During the week, we tend to have set routines and perhaps socialise a little less if we're working – which actually makes sticking to our healthy eating goals easier. However, the moment Friday rolls around, temptation can strike from all angles! And before you know it, the all-too-familiar "I'll start again on Monday" mentality begins to creep in. To avoid undoing five days of great progress, here are 5 top tips to break the cycle and stay on track at the weekend.
The absolute key to a successful weekend while losing weight is to plan, plan, plan! If you know your weekend agenda, anticipate more indulgent meals by using the Easier Days feature in the app. This allows you a higher calorie target over the weekend by compensating during the week with a lower allowance. For meals out, check out the menu in advance and select a healthy option. The Nutracheck Eating Out section has menus from over 130 restaurants, pubs, bars, coffee shops and fast food outlets, making it easy to log all your favourite eating locations. And if you're only planning a quiet one at home, circumvent the takeaway temptation by trying a fun 'fakeaway' recipe – here are 16 ideas to choose from!
When you're riding the peak of your motivation wave during the week, this is the best time to use your positive mindset and plan in a workout for the weekend. Book yourself in for a session of your favourite exercise class, or text a friend and make plans to meet for a morning run. As it's a weekend, I'd recommend scheduling a more fun workout than your usual, or take the opportunity to try something new. Then, when the weekend rolls around, you're already committed to getting active. Plus, starting the day with a workout can really set you up for staying on track the rest of the day.
Many of us like to enjoy a tipple or two (or more!) on the weekends, but it's important to remember just how many calories you're drinking. When losing weight, we don't need to cut alcohol out altogether, but making sensible choices around booze can really help to reduce the empty calories in your diet, as well as improve your overall health – it's no secret that the less booze we drink, the better.
If you're drinking wine or beer (higher-calorie options) choose smaller glasses and half pints. Shandies and spritzers are a great way to increase the volume of your beverage without increasing the calories and alcohol. If spirits are more your thing, opt for lower-calorie, sugar-free mixers where you can. And on the evenings where you're out for a few, pace yourself by alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. There are plenty of low and no-alcohol options available nowadays thanks to the teetotal trend.
Food tends to find itself at the centre of lots of social plans – meeting friends for brunch, snacking in the cinema, birthday party buffets, the list goes on. But the next time you're thinking of making dinner plans, why not try choosing a food-free activity instead? Ice skating, fishing, video games, or even just heading out in the fresh air for a group walk around the local park. This moves attention away from meals and onto quality time with your loved ones. In fact, it's actually beneficial for getting you more active – win-win!
So your plans change, or temptations and social pressures get too much and you veer off plan a little – do not worry, this is life! Getting obsessed over every single food occasion isn't at all healthy – it's still important to have times where you treat yourself without the guilt, for both your physical and mental wellbeing. That said, many of us may slip into the mindset that one indulgent meal means you've failed and it's time to throw in the towel, have a completely off-track weekend and "start again on Monday". Stop right there! There's no need for your hard work over the week to be undone. One meal should be absolutely fine – just get back to your usual healthy habits at your next meal as opposed to the next day or week. A study of people who had lost weight and successfully maintained their loss cited this strategy as one of the most pivotal to their achievement (as well as consistent food tracking!) .
Nutritionist Amy Wood (ANutr), MSci BSc Nutrition has a keen interest in the relationship between diet and health. Having been published in the European Journal of Nutrition, Amy is passionate about making evidence-based nutrition accessible to everyone and helping others to adopt a food-focused approach to taking control of their health.