3 Ways to Make Downtime Work for You

For many of us, Saturday and Sunday morph from a relaxing, fun two days into a period that lacks the structured self-care we work so hard to keep in place during the week. The result? Especially if you are looking to gain vitality or drop extra pounds, be on the lookout for these common weekend slips that can stall or reverse the results you want.
1) "Weak-End" Sleeping
Resist the temptation of long sleep-ins on the weekend. Often, the pattern begins with staying out late on Friday and Saturday night. Sound familiar? (If you have young children, you are excused.) That translates into meeting Monday morning deprived of sleep--and maybe reaching for extra coffee and something too sugary to give you the energy fix you need to think, focus, and perform. If the pattern continues throughout the week, the cycle of sleep deprivation, stress, and overeating deepens come Friday night.
Your Weekend Fix: If weekends mean you sleep more than 2 hours past your regular wake-up time, set your alarm. Consistency in your sleep schedule ensures a good night's rest on Sunday followed by an alert, refreshed Monday morning. If staying up late on Friday and Saturday nights makes this plan difficult, a 20-minute nap (at the most) will help.
2) "Weak-End" Exercising
Though we may set aside time to exercise on Saturday or Sunday, it's easy to get sidetracked with projects, friends, and errands. Before we know it, the day has flown past--along with any possibility of exercising to achieve and maintain better health, stress release, weight loss, and energy.
Your Weekend Fix: Make a realistic plan for weekend fitness, and stick to it. Working out first thing in the morning is usually the best plan. Staying in motion will make a difference in how you feel come Monday morning.
Your weekend is meant to be a time of renewal. Grasp control of your plans beginning this weekend--because it's a sure thing, keeping up the momentum you gain during the week and carving out time for self-care is crucial to overall wellbeing.
3) "Weak-End" Eating
We work so hard practice good wellness habits during the week... but for some of us, that goes out the window with a weekend full of social events. Alcohol, irregular meal times, and a vacation mentality can override good judgment. Lack of consistency leads to indulgence and fluctuating blood sugar, which negate gains from the week before. Often, weight loss plateaus can be traced to poor "weak-end" eating choices.
Your Weekend Fix: Plan ahead. A good plan will let you navigate social situations without encountering those frustrating plateaus or, worse, backsliding.
Enjoy time with friends and family, but take a few steps to limit the damage indulgence can wreak. "Eating before you eat" will keep from being so hungry you overeat. Bring along healthful snacks such as nuts, cheese, and fruit.
- Pace alcohol consumption so you aren't tempted to fill up on bread, desserts, or other foods that sabotage weight maintenance.