We all wait for Friday evening just like how school children wait for the last school bell to ring to get out of school! The ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ feeling brings euphoria in terms of food, sleep and relaxation. We slog through the week like donkeys carrying all the burden over our shoulders, which includes eating healthy food, doing a proper workout and staying on a disciplined routine. But when the sun sets on Friday, our minds start wishing for oven-fresh pizzas, red wine, a big bag of chips and what not!
Any joy comes with its own set of consequences, so does the joy of overeating. On Monday morning or even Sunday night, we feel guilty, regretful, angry and disappointed at the same time. If we want to stay on a healthy weight, binge eating or overeating during the weekend can sabotage any of the weight loss goals and your weights keep fluctuating every week. Trying to starve, workout harder and keep track of the calorie intake during the weekdays is not going to do any good until the overeating cycle during the weekend stops.
Some crucial strategies that can help an individual stick to healthy lifestyle goals include:
Try to be ‘adequate enough’ instead of ‘perfect’
Many of us want to stick to our goals impeccably, going to the extent of even measuring the smallest of teaspoon values, through the entire week that our willpower melts away during the weekend and we start to binge eat.
For instance, going out with friends does not give you the authority to finish off an entire plate of French fries along with your rice while you would have normally had roti with sabji during any of the weekdays for lunch. Draw the middle line, try to choose rice with a portion of salad while dining out. This would be a decent method to pursue instead of craving for the perfect one.
Free Yourself from Food Rules
Food rules list a long set of rules such as what/what not to eat, when/when not to eat, how/how not to eat and how much you can/can’t eat.
When a person adheres to such rules during the weekdays, he/she is confused what to eat during the weekends when partying out or meeting loved ones over a brunch. For instance, when any food rule suggests avoiding carbs, you even avoid a salad with croutons or potatoes. But, when all your friends keep going for it, you are simply tempted and start eating. Sticking to strict rules mostly paves way for overeating, as you are tempted to ditch the rule repeatedly when you break it once.
Throw Away the Concept of ‘Cheat Days’
Monday through Saturday we rigorously stick to healthy meal plans and wait for Sunday, the most-awaited day of the week, as it is the ‘Cheat Day.’ We get up on Sunday morning with a festive feeling in mind, eating through the day and attacking all foods that are not permitted during a healthy meal plan. Close to dusk, the intake increases dramatically as the next day is Monday and it would be back to reality from tomorrow.
Some people might find this concept to be useful, both mentally and physically. If this works advantageously for your health, it is better to continue.
Abstaining from certain foods makes us feel more lured towards the food, greedy, anxious and needy. If you feel like going for a bowl of jamuns on Wednesday night, please eat it. You might want it as you feel like eating and on some other days you might dislike it as you might feel full after dinner. What and when you eat should be dependent on your hunger cues and not on the day of the week.
Take Ownership for Your Action
People often have the habit to trade one stuff for another. For instance, when we skip the yummy ice cream today, we make up our mind to eat an extra bowl during the weekend. We are not kids and there is no concept of ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Such bleak mind games show our poor commitment towards health.
Eating a tub of ice cream on Saturday night might make you feel guilty later. When the choice is ours, we should take ownership for our actions. Remember that different choices produce different results. Be decisive about your actions.
Stop Giving Lame Excuses
Weekends present us with an infinite number of reasons to eat any of the junk foods. Excuses such as travelling, extra work at home, social gathering and busy with pending office work are some of the very many reasons. Excuses are depictions of our lacking willpower.
Stop justifying and start asking yourself the core reason behind your overeating policy. You may feel like binge eating sometimes, when happy, sad, tired, anxious or angry, and this is normal. But when you see repetitive patterns in such cases, you have struck the right chord, and this is your opportunity to change overeating behavior.
Although weekends may be a time to let go of your stress and a way to connect with other people, use it wisely to your advantage. If you are interested in losing weight the healthier way without any gimmicks, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com to get in touch with registered dietitian nutritionists.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.