In my world, Friday kicks off the weekend of weakened principals and booze-related stress relief. The strict weekday regime is long gone and it is time to relax. But when I decided to take control of my Friday’s and let it set the tone for the rest of the week, keeping the weekend in check became a lot easier, and the changes started to become noticeable.
I would go ham on the weekends. Finishing an entire pizza and polishing off a case of beer was not an uncommon occurrence. I’ve worked hard at the office and in the gym all week, my nutrition has been on point for the last five days, and now it’s time to let lose. Friday became a gateway drug to the rest of the weekend.
I was 100% paleo Monday through Thursday afternoon but Friday nights would kick off with a drink at the gym, frequently followed by delicious fried food and beer at WingNuts. Saturday morning would often involve some sort bagel sandwich, followed by lunch and dinner out. Sunday brunch happened at least every other week, then it was time to watch footsketball and drink beer for eight hours. Because it’s Sunday, because it’s Saturday, because it’s Friday. Which bled into: because it’s Thursday night and that’s close enough to Friday. In my mind, the weekend was a time to kick back and recover from the strict regime I’d adhered too Monday – Thursday.
I eventually decided to stop punishing myself all week, let go of the strict rules, and stay balanced for 7 days.
A few weeks ago we had a Halloween office party. Attendance wasn’t mandatory but I joined and forced myself into a room filled with the smell of pizza and wings and all kinds of deserts. Despite literally salivating, I fought the urge to get a plate for as long as possible. With my new commitment in mind, eventually I made the decision to grab a slice and I knew that was all I needed to satisfy the craving. Making that conscious decision versus letting myself feel guilty for eating pizza felt like a weight was lifted as I walked out of the room. I certainly felt the difference between eating a slice of chain-brand pizza and a paleo Fresh Meal Plan meal, but that one slice didn’t bother me because I felt good about only eating one, and I knew that I had a healthy meal ready for later that night. Moderation that Friday night set me on the right mindset to sticking to my goals for Saturday and Sunday.
After literally two weekends of eating like a responsible adult I noticed Monday at 6 am didn’t hurt so bad (well Monday’s always hurt because after all this is CrossFit, but you know what I mean) and Tuesday’s workouts weren’t as sluggish. I wasn’t fighting off the weekend bloat in the mirror for three days. Feeling as good on a Monday morning as you do on a Friday morning has a powerful effect on how the rest of the week is going to unfold.
So how did I break the vicious cycle of super clean during the week and crazy lose during the weekend?
I owned up to my choices. Rather than feeling guilty for eating a slice of pizza during the week, I told myself that I’m hungry and I’m going to eat, but let’s make this the one off-plan food for the day, and it’s all good. I have a drink or two while I’m cleaning Friday night, but it’s either ONE beer or vodka and a healthy mixer like Fit Aid. The bulk of that poor-delicious craft beer in the gym fridge hasn’t been touched in a long time. It’s sad but my gut thanks me. Saturday morning breakfast has turned into a normal pre-workout meal vs. stuffing my face with delicious weekend food because I know we’ll probably go out after the Wod and I’m going to want something awesome from Speggtacular. And that’s okay because it’s part of the plan starting the day off healthy and finishing the same.
I turned perfect into good enough. I no longer avoid going out for lunch once or twice during the week. The meals aren’t going to be as healthy as Fresh but as long as I don’t go crazy overboard at Sunny’s, I don’t have to be 100% perfect for the rest of the week as well. I’m still going to take a bite out of that amazing-sweet corn bread at Boston Market but that’s all I’ll need to curve the craving. Moderation on both sides of a perfect diet and a trash diet have made the entire week much less mentally taxing.
I turned off the F*&K It mind set. That’s when you go out with friends with the greatest intention of eating a salad, but everyone is drinking beer and eating pizza. You say f*&k it and your diet is gone. Que the overeating and regret. Have a slice and a drink but in moderation. Know that this is not a cheat meal, it’s just another meal, and you’re going to leave it at that. “Cheat Days” are gone. Just because you’ve fallen off the wagon, doesn’t mean you’re going to stay there. Pizza and beer on Friday night does not mean you have to eat pizza and beer Saturday night as well. But hey if you do, own up to it, eat until you’re full, and know that tomorrow is a new day.
Ask yourself: How’s that weekend overeating working for you?
Cheat days are amazing. Sunday brunches and endless mimosas are an awesome stress relief, and if you’re happy with the results than keep doing it. But if you think you could be a better version of yourself, it may be time to make some changes. Ask yourself how you feel on Monday and how you’d like to feel. Does overeating on the weekend solve a problem or does it create one? Does it enable you to succeed towards your goals?
I encourage you to let Friday be the stepping stone to the weekend. Have a couple drinks with friends but pair them with a healthy dinner, even if you’re at a WingNuts. Try a cleaner drink like wine or a martini vs. beer or a margarita. Take the bagel off your plate Saturday morning. Yes, they’re delicious and yes, a bacon egg and cheese bagel sandwich is just about my favorite food in the world, but the bagel is optional and offers very little nutritional value. Sure I miss it and frequently crave the taste but my end goals far outweigh a bagel sandwich or half pizza every week. Eat a healthy snack before Sunday brunch. And make the decision to finish the day the way you started it, with your end goals in mind.
In my world, weekends were a way to destress and self-medicate. I rearranged my mindset to break the cycle of two steps forward and one step back by:
– Owning up to my food decisions;
– Aiming for Good instead of perfect:
– Getting rid of the f*&k it mentality;
– And giving up the Cheat Days.
Ultimately you’re the boss of you and you should make all the decisions. But if your choices are not taking you where you want to be, don’t be too proud to ask for help. We have excellent resources with Nutrition WOD’s free Macro and Meal Timing Calculator and Registered Dietitian Amanda Maucere firstname.lastname@example.org.