Is it getting some much-needed time to yourself?
Hanging out with the family?
Taking a weekend trip to that place you saw on Instagram?
There are two ways to look at the weekend—a reward or a recharge period.
The reward approach treats surviving the past week as such, a reward. It’s built around celebrating and indulging in the things you crave and enjoy, with little to no regard for the after effects.
The recharge approach focuses on using the weekend to relax and enjoy, while also giving your body the ample rest and recovery it needs to excel in the following week.
Depending on the camp you choose, it can have a massive impact on your health goals and whether or not you toss them out the window as soon as the clock strikes 5pm on Friday.
Can you guess which camp tends to let go of their goals when that time rolls around?
Here’s the reality—you don’t have to say no all weekend to reach your health goals. Going out to dinner, having drinks, indulging in some dessert, is awesome (and necessary), but when it’s your entire weekend, it can become a roadblock.
But don’t worry, we’re about to knock this roadblock down. Here are 5 weekend health tips you can use to live it up Friday through Sunday, without derailing your health, wellness, or weight loss.
The first tip is easy—drink plenty of electrolyte-rich water. Weekends can end up packed full of errands, commitments, kid’s sporting events, and get-togethers. All this running around demands good hydration.
Staying properly hydrated over the weekend will keep your digestive system moving, help you stay energized, aid you in your weight loss goals, and flush out toxins from any drinks or processed snacks that slipped in on Friday night.
If you’re drinking bottled or tap water, it most likely contains trace amounts of electrolytes, like potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sodium. Electrolyte water is infused with loads more of these essential minerals that get depleted when we exercise, are sick, or drink alcohol.
To win the weekend, start by stocking your fridge with electrolyte water. Order a bottle of Hi Lyte, which is full of high-quality electrolytes without any added calories or sugar. Pick up a few cartons of coconut water, which has five-times more electrolytes than Gatorade. Or make your own electrolyte cocktail—Just mix 2 cups of water with 1 and ½ cups of coconut water, ¼ cup of lime juice, ¼ cup of lemon juice, and a ¼ teaspoon of salt.
Protein is the single most important nutrient for weight loss. It reduces appetite, impacts several weight-regulating hormones, and boosts metabolism. Protein digests slowly in our bodies, giving us adequate fuel, satiation, and energy throughout the day.
Setting a protein goal and sticking to it is important if you want to lose weight and see results. Over the weekends, say “more, please” to protein, and fit it into each meal.
Add chia and hemp seeds to your morning oatmeal. Toss some lentils or chickpeas on your salad for lunch. Include chicken or salmon in your dinner. If you know your weekend meals tend to lack the proper amount of protein, consider supplementing with a protein shake.
Of course, exercise assists in your weight loss goals, but the benefits of staying active stretch far and wide. Things like leveling blood sugar and insulin levels, lowering your risk of heart disease, improving sleep and sexual health, and increasing your chances of living longer all are byproducts of staying active regularly.
On the weekend, a quick workout can help you boost up that energy and feel great. It’ll fire up your metabolism and help you burn off anything extra that sneaks onto your dinner plate. Even an exercise as simple as walking offers our bodies and minds many health benefits.
This weekend, set aside some time to get moving. Pop into the gym on Saturday morning, hike with the family on Sunday, or just walk around the neighborhood for 20 or 30 minutes. In this time, your body will release chemicals that improve mood and increase those serotonin levels. It’ll lower stress, ease depression symptoms, and sharpen your thinking and mental energy.
Weekends are speckled with less-than-healthy meals, snacks, and treats.
Going out to dinner with friends? The healthiest thing on the menu might be a limp house salad with blue cheese dressing.
Spending Saturday at your son’s friend’s birthday party? Hot dogs and cake for dinner!
Family wants to get ice cream or girlfriends invite you out for drinks? Here comes the sugar train!
In a matter of 72 hours, you’ve been hit by more challenges to your health goals than the weekdays ever throw your way. This means the meals you can control matter all the more.
If you know you’re going out for dinner or might be snacking on some high-carb concessions, make sure at least one meal each day keeps the carbs nice and low. A low-carb breakfast and lunch will give you a little bumper room when you go out for dinner without pushing over your total carb intake goal.
On the weekend, you can prepare for unhealthy meals by eating intentionally beforehand, but what about unhealthy meals and snacks that sneak up on you spontaneously? How can you recover after a meal, snack, dessert, or drink that pushes you overboard?
Thankfully, living a healthy life doesn’t require 100% perfection. Weekends, like any other day of the week, only call for the 80/20 rule—a magical mindset that frees people up to achieve more and stay strong in long-term goals. If you slip up on the weekend, don’t let one bad decision spiral into three days of poor choices. Get back on your feet in your next meal!
After going out for dinner with friends or ordering a pizza with the family, plan a nutrient-packed and clean breakfast for Sunday morning. Drink plenty of that electrolyte-enriched water to flush out toxins. Enjoy a cleansing green smoothie for a post-pizza recovery. If you need a hard reset, do a deep detox to give your body a fresh restart.
By now, you already know that I’m not a fan of deprivation diets. Healthy living is more about saying yes to nutritious food and life-giving exercise than saying no to your girlfriends’ invitation to get drinks, your kid’s request for ice cream, and your spouse’s idea to grab dinner together at that burger joint you used to love when you were dating.
If you noticed, these 5 weekend-winning tips are opportunities to say yes to both life’s fun invitations and long-term health. Jot them down in your health journal and give them a try next weekend.
And if you’re serious about living a happier and healthier life, come join our next LEAN session.