On Friday night, after a week of clean eating and exercise, many want to take a break from the norm and loosen their diet (and belt) a little. Then Monday rolls around, bringing tighter pants and rising numbers. Somehow Friday's snacking turned into three days of nibbling and nibbling
Although eating higher-sodium foods over the weekend (without overindulging) can cause weight fluctuations, if you've been known for gorging on your favorite Friday-Sunday foods like you mean it, weekend weight gain is the result. Luckily, Joshua Bailey, personal trainer and chef, is here to share damage control tips that will help you enjoy the foods you love without adding to your waistline.
Safely lower macronutrients before and after your weekend indulgence
In order to achieve certain goals, it is not necessary to withdraw completely, but to plan ahead.
Leading up to a weekend when Bailey plans to indulge a little more than usual, he intentionally (and safely) lowers his calorie and carb intake a few days before the weekend and a few days after.
"Foods and drinks that we indulge in often tend to be much higher in sodium and sugar, which can be quickly flushed out if you increase your water intake and lower your carb intake for a few days," says Bailey.
By cutting back on certain macronutrients before and after eating, you can eat hearty foods without overloading your body with too many calories over the weekend.
Consulting with a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist is a good place to start if you're looking to lower your macronutrients before enjoying.
Photographer Milan Ilic / Shutterstock
Treat yourself to a day or a meal, not the whole weekend
"If you think of the weekend as Friday afternoon through Sunday, you're essentially giving yourself three days of indulgence and only four days of clean eating, and that's how you do harm," says Bailey. This is where weekend weight gain rears its ugly head and hard work
They fight to the gym and the kitchen to show up. "If you do this, you will slow down your progress and make reaching your goals much more difficult, if not impossible." He explains.
Bailey indulges in a meal or two every weekend, or in other words, an evening of freedom and fun as opposed to several days. "Sometimes I even give myself a day of pampering, but no more than that." He says and recommends the same for those who want to see fitness-related results.
When it comes to enjoying your favorite dressings and dips, Bailey recommends don't wait, but stick to portion size and remember that small condiments can add up quickly. "It's better to stick to the serving size on the back of a bottle, though it can be less than you really want to use, than not using any at all. He says. This way you can partake in the flavors you enjoy without going overboard.
Schnapps with care
It's no secret that alcohol hinders results. "One thing people often don't realize is how much alcohol can keep you from achieving your goals," says Bailey. "People often forget to account for calories, sugar, and carbs that they might be more likely to drink than eat."
Alcohol is high in sugar and carbohydrates, not to mention the unhealthy fried foods or late-night snacks that alcohol often makes us crave. "The combination of those two things could be another major reason you're not seeing the results you want," explains Baily.
If you're going to have a night out drinking, make a plan for how much and what type of alcohol you're going to consume.
"You want the sugary mixed drink or the club soda with lime juice and vodka?" Bailey asks. This choice, especially when practiced regularly, can negatively impact your overall fitness gains.
Add a healthy touch to your favorite dishes
With Bailey's love of cooking, he enjoys challenging himself by creating healthy versions of traditionally unhealthy foods; and often its meals are tastier than their unhealthy counterparts.
A clean twist on your favorite meal is a great way to feel like you're indulging without the unhealthy side effects. “My goal is to educate people about the joys of healthy eating while still having fun!” he says. The internet is full of recipe ideas that can help you turn your favorite meal into a cleaner, leaner version. Here's one of Bailey's favorite variations on a basket of sweet potato fries to try!
Courtesy of Joshua Bailey