For some reason, many of us find it much easier to stick to our weight-loss and fitness ambitions throughout the week, when healthy-eating is part of the standard day schedule. However, while we might spend all week working hard at improving our physical health, we can then let all of our goals go out of the window over the weekend, and over-indulge in damaging habits.
Following are just some of the ways in which your weekend binging could be sabotaging your health routine, and what you can do to stop it.
The “End-of-Week” Late Night Feast
Over-eating late at night is one of the most common binging behaviors out there. Because the things that worry us tend to create more stress as the sun goes down and the night creeps in, we frequently turn to food for comfort. At night, we have more time to reflect on our day, and this can lead some people to stress binging as a result. Another trigger that can cause late night eating is the couple of glasses of wine that you let yourself enjoy with dinner at the end of the week. Alcohol can decrease inhabitations that control the urge to over-eat, while increasing your appetite at the same time.
To avoid the end-of-week descent, try to cut back on the treats you indulge in as a reward for all of your hard work, or find a low-calorie option instead.
Sleeping in and Over-Sleeping
When the weekend arrives, we’re often tempted to sleep as much as possible, as a way of catching up on the hours we feel we have lost due to early-morning commutes and late-night trips to the gym. However, significant changes in your sleeping pattern, such as going to bed later, and waking up in the afternoon can all have a huge impact on your health.
Whether you’re oversleeping or under-sleeping, changing the amount of rest that you get can disrupt your natural sleep cycle and affect everything from your mood, to your concentration and memory. In fact, a recent study suggested that changes in sleep patterns could increase your risk of suffering from diabetes and obesity.
Try to maintain a regular routine for sleep over the weekend as much as possible – not only will it help your health, but it’ll also make Mondays less of an exhausting experience.
Weekend Binge Eating
Sometimes you can show a serious amount of discipline through the week – ignoring the candy cupboard and bypassing the vending machine, only to allow that structure to crumble during the weekend. Because you’re working through a routine during the week, you may find it easier to be organized and stricter with your intake of food. However, when the weekend rolls around, you’ll have more free time, less planning, and caution could be abandoned completely.
To avoid overeating, try using a delay tactic. Set a timer on your phone for two minutes following the urge to eat something or consumer a sugary beverage. If you can wait for longer than two minutes and bypass the immediate urge, you may be able to resist the bad habit altogether.
Social Drinking and Smoking
Plenty of people use the weekend as a perfect excuse to visit a local bar with their friends, have a few social cigarettes, and load up on their favorite alcoholic beverage. Unfortunately, the more alcohol you drink, and cigarettes you smoke, the more your heart health and blood pressure are likely to suffer.
IF you decide to go for a night out with your friends now that you don’t have to worry about getting up for work the next morning, try to keep your wits about you. To reduce the amount of alcohol you drink, take less money out with you, or join friends later in the night to lower your chances of losing control. It can also be helpful to alternate alcoholic drinks with soft drinks to lower your overall inebriation. When it comes to smoking, try to avoid venues that allow indoor smoking, and take some gum out with you so you have something to turn to as an alternative when offered a cigarette.
Marc Dressen, MSc
Personal Trainer in London
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