How to be a Weekend Wellness Warrior: My Favorite Tips

So. Raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced this:

You're cruising through the week, working out, eating delicious clean food, and as far as your healthy choices are concerned, everything is smooth sailing. By the time Friday rolls around, you're brushing your shoulders off like Jay Z because you've had an exceptional week. Let’s be real: You're a regular health goddess.

TGIF- it's Friday night and you’re pulling the kale out to throw together a Caesar and watch Netflix when your phone lights up. It's the bestie, the boyfriend, your mom, or whoever- and they want to know if you feel like going to dinner.

"Sure," you say, while taking a mental vow to order something clean and stick to one glass of wine, because you're the Queen of Good Health and you revel in setting an example for your people.

Kale goes back in the fridge, wine is ordered, and menus are out - suddenly your pure intentions are out the window as you find yourself drooling a little over bacon-wrapped dates and pancetta mac ‘n cheese. Before you can pause to wonder what's become of said Health Goddess, the words “short ribs” are coming out of your mouth as if you’re a ventriloquist doll, and you’re ordering the aforementioned small plates and a second glass of wine. With a side of truffle fries. And another glass of wine.

You wake up Saturday with a pounding head (bartender clearly had a heavy hand), skip your workout in lieu of more sleep, and forgo using the last of that kale as you lay in bed ordering Fathers Office via Postmates. Unfortunately, Saturday isn't much more promising. Come Sunday and your health halo is tarnished, dented, and stashed in your underwear drawer, along with your health goals. 

I see you blushing! But you’re not alone, because even the best of us tend to loosen up on weekends...which, btw, is fine. However, when “loosening up” turns to “utter abandonment”, it’s easy to jeopardize the very health goals you were so stoked on from Monday to Friday.

Since this is a biggie that 99% of us can relate to on some level, here are a few of my secret tips to prevent a crappy Monday..

1. Schedule Some Stuff. For most of us, the weekdays are fairly structured. They probably look like some variation of this: wake up, work out, go to work, come home, make dinner, sleep, repeat. When we have obligations, meetings, places to be, it's easier to get in a healthy food and workout schedule because there is some automatic semblance of structure. But when Friday sneaks up, that's all out the door and the next 48 hours can be a real free for all.

Don't get it twisted: I’m not saying color code your weekend activities in Outlook! (In fact, I'm a spontaneous person and the idea of detailing my weekend to the hour gives me hives) But, schedule a Saturday workout or a hike with a friend or family members. Plan dinners out ahead of time sometimes, and the lead so you can suggest something healthy but fun and delish like sushi. Steak dinners at Cut are fine now and then –but when it becomes a weekend-ly occurrence, those calories add up fast.

2. Loosen Up A Little During the Week Sometimes when we’re too regimented during the week, the weekends become a natural time to rebel. Think about it- your groceries are getting stale, your friends are going out – plus there’s something about the idea of “starting clean” on Monday that pushes us toward trying to really take advantage of the weekend when it comes to food, drink, and skipping activity. Don’t swear off that dark chocolate just because it’s Wednesday or decline Happy Hour because you’re trying to save calories: by the time the weekend rolls around, you’re likely to be feeling more satisfied than you might after being overly strict for 5 days.

3. Keep Fridays Sacred I’ve noticed that when people start partying/eating out/etc. on Friday, it tends to span out over the entire weekend, even spilling over to Monday sometimes (because if you’re over the age of like, 28, you know that hangovers do not simply last for one day). Friday doesn’t have to be lame though: dress up (eg, swap your yoga pants for jeans), make an awesome healthy but indulgent tasting dinner that you eat at the table with the sig other/BFF/yourself. Go to a movie, have a picnic, walk on the beach and have a meaningful conversation with a friend or just unwind. The upsides? A. You automatically increase the chances of doing some sort of physical activity the next day when you’re not feeling yucky. 2. You won’t need In N Out to make your stomach feel better 3. You may even feel extra proud of yourself and make better choices when you enjoy Saturday night. Score!

4. Don’t Wallow. So you still had one of those weekends. It happens- just let it go and don’t let yourself get wrapped up in guilt- it will only make matters worse. Think about what you can take away from the situation, spend the day binge watching Breaking Bad if need be, and start fresh on Monday (but maybe re-read these tips) PS: Fight the urge to “finish the weekend off” with something that doesn’t fuel you – you’ll kickstart a new week much more easily if you end the weekend on a high note.

 5. Consider Your Priorities. Hate to be the bearer of bad news here, but too many wild nights will take their toll. I give my full stamp of approval on enjoying nights out, having fun, drinking wine, and ordering truly  indulgent meals once in a while- but at some point you may have to decide what you’re willing to do to achieve the level of health you’re looking for (Hint: balance is possible). Being hungover 2 or 3 days a week is not only compromising to your health but also productivity, energy, and about a dozen other things. So think it through and get honest with yourself- if you're consistently so wiped from your weekends that it's affecting your productivity and health, it may be time to check in with yourself.