It’s Friday, and the weekend is looming. Think about what I said in the post title. Really? A Dietitian telling you it’s “ok to order the burger and not to exercise”? Strange, right? Let me explain….I happen to know for a fact that it is weekend eats and lack of exercise that tends to hold people up when they are trying to achieve their weight loss goals. Ok, maybe not a fact, I mean, I haven’t done a controlled research study or anything, but 90% of the people who come into my office complaining that they “can’t figure out why they aren’t losing weight” just aren’t realizing how much their weekends are negatively affecting their goals. Maybe you’re one of the few people who actually work out more on the weekends, or who eat healthier because you actually have the time to plan and cook something. But, chances are, you are not.
Want some good news? You may not need to go to the gym all the time in order to reach your goals (depending on what your goals are, of course). Yep, you read that right. According to this study, short bouts of activity added to your daily routine, such as raking leaves instead of using a leaf blower, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, chopping vegetables instead of buying pre-cut, etc. can actually improve your health in similar ways as a structured exercise routine. Does this mean you should stop exercising? No. But it does mean that this weekend and those other days you are just can’t make it to the gym, you can some small bouts of activity into your daily routine and your goals won’t fly out the window.In addition, since I know it’s difficult to be anti-social and stay in all weekend (who enjoys that?!) there are many things you can do in terms of your weekend eats to cut some calories, yet still indulge. And I mean this because I do use these tips myself….and still enjoy a beer (or two).
Tips for Adding Activity
- Don’t hire a cleaning team to clean your house, take an hour and do it yourself. Put ankle weights on to make it even more of an “intense” activity. Crazy? Sure, but it helps.
- Don’t have someone pick you up when you drop your car off for that 1-hour oil change. Walk around the neighborhood while you’re waiting!
- At the mall? Don’t take the escalator. Take the stairs. In between that, bring your shopping bags out to the car, multiple times, just to get some extra walking in.
- Chop veggies the “old-fashioned” way, don’t use a mandoline or one of those fancy choppers.
- Mix batters and doughs by hand, not with a hand mixer (unless your making actual bread, that might not be smart).
- Sit on a stability ball while you check your e-mail, or spend endless ours on Pinterest, Facebook, or in the case of my husband, fantasy sports.
- Get up and stretch or lift small weights during TV commercials. Put down that TiVo remote.
- Get up and shovel the driveway when it snows, even if you don’t use it!
- Rake your leaves, don’t blow them with a leaf blower
And remember, part of the reason why working out sometimes doesn’t effectively lead to positive results is because people get in the mindset that working out means there is no need to be active during the day, or they work out so much that they take the easy route with other things to “catch up on time lost” (click on the link to read more about this!).
Tips for Cutting Calories, But Still Indulging
- Read my lips (ok, read my typing…); ALWAYS order SAUCES and DRESSINGS on the side! Seriously. Always. And yes, I did say sauces. When I order Chinese food, I sound like a crazy freak but I always ask for my food to be “cooked in light oil, with the sauce on the side”. But it’s worth it.
And of course the same goes with dressing. See these containers of dressing? I typically end up using about 1/4th of the amount they provide. All the cheese, pepper, olives, etc. gives me enough flavor to enjoy my salad. What, not you? Keep trying, train your taste buds to enjoy those other flavors!
- Think about “My Plate”; Make half of your plate fruit/vegetable, and then the other half whole grain (or grain) and lean protein, plus have some milk, cheese, or dairy alternative.
Breakfast: Fruit cut, whole-grain banana nut muffin, egg whites (and a glass of milk)
Dinner: Loads of veggies, grilled shrimp, and a side of brown rice
- Want the burger? Order it. Eat half. Take the other half home, or better yet, split it with your husband or whoever you are with. If it’s your hubby, make sure you tell him “if you split the burger with me, I will allow you to get wings too!”. haha, yeah….
- When an alternative is offered, get it! That is if you like the alternative. For example; want an egg omelet? Ask if they have egg beaters or egg whites. Don’t want the fries? Ask if they have other sides (and they almost always do, it just might not be on the menu). You could also do what Nick does sometimes and ask for less of the fries or chips. We go to a restaurant that PILES chips on our plate for our “side”, and Nick always says “Just a few chips”…and they listen, it’s wonderful (because you better believe he would eat them all if they were in front of him, and I’d also be “forced” to help).
Egg omelets made with egg beaters. You would never even know the difference!
What, you want more tips? Read these from The Healthy Apron. Meanwhile, you enjoy your weekend and tell me your favorite tips for being more active and making healthy indulgence swaps on the weekends.
P.S. In case you are wondering, this weekend I am going to be working out, not just being extra active because 1) I actually get one day off this weekend (wahoo!) and 2) I ate for two last night. Yeah, Nick and I went a little crazy with the homemade ice cream and chocolates we bought for each other. We were watching Top Chef and it made us extra hungry. Come on, you know what I’m talking about…..