The structure provided by your weekly schedule makes it easier to stick to your plan. The weekend is when you are likely to relax your rules, and spend a little too much time on the couch. These tips will help make your weekend as active as your week days!
Be a weekend warrior.
Reserve the weekend to do activities that are more challenging. Take advantage of any extra free time. Play in a sports tournament or sign up for a tennis lesson. Team sports, hiking, indoor rock climbing, biking, an organized race, or a racquetball match are perfect for an active weekend.
Stay out of the seat.
If your weekend is full of seated activities, get moving! Are you a spectator at the sports complex? Walk around the field during the game, or climb the bleachers during halftime. Ask your friend to take a walk with you before or after you meet for coffee. Catch up on your favorite television shows while you are on the treadmill, or do a set of push-ups, squats, and crunches during each commercial break.
Complete a project on your to-do list.
You can torch hundreds of calories while doing household chores. If you have to choose between a lengthy workout and checking something off your to-do list, pick an active project and get it done. Rearrange the living room furniture, wash the windows, or organize the boxes in the garage. We often don’t think of these as workouts but, as long as you are moving, you are burning more calories than while sitting on the couch.
Stretch and relax.
A break from high-energy exercise is a good thing. Quiet activities such as stretching, progressive relaxation, and meditation are beneficial to health. Get the break you need, but use the weekend downtime for a stress-relieving activity that gets you ready to start a productive week.
Get seven to nine hours of sleep.
It is tempting to stay up late or sleep in on the weekends, but the more closely you stick to your regular sleep schedule, the better you will feel. Late nights disrupt sleep cycles, and leave you too tired to exercise. If you feel like you need more sleep, incorporate a nap. The National Sleep Foundation states that a 20-30 minute nap improves alertness and performance without interfering with normal sleep patterns.
Many people experience an increase in appetite when training for events that require long, intense exercise sessions. Adequately fueling your body for the activity is important, but increased hunger makes it easy to overconsume calories.
Stick with healthy foods.
Don’t use your increase in exercise as a way to justify filling up on junk foods. Your body needs to replenish the nutrients used during exercise. Healthy foods will aid in your recovery and help support your immune system. Choose nutrient-dense foods with fiber and protein to stay full and satisfied.
Plan your snacks.
Take note of when you feel hungry and how that relates to your exercise time. Do morning workouts leave you famished in the afternoons? Plan your snacks accordingly.
Know your goals.
An increase in exercise increases your calorie needs. You might be hungry because you truly need more food. Determine if your training goal is to maintain weight or lose weight. Use MyFoodDiary to determine your calorie needs based on your new level of activity, then add nutritious foods to your meals and snacks to help reach your weight goals.
Recognize true hunger.
Identify your hunger cues correctly. Intense training programs commonly cause disruptions in your sleep and stress levels. This can lead to a change in hormones that trigger hunger, cravings, and emotional eating. Dehydration is also often mistaken for hunger.
Stop when you feel full.
After a long run or bike ride, you might feel that you’ve earned a large meal only to leave the table feeling stuffed and uncomfortable. Eat mindfully and stop eating as soon as you start to feel full.
It’s possible for fitness goals to be too specific. When you select an exact goal weight or a specific time for completing a race, you put emphasis on perfection. If you slightly miss your goal weight or if you don’t meet your target race time, you feel like a failure. This way of viewing fitness undervalues the progress you have made, because you are striving for what you picture as an ideal result.
Take your focus off of a golden number. If your goal is to lose 20 pounds in 6 months and you lose 19, you have accomplished a lot. But you may be so focused on not reaching 20 that you fail to see your progress. Use ranges for all of your goals. Lose 18 to 20 pounds, or reach a goal weight of 145 to 150 pounds. Eat 3 to 5 servings of vegetables, or finish the 5K in 30 to 33 minutes. Goals that include a range are specific enough to motivate you, but they put less pressure on perfection, allowing you to celebrate your progress.
Select supporting goals
While your main goal may be weight loss, other health indicators may help you stay motivated too. By tracking your blood pressure, heart rate and body fat, the positive changes in these areas can serve as motivation when you hit a plateau on the scale. Exercise goals work in a similar way. Maybe you can’t run 6 miles yet without walking, but your upper body strength or lower body flexibility may have increased beyond your expectations.
Set up a schedule to measure your progress regularly. Weigh yourself weekly, measure your blood pressure every month, or assess your body fat every three months. This allows you to adjust your program if you aren’t seeing the changes you want while allowing enough time for your new habits to have a positive impact on your health.
The summer heat can derail your best intentions for an afternoon workout, so exercise in the morning. It’s best to avoid outdoor exercise between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm when the sun is at its strongest. Heat and humidity during this time forces you to decrease the intensity or length of your workout and can put you at risk for overheating. The cooler temperatures and less intense sun make a morning workout more enjoyable.
Summer is the best time to take advantage of the vitamins, minerals and plant nutrients in fresh produce. Using fruits and vegetables to fill up with fewer calories will help you reach your summer weight loss goals. Lighten up side dishes with fresh salads and grilled vegetables, and satisfy your sweet tooth with seasonal fruit.
Step 4: Plan ahead for treats
Summer isn’t quite the same without an occasional popsicle or scoop of ice cream. Plan for these treats by adjusting your food intake and your workouts to compensate for the extra calories. Skip a second helping at dinner so you can have dessert, or save treats for the days you can commit to a more intense workout.
Step 5: Create a restful evening routine
The change in daylight hours during the summer may influence your bedtime. When it’s still bright out at 8:00 pm, it can be more difficult to wind down from the day in preparation for a good night of rest. Create a routine that signals your body that it’s time for sleep. Close the blinds and end screen time 1 to 2 hours before you are ready to go to sleep.
Meal delivery services that bring recipes and ingredients to your door are a growing trend for those who want to cook more. If your goal is weight loss, your priorities may be different than the average consumer. Below are a few things to investigate as you choose a meal delivery service that is right for you.
Are there options that meet your weight loss needs?
Many of these services provide healthier options, but that doesn’t always mean they will fit your calorie and nutrient needs for weight loss. Some recipes can look deceivingly healthy, only to have upwards of 900 calories and over 1,000 milligrams of sodium in a serving. It’s important that the nutrition information for the recipes be available to you before you make the commitment to sign up for the service.
Do the meals contain enough vegetables?
The goal of these services is to make cooking easier, which means many recipes turn to simple ingredients like pasta and rice. Others may contain only a piece of fish and a starch like mashed potatoes. Be sure the recipes offered use plenty of vegetables for balanced nutrition. If you find yourself constantly adding your own salad to every meal, the delivery service may not be a good investment.
Does the amount of prep fit your needs?
New recipes can help prevent boredom and help you discover new foods you enjoy. It’s important to be realistic about how adventurous you want to be in the the kitchen. If the recipes you order are filled with unfamiliar ingredients and require more skill than you expect, at the end of the week you might find your shipment still sitting in the refrigerator with other untouched ingredients. If you are new to cooking, choose a service that provides simple, healthy foods and plenty of instruction to keep you from feeling overwhelmed.
Is there a local service available?
Many delivery services operate nationally and regionally, but more and more local services are popping up in larger cities. While either can be a good option, local services are worth exploring. Recipe kits shipped from far away may contain ingredients that have wilted or spoiled during transit. If a local company is sourcing from farms and stores nearby, your ingredients may be fresher than what national companies can provide.