Weekends are just so glorious.
We get two blissful days of being on our own schedule, doing our own thing, and making our own plans.
It’s so nice when we don’t have to shove breakfast in as we rush out, or grab something quick that we can eat in the car.
We can go out to eat (and drink!), have a celebration with family and friends, and not have to worry about getting up early the next day.
Sometimes, though, it feels like with great freedom comes great responsibility. We can go into the weekend feeling extremely anxious.
For example, do you ever think “I have been SO “good” this week, I hope I don’t blow it?”
Are you ever worried that you are going to derail all of the progress that you made during the week?
Do you ever find yourself being super restrictive with your meal plans during the week because you know you are going to be “bad”?
If any of this sounds familiar to you, read on for my quick and simple tips on how to navigate weekend eating.
Tip #1: Have a Realistic and Doable Plan and Stick With It
When the weekend comes and you are out of your usual Monday through Friday routine it will be SO tempting to not plan your meals.
Resisting this temptation is absolutely vital if you want to lose weight for the last time.
Now notice that I am not saying that you need to be restrictive. In fact, I would encourage you to plan out what you normally eat on the weekends.
So, if you know that you are going to be going out to dinner, take a look at the menu that morning. See what choices make the most sense to you.
Additionally, decide if you are going to drink. Decide what drinks you will have, and how many. Choose ahead of time if you are going to have dessert.
Again, don’t feel like you CAN’T do these things. Just decide in advance what you are going to do.
We tend to make decisions that are aligned with our goals when we are making them when we make our meal plan for the day, not in the moment.
Make the plan realistic. If you know that you like to have drinks and dessert every time you go out, then plan drinks and dessert!
If you try to restrict yourself over the weekend you are so much more likely to feel deprived, say screw it, and overeat.
If you intentionally plan your weekend in advance you are putting yourself in a place of power and control. It will feel great, and you will be a lot less likely to overeat.
Tip #2: Break the Cycle of Overeating on the Weekends and Restricting During the Week
Because of the routine we are in during the week, it can be a lot easier to stick with a plan.
Also, though, because of the weekly routine, we sometimes feel entitled to NOT stick to the plan over the weekend.
As a result, we eat our face off over the weekend, and then on Monday the restriction begins all over again. We feel like we have to “make up” for our “bad” eating over the weekend.
Then, of course, we restrict, restrict, and restrict only to find ourselves feeling deprived and overwhelmed once Friday comes around, and it starts all over again.
When we find ourselves repeating this pattern the best thing we can do is recognize it, interrupt it, and plan for it.
If you know that you are in the habit of not allowing yourself to eat when you are hungry during the week, start planning more food during the week.
It almost seems counterintuitive, but stick with me. The reality is that when you go into the weekend NOT feeling all sorts of stressed out, tired, and hungry you are so much less likely to overeat.
When you don’t overeat over the weekend then Monday rolls around and you don’t feel like you need to put all of this pressure on yourself to restrict your food intake during the week.
Tip #3: Focus on Hunger Cues. If You Ignore Them? Recognize this Kindly and Move On
You have probably heard me say this before, but we are overweight because we overeat.
We usually overeat because we eat our emotions. When we overeat over the weekend it is often because we feel like we should be able to celebrate with a dinner out and some drinks.
We have had a long week of work and family obligations, and we just want to relax. Planning our meals and sticking to the plan feels like more work and we are terribly sick of work!
If you find yourself really resisting the act of sitting down and planning your meals on a Saturday morning, all is not lost.
You can still focus on eating only when you are hungry, and stopping when you are satisfied.
This is also a great tool to use if you are going out to eat somewhere/to a friend’s house for dinner, and you don’t know what the menu is going to be.
If you do find yourself overeating and ignoring your hunger cues, recognize it. Get curious. Ask yourself why, and reflect. This will help you make decisions in the future that are aligned with your goals.
Forgive yourself. Move on. Make like Elsa and let it go! If you dwell in the land of beating yourself up and feeling miserable you are so much more likely to just repeat the behavior and overeat again.
A Final Note
There is no such thing as being “good” or being “bad”.
Likewise, there is no such thing as “good” or “bad” foods.
You are eating. It’s neutral. Nothing is “good” or “bad” until you label it as such.
When you empower yourself to think of food as just food, then you are taking the power away from the food and putting it where it belongs…in you.
You absolutely will “mess up” and overeat over the weekends from time to time, and that’s OK.
Give yourself grace. Reflect. Believe in yourself, and know that next time you can make a different choice. I believe in you. You’ve got this!