Friday, July 25, 2008

Weight Management on the Weekends

The beginning of the weekend was always stressful to me as an undergrad. While it seemed like all my friends were breaking loose as soon as their last class ended and popping open cans of beer in the middle of the afternoon, I often found myself picking a fight with my boyfriend instead. While my classmates were de-stressing over hot wings and cold brews, I would confine myself to watching television, lethargic and upset.

For weeks, this happened on Friday nights. When I finally noticed the consistency and mentioned it to my boyfriend, he reacted with confusion. “Aren’t you supposed to be happy when the weekend starts? Isn’t it supposed to relax you, not stress you out?”

It is supposed to be relaxing. Except, for a weight-conscious person, the ways in which some college students like to relax instead cause acute anxiety.

As the hectic, fast-paced weekdays went by, I didn’t really have time to overeat. I only ate what I kept in my kitchen, or if I did go out, it just seemed easier to choose healthy options, like a salad. Weekends were when the bf always wanted to order pizza (a food I then considered to be too fattening.) Drinking made me crave high-fat foods. Friends always wanted to go to Buffalo Wild Wings, and I didn’t have a clue what to order. But mostly, the unstructured time made me worried I would be bored and overeat.

Am I alone in this? I don't think it's possible.

Since those days, I’ve figured out how to enjoy my weekends without overindulging too much. I discussed pizza and alcohol yesterday. 

A few more tips:

Buffalo Wild Wings does have some decent options. You don’t have to turn down dinner with your friends because you don’t want to consume calorie-laden wings dipped in ranch or blue cheese. They have a decent grilled chicken salad and a raspberry vinaigrette dressing. If you do want something hot, they have “naked tenders,” grilled chicken, no breading, dipped in one of their signature sauces. Just remember that if the sauce you choose looks creamy, it’s got a lot of calories. Some specifics.

There is usually at least one healthy option at any given restaurant. It may mean specifying “no fries with that,” or “dressing on the side,” but there are options. Keeping in touch with a supportive social circle is integral to getting through the college experience with your sanity intact. Stress is linked to excess weight.

The most important advice I can give you about the weekend: If you crave something, just have it! Allow yourself at least a little bit... or a full serving if you really want it. Then, take of advantage of your "unstructured time" the next day to work out more than normal. Depriving yourself is a recipe for disaster. In my opinion, you’re setting yourself up to binge later. And having more calories on the weekends keeps your metabolism from getting “used” to a specific amount, and then slowing down. I know that it might feel like if you eat it this one time, you will tomorrow and the day after that, but if you care enough about your weight to read this, that’s probably not the truth. In fact, you probably won’t even want to indulge every day. Then, it no longer becomes indulging.

Have a good weekend!

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