15 ways to stay on track this weekend
Monday mornings are hard enough as it is without the guilt of an overindulgent weekend hanging over our heads. We obsess over the calories we ate and regret the choices we made, only to do it all over again the next weekend. Overindulging on the weekend can undo all the hard work we put in on weekdays, so here’s our top tips to help you to stay on track this weekend.
Change your mindset
We place weekends on a pedestal but they’re no different to any other day. We have more free time and social events on our hands but there’s no reason why our eating habits should be so different from your average weekday. Apply the same healthy eating principles you follow during the week to your weekend and shun that voice that urges you to overindulge just because ‘it’s the weekend’.
Start your weekend right
Satisfy your sweet tooth with our blueberry and maple pancakes and knock those cravings on the head early. If that's not your thing, try our salmon and goat’s cheese toast, scrambled eggs, or even just some peanut butter and banana on toast. Feeling creative? Pull a meal together with the food you already have at home using our Create Your Own Recipe tool. And did you know that you can swap and replace every ingredient in our recipes? Replace ingredients you don’t have, can’t have or don’t like for those you do with just one click.
Make healthy food choices the majority of the time
It’s not impossible to stick to a diet 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year but it is unrealistic. Focus on making healthy food choices the majority of the time.
Lose the ‘all or nothing’ attitude
Sometimes we slip up, eat off plan or overindulge. It happens, but continuing to make the wrong food choices or eat off-plan all weekend because of one ‘bad’ meal is like slashing all your tyres because you had one flat tire. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Cut your losses, accept what’s happened and make your next meal a Fitlap one. Try this easy mushroom and leek pasta that's big on flavour, low in calories.
Don’t deprive yourself during the week
To many of us, the weekend symbolises relaxation and is an opportunity to release the stress that’s been building up throughout the week. That could be a sign that you’re pushing yourself too hard during the week so it might be time to reassess your weekday eating habits. Depriving yourself of food can backfire over time. You begin to crave, and become reliant on your next sugar fix. Those cravings snowball, become harder to resist and eventually you give in to temptation. So learn what is manageable for you. The best diet is one that you can stick to long-term. Be consistent throughout the week and avoid pushing yourself to the limit during the week if it means that you then have to spend the weekend recovering.
If it feels too difficult to prepare all four meals in your daily planner off the bat, start with one. Prepare one Fitlap meal from your meal plan every day and increase that number as your confidence grows and as you begin to feel more comfortable with your meal plan. Start with breakfast. Fix yourself something quick and easy and take that positive 'can do' attitude forward in the rest of the day.
Make healthy food swaps
Make small but significant and easy swaps to cut calories. Swap fried chicken for grilled, fries for vegetables or a salad, and a full-fat Coke for water or zero calorie alternative. You won’t believe how many calories you could cut from your diet by making these small tweaks.
If you know that you’re going to be super busy over the weekend, make and freeze a few healthy meals before the weekend rears it’s beautiful head. If you can’t stomach the idea of meal-prepping for the weekend, stock up on healthy, pre-cooked staples so you can pull something together in record time when you need to. Pre-cooked grains like lentils, rice and quinoa, tinned tuna, sweetcorn and beans and also frozen vegetables are all great options that can be your weekend saviours.
Swap takeaways for fakeaways
Many of us reward ourselves with takeaways after a long, hard week. One indulgent, off-plan meal a week isn’t the end of the world but overindulging with takeaways on a regular basis can cause your progress to plateau. Cut hundreds of calories and turn up the flavour by ditching your takeaway for a fakeaway. Our chicken biryani, baked fish and chips or DIY Nandos make the perfect fakeaway meals at only a fraction of the calories.
Minimise your alcohol intake
Alcohol isn't referred to as 'empty calories' for no reason. A gram of alcohol contains 7 calories. They eat into our daily calorie allowance whilst offering zero nutritional benefits. The number of calories in a bottle of beer, cider, or bottle of wine aren't shown on the bottle, which is a clever way of making us ignore the liquid calories we consume and the damage they do. Remind yourself of why you want or need to lose weight in the first and fight the incredibly short-lived benefits of alcohol.
Swap sugar laced mixers for low calorie alternatives
If you do decide to have a tipple or two, opt for low sugar and low calorie mixers. Gin and slimline tonic with a slice of pink grapefruit, vodka with soda water and lime, a white wine spritzer or even a cheeky Cuba Libre with diet Coke are low calorie options. Straight wine, ciders, beers and cocktails laden with sugar, not so much which, as a self-confessed espresso martini lover, is not easy for me to say.
Keep a few snacks handy when you're out and about
Arm yourself with healthy snacks when you’re out and about at the weekend to prevent hunger pangs and avoid impulsive purchases. Our sticky chocolate brownies will do the job.
Most of us have more free time on the weekends. Make the most of it by getting out in the sunshine for your daily dose of exercise and vitamin D. ‘Be active’ is a deliberately ambiguous term. For some it means a 30 minute yoga session, for others a 10k run, 20 minute HIIT session, or an hour walk in the forest. The activity you choose isn’t important; it's just important to do something. You can try one of our 15 minute HIIT sessions out for size if you’re looking for inspiration.
Do some damage limitation
Overindulged? Go for a walk to aid digestion and increase the amount of calories burnt that day.
Catch those Zzz’s
Late nights can be fun but we’re not at our best when we’re tired. Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and an increased appetite. We often go in search of something to comfort us when we’re tired and many of us find comfort in food. Find a bedtime routine that works for you and aim to get between 7.5-9 hours sleep a night to stay focused and keep your diet on track throughout the weekend. You’ll feel the difference in your body, attitude and mind immediately.
All the photos in this post are taken from Fitlap's healthy eating and nutrition plan. Sign up or sign in to see all these recipes and hundreds more with every recipe tailored to your personal portion size.