Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two Steps Forward…oops the Tacos are Back


When it comes to health and fitness (and so many other random things), I am a rule follower. I go about my week checking things off mental lists and hoping for long-term success. I accomplish things and feel disciplined. So why do I work hard all week and hit Friday evening (like clockwork), and all of that hard work goes out the window?

Monday through Friday (well, Friday at lunchtime), I plug all of my meals into an online food journal. I workout, set goals, go to sleep early and wake up at a decent hour. But when the weekend rolls around, I start undoing all of my hard work. My husband and I eat out way too much (Mexican. Literally. Every. Weekend.), I sleep in, and I avoid the gym like the plague. We also cook lovely, gigantic, comforting, Sunday dinners, which rarely come from Cooking Light.

An article in Obesity – A Research Journal, researchers indicate that eating in U.S. adults (19-50) increases during weekend days. Because I like to believe I am not alone in this and because I need to keep reminding myself to stay strong Saturdays and Sundays, I thought I would address ways to avoid weekend wackiness and weight gain.

1.     Try to get in one long workout. Who am I kidding…I won’t be hitting the gym everyday, but one good workout can help undo the Friday night chips and salsa escapade.  –If all else fails, a good long shopping excursion can count as some mild cardio! J
2.     Start your weekend off right – with a healthy breakfast on Saturday morning. No use complaining that you have “no time” like you do on weekdays. Go for eggs, oatmeal, fruit salad, whole grains, lean protein, etc.
3.     Don’t skip meals in an attempt to –save- calories for later. This almost always backfires (at least for me). I end up eating much more than I would have if I had eaten healthy throughout the day.
4.     When eating out:
a.     Skip the breadbasket (I can’t say the same for chips and salsa. I’m only human).
b.     Start with soup or a healthy appetizer. When you finish, order your entrée. You will likely order something smaller than you initially would have. If you don’t want to spend more at the restaurant, have a healthy snack before you head to dinner.
c.      I always try to look up what I am going to eat before I go to the restaurant. It allows me to know what my plan is and not get distracted by all the delightful fried options. (As I’ve mentioned before, this will continue to get easier as chain restaurants will be soon required to publish nutritional information for their menus).
d.     Eat slowly and enjoy the atmosphere. Because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to signal your stomach that you are full, eating slowly allows time for this process.
5.     Don’t beat yourself up over indulgences and splurges. Indulge and then get back on track…just as you would on any other day. A slice of cheesecake shouldn’t offset the health and fitness goals of the entire weekend.
6.     The weekend is a good time to work on conquering your soda habit and introducing more water! People tend to drink more soda on weekends when they aren’t working or running errands. Additionally, the fructose in soda stimulates your appetite. 

I am going to try and stay on track this weekend. Who is with me?

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