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We’ve all been there.  It’s Friday afternoon, and you have been absolutely crushing your fitness/nutrition game all week long and are feeling great.  Then the happy hour invite rolls in for drinks after work.  The happy hour turns into a night out.  Which then turns into a skipped workout Saturday morning.  Since you skipped your workout and aren’t feeling great, why not just head to tailgate or watch football with some friends?!  Then Sunday shows up and you are still feeling sluggish, and there is still a lot of football to watch and beers/wings/nachos to be had.  Besides, you’ll get back too in on Monday…

Sound familiar?

This is VERY common. Especially in the midwest when weather turns cold and the only socializing most of us do is at the bar.  This is also something I struggled with FOR YEARS.  Here are my five tips to not completely derail your progress each and every weekend.

1. Get Another Hobby

Yes, I 100% understand that this is a gross oversimplification. However if you only find yourself socializing at the bar then you need to find something else to do.  I know for me that was exactly what my twenties were, heading right to happy hour after work, eating some half priced apps, a few cheap beers.  Rinse and repeat.  For me the hobby that slowed that down was CrossFit.

Did CrossFit alone fix my problem? NOPE!  Did it give me another, healthier place to socialize so I cut down on the drinking and crappy appetizers?  Absolutely.  Slowly I started to swap the crappy food for healthier options and cutting back on the beers because they were making me feel terrible during workouts (and really all the time).  Once I started eating real food, moving, and sleeping I began to realize how much better I could feel. I actually didn’t even realize how bad I felt before making those changes.  So while getting another hobby may not fix anything, it can be the shift in momentum you need to get started on something new!

So, if you’ve seen workouts, activities, sports (hello rec league kickball), craft classes, music lessons or really anything else you think would be fun to try, do it! Even if it isn’t necessarily an active hobby, it could help you reduce the amount of time you spend going out, which could be the shakeup you need to start making other changes too!

2. Plan your weekends

I know having some spontaneity is exciting and fun, and you should still allow for that from time to time, but most often we fall completely off the wagon due to lack of planning.

If you know you have a holiday party on Saturday night, PLAN FOR IT! Make sure you are hydrating and eating well the the day of the party.  Then enjoy yourself, get some sleep, then start the next day with a healthy breakfast and maybe something active to shake off the headache that tends to come from too many sweets or spiked eggnogs.  Avoid the urge to use a social event as an excuse for an entire 48 hour window! Have a good time, then get back at making healthier choices at the very next opportunity!

 

3. Build a Rest Day into Your Weekend

We need rest days every 3-4 for days to help us recover properly, so why not plan for one of them to fall on the weekend?  You can either plan a full rest day, or even better find something fun to do with friends and make it an active rest day! Maybe it’s a walk with your dog through a local park, going sledding with your kids, try an escape room or throwing axes.  There are lots of new places popping up that don’t require a drink to socialize! Another great rest day activity is meal prep!  Use one of those days to prep some healthy meals so you are setting yourself up for the week (or weekend) as best you can!  Having a plan for meals reduces the chances of hitting the drive through once hanger strikes.

4. Host a healthy dinner party or potluck!

There are lots of delicious and nutritious foods out there, and it is easiest to take control of the meal yourself so why not share with friends!  If you have been working on your health, odds are your friends know.  Why not invite them over for a healthy meal to thank them for their support.  And you can even show them that being healthy doesn’t mean you have to just take supplements and eat cardboard.  You can also host a healthy potluck, have everyone make extra and divide up the leftovers.  It’s basically meal prep done for you with more variety!

5. Give Yourself Some Grace

If you do stay out later and have a few more beers (or pizzas) then you had planned on, that is ok.  It happens to all of us, we are human and some nights are just too damn fun! Do you want to repeat that again the next day cause “screw it I’ll start again Monday!”? Of course not, but there is no need to beat yourself up over the past.  Often times the guilt we feel over “failing” ourselves with a bad nutritional choice can be enough for us to throw in the towel.  But why?! You have been working SO hard, and doing so many other AMAZING things, don’t let an extra slice of pizza stop all of that! I like to think of a healthy meal after a not so healthy night out as a way to get to feeling better faster.  I know if I eat all the leftover pizza I will be feeling crappy again tomorrow, so why go through it again and loose more time?  I want to feel better