Maybe it’s because I am a Mom to a one-year-old, so my Saturdays and Tuesdays look exactly the same. Maybe it is because I am a creature of habit. Either way, I eat pretty much the same on the weekends as I do during the week. I don’t save going out to eat strictly for the weekends, and I don’t have rules around when I can and can’t have certain food.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, you are probably sick of reading this, but I cannot drive this point home enough: I focus on the vitamins I am feeding my body, NOT what is “good” versus “bad” food. I try to hammer this home so much because it took me a long time to grasp this concept. Truly. When I focus on vitamins (such as those you get from and fruits or vegetables) and keeping my body fueled with nutrients (fats, proteins, and carbs) then a lot of the anxiety surrounding food is taken out of the picture. I see SO MANY people struggling with how to eat well and what that even means. I see so many people trying every diet out there, and they are really diligent about it in the beginning, but it is not something maintainable. That is so frustrating. It is so frustrating to constantly gain and lose weight, so it is important to find a way to make nutrition sustainable and long term.
This is why I do not change my diet on the weekends. If I want a pizza on a Tuesday, I eat pizza on a Tuesday. I don’t gorge myself on it, and I still try to focus on having some veggies on it so I am getting some vitamins. On the weekends, I don’t see it as a free pass of calories that my body won’t register. I continue to look for nutrients in my food most of the time, and remember that I feel better when I am eating well, versus eating food void of nutrients. If I want some chips, I will have some. I won’t have a full bag. If I feel like I will eat the full bag, I don’t have any. It is important to be self-aware. Seriously. If you know that at this time in your life you cannot responsibly have ice cream in your house, then don’t have a pint of ice cream in your freezer. It is not responsible. If you know that at this time in your life, having a cheat meal leads to a cheat day, don’t have a cheat meal. Simply enjoy something you love without thinking of it as a “cheat”. When we make all of these rules surrounding food, it becomes exhausting and complicated. Simplify it.
Here is what a day of eating looks like for me, including eating out:
5:00 AM – Coffee + BCAAs OR Coffee + Banana
6 OR 6:30 PM (30-60 minutes post lift) – 2/3 Cup Oatbran + 1 Scoop Protein Powder
9 AM – Quest Bar + Orange
10:30 AM (Lunch out) – Burger with, lettuce, & tomato + side of veggies. No bun or open faced (meaning half the bun).
1-2 PM – 1 Cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt with frozen blueberries (heat the blueberries for 1 minute then dump over yogurt) with ¼ C Renola
5:30 PM – Vitamin pack loaf made with ground turkey. Side of sweet potato + roasted brussel sprouts.
8 PM – Sleepy time coffee + toasted Quest bar (trying to get away from this because who needs two protein bars in one day? Not me.) OR Sleepy time coffee + reheated sweet potato brownie
That’s a quick break down of a normal day whether it’s the weekend or not. It is of note that most of these measurements are estimates because I don’t measure out my food. Let’s look at it again with how I see the nutrients in those meals:
5:00 AM – Coffee (reason for getting out of bed) + BCAAs OR Coffee + Banana (carbs)
6 OR 6:30 PM (30-60 minutes post lift) – 2/3 Cup Oatbran (carbs for energy– though this has a surprising amount of protein) + 1 Scoop Protein Powder (protein to repair damaged muscles)
9 AM – Quest Bar (protein + carbs) + Orange (carbs)
10:30 AM (Lunch out) – Burger (protein & fats – fats are an energy source) with, lettuce, & tomato (vitamins) + side of veggies (vitamins). No bun or open faced (meaning half the bun) (carbs – depends on energy levels, what is in store for the day, etc).
1-2 PM – 1 Cup plain, non-fat Greek yogurt (protein + some carbs) with frozen blueberries (carbs) with ¼ C Renola (fats)
5:30 PM – Vitamin packed loaf made with ground turkey (nutrients + protein). Side of sweet potato (carbs) + roasted brussel sprouts (vitamins + fats because I cook with olive oil).
8 PM – Sleepy time coffee + toasted Quest bar(protein + carbs) (trying to get away from this because who needs two protein bars in one day? Not me.) OR Sleepy time coffee + reheated sweet potato brownie (carbs + fats, & some vitamins).
I hope this helps you see what I mean by “look at the nutrients” in food. You can eat the same during the week as you do on the weekends, because your body needs the same energy and works just as hard for you on the weekends as it does during the week.
When I say I look for the nutrients in food, I literally mean I look for the nutrients. What value will this add to my body? What value will this add to my goals? Will this energize me or zap me of energy. To me, that is the most important factor, and why I eat less processed food. We are all busy. All of us. Me, you, your neighbor, everyone. I cannot stand having a busy schedule and spending the whole time just getting through it and wishing it was time for bed. This is a big motivating factor for me in eating well.
I certainly am not perfect, but looking at nutrition this way has helped me SIMPLIFY eating well. I don’t realize I am doing this most of the time, and I don’t think you have to eat clean all of the time. I am just not into extreme measures. I always tell my ladies to just move on after they have enjoyed something out of the ordinary. You don’t get to be fat from one meal. You don’t get to be fit from one meal. Don’t leave “cheat” meals for the weekend. That attaches so much emotion to food, and food is not emotional. It is functional and to be enjoyed. Be responsible.
I understand that drinking factors in here, and I want to address this really quickly because a lot of fitness bloggers I follow just don’t drink at all. And that is so awesome, but most people I know drink occasionally and so I think it is important to factor this into why weekends end up being all over the place for eating and find a way to strike balance in enjoying a few drinks and fat loss.
Alcohol can definitely slow down your fat loss, and obviously binge drinking is neither helpful nor healthy. Having one or two drinks a few times throughout the week is not going to make fat loss impossible, but it will slow down your fat loss. There is nothing wrong with that, as the goal is always sustainable balance. With that in mind, drinking does decrease your impulse control. I am a big planner. If you know you will have a drink or two with dinner, or in the evening, simply make sure you have a snack already planned out.
In college I was a big fan of cereal after drinking, but that’s just a lot of sugar and did not give me much energy. Now, if I have a few drinks in the evening (I have zero tolerance for drinking now, and am usually good after one hard cider – I used to be cool) and I feel hungry, I try to stick to a Quest bar or something with proteins and fats. I have done zero research on this, it is just my personal preference and what helps me feel less zapped of energy the next morning. I will be honest though: I really don’t drink anymore. I simply like how my body operates when it is 100%, and now that I know how that feels, drinking isn’t on my radar very much. I also do not like how bloated I feel the next day.
Finally, just to change gears here, I want to provide two resources that I have found really helpful for myself AND many of my members when it comes to figuring out how to best fuel your body. I ate Paleo for about a year and a half, then when I was pregnant I added in a few items that were not Paleo. With eating Paleo though, I often would “avoid” grains, legumes, and other food that is not Paleo, but I never felt like I couldn’t have it. There are no “off limit” foods in my world. During that journey I found Practical Paleo to be a helpful resource because it had a lengthy explanation of why people eat Paleo, how to eat Paleo, and really simple recipes. Paleo was what shifted my mind to focusing on real food.
A few of my clients have engaged in Whole 30 and I also love this because those I have worked with who have done this have been successful in changing their lifestyle. Whole 30 is not meant to be a lifestyle, but more of a base for how to make health a lifestyle. It makes you much more aware of what is in your food AND how well your body can really operate. I personally have not done Whole 30, but every single client or member I have who has done it has really changed their views on nutrition, and has been able to maintain their nutrition, as opposed to trying another crash diet and gaining all of their weight back.