Living For The Weekend: Why Your Attitude of Restriction is Killing Your Progress
Oh the weekend. You have been crushing it in the gym, crushing it at work, and have stuck to your new fangled ketogenic, yerba mate, no dairy slightly dairy free diet to perfection. You are the pinnacle of health and human accomplishment! And after a week of holding this high standard, you deserve to cut some slack and let loose on the weekend, right?
One of the number one mentailities I see people struggle with is the “Living for the weekend” state of mind. They restrict and they work and restrict a little more, building up this big meal or drink or activity they simply CAN NOT DO during the week.
A tray of brownies, 5 margaritas, and a very questionable Great British Baking Show binge later....all of the progress you’ve made from doing things “right” over the past week is gone. And even worse than starting over, you now feel like shit. You feel like you’ve wrecked some great strides that you made, like there's something wrong with YOU.
There is nothing wrong with you. But there is something wrong with the way many of us go about trying to make healthy choices and trying to limit bad foods. Now don’t let anyone lie to you and say that to be healthy you don’t have to restrict yourself. You do. But just because being healthy involves some restriction, it doesn't mean you have to live your entire life without eating any of the foods you love or doing the activities you enjoy doing. That not only sets you up for failure, but in all honesty some unhealthy stuff is just plain awesome. I don’t care how many people say high quality, single source, all natural almond butter is delicious. Peanut butter is better. 95% dark chocolate will never be as good as red velvet cake. NEVER. And beer? Beer is just fuckin awesome.
By restricting ourselves during the week so harshly we set ourselves up for failure on the weekend and ultimately, failure overall. You’ve built up these foods and drinks to be some forbidden fruit, or possibly a reward for a week on the right track, and now when your willpower is at its worst and your activity level is at its lowest, you break. And when it breaks it don’t break pretty. Too often a cheat food turns to a cheat meal which bleeds into an entire cheat weekend. This unhealthy relationship with food continues and turns itself into a vicious cycle until inevitably, your willpower breaks. Your cheat weekends have turned into a cheated life. And your health, the thing you set out to protect, is the thing that will suffer.
The key to maintaining good health over a lifetime is learning to take power over your own choices and avoiding the circular nature of restriction and binge behavior. It’s learning to enjoy the unhealthy treats and drinks in great moderation while building the base of your health on good, whole foods. So have a brownie tonight. Drink a cocktail on a Wednesday. Loosen the reigns a bit during the week and gain a tighter grip on your ability to eat confidently and enjoy life!