PART 1 – 7 REASONS WHY YOU’RE FALLING OFF THE WAGON
👉 Are you someone who eats in a reasonable way from Monday morning to Friday afternoon, or from breakfast until late afternoon? Then as soon as the weekend rolls around or you arrive home after work everything goes haywire?
By the time the weekend or night is over you’ve eaten or drunk way too much, often of the foods you wouldn’t normally choose. This leaves you feeling crappy, bloated, guilty, regretful and ashamed, maybe even angry at yourself. 😬😡How many of you are saying, I can so relate to this, this is me to a tee! 🥯🍟🍕🧀🍧🥧🍰🍪🍩🥤🍷🍾🍺
As a result of this your workout the next day sucks and any progress you’ve made towards having the body you want has been erased thanks to this period of eating or boozing mayhem. It might even seem like nighttime or weekend eating is so strong, it’s like a recurring disease. Let’s call it Weekenditis.
So why is this, you might ask. 🤷♀️ Is it habit, complete lack of control, mindset related or perhaps lack of planning and preparation? Here’s a few insights as to how it happens:
You have an eating routine that is ‘perfect’ and follow strict meal plans to the last teaspoon from Monday morning to Friday afternoon or breakfast to dinner. You get so sick of the boring, restrictive eating that you can’t wait to eat food you actually enjoy in the evening or on the weekend.
⭕️ Always go 100%
After you create your ‘perfect’ meal plan or ‘diet rules’, you start worrying about screwing them up. You create a sense of failure that justifies overeating. For example, “It’s Saturday, and I’m out with my family and I can’t have my regular pre-portioned perfect chicken salad like I usually do for lunch, so instead I’ll just take this opportunity to overeat on my favourite pizza!
⭕️ Trade off good behaviour
You think “good eating” during the week gives you permission to be “bad” on the weekends. Or “good” eating during the day gives you permission to be “bad” at night.
⭕️ The “Screw It”! Mentality
If you overeat on the “wrong” foods, you don’t stop eating. You’ve already stuffed up your perfect eating for the day so you might as well take the opportunity to completely over indulge.
⭕️ Cheat Days
Monday to Saturday is your diet routine, but Sunday – that’s cheat day! You use the day to eat and drink whatever you want, and you know you’ve gone overboard but it doesn’t matter because tomorrow, it’s back to the rules and strict compliance.
⭕️ Live out familiar stories you tell yourself
This could be anything from “I’ve been so busy today that I don’t have time to prepare anything healthy, plus I deserve a treat”. Or maybe you were travelling, or just at home feeling alone or bored. Any story will do.
⭕️ Avoid the void
It’s after dinner, or Sunday afternoon, or you’re driving home from work. For a brief time, nobody is demanding your attention and you’re alone, tired and needing to relax. With this big empty space, what do you do with yourself? Eat of course.
🙋♀️🙋♂️ So many of you are going to be thinking right now that this has been written just for you, as you can identify with absolutely all of this! Being a Monday, this is perfect timing as the weekend just gone has been not so good on the healthy eating front. So what can you do about it?
PART 2: CURING “WEEKENDITIS”
⭕️⭕️ Last week we gave a few insights into why ‘Weekenditis’ happens, how everything can go so well during the week and then completely fall apart on the weekend. Let’s now look at some solutions.
❌Problem – Perfectionism
✅Solution – Be ‘Good Enough’
The decent method you follow is better than the perfect method you quit. Be reasonable and instead of ‘perfect’, try for a little bit better. Instead of ‘the best choice’ try for ‘a wise choice’.
❌Problem – All or nothing
✅Solution – Consider your options
All or nothing thinking gives you two options: perfect or failure. In reality there are several options. What are the ‘pretty good’ or ‘okay’ options? Is there an option that is ‘just a little bit better’?
❌Problem – Good/bad tradeoffs
✅Solution – Be reasonable
Forget about good versus bad, instead come back to your values and deeper principles when making choices.
❌Problem – The “screw it”! mentality
✅Solution – Learn your hunger and fullness cues and notice when and where you are likely to say ‘screw it’!
‘Normal eaters’ eat when they are hungry and stop when they’re full. They don’t have strict ‘rules’. No matter if it’s Wednesday or Saturday, a family dinner or cocktail party, they eat to their internal cues and values (eg a stronger, leaner, healthier body). Following rigid rules almost always inevitably leads to overeating rubbish. Once we deviate from the ‘rules’, we have nothing left to guide us.
❌Problem – Cheat days
✅Solution – Cultivate an abundance mindset
Having a ‘cheat day’ means the rest of the week is punishment. Scarcity makes us feel anxious and greedy. If you tell yourself you can have X food on Saturday, this fuels the idea of overeating because you know you can’t have it again until next Saturday. Abundance on the other hand allows us to feel calm, satisfied and fulfilled. You know there is enough food and can simply say, ‘not right now’.
❌Problem – Scripts and stories
✅Solution – Notice and challenge the stories you’re telling yourself
Our brains may tell us that we eat because we’re bored, busy, travelling, working (or not working), or having family dinners (or eating alone) or any other justifiable ‘reasons’. These stories can make us feel like we don’t have choices, like we can’t control our actions and are victims of circumstances, making us feel powerless. The alternative is to accept and allow these feelings, notice when you are telling yourself stories or playing out familiar scripts. Then consider how much control you actually do have over your actions.
❌Problem – The Void
✅Solution – Get out of your head and into your life
The rush and noise of the busy week drowns out quieter things like simply being alone, lack of real connections, lack of meaning and purpose. Reaching for a snack or glass of wine is better than facing the emptiness, sadness or loneliness. We struggle to sit with that ‘nothing’ feeling. Try to fill that void with something. If you’re lonely, reach out and help others. Find a way to share your kindness and care. If you’re feeling adrift, start chasing a purpose that excites you. It could be a new project or a hobby. If you find yourself in that ‘void’ often, add meaningful activity to your weekends. Importantly make sure this is ‘quality’, not ‘quantity’.
🤔Have a really good think about the areas that you can make improvements to, so that when each Monday morning rolls around, you are not swimming in guilt, from another weekend of complete disarray with your eating.