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Your step-by-step weekend survival guide

Karen Tickner, BS, MES, PMA-CPT

When it comes to sticking to your health & fitness plan, weekends can seem like the wilderness. They’re wild and unpredictable; temptation can be found around any corner. Before you know it, you’ve strayed far off of your planned path, down a rugged, dangerous trail of nachos, Girl Scout cookies, and cocktails.

Weekends may seem unstructured and uncontrolled at first glance, but, in reality, you have the power to bring control to your days off.  With some simple planning, you can create your own trail map to stay strongly on your path, find balance, and effectively enjoy your weekend. By following the five steps of this Weekend Survival Guide, you’ll find yourself safely out of the wilderness and on the road to success!

Step 1: Check your schedule

Although a little wild, weekends do have a flow.Take a few moments on Friday morning to see what your weekend has in store for you. Identify where you will have time to plan and time to play. Take note of the meals that may be “off target” and how much time you have in the day before you know you’ll make those weekend-type decisions. By doing this, you’ll immediately take back control of your schedule and be able to make plans accordingly.

Step 2: Plan it out

Now that you have looked at your schedule in Step 1, start planning out where and how you can adjust the rest of your day to create balance around those choices.  For example, if you plan to eat out, find the restaurant’s menu online if possible and pre-select the healthiest meals for yourself. Then, schedule yourself a workout Saturday morning, and meal plan for Sunday’s lunch at home. Taking it a step further: make this plan specific and create a SMART goal around your plan. These choices will help help balance your day, and keep you on track for the entire weekend.

Step 3: Take action

Now that you have planned out your weekend, it’s time to stay the course that you have created! Knowing that you will be making not-so-perfect choices later in the day, take action in with the plan you created in step 2 and find the balance that you need to keep your personal progress moving forward. Be sure to get your planned workout done and stick to your strategy of eating a healthy lunch. Keep your healthy snacks on hand, and stay busy through the day. Another solid action step is to pre-log the menu choices you investigated for your dinner out in the Noom app, and stay true to those choices as you order. Following-through with your set plan from Step 2 will help you stay focused, balanced, and prepared for your night out on the town.

Step 4: Keep your eye on the prize

Enjoying a night out while trying to stay on track can have its obstacles. You could be pressured by friends, tempted by rich foods, or even feel left out. When tempted, remember why you started this journey and committed to your health. In the long run, keeping your eyes on the prize and reaching your goals may outweigh the setback that giving in to weekend temptations may cost you.

Keep these helpful tips in mind while you are enjoying that social time with your friends to ensure that you can enjoy your weekend and honor your goals at the same time:

  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with water and set a drink limit for the night
  • Have the waiter box half of the meal beforehand
  • Try not to stand next to the table with food
Step 5: Enjoy your weekend

You’ve done the planning and prepping, it’s time to enjoy what you’ve worked so hard for! Looking at all that you have done to establish a sense of harmony in your choices for your day, you can now feel confident in taking some time to indulge a little and have some fun. At the end of the day, all the prep work you did along your weekend journey was to establish balance, rather than perfection. You got this! Live it up!

Author: Karen Tickner, BS, MES, PMA-CPT