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You know the drill: You stay faithful to your weight loss plan all week, planning all of your meals and snacks, and sticking to a regular exercise plan. You even tell yourself that you’re earning a “treat” this weekend. Maybe you’re planning to enjoy a brownie, or perhaps you’re hoping to take a rest day. But then the weekend rolls around, and you enjoy that treat… and then another… and then another. You just can’t stop yourself! Before you know it, the weekend is over, and you’ve spent two days undoing all of your hard work from the week before.
You know this habit is destructive, but it’s so addictive! How do you stop? You can put an end to the weekend binges by following these steps.
Continue tracking your meals. If you keep a food journal, don’t abandon it on your “treat days”. Just seeing, in writing, how many treats you’re really consuming will help you get a grip on reality.
Plan ahead. The reason your eating plan falls apart on the weekends is that you don’t have a plan! Continue to plan your meals, and go shopping for necessary ingredients before the weekend begins. If you’re allowing yourself a treat, such as a dessert or a special meal, include it in your plan, but otherwise stick to your weight loss diet.
Keep an eye on portions. If your reward is a restaurant meal, remember that most restaurants serve unrealistically large portions. Ask a friend to split the meal with you, or order off of the appetizer menu. You might even ask for a to-go box, and box up half of the meal before you begin eating.
Avoid temptation. Weekends can be a problem, due to social events and parties where tempting foods are served. No one is saying that you shouldn’t socialize, but employ strategies to keep yourself in check. Bring your own snacks to potluck parties, eat a healthy snack before the event, and remember to drink plenty of water to keep yourself feeling full.
Shift your “reward day” to a weekday. Perhaps there is just too much temptation on the weekends, and allowing yourself a treat always seems to snowball into more and more cheating. Does this sound familiar? You know yourself better than anyone, and if you know that weekends are dangerous to your weight loss plan, shift your treats to a weekday instead.
Stop using food as a reward. For some people, using food as a reward only reinforces the idea that nutritious foods make us unhappy, while unhealthy foods are a goal to be reached. If this sounds like you, try using something else as a reward. Treat yourself to a massage, a manicure, a new pair of shoes, or anything that excites you.