The weekend is here! It’s time to relax and unwind, and for many (most?!) of us that definitely has some association with treating ourselves with food. Sometimes one treat or ‘cheat’ easily turns into an entire weekend of overindulgence, which leaves us feeling full of frustration, experiencing physical discomfort and even feeling lots of guilt by Sunday night. We vow to clean up our eating on Monday, and we we’re ‘good’ all week long, but by Friday, we’re back where we started ready to treat ourselves and unwind. There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to the weekend eating cycle, but let’s start with some awareness about where we are now, and where we’d like to be, something I ask all of my 365 Tribe women to do. If you’re asking yourself why this keeps happening every. single. week, read on:
- Weekday vs. Weekend eating: When we restrict our eating all week long in an effort to ‘be good,’ we become emotionally exhausted by harnessing our willpower. Overeating is a natural result of this. When we learn how to eat the same way on a Wednesday as they would on a Saturday, there’s no need to save and hoard indulgences for the weekend. This means allowing ourselves mindful and empowered indulgence, even daily. Think of things like: a glass of wine, some full fat cheese sprinkled on a salad, some chocolate or a cookie. When we master enjoyment, fullness to 80% and satisfaction every day of the week, our weekend and weekday eating are one and the same and there’s less urgency to use the weekend as a time to indulge.
- Emotional hunger vs. Physical Hunger: Learning and recognizing our bodies cues is a huge part of managing our weekend (or night time eating). Physical hunger is an actual sensation in the pit of our stomach, it builds gradually and we can notice it with signs like gurgling, emptiness, lack of concentration, light-headedness. Emotional hunger is more sudden and specific, and can happen when you’re stressed, sad or just bored. Ever felt like you just can’t stop thinking about a certain food? Me: hellooo ice cream tub. That’s emotional hunger.
- Identifying triggers: Triggers could be emotional, like stress, sadness, boredom or a specific incident that happened earlier that day. There are also trigger foods, we’ll notice when we have some types of food that leave us craving and wanting more and other indulgences later. As I already mentioned, weekday restriction could also be a trigger. If you’re identifying weekend eating as a challenge, keeping a journal is a great way to help identify the things that are leading to overeating, whether that’s weekend, night time or anytime. I know this can be frustrating, but when you act from curiosity, not judgement, getting to the bottom of your triggers can be an extremely helpful exercise.
- It’s just food: The way we think and the language we use around food and our eating habits matters. Food is not good or bad. When we talk about good foods and bad foods, reward and cheat meals, or being good vs. being bad, it’s easy to internalize those moral judgments. They really do affect the way we feel. You are not a bad person when you eat cake, and you ARE much more than your eating habits.
Mastering your weekend eating is definitely a practice in awareness and patience. Like anything in our health and wellness journey, it’s really important to be honest with ourselves about where we are right now, and where we’d like to eventually be. If you could use some support and accountability reaching your goals reach out to me and the 365 Tribe any time.
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