All week long we look forward to our weekends. We plan our days off of work around relaxing events than often include parties, social gatherings and restaurants. No matter what, celebrations occur on the weekends and that inevitably includes food. Lots of food. We love to celebrate and we love to celebrate with food! Opa...as the Greeks love to say! (A delicious and healthy Greek dip shared at the bottom of this article!)
What happens on the weekends?
We want to reward ourselves for all of our hard work and we forget about all of the rules that we follow during the week. We set ourselves up with the logic that "we deserve it", and we certainly do. However a reward should not involve thousands of mindlessly consumed calories for 2-3 straight days without the calculation of the damages that are being done. There are seven days in the week. If you are off track for three of them, then mathematically the 40% of the time you are not following a plan. Furthermore, the amount of calories consumed on the weekend can far surpass the deficit of calories that were applied during the week.
How can you survive the weekends?
It's not that difficult. Like anything in life, you have to have a plan. If you don't pack your umbrella on a rainy day, you will get wet. This is no different. Go into the weekend with a strategy. Here are some tips that you can use to help!
1. Change your mindset. Do not go into the weekend with the mindset that you can eat anything you want. Certainly plan for some splurges, but definitely be aware of what you are consuming. Look up the caloric information of things you are eating, especially at restaurants. You will shocked!!! Create a plan of attack. You shouldn't think that you could go off of your program for the entire weekend. Look ahead at the activities you have planned and decided which events you may want to "spurge" at, and which you will stay on track.
2. Make wise choices. Don't eat it because it's there. So often people will eat the dip because it's the only dip at the party...even if it's not their favorite. The average cheesy dip could contain 100 calories a scoop with the chip! Don't mindlessly fill your tummy with something that isn't your favorite. Bring a healthy appetizer to the party so you can save the calories for the main course. We don't eat appetizers during the week, why add hundreds of calories before eating thousands on the weekend? Also, if you are at a party and they are serving something that isn't on your plan, you don't have to eat it. My advice is to you is to watch your portions. Have the hotdog, but hold off on the potato salad, coleslaw, chips, brownies, and triple layer peanut butter cluster surprise! The hot dog is the least of your worries. I have been to many parties where I have created a perfectly healthy meal around a not-so-healthy-looking spread!
3. Enjoy, but don't cheat. I don't know how "cheat meal" has become a regularly used term in the vocabulary of people who are watching their waistlines! No one likes a cheater. People shouldn't cheat. You shouldn't cheat on anything in life, so why would you cheat on your health?? This mindset has been the demise of so many individuals as they live each day of their diets patiently awaiting this "cheat". My tip for you is to change this thinking, and if you are ready to have a treat then call it that. A treat, a splurge, an indulgence. Do not eat an entire pizza because it is Friday and you think it's time to cheat. Don't devour a large ice cream sundae because it's cheat day and you have to. You don't have to. If you want to, then have it, but have it with the appropriate portion in mind. Savor each bite as if it is being crafted by a world famous chef. Enjoy it. You will find it much more satisfying when it is consumed in this manner. Taste the flavors and enjoy the textures. Don't scoff it down as if it is your last meal because if you do you will miss all of the wonderful sensations that come with eating!
GREEK LAYER DIP 🇬🇷
1 container hummus (10oz)
1/2 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
1 tomato, — diced
1/2 cup seeded cucumber, — diced
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup pitted Kalamata olives — chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Pita chips, — carrots, broccoli, sliced bell peppers, or crackers, for serving
Spread the hummus in a smooth layer in the bottom of an 8x8-inch square baking dish, a shallow pie dish, or similar serving dish. Dollop the Greek yogurt by small spoonfuls over the top, then gently spread to create a new layer.Scatter the tomato, cucumber, feta, and olives over the top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley. Refrigerate until ready to serve, then dip with pita chips, crackers, and sliced veggies as desired.