5 Dead-Easy Ways To Make This Week Instantly Healthier
It’s the middle of the week and you’ve just been asked to half-price parmas at the pub. You spend a brief, guilty moment thinking of the gym clothes in your backpack, or the leftover stir-fry sweating in your fridge – and immediately abandon your sad Tupperware plan in favour of a fun night out. Whoops.
Don’t think your healthy plans for the whole week have gone to waste. Here’s how you can press reset and get your best intentions instantly back on track without waiting until next week rolls around.
#1 Make a plan
Sketch out your plans for the next few days – any lunches out, work meetings or weekend fun in your near future?
Having an idea of when you’ll be out will give you an idea of when you can make healthy choices, so you’re not disappointed and re-abandoning the plan when it’s Friday team lunch and you’re out for burgers again.
Commit to making healthy choices when you can. If it’s your colleague’s birthday tomorrow and you’ll get cake at lunchtime, maybe skip your morning muffin to keep your sugar intake down. Just don’t beat yourself up for enjoying social time.
#2 Cook a pot of brown rice
It’s very if you build it, they will come, but knowing you have a base for a meal will make it easier to head home happily for dinner or BYO lunch to work, and brown rice is a filling, fibre-rich and freeze-able option.
Opening a can of beans or tuna over pre-cooked brown rice will give you a nutritious dinner in literally one minute. Making it more exciting by stir-frying through a handful of spinach and a glug of soy sauce takes barely seconds longer.
Knowing you’ve got a healthy option at home for when you aren’t eating out will stop you from ordering a takeaway pad Thai on your way home from work, and provides balane for the times this week when you are eating out.
#3 Give yourself a budget
One way of controlling your junk food spending is to set yourself a budget for the rest of the week. You can spend unlimited funds on meals and drinks containing fruit and vegetables, but for things like Oreo thickshakes, French onion dip and white wine, you’ve got a $5-a-day limit.
Having a budget will give you an easy excuse for declining treats… “I’m trying to save this week,” is a straightforward excuse.
You’ll become more aware of where your money’s going, and you’ll only spend on treats you really want: no Cadbury on the couch alone on Thursday when you’ve got a posh mini pizza in your sights at Friday knockoffs.
Having a budget will also give you an easy excuse for declining treats if you’re feeling self-conscious about sticking to your health plans. If you sit a round out at cocktails, or order eggs at weekend brunch over an elaborate waffle stack concoction, “I’m trying to save this week,” is a straightforward excuse.
#4 Turn a weekend hangout into something more energetic
You don’t have to swap your standing Sunday brunch with a manic morning Crossfit session: just turn an afternoon at the markets into a bike ride through the park or tack a morning yoga class or beach run onto a Saturday coffee date.
You’ve probably spent most of the week sitting down, so some fresh air and a stretch will feel like an IV jolt of energy. An easy text message sent now to a friend will keep you accountable and save you from accidentally spending half the weekend in the pub.
#5 Be straight with peer pressure
This sounds extremely primary school, but peer pressure is real. It’s far easier to join your friends on a night out or show up for pancakes the next morning than it is to stay at home with an at-home Pilates video or a sad bowl of leftovers. But if your friends are anything like your sensible self, they’re probably thinking the same things.
Admitting to a friend that you haven’t consumed a single vegetable for two days and need to eat something more substantial for Friday night dinner than kebab shop chips opens up a team effort for ensuring a healthy weekend.
Why not invite your mates over for some red wine and a vegetarian potluck instead of trying to convince yourself French fries count towards your veg quota? Or ask your regular Friday lunch-date mate to keep you accountable to your after-work gym plan?
Without being too earnest, you’re not alone in your quest for good health – and getting back on track is easier than you’d think, especially with these easy tips.
Sophie Raynor is a writer and list-maker from Perth living in tropical Timor-Leste. She loves ethical development communications and taking about sweating, and tweets at @raynorsophie.