Does this sound familiar? All week long you’ve been focused, working hard in all the roles and hats you wear and consistent with your diet and exercise routine. Then Friday evening rolls around and the thought of rewarding yourself for all the hard work of the week means you can “ease up” or have a “cheat day” on the weekend.
Our days, especially the weekdays, are high stress balancing responsibilities of work, life, family, kids and sticking with all the routines focused on your health and weight goals. It’s completely normal for you to reach for food as a source of comfort or joy at the end of the week or for it to be the focal point for connecting with friends and family.
What I found with the many clients I coached was this weekend mentality often left them heading into the start of a new week feeling guilt or shame. It’s okay to feel those feelings. And it’s also okay to seek out and try different strategies to change your weekend routine so you can break up with the weekend mentality.
5 Strategies To Ditch the Weekend Mentality For Weight Loss
Here are some strategies that I have found effective with myself and my clients to begin to break down the weekend mentality and build new routines and a mindset toward how we approach the weekend.
#1 Aim for a B
We don’t want to be perfect eaters, no A+ students needed – it sets the bar high and makes it almost impossible for you to stick to any diet for a sustained period of time. Instead, focus on progress, give yourself room to make mistakes, slip up, live, be human. When you shift your mindset, so you don’t need to be perfect, it takes the pressure off needing to eat perfect every day, whether it’s a workday or weekend, and can reduce the feelings of guilt or shame when you veer off (and you will, we all do, we’re human) from your normal routine.
#2 Scrap the “Cheat Day” mentality
Don’t give any single day of the week too much power. I’ve often found with clients when we give ourselves a “cheat day” we tend to go overdo it on that day. By the end of the day, we do not feel great – both physically and emotionally. Let yourself enjoy the foods you want, or think are off limits throughout the week instead of saving it all for one day. You may find you eat less and enjoy those foods more when you don’t have the pressure to save up, live it up in just one day.
#3 Give yourself grace
This is huge. Whatever your weight loss and health goals are, remember that the habits and routines we build to achieve the goals should be ones that we can sustain for months and years to come. There will always be times when you feel like you’ve over done it during the weekend (or even weekday). In those moments, give yourself grace, don’t dive into shame or guilt for the choices you make. Just acknowledge it happened and move on.
#4 Slow down
Give yourself permission to eat the foods you are craving or wanting but also give yourself permission to slow down. Perhaps you’ve looked forward to a big pancake breakfast on Sunday morning or Friday night takeout. Take time to savor the food, really taste it, see if it’s hitting the spot. Maybe you’ll find you’re perfectly content after 1-2 pizza slices or with a few scoops of ice cream.
# 5 Be curious
Let’s stop rationalizing every decision. People reach for food for a variety of different triggers and that is perfectly normal. If you want to make a shift, start to ask yourself why ... be curious. Asking why, approaching our “weekend mentality” with curiosity, helps us discover our triggers and emotions around certain situations. Once we uncover the why we can build a different routine and response to that trigger - whether it’s stress, boredom, exhaustion, joy, happiness or another emotion.
Food can and should be fuel and fun, nourishing and soothing. I hope you reach a point where you liberate yourself from rigid diet rules and allow yourself to enjoy – whether on a weekend or weekday. Break up with the weekend mentality by letting go of perfect, slow down, and give yourself grace so that you can start each week feeling like your cup was refilled and not feeling stressed or shamed.