It’s common to struggle on Sunday nights with the impending fact that Monday morning is coming and it’s back to work and back to responsibilities and routines and waking up early and hurried meals. We’ve all been there because from the time we were 5 years old we had a routine of school Monday through Friday and fun was to be had on the weekends. Weekends are when we could let loose and sleep in and eat pancakes and watch cartoons.
As young adults and adults, weekends may shift to include work or other responsibilities and commitments. It may no longer be quite as fun or relaxing. But one thing that stays constant is that people tend to feel freer to indulge in certain foods on the weekends. After all, this is what they worked so hard for during the week, and truly they deserve this treat because they had a rough week.
We’ve all probably done it. We relax with a few drinks, order the apps we would normally avoid, and eat dessert. We may even slack off with our workout routine. And then by Sunday night we’re thinking about the week and going back on our diet in time for Monday morning to start the whole cycle all over again. This week, we reason, we’re really going to stick with our diet. But then by Tuesday or Wednesday we’re polishing off a whole bag of cookies and telling ourselves we’ll start over again on Monday.
So how do we combat this? Well, if you picked up on all the dieting language in the introduction, you’ll probably realize that we’re going to get back to the opposite of dieting which is of course intuitive and mindful eating. Let’s explore how to eat freely every day of the week.
Ditch the Diet
Getting rid of the diet mentality is always an important step in finding food freedom. Realizing you don’t have to start another diet every Monday will be a huge relief every week. There are no “good foods” or “bad foods” and you actually don’t need to control every morsel of food that goes into your mouth. You don’t need to weigh yourself to know what kind of a person you are. And your day is not automatically bad if you ate when you weren’t physically hungry.
Include Weekend Foods During the Week
It may be ingrained in your mind that certain foods are only for the weekend. You may only allow pizza on Fridays, alcohol on Friday and Saturdays, or brunch on Sundays. Maybe you allow a cheat day on the weekend. Or a cheat meal. But why do you need to cheat when you can simply fit the foods you enjoy into your every day diet? And who said certain foods are only allowed to be consumed on the weekend?
Order takeout during the week when you’re too busy or uninspired to cook. Have a glass of wine or a drink if the opportunity presents itself during the week. Make pancakes or waffles ahead of time to keep in the freezer and eat for breakfast even when you have less time during the week. Have chocolate after lunch and after dinner if that’s what sounds good to you.
Sometimes we don’t eat certain foods during the week not because we don’t allow ourselves to or because we deem it a weekend-only food, but because we’re actually too busy to even think about fueling ourselves properly. We may be too pressed for time to even sit down for a meal the entire week. Once the weekend comes, of course we’re ready to indulge in every food we missed during the week.
So we need to think about preparing meals ahead of time and ensuring we’re actually eating during the week. Your meal prep doesn’t need to look perfect, with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks all laid out in Tupperware containers. At the very least make sure you’re eating meals and snacks throughout the day, then work up to preparing what you’re going to eat ahead of time. Preparation includes both making the food, and also ordering in foods.
Self-Care Saturday and Sunday
Self-care is so important every day of the week, but sometimes can be more accessible during the weekend, depending on your schedule. Make one of the days a screen free day or a day you take a break from social media. Let your work know you won’t be checking e-mails on the weekend. Tone down the kid’s activities or allow someone else to drive them to their activities. Or just go for a walk, go shopping for yourself, take a drive, or one of these non-food and non-money related self-care tips. You want to go into the week feeling like you actually got a change to relax and recharge so you don’t need to turn to food to relax or calm down.
It’s not easy and if you’re looking for help applying these tips, contact me and let’s work together.
Struggling with your relationship to food and your body? Recovering from an eating disorder or chronic dieting and in search of an experienced eating disorder registered dietitian in the Long Island, New York area or virtually in New York, New Jersey, or Connecticut? Send Christina an email to learn more about 1:1 nutrition therapy sessions!