I don't know about you, but for me weekends are the biggest wild card in my diet and exercise plans. I can go through a whole week eating right and exercising ever chance I get, then...the weekend hits and everything is suddenly out of my control. My weekends are almost always filled with social engagements that involve eating and sitting, sitting and eating. As a result, I've recently developed some strategies for minimizing the damage.
1. Get Involved in the Plans
I try to sway the plans whenever I can to include a few simple elements. I've found that these elements are much easier to achieve during the summer months. Basically, I try to move the events outdoors (usually a park or a backyard), I try to work in some barbecuing, and I make sure that kids are involved. Here's my reasoning for these choices.
If your outdoors, you have a higher likelihood of moving around. You could incorporate a walk or hike before or after you sit down to eat and socialize. You could organize a short game of soccer, touch football, or throw a frisbee around (this is usually where the kids come in). Not only are you more likely to be active outside, you are also getting your daily dose of vitamin D from all that glorious sunshine!
If you barbecue, you have a higher likelihood of being able to fill your plate with big slabs of meat and grilled veggies without any heavy breads or baked goods. I find that no one notices if I skip the pasta salad for an extra helping of meat (they just comment on how manly it is to chomp on some seared flesh).
If you involve kids, you will inevitably move more. Kids don't let you sit down! You'll have the chance to play (which is always a great way to politely sneak away from any heavy appetizers or desserts that are being served). Plus, kids always need help with their meal, so you'll be getting up to grab extra napkins, more water, replacement forks for the ones they drop in the dirt, etc. Sometimes I wish for a moment to just sit and sip a glass of wine, then I remind myself of the hidden benefits my kids are granting me just in their need to have me in motion.
2. Start the Week Fresh with Fasting, Exercise and Alkalinity
My recipe for a quick recovery from the weekends where I can't sneak in healthier options (or when I just want to indulge), involves three essential items: fasting, exercise and getting alkaline.
Usually, I try to fast on Monday or Tuesday from dinner the night before until dinner that night. I find that fasting on these days is easier because I'm usually feeling stuffed from eating too much (or not the right foods) at social gatherings over the weekend. So, I usually wake up on Monday feeling like I'm done with eating for a while. Sometimes, I give myself Monday to recover with some healthy foods (like protein shakes and salads), then I do my fast on Tuesday.
I also make sure to hit the gym for some resistance training and to get outside for some fresh air and cardio training right away at the beginning of the new week. Not only does this help to burn some of the extra calories consumed, it also helps to flush some of the retained water (indulgence foods are usually high in salt which causes your body to store water making you feel heavier). The fresh air also helps me feel refreshed and reenforces a positive attitude so that I don't feel guilty about the weekend's festivities.
Finally, I try to balance the commonly acidic nature of "splurge" foods like alcohol, fatty meats, etc. by dosing myself with foods that reset the alkalinity in my system. For example, green leafy vegetables are great for creating alkalinity in the body. I will typically incorporate some steamed or sauteed baby spinach into my Monday breakfast, have a salad for lunch and maybe have kale as a large part of my dinner. Also, citrus fruits create an alkaline effect in the body, despite their apparent acidic nature. So, I try to drink several glasses of water with lemon or lime juice throughout the early days of the week. Restoring the alkaline balance of the body always makes me feel more refreshed and energetic. It really helps me get rid of that groggy, hung-over feeling I can experience after indulging in too much rich food or drink.
Try some of these tips throughout the coming summer holidays and please leave comments to let me know what worked for you and what did not. Thanks!