So it’s Friday and it’s time to knock off work. You’ve worked hard all week not just in your paid employment or school studies, but also in ensuring that you have eaten healthily and exercised your body and brain. Time to splurge a little right? RIGHT!

The operative word here is ‘little’! The problem is that too often once the weekend comes we throw common sense out of the window and overload our bodies with crap food and under utilise our bodies by shutting our systems down and turning in to couch potatoes.

A little bit of treat food and down time however, could be exactly what you need to de-stress and recalibrate for the week ahead.

Here are a few tips to help you keep things under control.

Smart Splurging

Just because you feel that you deserve a treat (which you probably do), that doesn’t mean that you should replace your bowl for a wheelbarrow and your spoon for a shovel. In the words of Nacho Libre “Take it Eeeasy!” (apologises if you’re not a Nacho fan. Or should that say ‘apologise’ if you’re not a Nacho fan? Hmm… anyway) Rewarding ourselves with food is a deeply ingrained habit that in most cases was formed as a result of being rewarded as a child with treat food. Don’t element the things that make you happy, rather try these tricks:

1. Downsize – Go for the small serve on that milkshake, ice-cream cone, cake slice etc.

2. Consume Slowly – Don’t scoff it, you’ll only crave more sooner!

3. Drink Water - Have a drink before and after your treat. It will help to fill you up and is a great mental reminder that you’re trying to be healthy.

4. Go ‘Top Shelf!” - Rather than grabbing the nearest piece of trash you can see, make an effort to search out something more daring and exquisite. For example, walk down to your nearest delicatessen and find a treat there. It will usually mean that it’s less processed and even though such treats may be a little more expensive then that front of shop chocolate bar (with it’s 1 million ingredients and only 1 of them natural), that will just mean that you’ll be inclined to eat less. It’s a Win-Win!

Smart Dinner Planning

The weekend is usually the time where we catch up with mates over a barbeque or at a restaurant and that is the time that we go stupid with our eating. Here are some tips.

1. Do Lunch - Aim for lunch dates rather than dinner if possible. Not only do we tend to eat lighter at lunch but we are more active in the day than we are at night so there’s more opportunity to burn calories.
2. Activate – Plan the meal to be secondary to another catch-up activity which could be anything from bowling, hiking, swimming, visiting a museum, shopping etc.

Actively Relax 

If your couch has butt imprints perfectly matched to your own cheeks, you may need to rethink your wind-down activities. It is possible that you may be in a television-induced coma! With zombie-like reflexes you rise from the couch with both arms outstretched and dribble the words “Ice-creeeeam, Chiiiips, Chooooocolate” while walking towards the refrigerator door. And then, before the Ad break is over, you’re back in your butt groove.

1. Read the TV Guide – Know what you want to turn the TV on for before you turn it on. Don’t just switch on the telly and let it consume you. Then, when your show is over, make the decision to switch it off before you get sucked in to its snare.

2. Go Somewhere – Get out of the house and find somewhere else to unwind. Lay on the beach (just make sure you slip, slop, slap), float in a pool, go on a picnic, walk to the park and read a book on a park bench etc.

3. Walk – One of the most relaxing activities you can do is to walk! Especially if that walk is on sunrise or sunset when the sky is being painted before your very eyes.

So there we go. I hope that helps a little. Oh yeah, and the weekends tend to be when the alcohol flows a little faster. Go easy ok. For the sake of your body, your mind and your life!