Hi, guys! Happy Hump Day!
I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for awhile now, and, with the long Columbus Day weekend just around the corner, I figured it was the perfect time. Plus, it’s a common question that I receive from my nutrition clients. Staying on track on the weekends is tough, especially when there’s so much delicious food around you and the atmosphere is festive and fun. I mean, how can you turn down a piece of cake at a birthday party or a cocktail at happy hour when those are some of the best parts of the celebration?!
It’s hard to stick with your usual healthy habits if you feel like you’re missing out on the fun, so I splurge (within reason) and enjoy every second of it. If I’m too restrictive, it makes me sad (obviously), and I usually find it harder to get back on track come Monday morning. It’s almost like I get the cravings out of my system if I eat what I want. It’s definitely a balancing act and some weekends are more of a splurge than others, but I always get myself back on track (typically on Sunday, but definitely by Monday morning)!
With that said, I received an email from a reader just recently inquiring about balance and she asked all the right questions to guide my post, so here’s how I find balance with my splurges on the weekend! Please note: Many of the tips below apply to weekday splurges, too. Mal and I are big on Thursday happy hours, where we’ll grab drinks and apps at one of our favorite bars. If we go out on Thursday, I’ll rein it in on Friday to balance it out. It just depends on how my social life falls that week! 🙂
I hope you are doing well! I don’t know if you accept blog topic suggestions, but I’ve been reading your blog for a long time and one thing I have always admired about you is that you really do seem to have a handle on the whole “balance” thing (i.e. having your carrots and your cake too). I see the foods you post and while they of course include healthy meals, lots of veggies and protein, etc., I also see you eat donuts, pizza, pasta, cereal, desserts, ice cream, etc.
I eat very healthy all week long – I meal prep and pack all of my meals and snacks every day to make sure I stay on track – but I also love to eat out and LOVE sweets and dessert, so I find that when I am around those things on the weekends I go overboard. Or even if I don’t go overboard, I feel intense guilt about the “bad” thing I ate. I started doing Advocare’s “clean eating challenges” about 2 years ago, and additionally recently lost about 10 pounds for my wedding by following a pretty restrictive eating plan for 4 months. I went down two sizes (which is too skinny for me) and now that I am beginning to eat regularly again, I am gaining weight and moving back up to my old size. That is actually a very normal and “balanced” thing, but instead I am feeling bad about myself for gaining weight and finding myself trying to eat “restrictively” again. I would love to reset my thinking and learn how to incorporate ALL foods into my diet, and get rid of the guilt when I have a food that isn’t great for me.
With all of that said, I wonder if you would be open to writing a blog post about how you personally find balance in the things you eat. For instance, if you go out for a donut with your family, are you eating the entire thing or are you splitting it? If you go to a bbq, are you going in with a plan of how much you are going to eat or which things you are going to eat, so that you can enjoy a little of everything? If you go out for pizza are you only having one slice, or several? I think it would be helpful for your readers seeking this kind of balance to have insight into how you do it, because you look fantastic but also really seem to enjoy yourself!
Also, if my name looks familiar, it is because I was just emailing with you recently about Beautycounter. 🙂 Thank you for all of your help!
It’s all about “pacing” yourself
“You can have it all, but not all at once.” I love these wise words from Bethenny Frankel and do my bed to live by them. On Saturdays, for instance, when we go out for donuts after CrossFit, I usually share a donut with Mal and Quinn. Sometimes, we’ll get two donunts to share, but it really just depends on how we ate the night before and what our plans are for the rest of the weekend. (We also don’t want to give Qman too much junk!) If we ordered Thai takeover for dinner on Friday or have plans to dine out later that night, a bite or two of donut is totally fine with me. It’s not like I can never have an entire donut; I’m just pacing myself throughout the weekend. Plus, I almost always order a flavored iced coffee, so that satisfies my sweet tooth for a fraction of the calories.
I choose my calories and splurges wisely
When I go to a party or BBQ, where there’s lots of delicious food to choose from, I pick my calories wisely. Again, I can have whatever I want, just not all at once. Instead of wasting my calories on the same-old, same-old, like cheese and crackers or chips and salsa, I save them for my favorite foods. I know I’ll enjoy them the most, and they’ll be the hardest for me to pass up, so when the Buffalo Chicken Dip, bacon-wrapped scallops, or birthday cake are served, I go for it! I want to make sure my splurges are worth it, so choose my calories wisely. Plus, having splurges to look forward to on the weekend helps me make better choices during the week. I’m less likely to go overboard on junk if I know I have a fun food weekend coming up (aka my “Cookie Friday” mentality from years ago)!
I eat normally for the most part
It might sound a little counter-intuitive to eat normally before a party or dinner out on the weekend, but sticking to my usual meal schedule helps me make smarter decisions when it comes to what I eat and drink in a more festive setting. During mealtime, I make sure sure to choose foods that are healthy and satisfying – plenty of protein, healthy fats, fiber, and carbs. It’s tough to resist super delicious food when you’re hungry or experiencing crazy cravings, so I fill up on the good stuff first. Plus, being on point during the day with my diet motivates me to not go off the rails when it’s time for the fun stuff. (In the case that I go out for brunch in the morning, I just make sure that the rest of my day in super healthy.!)
Honestly, I was sick for such a long time and worried about every single bite that went into my mouth, now when it comes to splurges on the weekend, I’m, like, YOLO! I used to obsess about which foods would wreak havoc on my gut and immune system, so my diet was a constant source of stress in my life. Ughhhh, it was a miserable time. I missed out on so much! Fast-forward to remission, feeling better (*knock on wood*) and finally being able to eat without worry, I’m able to truly enjoy my food. I know what it feels like to stress and miss out on my favorite foods, so now I’m all about eating, drinking, and being merry. Life is too short not to enjoy yourself every once in awhile.
Use Sunday to get back on track
If I lived it up on Friday and Saturday with my food choices, I use Sunday as the day to get myself back on track. I always meal plan, grocery shop, and food prep and typically go on an active, outdoor adventure with my family. I also plan my workouts for the week by scheduling them into my calendar like appointments that I can’t miss. Getting myself organized on Sunday sets me up for a healthy week ahead and doesn’t make me think twice about the splurges I enjoyed!
Question of the Day
What are your tips and tricks for staying on track on weekends?