How is it that Monday through Friday, you’ve got this razor-sharp focus with exercise and eating healthy? Yet when it’s time to clock out at the end of the week, you’re ready to let loose — especially of the clean-eating plan you followed all week long? It’s a vicious cycle of “wildin’ out” for a couple of days, and then trying to make up for it during the week.
“Being highly disciplined on weekdays causes a subconscious state of deprivation from indulgences,” explains Scott Spackey, a behaviorial specialist and life coach, who counsels on all addictions, including food. “This triggers a need to overcompensate on the weekends.”
Don’t blow your weight-loss mission, beast it — no matter what day of the week it is. Try these expert strategies before the cycle continues:
Stop depriving yourself
“We feel the need to be free because we’re so restricted,” says Shawn Stevenson, bestselling author, speaker and creator of The Model Health Show. “Give yourself permission to have pleasure during your week, whether it’s a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate. If you don’t, you’ll explode at some point.” Note: That’s one glass of wine.
Lean on visual reminders
“Put a reminder on your phone starting from Thursday- Sunday that reads DO NOT BUST MY WEEK BY EATING BAD,” says Melody Blackstone, nutritionist, trainer and owner of Fitness in Motion Studio in Sterling, Va. Hey, if you can get a reminder for a hair appointment on your phone, then surely you can master this!
Shake your desire for sweets
If sugar is your challenge, find a way to get the sugary taste without the sugary damage. “Chew sugar-free gum when it gets tough,” says Mel Jones, The Motivational Philosopher,” a powerful thinking coach and personal trainer. “It will distract your mind and save you from the extra calories.”
Upgrade the quality of your indulgences
“Instead of having greasy take-out, go to a place that has organic or gluten-free items,” Stevenson says. “You’re upgrading the quality of the ingredients you’re eating. Choose fresh over super-processed. Be conscious of what you’re putting in you.”
Make weekend plans
Don’t just think about food and workouts for the work week. Strategize for the weekend, too, our experts say. “Schedule your rest days during the week and stay active with workouts on the weekend,” Blackstone says. Makes sense. Just the idea of having worked out may keep you from over-indulging in junk.
Kick off the weekend healthy
“If you know you’re going out Saturday night, having pizza and beer, then make the rest of the day incredible,” Stevenson says. “Have a great breakfast. Super-hydrate your system and take in more nutrients than normal with a green drink, for example. In other words, add to your bank account, because you know you’re about to make a big withdrawal!”
Visualize your success
“Make it real, make it powerful in your mind,” says Drake Eastburn, hypnotherapist and author of No Time to Waist–Powerful Hypnotic Weight Loss Secrets You Need to Know. “Think about how good it feels to slip into that little black dress, or those skinny jeans. Notice how elated you feel when looking in the mirror, and see the slim, trim, healthy woman staring back at you. Immerse yourself in the complements you’re getting from the people around you; when you feel good, you look good, and vice versa.”
Stick to the basics
“Always eat three whole meals with a protein source and a carb (rice/chicken, oat meal/eggs, turkey/sweet potato),” Jones says. “In between, stay full with snacks like nuts, fruit, a protein shake, and my favorite, a bowl of homemade guacamole (use 1-2 avocados, add sea salt, lemon juice and enjoy).”
Brunches, barbeques, baby showers and happy hours…parties! You can’t hide from them or all of the tempting food you might be around. Instead, plan ahead. Eat clean, as Jones describes above, during the hours before your event, and arrive with your own healthy dish, if possible. Once there, choose the leanest protein and veggies for your main course, and allow yourself to nibble on the treats.
Stacy Julien is co-founder and editor in-chief of Crush Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @StacyJs_fitlife.