Health & Wellness Articles

Tips for a Healthy Weekend

Keep the Week's Momentum Going

Keep it up. Your healthy habits, that is.

We all tend to relax – or be lax – on weekends; that’s what they’re for, right? But loosening our grips on a healthy lifestyle, even just for the weekend, can sabotage our efforts to reach health and fitness goals.

Recent studies indicate that we tend to take in more calories on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. The exact number varies from an average of 85 calories per weekend day to 115, and while that may not seem like much, it adds up. A pound is 3,500 calories, so 345 extra calories a week will lead to nearly a pound after 10 weeks — or an extra five pounds over a year.

You may think, "So I eat a little more on Saturday night, I’ll exercise that off on Sunday." Sunday arrives, yet you find excuses not to exercise.
  • Church starts at 9 a.m.? Then get up at 7 a.m. and walk a few miles. You rise early to workout on weekdays, why not now?
  • Not a morning exerciser and you can’t miss 60 Minutes or Alias on Sunday evening? Tape or TiVo it and hit the gym.
  • Your wife wants your help in the garden? Good news – the experts deem yard work real exercise.
  • Watching your kids’ baseball games all day? Stand up while you watch: standing burns more calories than sitting. Or take a walk between games.
  • Do you just not feel like working out because, after all, weekends are for relaxing? Just a few minutes of exercise is better than none. Keeping up with your exercise routine will help you reach your fitness goals that much faster, and once you get into the groove of working out, you’ll crave it. Promise.
And it doesn’t stop with fitness. While it’s easy to drink the recommended eight glasses of water a day when you have a water bottle sitting on your desk at work, where you’re stuck for half your waking hours, weekends are different. You’re watching your kids’ soccer games or shopping or doing yard work or visiting the craft booths at the local art fair. Carrying a water bottle with you everywhere you go just doesn’t seem feasible.

Keep your eye on the prize: a healthier you. Be conscious of what you eat during the weekends, stick to your healthy lifestyle of eating right and exercising just like you do during the week. If you need to reward yourself for the hard work (or the diligence you’ve kept to your diet) through the week, see a movie or get a massage. DON’T get the cheesy fries appetizer or order an extra margarita – the study mentioned in the third paragraph shows that the additional weekend calories come from fat and alcohol.

On weekends, give yourself a break, but make it a healthy one.

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Member Comments

  • I exercise all days, I might relax and sit a bit more on the weekend enjoying family.
  • Weekends are hard for me too. I don't miss work outs or anything, but my BF really likes eating out. And my diet coke intake always increases versus the water.
  • Weekends are really hard for me. This means I must plan, I must plan, I must plan. :)
    I am usually a lot more active on the weekends than during the week. I never know if I should eat more on the weekends only or eat more throughout the week
  • I seem to eat less on weekends. ESPECIALLY if we eat out - and I can't find anything that fits my diet. Then I just nibble from my husband's plate. I simply will not pay for food that will sabotage all my efforts. I rarely hit the 1200 calories on the weekend.I rarely hit it during the week, either. Eating right, but not much, seems to be working for me.
  • GOLFCHICK2-0 - RIGHT YOU ARE!!! That is going up on my vision board right now!
    Watching Alias on TV? This must be an old article!

    I've always found that it's easier to be active on the weekend - no 8 hours of office-enforced sedentary behavior. On the other hand, since I typically walk to and from work, I do lose out on that on the weekends...
  • Remember that its a WEEKend, not a WEAKend. I don't know about y'all, but I work too hard during the week to blow it all on 2 days!!!
    Finish strong, spark on!!!
  • I prepare lower calorie foods on weekends - may be a fish chowder, bean dish, quinoa and vegetables. If I go to a restaurant or house gathering, I can eat the same foods as everyone else.
  • It's good to make the weekends, or whatever day's off, different from "the routine." Perhaps it can be something positive like cocoa powder in a fruit smoothie or a long, easier workout to enjoy like walking in a nice park or bike riding.
    I find that signing up for classes at my gym on Saturday and Sunday mornings is really motivating - it helps structure my time, and I have more energy afterwards. Taking time for myself means that I get less laundry and cleaning done during the weekend than I used to, but - surprise - the world hasn't ground to a halt on that account.

    I bike to work and do spinning classes during the week, so I like to vary my routine in the weekend by trying something new - like step or a dance class. I also try to to do something active with my family, like a long walk or a trip to the park. This means I can allow myself an extra glass of wine or a special meal on Saturday evening without having to feel guilty about it.
  • Wake up early like weekdays on weekends - that's one of the biggest challenge for me, maybe I should start fast break for that one. Non-exercise things to do on weekends that also good (at least for me, hehe) - washing cars, major laundry such as blanket, bed sheets and hang them dry, ironing dry laundry especially if you only do it once weekly and cleanup, de-clutter the house.
  • Unless you're one of the lucky people that can eat whatever you want and are naturally thin, you have to work at being a weight loss success. This weekend I roasted a pork loin and I weighed out my 4 oz portion and had a salad and lots of roasted veggies. Pork used to be my "binge" food. I couldn't get enough and would eat it until I was close to getting sick. Since I had "planned" to eat pork, I did some extra exercise to accomodate the higher fat content of this meat. Even though I ate leftovers the next day, I still lost weight this week. These conscience decisions made me successful. Planning ahead is the key. I also did'nt feel deprived of my favorite food.
    Very timely! I spent Saturday chasing one of my nieces at Central Park. It wasn't part of the plan, but if I hadn't done that, I would have been overdosing on the pizza, apples, honey and wine instead!

    I got up this morning determined to go walking. Got my 2+ miles in and then was off to church.

About The Author

Elizabeth Evans Fryer Elizabeth Evans Fryer
Elizabeth is a freelance writer specializing in fitness topics. Through her writing, she hopes to move others to be as excited as she is about staying healthy.