herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

How to weekend-proof your diet

Karen Coghlan explains how to have a fun weekend without Monday regrets

Ray Foley with Nutritionist Karen Coghlan
Ray Foley with Nutritionist Karen Coghlan

The food you eat at the weekend has calories the exact same way the food you eat during the week does.

Your body doesn't change its response to the quantity of food you eat just because it is the weekend. No matter how much you convince yourself.

If you have a fat loss goal, then making mindful food choices is just as important on the weekend as it is Monday to Friday, or else you run the risk of blowing all your good work.

It is all too easy to sabotage the hard work you have put in during the week by having one too many treats over the weekend or by using food as a reward because you have had a tough week.

In two short weekend days, it is possible to erase the five good week days. What is the point in working your ass off during the week to be compliant, only for you to sabotage the progress at the weekend?

However, don't feel like you have to suffer through the weekend though either. Use the time to try new recipes or challenge yourself to create a new dish with a new ingredient you have never cooked with before.

Be fearless in the kitchen and don't be afraid to try new things. Dice up a new vegetable, try some fresh fish, or season your dish with a new spice.

Give Yourself Choice

Life happens, dinners out happen, and parties happen - and we should not be made feel bad for it. We should be able to enjoy special occasions as they arise.

However, before you decide to loosen the reins altogether and fling your diet out the window, you need to decide on how to best approach them.

You have two choices

1. To stay on plan because your goals are more important to you right now. This approach is perfectly fine as long as you don't feel that you are missing out as a result of staying on plan.

2. Plan to go slightly off plan but you must accept the consequences of this choice. If you choose to go off plan, you must accept that this will likely stall your progress. It won't undo all your progress so far, and you won't get fat overnight, but it will slow it down somewhat.

Accept the consequences of this decision and know that either choice is perfectly ok. However, if you end up feeling hard done by or have a "no fair" attitude by staying on plan then you may want to rethink your approach. It is your decision after all.

If you choose to go off-plan, then enjoy the meal or party, accept the stalled progress, and get right back on plan after.

Plan To Go Off-Plan

If you are going to a social event at the weekend, then plan in advance if you are going to go off-plan, and decide how much. Quantity of food is key here, not so much the quality.

Winging it at a party is not really a good idea as most of the time your nutritional compliance will go out the window entirely, as you act on impulse.

Do your best with food choices that are conducive towards your goals. Eat as much veggies as you can, stock up on protein, lower fats, and have moderate carbs. Allow yourself some dessert. Have a few bites of the cake, but then feel free to decide that a few bites is enough.

Ask yourself "is this going to help me reach my goals?", if not then you can say no to the extra cake. You can decide that you are happy to stop at the few bites.

At least give yourself the choice. However, just be aware that going for seconds of cake will likely stall your progress, which is totally ok, as you have made a conscious decision to do so.

But, no guilt allowed. This was your decision to make. If there is a feeling of guilt after, then you know you have not approached the occasion in the right way.

Accept your decision to go off plan and enjoy your night out. The most important thing is that you are aware of your decisions so that you don't feel guilty or like failure as a consequence.

However, don't let the night out be an excuse to spiral out of control. Get back on plan as soon as possible.

The bottom line is to be mindful about what goes into your mouth over the weekends. Two days can erase five.

Karen is a personal trainer and runs online nutrition programmes. See www.thenutcoach.com or email karen@thenutcoach.com

Reinventing Ray: Week 5

Ray Foley's usual approach to dieting, like most people, has been all or nothing. But since starting this program, he has found a better balance, which is both healthy, sustainable and enjoyable.

"Weekends are the biggest challenge for me and Kate. After a week of being good boys and girls, the temptation to go mad at the weekend is just irresistible. Wine, takeaway and chocolate are our biggest weaknesses, but since this project started, we're cutting back: we've been going for Thai take-away instead of the more stodgy options.

In terms of the booze, we're not opening a second bottle - which is a big commitment for us both.

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