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Weekends are Killing Your Diet, 5 Steps to Fix it

Weekends used to kill my diet.

I could go all week meal prepping, saying no to the office candy jar, snacking on fruits and veggies, and hitting the gym after work. But then the weekend came and I’d be completely thrown off!

I could stay on track and lose weight throughout the week, but only to have at all back (sometimes plus extra) by Sunday night.
Weekends are killing your diet, here's how to fix it

For most of us women, this Will Ferrell meme is just all too relatable.

So how do you stop this common cycle?

I did it in 4 steps.

  • I stopped starving myself during the week
  • I planned time to work out, even if all I could fit in was 10 minutes
  • I made being active fun!
  • I prepped and planned my food ahead of time
  • I changed my mindset 

Read on to learn how you can stay on track over the weekend, and not lose the progress you worked hard all week for.  (Plus there’s one thing I just have to tell you about weekend binging that will make you feel so much better!)

1. It’s How You Eat During the Week

Weekends are killing your diet, here's how to fix it

If your diet during the week is strict, you are much more likely to binge as soon as Friday night hits.  After 5 days of unflavored veggies, plain chicken, and mounds of brown rice…pizza starts to look just so much more appealing!

If you strictly eat boring food all week, of course your mouth is going to start watering the second you see something appetizing.

How to fix it: What you need is yummier weekday food!  

Did you know it’s possible to eat healthy foods that taste delicious?  You need to be eating foods you actually like during the week.  That way when Friday night comes and your girlfriends want to order nachos and binge on ice cream, you aren’t as easily tempted to overindulge.

So stop over-restricting Monday-Friday.  When you over restrict all week, it makes 5:00 on Friday feel like a finish line.  “Ok I made it to Friday following my plan, now I get to reward myself”.  (More on that mindset later).

Instead, let yourself have healthy portions of foods you like all week.

I am so tired of meal plans only recommending boring foods!  That’s actually why I created my 15 day Fit Model Challenge.  I think you can agree that eating “healthy but tasteless” foods is just not sustainable.  My meal plan only includes my favorite recipes including pancakes, cheese quesadillas, and even burgers.

If you’re struggling with sustaining your diet, you might be overly restricting.  This is inevitably going to lead to weekend binging.

Bottom line: Make sure you’re eating healthy but enjoyable foods during the week!

2. Plan Time to Work Out

Weekends are ruining your diet, here's how it fix it

Weekends entail different things for everyone.  But whatever your situation, most people find it hard to workout on the weekends.

  • For some of you, between driving to soccer games, feeding your kids, and trying to fit in yard work….there just seems to be no spare second to work out.
  • For others, you like to go out with your friends, dance hard, and indulge in some weekend night “dranks”.
  • And some of you worked hard all week, by the time the weekend hits, all you want to do is just chill.

I can totally understand why it’s hard to work out on the weekends.

But here’s how to fix it: schedule it in!  The reason you can workout during the week is because it’s part of your routine.  Whether you’re an early bird exerciser or you dutifully hit the gym on your way home from work, it’s your routine.  It’s scheduled and you know it’s going to happen.

But weekends are so much less predictable!

You might not get your full hour routine on on a weekend.  But this is my advice: find a way to squeeze in a workout.  Even if it’s just 10 minutes.

Why?

  • Ten minutes is better than nothing
  • You’ll still get those good endorphins that come from exercise
  • Exercising naturally influences you to choose healthier foods. (Have you noticed that?) So even if you don’t burn hundreds of calories in your workout, it might save you hundreds of calories of binging
  • You’ll feel proud of yourself for not falling totally off the wagon
  • You can actually do a lot in 10 minutes!  In 10 minutes you could run a mile, do a few circuits of weights, or do some calorie torching HIIT workouts
  • So throw on those running shoes and do a few laps around the block, turn on your favorite workout video, or make a quick stop to the gym this weekend.

Trust me, you will thank yourself on Sunday night.

I only do the most efficient workouts.  I don’t have time to spend all day at the gym, especially on a weekend.  If you want to get the short but effective workouts that I do, you can check out my free 15 day Fit Model Challenge.

3. Or, Here’s an Even Better Idea

Weekends are actually a perfect time to make exercise fun.  Especially now that summer is here!  There’s so much you can do that will be enjoyable while also getting your heart rate up.

  • Get some friends and go for a hike somewhere beautiful
  • Kayak, canoe, or give paddleboarding a try!
  • Grab a ball and some friends to start a game of bball or beach volleyball
  • Take your family to an amusement park (bring your fitbit to this one, because you’ll sure be doing lots of walking!)
  • Pull out your rollerstakes and hit up the park with someone special
  • Go out dancing
  • Enjoy a bike ride somewhere beautiful
  • (Ok this one might not be the most exciting) but yardwork and deep cleaning can actually burn a lot of calories!

I personally love hiking.  I live in a beautiful place with breathtaking hikes all over.  I love getting lost in the mountains, seeing gorgeous views, and my legs and booty definitely get a good burn!

Karina Hiking

This weekend, try to find fun a way to be active!

4. Prep Meals Ahead

Weekend meal prep?  If that sounds totally unrealistic to you, trust me, you are not alone!  But…

People fall off the nutrition wagon on weekends because they don’t plan ahead.

If you’re hungry and have no healthy food in sight, you’ll definitely feel more inclined to say yes to that convenient pizza slice, or stop by Taco Bell for a quick crunchwrap.

How to fix it: plan ahead. 

Are you going to watch a baseball game? Portion out a bag of nuts.

Going to the lake? Cut up some watermelon!

Watching a movie? Make sure you have some unbuttered popcorn in the cupboard.

Trust me, I used to laugh when I heard stuff like that too.  But it is not as hard (or weird) as it sounds.  It takes just a bit of time and thought, but it can do wonders to keep your progress on track so you’re not derailed by the weekend.

Weekends are killing your diet, here's how to fix it

If you want some guidance, you can join my Fit Model Challenge, where I outline recipes and snacks in a way that gives you a lot of flexibility to eat whatever food from the recipes that is most convenient for you and your schedule!

5. It’s Always a Mental Game

If the weekend has wreaked havoc on your diet, chances are you have the wrong mentality.  Have you ever told yourself any of these?  (Or have your friends peer pressured you into indulging with one of these lines?)

  • “I worked hard all week, I don’t need to work out”
  • “It’s the weekend, calories don’t count”
  • “After all my dedication this week, I deserve a break”
  • “Sundays are for brunch and mimosas”

This is the type of thinking that leads to weekend indulgence.  In the end, it’s all about your mindset.  Of course we all know to eat healthy and exercise, but we let ourselves start thinking like this, and we slip up!

How to fix it: don’t use food/exercise as punishment and reward.

Try to get out of the mindset of “rewarding” a hard working week with food.

Or “punishing” a bad weekend with extra weekday workouts.

Instead, after a week of strong dedication, reward yourself with a manicure, a massage, guilt free Netflix watching.

When you exercise, think about how your lungs are getting stronger, you’re getting faster, and your muscles are becoming more efficient. Exercise for health, not punishment.

Trust me, if you can:

  • Eat balanced and healthy meals throughout the week
  • Plan time to workout on the weekends (even if it’s just 10 minutes)
  • Try to make exercise fun
  • Plan meals and snacks ahead of time
  • And, keep a healthy mindset with food and exercise,

You can avoid the weekend weight gain!

Don't let weekends ruin your diet

Last thing, you’ll like this.

It can be so frustrating to step on the scale Monday morning and see that your weight has gone up.  But I have some good news.

Just because you gained weight does not mean you gained fat.

To gain a pound of fat you have to eat 3500 excess calories.

But gaining a pound of water weight is much more likely.  Here’s why.

If you eat lots of carbs (think beer, sugar, breads…weekend food), your body stores that.  Carbs storage in your body is called glycogen.

The body stores about 2-3 grams of water per gram of glycogen.

So, as you eat extra carbs, your body will hold onto more water.  Because of that, you might step on the scale Monday morning with up to a few pounds of extra water!  Once you go back to a normal carb intake and exercise, your body will use up those glycogen stores and you will also hold less water.  (Less water=less weight).

This is a huge reason our weight fluctuates so much.

Of course if you eat just a crazy amount of extra food, you could consume 3500 extra calories and gain actual fat.  But there is a good chance those extra pounds you were worried about have a lot to do with normal water weight fluctuations.

To avoid weekend weight gain (fat or water), follow the steps:

  • Don’t over-restrict during the week
  • Plan time to workout on the weekends (even if it’s just 10 minutes)
  • Find ways to make exercise fun
  • Plan meals and snacks ahead of time
  • Remember that a healthy mindset is the most important thing!

And you will be able to step on the scale Monday and be proud of what you see.  This is how you overcome the weekend fluctuations you’ve been dealing with!

 

 

 

 

 

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