So, hypothetical scenario here..
Monday rolls around and you’re ready for it. You’ve done your meal prep for the week, lined out your workouts and workout days, refilled your five gallon jug of water… man, you are READY!!
Skip forward to Friday.. you’re on a serious “healthy lifestyle high,” in fact you’re glowing and people are asking you if you got a raise or if you’re in love, WOW, you feel great! Not only did you get in all your workouts and all your water, but you successfully avoided Mary’s 3 dozen donuts “gift” to the office and politely turned down your brother’s insistence about ‘just trying’ some birthday cake and ice cream AND…drum roll… you dropped 2 pounds.
Can life get any better? I mean, can it?!?
Woo hoo! Cart wheels! High fives!
Then 5 o clock happens and it is officially the weakend!!
Oops, typo. That should’ve read ‘weekend,’ right?
It’s the end of the week, work is over, it’s time to play, its the WEEKEND!!
But so often and for so many of us it becomes a ‘weak end’ to an otherwise strong week, right?!
So, what happens?
What it is about letting our hair down and loosening the tie at work that also seems to carry over to our healthy habits.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Time off work does not constitute time off from a healthy lifestyle, or at least it shouldn’t. Either you believe the way you’re eating and taking care of yourself is healthy (good for you) and long term or you don’t, and your actions will prove it. I know, because I used to do this..uh, A LOT.
Up and down, up and down, tightening up, loosening up, back and forth…
Imagine telling your Dentist that you only brush your teeth Monday through Friday and the weekends.. you just, you know, kinda play it by ear, if it happens, it happens but you don’t want to over do it, because that’s like, fanatical to do it everyday.
What nonsense. We don’t take 2 days off from this healthy habit, so why should we do it with our eating and exercise?
Now, I’m not talking about scheduled carb loading or having one ‘off plan’ item or meal, I’m talking about figuratively letting your hair down and throwing out what you know to be healthy.. for a few days in the pit. And it is a pit that has to be crawled out of, right?
So, here’s some things to think about that may help with this vicious and self-sabotaging cycle.
1. Lose the “I deserve it” mentality.. well, kinda. You’re right, you’ve done really well all week and you deserve… something, but eating a bunch of junk is NOT a reward and can often set you further back then where you started from. I’m not sure when along the line we started to ‘reward’ ourselves with bad stuff but seriously, that’s like a child winning a track race and you say, “Awesome, way to go, you’re the best.. here, sit down and start eating this 5 pound bag of sugar, you deserve it sweetie!!” Ridiculous? Uh, yeah! Yet, I used to dip my foot (and sometimes my whole leg) back into the sugar laden junk on the weekends, all the time. You’re right, you deserve a pat on the back, you have taken steps to improve your life and get your health back on track, it’s very tough to do, so reward yourself with a verbal, “Good job!” “Way to go!” (I do it all the time), and stay the course. Be kind to yourself, reward yourself by staying on track.
2. Is this a diet or a new you? A diet is something you go on and off, right? I tried nearly every diet out there, I went on them and theeeeen I went off them. But when you decide to clean up your eating habits, get rid of the processed junk and start getting some exercise on a consistent basis, that’s a life style change, it’s not something you go off of, this is a new you. Do you cease being you on the weekends? Of course not. This is who you are now, you are healthy, strong, and focused, you don’t want to take a break from that.
3. The best way to never have to deal with the dreaded Monday “regrets and hangovers” is to not fall off the wagon on the weekend. That was crazy, overly simplistic, wasn’t it… I’ve never had a ‘real’ hangover, heck, I’ve never had a drink, but I could write a book about food hangovers, I’ve had enough of them for all of us. Again, you’re eating really well, and suddenly the temptation is greater than your resistance and BAM! You’ve eaten something you shouldn’t have. It was all fun and games for the 4 seconds it took you to eat it then… THEN, maybe moments later, maybe a day later, it hits you. And you get to walk around for a good day or two trying to rid your body of that substance that you don’t normally eat or drink. It stinks. Plain and simple. Your head hurts, you may be lightheaded/dizzy, feel nauseous, sleepy, etc.. Yuk.
So, how can we avoid it? Uh.. don’t eat a bunch of junk that’s not part of your eating plan. I haven’t done this in many months, and guess what? No Monday morning regrets and/or hangover. Wow, what a concept.
(And yeah… it’s going to happen sometimes, and when it does, the important thing is get right back on and get moving in the right direction again.)
4. Failing to plan. We’ve all heard the saying “Failing to plan is just planning to fail” and yet we do it all the time. We all KNOW that fresh food and produce doesn’t last as long as processed junk but we still try to make it 7 days without going back to the grocery store. Try planning on going every Sunday and Wednesday or whatever days work for you. Plan to have two days out of the week where you do meal prep. Just plan for it. Put it in your schedule. If you go into the weekend and you have none of your healthy foods prepped and ready to go you’re just planning to fail (fall off the wagon). Also, plan when you’re going to get some exercise in. Unless the weekend is your scheduled rest days, they should not be taken off from exercise. Plan a hike, or swim some laps, but plan something to keep you focused on staying fit.
5. Lastly, if your eating plan is so strict it has you pining for the weekend to get some relief, you might want to take another look at it. I try a lot of things in my diet, taking stuff out, adding stuff in, constantly changing things up. But one thing I won’t do is make changes that I can’t live with forever. I’m not into quick fixes and temporary weight loss ideas, I want to eat in a healthy way that’s sustainable for me. When I was pondering the decision in February 2011 to take out grain and dairy, I thought about it long and hard, weighing pros and cons. I decided to ‘try’ it, and haven’t looked back, I love it. And I can eat this way for life. Finding a plan that is healthy and works for you won’t feel like a diet and will likely eliminate the ‘need’ to cheat, so do some research to find a good healthy fit for you.
And here’s my bottom line.
What do you really want?
No seriously. Stop for a minute and answer that question, just so you and your body are on the same page.
Do you want to be healthy and fit or do you want to eat a bunch of food that you know is unhealthy and will leave you feeling miserable and a few pounds heavier? It’s that simple really. Once you get this clear in your heart and mind, it will remove a lot of the questions of should I or shouldn’t I?
Here is one of my favorite quotes:
“Decide what you want, decide what you’re willing to give up for it, establish your priorities and go to work” -Hunt
I hope you have a great weekend, or should I say, I hope you have a strong-end to a great week.