Most people are great at sticking with their health and fitness routine during the weekdays but have trouble maintaining the same level of commitment Saturdays and Sundays. Too often the hard work during the weekdays gets overwritten by weekend activities of indulgence in alcohol and foods that don’t support the long term health and fitness goals.
Not only does this keep you from achieving your goals but it is demotivating to constantly restart your efforts.
It’s ok to take it easier over the weekends, you don’t need to be a robot to achieve a fit and healthy body. A truly healthy and sustainable diet has flexibility built in it. But too much flexibility in one way tips the scale, both figuratively and literally, in the unhealthy direction.
Why not just say “no” to the negative habits?
Often people are tempted to put a limit on how many drinks they have each weekend or how many non-complete meals they allow themselves to have. And that’s fine. However, sometimes it’s harder to stop doing unhealthy activities than it is to focus on doing more of the healthy stuff. That’s just how human behaviour works. The more we deny ourselves the pleasures of life the more likely we are to yearn them.
But, if we keep flooding our lives with healthy habits they can eventually overrun the negative stuff that we do.
Ace the weekend by setting process goals
One way to combat this struggle is by setting process goals for yourself over the weekend. Simple activities, or even “rules” that keep you keep you on track. If weekdays are the motorway to your current goal then think of weekends as taking the sightseeing route.
Unfortunately most people completely ignore the sightseeing route on the weekends. Instead they get on the motorway but travel into the wrong direction, the way that they just came from. Undoing all the distance they covered between Monday and Friday.
Taking the sightseeing route doesn’t mean that you are not going to your destination. The direction is still the same but you are simply slowing down. You are taking your time to enjoy the view before getting back on the motorway come Monday.
So what are process goals that you can set for the weekend? Here are some examples that still allow you to enjoy the view while taking the foot off the gaspedal. These act as a guiding posts along the road while keeping you going into the direction of your goals.
Eat three complete meals each day
If you need a full refresher on what a complete meal involves, click here. Otherwise let’s sum the complete meal with this: a serve of protein and a large serve of vegetables, with healthy carbs and fats tailored to your situation. When you get these meals in it means that there is far less chances to fill up your diet with unhealthy options. While still leaving a bit of room to have something that wouldn’t be a frequent visitor in your eating plan.
Think your day is a bucket. You fill the bucket with three big rocks, which are your complete meals. Once the three rocks sit in the bucket you can still pour some sand in to fill in the cracks. This sand is your treats. But if you ignore your complete meals you now have a massive bucket to fill with just the sand.
Eat each meal slowly
What slowly means for each person is different. The simple rule is to observe what you currently do comfortably and make yourself slow down just enough that it becomes challenging, but still achievable at least 90% of the time. So if at the moment you take five minutes with a meal, you could try to aim for six minutes and build up from there.
The reason this habit can be magic is that it’s the same rule for having a chicken and a salad, as it is for a bowl of nachos. Once you learn to eat slow enough you might notice that you’ll become full before finishing your meal. Leaving some of those unnecessary calories on the table.
Combining this habit with three complete meals habit is money for fat loss. While still giving you the freedom to enjoy non-complete meals without feeling like you have to binge them.
Get an hour of activity each day
Don’t tie yourself into a certain training plan on the weekends. Unless you want to, of course. These weekend activities could simply be going for a hike or playing beachvolley and other social games. This way you are still being active but you’ll get a bit of a break from your training plan and the gym environment.
Why these process goals?
All these process goals are cornerstone habits when it comes to living a healthier life. If you eat healthy for three times a day you are more likely to pay closer attention to what you have outside of those meals.
Once you learn to eat slowly while being present you are less likely to binge on other foods.
Once you are active on each day you are more likely to care about things that might have a negative effect on your health, such as smoking, binge drinking or recreational drugs.