Another weekend is before us, and that means another opportunity to undo all the nutritional and fitness progress we may have made this week. According to a study in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, people take in up to 400 extra calories over Saturday and Sunday, which can lead to a weight gain of six pounds over the course of a year. For some of us, we get those extra 400 calories starting with a couple of margaritas at happy hour on Friday, and the weekend just goes downhill from there!
So what can we do to stop ourselves from sabotaging all our hard work on the weekends? Here are a few “weekend resolutions” I came up with for enjoying some common weekend activities without blowing it.
- Resolution #1 – Don’t let happy hour be your undoing! In addition to the added calories, consuming large quantities of alcohol dehydrates us and makes us more prone to storing fat in our mid-sections. Perhaps you and your co-workers can find another way to reward yourselves after a tough week. Get the girls together for a Friday mani/pedi or a good chick flick. You can still feel pampered without adding all those empty calories. If you do decide to go out for a drink, go for a refreshing glass of white wine, a light beer or a glass of champagne (You’re more inclined to drink it slowly because of the carbonation!) and avoid the sugary cocktails and frozen drinks. Research indicates that loud music makes you drink more, so choose a place with a more serene atmosphere, or opt to sit out on the patio where the tunes aren’t so loud.
- Resolution #2 – Resist the movie theater popcorn! It’s so hard to ignore the alluring smell of buttered popcorn that bombards your nostrils the second you walk through the theater doors, but popcorn and soda is not a suitable dinner! Pack some healthy munchies, such as almonds or pumpkin seeds, so you can keep your mouth busy and your mind off the greasy popcorn and Goobers. I’ve even gone so far as to stash my own microwave popcorn in my purse and eat that instead of the buttered-down stuff at the movies…saved myself about six bucks too! Another option is to order the child’s size popcorn, so you can satisfy the craving without going overboard. By now you know how I feel about soft drinks…don’t do it ya’ll! Don’t make me come get you!
- Resolution #3 – Step up your exercise game! Although we’re tempted to ditch physical activity and just chill out on the weekends, it’s the perfect time to do a longer, harder workout. You have more time for exercise and you have a day or two to recover before heading back to work. Make it a social thing so you’ll look forward to it and be more likely to follow through. Invite friends or family members to go for a power walk, a kickboxing class, a bike ride or run a 5K together. Spend the day hiking, mountain climbing, playing tennis, whatever you want. Get out and enjoy the sun! I know it’s steaming hot in the South right now, but before you know it the temperature will drop and we’ll all be whining about how cold it is! One of my resolutions for the weekend is to get a great workout in on Saturday morning. I want to run a couple of miles and swim laps.
- Resolution #4 – Live it up without letting it go on Saturday night! This is probably the time when we’re most tempted to go all out. We’re well into the weekend by Saturday night, and it’s prime time for dates, parties, weddings and other social gatherings. See my last post on healthy tips for dining out. Order something you like, but keep your portions reasonable. At the steak house, try a petite fillet with steamed vegetables and half a baked potato. Out for Mexican? Try two fish tacos and a few chips dipped in guacamole (Ask the waiter to remove the bowl when you’ve had a handful.). Is it a Japanese night? See my sushi tips here! And rather than order a sugar-filled specialty cocktail, resolve to order a lighter drink, such as a glass of wine or light beer, while you dine. If you’re attending another social gathering, make it about the company and the conversation, not the junk food. If it’s a pot luck, bring a healthy dish (fruit salad, veggie tray, etc.) that everyone can enjoy, and bulk up on that instead of the processed snack foods. Everyone there will thank you for providing a healthy option!
- Resolution #5 – Don’t turn Sunday brunch into sinful munch! As we all know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but we can overdo it when we stuff ourselves with tons of starchy carbs like french toast, pancakes and biscuits. Ask your server if there is a whole wheat option of these dishes, or order a veggie omelet with healthy protein (turkey sausage?) and a side of fruit or sliced tomatoes instead. I find if I stuff myself with unhealthy foods at brunch, I’m less likely to want to eat healthy and exercise the rest of the day.
Since it’s Friday morning and most of us are busy dreaming about our weekends anyway, this is a great time to think about what you’ve got going on the next couple of days, and what healthy choices you can make along the way. And if you do get off course this weekend, get back in the saddle IMMEDIATELY. Don’t let two days of splurging turn into two weeks. Dust yourself off and start strong on Monday!
I can’t wait to hear your weekend resolutions! What healthy decisions are you going to make these next couple of days?
P.S. Please take a moment to fill out this QUICK survey for my friend Shira Miller’s book research. It will only take you three minutes to complete and you could win a $50 gift card just for participating! Thank you!!!!