It is Bank Holiday weekend again with another one just around the corner. This means that many of us are lucky enough to have an extra day off work.
For many of us, this means plenty of eating and drinking with family and friends. If you are trying to lose a few lbs though, this may be filling you with dread and you could be stressing about putting on weight.
But Bank Holiday doesn’t have to mean that. It also doesn’t mean that you have to become a recluse and avoid socialising altogether. You can absolutely maintain a healthy lifestyle whether those around you are doing the same or not.
Here are my top 6 tips to help you have a happier, healthier, stress-free Bank Holiday weekend.
GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Even if you are trying to eat better, a lack of sleep could seriously undermine your progress.
Sleep deprivation literally changes the levels of hormones in your body that help to regulate appetite. It suppresses Leptin, the hormone that helps prevent you from eating, and increases Grehlin, the hormone that increases your desire to eat. This inevitably leads to more calories being consumed.
Research has also shown that when we have experienced a lack of sleep, our bodies crave more calorific foods. It wants energy and a chicken salad just won’t cut it!
Feelings of lethargy also lead to less activity and our desire to exercise becomes much lower. This, of course, all undermines any calorie deficit that you are trying to create. And ultimately, it is a calorie deficit that is required to lose weight, read more here.
So, if you are struggling to get enough sleep, work on improving this before making any dramatic changes to your diet. For more information and practical tips, read my article on sleep here.
If, like me, you enjoy a boozy night out over a bank holiday weekend, the chances are that you will wake up feeling not so bright and bushy tailed on Monday morning. As tempting as it is to spend the day slumped on the sofa in your PJ’s, this will only make you feel worse and further undermine your weight loss efforts. It will also more than likely lead to you eating ‘comfort’ food which in turn can lead to unhelpful feelings of guilt.
Instead, get up and get out!! This is exactly what I did after a heavy night out over the Easter bank holiday…I avoided the temptation to stay in bed and went straight for a run, after a caffeine fix of course. And it felt great!! It also put me in the right mindset to stay on track with my nutrition for the rest of the day.
If running isn’t your thing, try going for a long walk, hit the gym or do a spot of shopping – anything that means you are staying active.
Also, make the time to spend some quality time with those you love. Even though I felt a tad wiped out after my indulgent night, I made a point of visiting my mum which further stopped me from feeling sorry for myself and my delicate head.
DONT BUY JUNK
Being at home for an extra day over the weekend can make it harder than usual to avoid the processed junk food lurking in your cupboards. So, do yourself a favour and just don’t buy it – or limit it at least.
If it isn’t within your immediate environment, then the temptation will be eliminated. So get strict with yourself in the supermarket. One way to increase the chances of this is to not shop on an empty stomach.
Junk food very rarely keeps us satisfied for long. This is because it has very little nutritional value yet tends to be packed full of unnecessary calories. The issue, therefore, is that it is very easy to overconsume which can drive weight gain.
The best way to tackle this is to simply not buy it….if it isn’t available to you, you can’t eat it. Of course, you will have to exercise self-control when out and about, junk food is literally everywhere we look…, but if you can avoid taxing your willpower within your home environment, your chances of exercising it outside will be much higher.
START YOUR DAY WITH PROTEIN
Research suggests that including protein with your first meal of the day can significantly decrease the desire to eat later in the day.
This doesn’t mean that you have to eat as soon as you get up, only do this if you actually feel hungry. I often don’t eat my first meal of the day until midday, it is a myth that eating first thing helps to boost your metabolism. In fact, pushing it back can help aid fat loss as it reduces the timeframe for eating during the day.
Whenever you do ‘break the fast’ though, make sure that you prioritise protein. Not only does it help you manage your appetite in the evening, it immediately helps to keep you fuller for longer. This makes, leaner, lower calorie versions a sure-fire bet to aid any weight loss attempts.
Here are my top recommendations:
There is a lot of confusion out there about water and weight loss with many ‘gurus’ suggesting that drinking more will help you to lose weight.
Unfortunately, drinking more water ‘per se’ won’t miraculously lose you pounds.
However, getting into the habit of drinking more water could help for the following reasons:
- It can help suppress appetite
- It makes you go to the toilet more
- It significantly increases energy levels to help you move more
- It replaces calorific drinks.
One way of making sure that you are drinking enough is to frequently check the colour of your urine using the urine colour chart:
So, drinking your 8 glasses a day might feel like an impossible task but if it means fewer calories in and more calories out then you would be silly not to at least try….
Here are some strategies that may help:
- Carry a drink with you at all times
- Flavour your water with fruit or sugar-free squash
- Eat plenty of hydrating foods like fruit and vegetables
- Thirst can be mistaken for hunger so try a glass of water before grabbing that snack!
- Set a reminder every hour to prompt you to drink a glass of water.
ALLOW A BIT OF WHAT YOU FANCY
And last but by no means least, allow a little bit of what you fancy! Let’s face it, a bank holiday without food you enjoy is pretty dull so be sure to factor it in at some point. Of course, do this in moderation but knowing that you don’t have to completely deprive yourself can really help to motivate and help keep up on track.
If you are implementing the fundamental principles above, you can enjoy flexibility and a much better life balance.
So, if you are going to a bbq, have a burger…just don’t have 3. If you go out for a nice meal, have a starter but not a dessert (or vice versa)…..choose what you will enjoy most and plan it in.
So, there you have my top tips to help keep you on track this Bank Holiday. It is by no means an exhaustive list and you will have to select a strategy that works best for you. But whatever you do, try to strike a balance between having fun and being healthy…your body and mind will thank you for it by the time Tuesday comes around.
For more information about how to lose weight or for advice on nutrition, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Much love xxx