After a week of planning your meals, eating healthily, avoiding junk food and getting out to exercise, it is a shame to sabotage all your consistent hard work by allowing yourself to be wholesale dangerous at the weekend. This is a challenge for many who are losing weight and building up a healthy lifestyle, that after a week of structure and steady hard work that you can be liable at the weekend to relax your disciplines, let your hair down, eat more and exercise less. This is definitely the case with me and I got some shock when I realised that by slipping off plan for Saturday and Sunday every week means that is at least 8 DAYS wasted off plan every single month, or at least 12 DAYS of pitiful discipline per month if your weekend includes Friday, which for most of us it does. That’s some perspective, isn’t it! I’m going along mystified as to my slow weight loss but if I’m honest with myself I have to admit that losing the run of myself at the weekend is actually 12 days of sabotage every month that I can ill afford. Imagine if I copped on to myself and carried on my healthy lifestyle from during the week to include the weekend, what those extra 12 days a month of healthy food and exercise could do for me and my weight loss progression? I usually start slipping around Friday evening. I then redeem myself with a long slow run on Saturday morning but then feel all virtuous after that and pet myself later with extra food and nuzzling my butt into the couch and it’s all down hill from there until Monday morning. One of my running friends declared during the week “Thank God there are 52 Mondays in the year!” as she despaired of ever being able to keep herself in check over the weekend, starting again every Monday.
It can be very easy to let ourselves off the hook over the weekend with a more relaxed attitude to what we eat and drink. You may have a party, a cinema evening, a night out in the pub or a meal in a restaurant or just simply sitting on the couch watching the telly. We will always find a reason why it’s easier to veer off plan and overindulge than continue on with our healthy lifestyle campaign over the weekend.
Tips to Avoid Weekend Sabotage!
- Limit time on your couch! It is very tempting to catch up on shows you may have missed during the week but lounging on the couch can lead to overeating so integrate more activities into your weekend that don’t involve food but do involve you moving your body. Trips with your family or friends to the woods, hillwalking, bike riding, swimming, discovering new walkways and state gardens can all be fun and keep you from wandering into your kitchen for a nibble! Consciously choosing to take part in more physical activities at the weekend will help offset any extra calories you may indulge in as well. Squeeze in more fun and exercise when you can. We won’t always get it right but every effort helps build up your healthy lifestyle.
- Don’t allow yourself to get too ravenously hungry if you can help it. Have your breakfast when you get up and plan your meals accordingly, just like during the week. When you allow yourself too many hours between meals and end up famished you can end up reaching for anything and everything to eat, resulting in your well laid out plans and disciplines shot to smithereens.
- If you are going out for a meal in the evening you can plan well by cutting back on your calories for breakfast and lunch a little while still ensuring the meals are filling and nutritious at the same time. Don’t starve yourself or save too many calories as you don’t want to turn up to the restaurant or venue absolutely ravenous, ending up throwing caution to the wind and eating more than you intended to. When I eat out I usually have a small snack before I go so that I’m not as hungry as a bear when I arrive and so can make more informed choices from the menu. You can ask for the bread basket to be removed (difficult, I know!), order tomato-based sauces instead of creamy ones and ask for your dressings on the side. Fill most of your plate with salad and if you are hell bent on having dessert, instead of having a full portion, why not share one?
- Time your evening snacks well. If I have my tea at around 5 or 6 o’clock in the evening and I’m still up late that night, I’ll hear my stomach growling at me and my blood sugar levels will dip, encouraging me to go on the prowl into the kitchen for a few tasty calorie-laden morsels. To offset this scenario I need to save some calories for a filling snack for late on Saturday night when the munchies attack, instead of giving in to merciless low blood-sugar cravings and regretting it in the morning.
- Continue to use the Why Weight Ireland Food Diary for the weekend and fill it in honestly. If it works during the week from Monday to Friday it will surely work for the weekend, ensuring you remain accountable. Committing to using the food diary will help against self-sabotage.
- When your routine and structure is more relaxed at the weekend or just simply different, it can be easy to neglect drinking enough water. During the week it can be easier when you are in a routine and can have your bottle of water on your desk at work or on the counter at home but when you are on the go at the weekend this discipline can slip so remember to continue to lash the water in over the weekend.
- Plan your weekly menu over the weekend and batch cook for the week ahead if you can. I used to do this on a Saturday morning and it gave my mindset a great motivational lift. Coming home with the weekly shop at the weekend and spending time preparing and freezing meals for the coming week kept me in control of myself and inspired me to keep going strong. I felt fully prepared and encouraged for the coming days. Making the effort with my menu plan and batch cooking made it so much easier for me to continue to make healthier and wiser choices for the entire weekend. For the last while I’ve been doing the weekly shop during the week and have been lax with the batch cooking so this weekend now it’s back to basics to do what works!
- If you go off plan, don’t beat yourself up and don’t wait until Monday to pull yourself back on track. Dust yourself off, draw a line under it and regain your focus and determination to succeed by the next meal of the day. Don’t look back or self-flagellate for slipping up. Allowing your inner critic to torment you with taunts of how useless you are at sticking to your plan over the weekend and continuing with the unhealthy eating until Monday can often carry on a few days into the following week also, allowing the negative impact to spiral. Treating yourself to another “Last Supper” and leaving it until Monday to get back in gear is only adding to and prolonging the potential damage to your weight loss goals.
Protect your weight loss. Protect your progress made from Monday to Friday by taking control and maintaining your stamina for the weekend. Remember your goals and remember WHY you want to live a healthier life. Be kind to yourself when you trip up. You won’t always get it right. Remember that learning and living new habits take time and take making mistakes. One day at a time. One meal at a time. One step at a time.
My Running Update
Running Session One – Tonight’s track session is (3 minutes comfortably hard, 1 minute hard, 1.5 minutes recovery walk) x 2, a quick water break and then back out on to the track for a repeat of the same. It’s a warm night and I’m sweltering in my hoody so I whip it off and tie it around my waist. One of the trainers asks if I want them to take it but I keep it as it hides my stomach a little as I’m still self-conscious about it bouncing all over the place when I am running. I developed a bizarre ache in my right foot yesterday which was quite sore when I was putting any weight on it while walking but seems to be okay out on the track. The second part of the session seems much faster than the first but turns out not to be the case, the first 9.5 minutes run at an 11:04/mi pace and the second 9.5 minutes run at a slower 12:20/mi pace. We finish the night with a series of slow 40 second squats, planks and squat punches. It’s been a challenging session as always and I’m relieved to have followed through and got it done.
Running Session Two – I no more want to turn up for interval sessions on the track this evening and am so tempted to stay in and sit on the couch watching telly or go for a walk with my sons. I have a list of excuses too that I can use to not turn up which includes… I can’t find the sellotape to tape my Garmin to my arm (strap is broken!)…. I can’t find the right knickers to run in… Every t-shirt I put on is stuck to my overhanging stomach and I HAVE to run in a t-shirt tonight as it is too warm to run in my safe baggy hoody….. I just can’t be bothered! This list is endless. Yet I know if I don’t go that I will regret it later and so pet myself with the promise that I can leave any time I want to when I get there and to just concentrate on one step at a time.
It IS a worry though, having to run in a t-shirt and have my obvious overhanging belly flip-flapping all over the place when I am running. I practice jogging up and down again in front of the hall mirror and tried on the few race t-shirts I have but they are all the same, stuck like a silk nightdress to my stomach. Christ! And I can’t find a spanx knickers to save my life to contain my wayward belly with a mind of its own. I’m so trying to focus on what my body can DO as opposed to what it LOOKS like and have mentioned it previously a few times so here is a glorious opportunity to actually DO IT! I swan down to the track in my t-shirt but bring the hoody too and do actually panic, muttering to myself “I can’t do this! I feel too exposed!” and horse myself back into the hoody for the warm up. I am dying in it though. The heat is heavy so I wrestle myself back out of the hoody and just line up on the track like anyone else. After a while I am not caring much about my belly flip-flapping all over the place, I just want to concentrate on my pace and my breathing. Although I am full sure I can HEAR the flip-flapping and am hoping no one else can as they are passing me by! At one stage I am using the sound of my bouncing tummy to keep pace. The session tonight is challenging as always, with 3 repeats of (30 seconds hard, 30 seconds walk, 1 minute hard, 30 seconds walk, 1.5 minutes hard, 30 seconds walk, 2 minutes hard). Running in this heat is challenging and my lungs are screaming. I’m happy all the same with my pace for each repeat of 9:49/mi, 10;32/mi and 12:46/mi, obviously slowing down over each one as am absolutely battered. I’m thrilled with my improvements and am well impressed to have managed a sub 10 minute pace for over 5 minutes for the first time ever. I’m relieved to have finally gotten rid of the hoody and didn’t allow my body shape to determine whether I turned up or not. It feels so liberating. Christ, I’ve been burning up in the hoody for weeks now, it’s magic to have finally shed it and let the wind at my skin when I am running. Bliss!
Running Session Three – Waiting on a Friday for the road route to be posted online for the Saturday morning run is like waiting to turn over an exam paper. My nerves are shot until I can see and follow the route in my mind the night before. Today’s run is my longest so far since I’ve taken up running again. 8 miles/13km. It’s sunny but chilly as we take our first steps. Again, I just take it at my own speed and over the first couple of miles try settle into a comfortable but challenging pace all the same. The first few miles are the same route as last week and I start burning up with the heat of the sun on the link road between the Dublin Road and the Hacketstown Road. The hoody is whipped off and my pace slows a little as I batter up this mile long incline. I get the fright of my life as a massive German Shepherd barks his head off at me when I turn on to the Chapelstown Road. Thankfully there is a sturdy garden fence and gate between us. Again I wonder what I am to do if I do encounter a dog barking at my heels while out on a run? About 4.5 miles in I turn on to the Wexford Road which is a new part of the route for me and I experience the thrill of embarking on a different road with new sights and new goals to stretch for. There are road works in progress so I concentrate on being mindful of the traffic as I meander my way safely to the quieter Ballinacarrig Road. 5 miles in the bag, only 3 miles to go! I’ve never been on this road on foot before so my mind lifts at the new experience. This road is just under one mile and I have to dig deep to mentally cope with the heat and my desire to just roll into the ditch under some foliage. The road seems never ending! I am so relieved I brought with me a small 250ml bottle of water that I keep taking sips from. Without it I am sure I would have called for a lift home way before now. My Garmin, which I had sellotaped to my wrist earlier has now slipped off in the heat and I am carrying it in my hand. To my horror I realise I have inadvertently paused the watch by the way I am holding it and fancy having a tantrum and packing it in as I fear my running pace and time at the finish may not be correct due to the pause in recording. I soldier on and witness a car pulling in ahead of me and the window rolls down. It is Claire, a fellow runner from Adrenaline Running Club. I could weep at the sight of someone I know and boy does she warm my heart by offering me water and jellies!! I decline the jellies as I figure I might be sick if I munch on them. I kiss her in gratitude and motor on, even though all I want to do is climb into the car with her and lash into the jellies and water and have a natter. As I near the end of this road, having run nearly 6.5 miles now, I notice another runner coming towards me and recognise my club’s running singlet, delighted again to see another human being! We give each other the thumbs up and roar at each other to “KEEP GOING!” which gives my spirits a merciful lift and I batter onwards towards the town. I try not to have a nervous breakdown as I realise again that I keep pausing the Garmin by accident. I can only imagine the big contrary head on me if I get to the end of this epic 8 mile feat of endurance only to see the evidence not recorded properly! As I near the town and know I have “only” another mile to go, I start to speed up and attempt to finish the run with the final mile the fastest of the eight. When I return to where I’ve started I realise I still have another 0.20 mile to go to hit the 8 mile mark so just keep going, with fire in my belly to hit the magic number. When I finally see “8.00 mi” appear on my Garmin screen I am absolutely ecstatic and smile to myself from ear to ear. I start into my stretches and marvel at myself for what I have achieved this morning. I had been hoping for an overall pace of between 13:00/mi and 13:30/mi and managed an overall pace in the end of 13:51/mi. Initially I am a little crestfallen but I cop on to myself sharpish and am well thrilled to have gotten the miles in my legs. I’ve run 8 miles today, WHOOP!
My Weight Loss Update
It was my birthday a couple of days before weigh-in day so I didn’t hold back on cake and celebrations and gained 2lbs. There are more birthdays and celebrations coming up so need to plan better and not use them as an excuse to overeat with wild abandon. 5 stone down, 4.5 stone to go!
Avocado, Feta Cheese & Dill Salad
This salad has become one of my favourites and is so easy to rustle up quickly. I love using fresh herbs and dill is a magical combination here with the avocado and feta cheese. Recipe serves one. 435 calories. Enjoy!
- 40g raw spinach
- 5 x cherry tomatoes, halved
- 5 x seedless black grapes, halved
- 1 medium avocado, peeled, destoned, chopped
- 34g feta cheese
- large sprig of fresh dill, chopped
- Plate up your raw spinach, cherry tomatoes and black grapes.
- Load the chopped avocado and feta cheese on top.
- Snip the sprig of fresh dill over the gorgeous salad and devour immediately!
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