming you're following a healthy eating pattern.
Restaurants serve us larger portions and fattier-richer food. Being aware of this, and making ht mindset shift that we're eating healthfully just having someone else cook for us can be what keeps our weekends a seamless transition form the healthy habits we practice all week. This goes hand in hadn't with ditching the diet mentality. If you're eating healthfully throughout the week without a mindset of restriction, you may not feel like you need to go all out when your dining out.
Personally, I'm on a mission to eat every salmon salad Denver's restaurants have to offer. This is an example of a meal I would regularly eat at home as part of my healthy lifestyle, but still enjoy the other perks of going out to eat like not cleaning the dishes :)!
So this weekend, plan to sleep well, exercise, ditch the food stress that comes with dieting and go out to eat but choose foods you would eat at home. Sounds simple, but it works.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26559331 - Weekend-weekday differences in diet among U.S. adults, 2003-2012.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24589367 - Weekly patterns, diet quality and energy balance
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23479616 -Impact of insufficient sleep on total daily energy expenditure, food intake, and weight gain.
https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2018.00387/full -Clustering of Health-Related Behavior Patterns and Demographics. Results From the Population-Based KORA S4/F4 Cohort Study
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31687166 - Intuitive eating, objective weight status and physical indicators of health.
https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/Images/Done-Distorted%20Thinking_tcm75-461044_tcm75-461044.pdf - https://mydoctor.kaiserpermanente.org/ncal/Images/Done-Distorted%20Thinking_tcm75-461044_tcm75-461044.pdf
https://oldwayspt.org/health-studies/search?keys=&field_diet_target_id_entityreference_filter%5B%5D=96&field_health_factors_value%5B%5D=socialization&items_per_page=12 - HEALTH STUDIES + Mediterranean Diet +Socialization / Family, Friends
https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/135/4/905/4663789 -Portion Sizes and the Obesity Epidemic