You might be a healthy-living all-star during the week, eating healthy and sticking to a daily sweat routine. But like clockwork, the weekend rolls around, and indulgent brunches and lazy Sundays knock you off course.
"People get into this vicious cycle where during the week they stay true to their plan and then on the weekend they eat enough calories to override what they’ve done all week," says Dr Caroline Apovian, professor of medicine at Boston University School of Medicine.
And that could explain why your scale isn’t budging. Here, nutritionists and a couple of women who’ve successfully lost 10 kilos or more explain how to use your weekend to make a dent in your weight-loss goals.
BUY A FANCY COCKTAIL
The weekend presents no shortage of reasons to drink: Bloody Marys at brunch, a just-because spritzer at 5 p.m., and a few too many beers late at night. But there’s a downside to all that cheers-ing: Each round comes with excess calories that can quickly undo your weekday diligence. "It can get in the way of your inhibitions and cause you to make poor food choices," says Vicky Sullivan, who lost more than 20kg. Steal her trick next time you go out: Order one pricey cocktail or glass of wine as opposed to five cheap ones. You’ll be less likely to order more drinks so will consume fewer calories overall.
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NIX ORDERING PEER PRESSURE
Even if you sit down to dinner with the best intentions, when your friend orders cheesy lasagna, you may be tempted to follow suit. Fight the urge by planning your order in advance, says Dawn Orsaeo, R.D. "Look at the menu online ahead of time and pick something with lots of vegetables and fibre," she says. And stick to your guns—don’t even look at the rest of the options.
WORK AROUND YOUR SPLURGES
A small indulgence—say sharing a dessert after dinner or slowly sipping a glass of wine—will keep you from feeling deprived, but the key is to plan these in advance so you eat healthfully the rest of the day. "Going to brunch on Sundays is fine, but take that into account when choosing the rest of the meals for the day," says Mandy Enright.
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USE YOUR FREE TIME WISELY
Skip the frosted muffins and indulge in another way—by making that fancy, healthy breakfast recipe you never have time to whip up on a weekday (mmm, omelettes), says Cara Walsh, R.D. Though a protein-packed breakfast rich in veggies is way healthier than that muffin or a bagel, it feels more special because you can take your sweet time cooking it.
"By sticking to nutritious, low-calorie meals, especially on weekends, you're committing to a lifestyle change that can result in a significant amount of weight lost," says Walsh. And that's extremely helpful when you're committed to your goals for the long haul.
Other healthy habits worth investing some time on when you have more of it on the weekend: Extending your workouts or embracing Sunday meal prep, says Cathy Leman, R.D.
Since you're not distracted by your weekday routine, the weekend is a great time to tap into a support network that will help you keep your weight-loss goals top of mind. Don't have one yet? Try a Facebook page for people trying to lose weight. Then, block out a certain time to check in with your new squad every Saturday or Sunday.
CHILL THE F OUT
Use the weekend as a chance to unwind post-work week, since stress increases hormones, like cortisol, that make you put on weight, says Apovian. Indulge in a 90-minute yoga class, massage, mani pedi, or meditation for Zen vibes that will (hopefully) continue into the workweek, suggests Mashru.
SOCIALISE IN NEW WAYS
You don't have to ditch your social life to drop kilos—just find a way to make exercising with friends one of your weekend activities. For example, rather than catching up with your college friends over drinks, suggest a hike or bike ride together, says Rachel Begun, R.D.N., of Rachel Begun Food and Nutrition Solutions, LLC. "Not only are you changing your habits, but you’re surrounding yourself with people who want to engage in healthy lifestyle habits."