Getting over the hump during your work week feels great. Losing weight while you’re doing it feels even better. But how can you turn “Hump Day” into “Weight Loss Wednesday” when you’re so busy during the week?
Wednesday is halfway to the weekend, which we all know is awesome. But when it comes to your health, Wednesday to Friday can be a slide that’s not so good. When scientists analyzed people’s weekly Google searches, they found that searches for healthy things—like recipes, workouts, and tips—were 30 percent higher on Mondays than on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
Stop the slide! Make Hump Day a high point for your healthy week—and set you up for even greater heights as the week goes on—with these five Wednesday must-dos for a healthy finish to the week.
Here are six ways to make Weight Loss Wednesday possible and finish the week off healthy:
1. Reflect on the days prior.
Sure, the weekend is in sight. But you still have two more days of the workweek to get through. Which means this is a great time to reflect on how you handled any healthy hurdles you hit so far this week, and determine how you might handle them differently if they pop up again. It’s also a great time to take inventory on your slim-down successes. Did you skip the doughnut drive through on the way into work on Monday? Did you skip the coworker’s birthday cake at the office celebration? You deserve to pat yourself on the back!
Take some time on Monday to evaluate your successes and challenges, and consciously decide how you will approach the next few days based upon them.
2. Weigh and measure yourself.
The scale is tricky. Normal fluctuations—from your menstrual cycle to the amount of sodium you consumed to the sleep you get through the week—can cause weigh-in changes that can be discouraging. That’s why we encourage our customers to weigh themselves just once a week, and on the same day each week—at the same time. And Wednesday, being halfway through the workweek, is a great time to get an accurate read on where you stand.
Think about it: You’ve created distance from weekend cheats and had a few weekdays of great choices to help push the numbers down. (One study of daily weighing found that people were heaviest on the weekends, lightening up as the work week went by.)
But don’t just rely on a single number: As indicated above, your weight can fluctuate based on your menstrual cycle, or just how much water you’re retaining. So create other measurements to gauge how you’re doing each Hump Day: Grab a tape measure and use it to measure your hips, waist, chest, thighs, and arms each week. Or find a piece of clothing that’s maybe just a bit too tight to wear right now. Each Wednesday, re-measure—or try on that clothing—and see how you’ve progressed in ways besides the scale number.
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3. Plan a workout for the weekend… NOW.
Make it happen by planning it on Wednesday: Search a local park or state forest you haven’t visited to plan a hike or search for a free weekend yoga class. Text a few friends or link up with your spouse and book it NOW. When the weekend starts, you will already have your workout planned.
If your weekend is already booked by a soccer tournament or dance lessons, don’t stress: You can still get some movement in at an event like this. Step away for 10 minutes and use a nearby park bench to perform elevated pushups, with your hands on the bench and feet on the ground. Then do some squats up and down from the bench, controlling yourself as you sit before standing back up hands free. Finish with some step-ups, using the bench like a step, before taking a quick walk.
4. Start a Wednesday walk group, even if it’s just for one.
Walk your way to Weight Loss Wednesday. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 150 minutes per week of aerobic activity, like brisk walking. But you don’t need to do two-and-a-half-hours all at once—10 or 20 minutes at a time is great.
Turn a Wednesday walk into a team-building activity: Set up a small group of coworkers for a weekly, 20-minute stroll and chat. You can work through problems—some studies, in fact, have shown that people are more creative while walking—or just build camaraderie and de-stress from the day’s work.
Or, if you’d rather go it alone, try a simple meditation while you walk: In one study of 135 volunteers, those who did a combination of walking with an easy meditation practice decreased anxiety and negative feelings about themselves. The meditation done in the study is really simple, too: While you’re walking, count your foot strikes as “one, two, one, two” as you visualize the numbers in your mind. If your mind starts to drift, don’t scold yourself: Just gently come back to the counting.
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5. Review your goals.
People set lots of goals—every Monday, every New Year’s and more—but they often fall short. Sometimes it’s because the goals aren’t realistic, but other times, they don’t stay fresh in your mind: So you aren’t thinking about the goal when you perform behaviors that could help—or harm—your progress toward that outcome. Add to that the temptations that are everywhere, from advertisements to grab-and-go junk food by the register.
Make Wednesday the day you refresh your memory. Review your goals today, refocus on what you’re hoping to accomplish and why: Close your eyes and envision why you’re on a weight loss quest—whether it’s to feel better, to have more energy to play with your kids or to feel euphoric when you look in the mirror. Then remember the positive feelings you’ve had in the past when you made a choice that pushed you toward your goal.
Once you’ve created this spark of motivation, use it! Make one choice right away that will move you in the direction of your goals—whether it’s deciding on a healthy lunch place to visit with coworkers, getting out of your chair to knock out 10 squats or making a written list of your goals that you can review every Wednesday as you do this motivation-building exercise.
6. Refill your fridge with great choices.
Studies show when people spend time prepping their food, they eat healthier. A bonus: Scientists found food preppers saved money, too.
Luckily, if you’re on the Nutrisystem program, you don’t need to worry much about prepping meals. Most of your meals and snacks come ready for you to enjoy, taking the work out of meal prep. But because you should still be adding in Vegetables, PowerFuels, SmartCarbs and flex meals, there is some prep you can (and should!) do ahead of time.
Use Wednesday as a once-per-week reset: Cut up pre-measured, snack-sized portions of unlimited vegetables and fruit options from the Nutrisystem Grocery Guide so you’ll always have access to easy, healthy snacks. When you get hungry later in the day—or on Thursday or Friday—they’ll be easy to grab and feel great about.
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