It’s the end of a week and that Friday feeling is well and truly here. Isn’t it the best feeling? Like everyone, I really look forward to weekends, time to take my foot off the pedal and chill out with the folks I love.For many people, me included, weekends are the weakest link, lots of eating out and, of course, the odd drinkypoos. I am an emotional eater -when I’m happy I eat, when I’m sad I eat and when I’m tired I’d devour you! Filled with happiness, relief, and a little exhaustion, the weekends can be a “totes emosh” time for me, in a good way, so I do try to tread carefully.Don’t get me wrong, I love to indulge – I do it often and enjoy it – but I guess it’s about finding a good balance, one that leaves you in a good place afterwards, not in a sugar coated heap on the floor.It’s not easy, and it does take practice, so here are a few things that help me to relax and enjoy my weekends while not losing sight of my health and fitness goals.
1. Healthy Start
Aim to have a healthy breakfast at the weekends and try to break your midweek breakfast routine. At the weekend, I spend time making my yummy protein pancakes and my homemade granola that I enjoy with lots of fresh berries and, of course, a huge cup of coffee. I don’t have time for this midweek, so it’s a real treat that I just love. I find starting the day with a healthy brekkie gives me a good foundation to work from throughout the day – if you have an unhealthy breakfast you are inclined to take the “feck it” attitude for the rest of the day and potentially the entire weekend. Start as you mean to go on.
2. Treat It Like Tuesday
Try to pick one day at the weekend and treat it like a Tuesday. Eat, sleep and exercise as you would on a random, boring old Tuesday. Just because it’s Saturday doesn’t mean you have to eat all the pies and stay up until 4am!
3. Prep for the morning after
If you know you are going out for a few drinks, try to get a good workout in that day. Focus on having healthy meals and snacks throughout the day – protein rich foods if possible as they slow the absorption of alcohol into the circulatory system – this is damage limitation girls! Hydrate your body with lots of water before, during and after your night out. The morning after hangover headache hammering at your poor dehydrated brain needs electrolytes, so have a good stash of coconut water handy for the morning after – it’s a fantastic, healthy way to replenish the body, much better than the sugary sports drinks. Hydration, plenty of zzz’s and lots of vitamin rich foods i.e. soakage that isn’t too greasy, are the best ways to deal with the hangover from hell. Avoid the extra baby Guinness is also a good way to avoid hangover hell – just saying!
4. Rest and Focus
Your body and mind need at least 24 hours per week down time away from the stresses of work. Give yourself time to reboot, rebalance and relax your body and mind. This will really help you to be more productive and ready for the week ahead.Sleep late, take naps, get out into nature, breathe and do your best to peel yourself away from your phone. You may feel less connected to the world, but a lot more in tune with your body – I promise this can make you will feel like a new woman!
5. Just have it, and then get over it!
If you fancy something “not so clean” just do it – don’t have fifty-five, mind you – but do enjoy and savour the taste of whatever it is you miss. I try to work off what we call the 80/20 rule; 80% of the time you are focused on clean eating, 20% you’re taking a more relaxed approach. This means you can live your life happily, healthily and not miserably. Being healthy isn’t a fad, it’s a way of life, and that is what we want to achieve. It really depends on what you are working towards, but this health buzz doesn’t have to be about deprivation and despair. You can have your favourite foods and you should have them! Nothing is “forbidden”, nothing is “bad”. You can eat chocolate and you can drink wine – everything in moderation and in relation to YOUR personal goals.
6. Exercise for fun
As you have more time at the weekend why not have fun with your workouts? Train for longer than you usually would mid-week, workout somewhere different, take a class you can’t fit in mid-week or try out a workshop. There are so many options out there, trying new things means you will challenge your body in different ways and see changes a lot quicker.
7. Plan for the week ahead
Being unprepared is a bad idea for me. Hungry, tired and having no healthy option really is a recipe for disaster. Take a little time over the weekend to think about your week ahead. What are your challenges? Identifying these gives you the chance to make good, calm choices rather than panic decisions which aren’t in line with your goals. Are you eating out this week? How can you order healthier? When can you fit in your work outs? Can you organise to meet friends or a trainer? Are you taking time to get enough sleep? Trust me, a little time taken at weekends to prepare for the week ahead really does help –it helps take the pressure off and allows you to feel more in control of your life. If prepping for an entire week is overwhelming start slowly. Small changes will have a bigger impact than you think.
Don’t be hard on yourself. We all fall off the wagon. What’s important is that you get back on, that you learn every day, that you want to make better decisions, that you are doing your very best each day. Nobody is perfect so do your best and give yourself every chance to be great.
Photo Credit: @NathalieMC