Getting a little loose on the weekends is nothing new. After a long week at work, all most of us want to do is relax and unwind. And sometimes, that means going out with friends and family, eating good food, having a few drinks, and letting our responsibilities slip away for a moment.
While that’s perfectly fine and normal, the weekends are a bit of an achilles heel for those of us on a health and wellness journey because it really has the ability to throw us off track. Those few drinks turn into a drunken, hungover-worthy all-nighter; Pancakes in the morning ends with a big greasy burger for dinner; And gym? What gym? Never heard of her.
It’s OK,! We get it—staying healthy is hard when there is so much fun and temptation on the other side of it. Fortunately, there doesn’t have to be a separation between general wellness and having a good time.
With just a few adjustments, you can stay healthy and be a weekend warrior. From drinking to eating out, here 3 ways to make your wild part-time habits a whole lot healthier.
Don’t stop drinking alcohol—just change how you drink it.
Having a few drinks with your friends or when you’re home alone and need to unwind is one thing, but getting lit every weekend is another. There’s really no shame in relaxing with a bottle of wine, and to be perfectly honest, a couple shots here and there is alright, too.
However, we all know that excessive drinking is bad business. Not only does it weaken your immune system and make your body an incredibly easy target for disease and illness, but beer and mixed drinks with high sugar content—like margaritas and daiquiris—can cause some serious weight gain and negatively impact your heart health.
Not to mention that alcohol stops your body from burning fat for up to 36 hours after you drink it; That, combined with the fact that alcohol is a diuretic (Hence all the peeing we do when we drink!) and can seriously dehydrate you, is a recipe for wellness disaster.
So how do you drink alcohol and stay healthy? Well, there are a few simple rules to follow:
- Drink moderately and occasionally. This is the easiest and most effective tip of all.
- Opt for drinks like red wine, gin and tonic, and even whiskey and cognac. If you hold the sugary sodas and syrups being mixed into them, you’ll likely benefit from all the antioxidants.
- If you know you have a hard time controlling yourself and that 2 drinks can easily turn into 6, stay away from drinking as much as possible.
- Align your drinking habits with your health goals. If you’re trying to lose weight, does it really make sense to have 4 or 5 drinks mixed with 8 oz of soda each? Probably not.
One meal doesn’t dictate the whole diet.
If you have an “all or nothing” personality type, then you’ve probably had one of those moments when you eat something that wasn’t super good for you and decide to throw the baby out with the bath water and say screw your diet for the whole day.
“Welp, I already ate some chips. Might as well grab the salsa!” Or maybe you just feel like eating something “unhealthy” puts a damper in your whole health plan for the day and you might as well just eat something else not in your diet, skip the gym, and start fresh tomorrow.
I’m here to tell you to stop doing that, yes. But I’m also here to tell you that it’s partially not your fault. You see, when we eat refined carbs—like chips, cookies, that cheesy pasta you love so much from Panera—it actually makes our bodies crave more carbs. Why? Well eating carbs creates a spike in blood sugar.
This is because those delicious refined carbs we mentioned before are digested and absorbed quicker, which basically leads to a spike in blood sugar and creates that carby hunger trap we get stuck in.
The easiest way to avoid this? Eat a moderate amount of what you want and get back on track. 3 slices of pizza can easily become 2, and that piece of cake you want to follow up with? Sis, go ahead and grab a piece of fruit or a granola bar.
Remember that being healthy isn’t about avoiding all of the things you enjoy. It’s about making sure you don’t overindulge in them, so that they things you enjoy don’t become the things you regret.
Exercising isn’t always the same thing as working out.
Working out and exercising aren’t necessarily the same thing. Or, at the very least, they don’t carry the same connotation. When we think of working out, we think of going to the gym and doing an endless amount of squats, pumping iron, and burning ourselves out on the treadmill.
Exercise is just exercise. It’s about getting your body up and moving instead of sitting on the couch all day. The key difference is that you’re not expected to do sets or reps of anything, you just need to move.
For most people, the weekends are all about chillin’ from the hustle and bustle of the week, so going to the gym is not even a thought. And that’s fine, as long as you do something. Play with your dog outside, stretch, walk to the store instead of taking your car, play basketball with your kids—do whatever you can to be in your body.
Plus, this is one of the easiest way not to feel guilty about eating that appetizer plate from Applebee’s all by yourself. And I mean, who wouldn’t love that?