Hi everyone! Hope you’re all doing well and enjoying the summer weather and wherever this post may find you.
I want to take some time today to chat about weekends. Given the flexibility in schedules, more folks working from home these days, and people taking on side jobs, etc. maybe your weekends aren’t the standard Saturday and Sunday - but either way, days off are joyous and should be spent doing things you love (whether that is an adventure or relaxing). However, a day off or a day out of your routine can be tricky to navigate with eating and nutrition, and this certainly comes up in sessions.
Many clients take advantage of the opportunity to sleep in later on a day off or weekend. Sleep hygiene is so important, and if your body needs rest by all meals please indulge. However, sleeping in later is not a permission slip to have missed windows of nutrition. Regardless of your wake and sleep schedule, you should be aiming for 3 meals a day and snacks as needed. Especially if you are in recovery for an eating disorder (ED) and/or following a meal plan, a change in schedule or later wake up time is not a free pass to forego eating.
Something I like to lay out with clients is setting a general schedule so they can really pay attention to the time they’re awake during the day, and plan eating around that. That means no excuses such as “Well I wake up at 12pm and it feels like breakfast has already passed”. Sure, the “traditional” breakfast time has maybe come and gone, but your meals nor the schedule has to be “traditional” to be nourishing. Eat what and when makes sense for you (again while following your meal plan as indicated or aiming to eat every 3-4 hours if you do not have a stringent plan).
Setting a schedule sounds simple, and it is. But it is a great way to have a plan and combat any excuses. What it comes down to is if you are awake, you should be eating; whether you are a night owl and awake from 10am through midnight, or an early bird who gets up at 6am and falls asleep by 8pm each night. Actually following your own sleep/wake schedule will make fitting in your nutrition or meal plan that much more feasible for you. Your stomach does not have an open and close window as well, and if you are operating under that sentiment try re-visiting where that external rule came from? Hint hint, diet culture.
Additionally with a day off or a change in routine, you may find yourself busier or out of the house more. Some clients use days off for running errands or going to appointments, or planning something a bit more fun like a day trip (remember, self-care includes both mundane tasks such as appointments and errands, as well as more fun things, so it is all important!). Either way spending more time away from home may make eating more difficult, especially if eating spontaneously or out of the house is still a challenge for you. Another great chance to plan ahead, woo! Pack shelf-stable snacks, a lunch on ice, an oral supplement or look up somewhere in the area that you would feel comfortable stopping to have a meal or snack. It can be both a great way to challenge yourself if you are there in your recovery and working on these kinds of opportunities with your RD and/or therapist, as well as just a great way to nourish yourself and not fall into the trap of being away from home with no safe options.
If you got the general gist from this post that planning ahead is cool and really important, great. All too often I hear from clients that the main reason nutrition was skipped or a meal plan was unable to be followed is simply a lack of planning. Recovery and following a meal plan is hard friggin’ work, but it is so worth it. For everyone out there planning ahead and making nutrition happen regardless, I see you and keep on fighting the good fight! Until next time...