Come Friday evening, after a week of clean eating and exercise, many look to take a break from the norm and loosen up their diets (and belts) a bit. Then Monday rolls around and with it brings tighter pants and rising numbers on the scale. Somehow, Friday snacking turned into three days of munchin’ and crunchin’
Although consuming higher-sodium foods over the weekend (without over-indulging) can cause weight fluctuation, if you’re known for wolfing down your favorite treat meals from Friday to Sunday like you mean it, weekend weight gain is the result. Thankfully, Joshua Bailey, personal trainer, and chef is here to provide damage control tips that allow you to enjoy the foods you love without expanding your waistline.
Safely Lower Macronutrients Before and After Weekend Indulging
Completely depriving yourself is not necessary when it comes to reaching certain goals, but planning ahead is.
Leading up to a weekend where Bailey plans to indulge a bit more than normal, he intentionally (and safely) lowers his calorie and carbohydrate intake a few days before the weekend, as well as a few days after.
“Foods and drinks that we often indulge in are usually much higher in sodium and sugar which can be quickly flushed out with a few days of upping your water intake and lowering your carbohydrate intake.” Says Bailey.
Lowering certain macronutrients before and after indulging allows you to take part in savory foods without slamming your body with too many calories over the weekend.
Consulting with a Registered dietician or certified nutritionist is a great place to start if you’re looking to lower your macronutrients pre-indulging.
Indulge for One Day or One Meal, Not the Entire Weekend
“When looking at the weekend as Friday afternoon through Sunday you are essentially giving yourself three days of indulging and only 4 days of clean eating, and this is how you cause damage.” Says Bailey. This is where weekend weight gain rears its ugly head and the hard work
you put into the gym and kitchen struggle to show up. “Doing this will stunt your progress and make reaching your goals a lot harder, if not impossible.” He explains.
Bailey gives himself a meal or two per weekend to indulge, or in other words, an evening of freedom and fun as opposed to multiple days. “Sometimes I even give myself a day of indulging but still no more than that.” He says and recommends the same for those looking to see fitness-related results.
When it comes to enjoying your favorite dressings and dips, Bailey recommends not to hold off, but to stick to the serving size and keep in mind that small condiments can add up quickly. “Sticking to the serving size on the back of a bottle, while it may be less than you really want to use, is better than using none at all. He says. This way you can take part in the flavors you enjoy without going overboard.
It’s no secret alcohol hinders results. “One thing people often fail to realize is how much alcohol can keep you from reaching your goals,” Bailey says. “People often forget to account for calories, sugars, and carbohydrates that they could be drinking rather than eating.”
Alcohol is high in sugars and carbohydrates, not to mention the unhealthy fried foods or late-night snacks that alcohol often makes us crave. “The combination of these two things could be another major reason why you’re not seeing the results that you want to see,” Baily explains.
If you want to have a night out involving drinking, make a plan of how much alcohol you’ll be consuming and what kind.
“Are you going to choose the sugary mixed drink or the club soda with lime juice and vodka?” Bailey asks. This choice, especially when practiced regularly, can place a negative impact on your overall fitness gains.
Put a Healthy Twist on Your Favorite Treat Meals
With Bailey’s love for cooking, he enjoys challenging himself in creating healthy versions of traditionally unhealthy foods; and oftentimes, his meals come out tastier than their unhealthy counterpart.
A clean twist on your favorite treat meal is a great way to feel as though you’re indulging without the unhealthy side effects. “My goal is to educate people on the pleasures of healthy eating while still being able to enjoy yourself!” he says. The internet is filled with recipe ideas that can help you turn your favorite treat meal into a cleaner, leaner version. Here’s one of Bailey’s favorite twist on a basket full of sweet potato fries for you to try!