Sunday, 9 October 2011

How I cope with food choices on the weekend

Do you eat well/train hard all week, only to ruin it on the weekend with bad food choices and alcohol?  You are allowed to say yes - most will agree!

Most of my challenges over the weekend are:
Actually remembering to eat when I am supposed to
Being able to chose healthy snack options while out and about
Balancing the additional exercise I do (because of the extra time) with the food I usually eat

This is where we prove that we can make the right call under pressure (time, money and socially) and we can live our lives on the weekend without feeling like we are missing out.

Here are some tips that keep me on the straight and narrow for the 2 days away from organised chaos.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast within 1 hour of waking.  It's always good to start the day with good intentions right?  I tend to make my porridge a bit bigger on the weekend.  Or trick treat myself to a protein pancake (naughty but healthy right?)
  • Be prepared.  If you know you are heading out for the whole day - try and take some snacks with you.  Yoghurt would be a silly idea (unless you want to lug a cooler around) but a protein ball or muffin will keep in your purse for a few hours.
  • Try to make a healthy eating plan that suits your surroundings.  If you know you are going to Westfield or central London with your partner or mates, try and direct them somewhere healthier for lunch. I would chose a sandwich with fresh mango/lime from Pret over a burger from McDonalds any day.  I know this is a personal choice but I find it helps me if I know at least some of the nutritional information (from the packet) of the food before I decide.
  • Be careful about drinking your calories.  Many people ask me if I still enjoy a drink and the answer is YES!  However, I will always pick a vodka, fresh lime and soda over a 500ml cider or Jack and Coke.  I really do recommend checking out some tools online to see how your favourite drink fares against what else is out there.
  • If you have been to the pub and then suddenly its 1am and everyone want's to go for a kebab or dirty chicken afterwards, you can still say yes, but just be careful about what meat/chips/sauces you go for.  I haven't eaten a kebab in years, however I used to always ask for the meat at the top (meat on the bottom has all the fatty gross stuff that has seeped its way down from the top), tabbouleh / salad, a small amount of hummus, chillies (for the metabolism), a small amount of garlic sauce and no mayo or other sauces.  Honestly, do you know how much sugar is in one table spoon of ketchup? Especially the bulk ketchup your local chicken joint buys.  If its cheap, they buy it.  Not if its low in salt/fat/sugar - just for you.
  • Keep busy.  If you are at home relaxing and you feel yourself getting hungry, try not to eat just because you are bored.  If it isn't a time you would usually eat, just ask yourself, am I hungry because I am bored? Am I hungry because its time to eat? Am I hungry because I actually had time to run longer than 30mins and now I need to refuel?  Drink some water and answer your own question as best you can.  
  • Be passionate about your food when you are at home, however if you are cooking your meals for the week - make sure you are full so you don't pick at what you are preparing.
  • Last but certainly not least.  Do not beat yourself up if you do feel you have gone a little overboard.  You have not ruined everything.  You have not put yourself back to square one.  You are living your life!  This is not a race to the finish.  This is not a destination.  This is a journey and a lifestyle.  
I hope this helps just a little.  I really enjoy the structure of my working days because I know where I stand with food, break times and work routine.  It is bad enough heading to work on a Monday morning without the extra feeling of guilt about what I have eaten over the last 2 days.

How do you get through the weekend?  Do you prepare snacks? Are you as regimented as Monday - Friday?  Or do you see it as a "treat" and a "break" from your regular routine?


  1. This post was really informative!! I hopped over here after reading your guest post on 'Where are my Knees?' and I'm glad I did! I'm terrible at the weekends, at the moment I'm in a really bad position of being good all week and thinking i've made to the weekend and now I can eat what I want! I need to get out of this rut!!
    I'm now following you and aboutto look back through your posts to see what other info I can get out of your blog!!
    I'll look forward to reading more posts from you!
    Sam xx

  2. Hi Sam, thanks so much for writing to me! I am glad it was helpful for you. It is tricky being good for 5 days and then being dumped in the deep end on the weekend. We all need to live our lives, fit into social situations, be happy and healthy at the same time. Hopefully you can find that right balance that fits your lifestyle - and make some healthier choices :) You know, my friends always roll their eyes and say "bleh Jenn wants a salad"... but they always end up coming with me :) xx