Et tu, Weekend?

Weekends are tough for a lot people.

You find that the usual schedules no longer apply. Your house might be filled with more stressors. There are tasks to be completed, extra people to feed more meals to, and on top of your busy work week, you find weekends anything but restful.

Oftentimes, you find yourself out during meal times. You might nibble more while at home. Maybe exercise goes out the window like Aunt Mahetabel’s cat after she vomited on your favorite pair of shoes.

Weekends just don’t fit our ‘usual’ routine. For many, the weekend is met with an “I worked hard and deserve a little bit of down time” attitude. Well, sure you do! Still, it doesn’t mean your healthful eating has to end up in the flowerbeds with Aunt Rhody’s favorite hat (I’m not telling that story, and you can’t make me).

Here are a few different strategies for different folks, depending on your personality. If you fit more than one profile, don’t worry. Most of us are pretty complex. Well, that’s what my husband tells me, anyway. Well, he tells me I’m complex. Only he uses the term, “Pain in the—“. Anyway!

Routine is your friend. If you’re a person who needs routine in your life, weekends are met with consternation and fraught with anxiety. The schedule of the week with its expected events ends with the onslaught of the 48 hours where chaos reigns supreme. You have people mingling everywhere wanting to eat all the time, and half the time, they’re smuggling contraband into the house in the form of potato chips and chocolate cookies. You can’t exercise at 2pm on Saturday, because where there was peace during the week, there’s a husband looking at you across the paper while you’re watching “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and liking it! There’s no peace in the change. You need order, serenity in the expected, and you need a little peace.

Ways to make peace with your inner spaz: Schedule your weekend as best you can, to keep in following with the week. Don’t react—act! When we find ourselves helpless and frustrated and feeling like we have no control, we’re often medicating frustration and feelings of failure and being overwhelmed with food. You can’t prevent all surprises on the weekend, like the sudden death of a box turtle, but you can be reasonably prepared in advance. The goal is to keep everyone busy, including yourself, but don’t forget to schedule some time for yourself.

You deserve this, by crikey! You have worked hard all week. Your boss’s toupee fell off in your lap, and you had to stifle the urge to say, “Nice kitty!” or swat it on the floor and yell, “Expecto Patronum!” Now it is blessed Friday. Not only are you going to avoid exercise like a bad leisure pantsuit, but you’re going to make sweet happy memories with a quart of Ben and Jerry’s Love Me Lovehandles chocochocomocha. You’re the master (or mistress) of your domain and if you want the cheesy doodles, then pass the napkins, because I’m not leaving orange squidgymarks on the remote control. Hedonism is the call to arms, and your arms are laden with high carb products. This is how you relax, and food does stimulate some of the pleasure sensors in the brain. Nascar? Notsomuch.

Ways to make peace with your innerstressed-out munchmonster
: Realizing that life is just a series of annoyances no matter how thin or fit we are makes a huge difference. Even when we’re so fit the UN declared your rear end in a pair of jeans as a Peace Accord unto itself, you’re still going to find that the dog pooped on your favorite sweater, your boss still asks you to call him “Stella” and your kids still think Marilyn Manson is a fashion statement. What you deserve after a long week is relaxation from stress, but not from health. Taking time for yourself should not encompass food but activities you enjoy which don’t relegate themselves to noshing. Exercise is very relaxing, and it needn’t be overwhelming to kick those feelings of calm into gear.

Out and About and On the Town. It’s the weekend and you’re not home. You have errands to run, golf balls to swing into the trees and the patio homes off of the 8th hole. Because you’re not home, you’re going to have to eat, and because it’s easy to eat at Pongo Pete’s Pants Pizza, you’re going to make the exception this time. You’re out, what the heck. So you got for the extra double triple, and before you can say Robert’s your father’s brother, you’re out for dinner, too. You find yourself with a nightlife (and want to boogie) and you’re not making the best choices when it comes to your eating.

Ways to make peace with your inner Zoom Zoom Zoom: Let’s face it. If you know you’re not going to be home, you need to plan ahead. Having an emergency kit or a lunch packed, a bottle of water and comfortable clothes goes a long way when you’re spending your time going from here to there. If you know you’ll be out for lunch, it only takes 5 minutes on your lunch break on a Friday to check out an online menu at the local Sushi Parlor. Take that time. You’re organized, so use those skills to set yourself up for success. Instead of treating yourself to food, treat yourself to fun or to a non-food reward. You deserve it, for all you do. But not the Jaws of Life and certainly not the carb hangover!

Don’t get me more wrong than plaid legwarmers: It’s tough sticking to the weekday schedules and goodness of your weight loss plan and exercise schedule on weekends. Being able to understand how your brain works and what you need to stick to your plan for life makes all the difference for success in the long-term. What makes for Scooby Gang trouble is spending 2/7 of your week undoing all the good you’ve done Monday through Friday.

If you’re tired, sleep. If you’re upset, kick box your stuffed Pink Panther doll. If you’re happy, spend the time counting the blessings. And, of course, of you’re feeling thinner, step on the scale and celebrate how well you’re doing, or write your senator and tell him you have UN-approved rear end, and you’re armed for world peace. Those non-scale victories matter, too.

You’re making changes for life, so be kind to yourself. But not too kind. You’re still trying to undo loving your left thigh with the doughnuts last weekend.

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