18 May 2018

How (and why) to have an amazing Monday!

Mondays have a bit of a bad reputation. I blame Bob Geldoff and the Boomtown Rats. I remember really hating Mondays. That almost sick feeling on a Sunday night ahead of a test at school on Monday that invariably had not been prepared for properly… if at all! It continued into my working life. When I first started working, I vividly remember watching the Sunday night film on 4 whilst ironing my shirts for the week knowing that the weekend was officially over and it was back to work again. It was a depressing feeling.

After years of genuinely hating Mondays and pop culture re-enforcing the idea of not liking Mondays it is hard to get out of that mind set. How do you rate your Mondays now? In a lifetime of Mondays, I hope that these ones are not the ones that you dread the most!

No matter how your Mondays currently rank, there are tricks that we can employ to make them awesome! It is all too easy to let Monday be a nothing day. A non-descript day that we get through in a fog before really starting our week on Tuesday. Questionable food choices that we might have made over the weekend drift into Monday. Something left in the fridge that you would not usually consume on a weekday needs “using up” or finishing off. That exercise that you were planning on doing can wait as you could do with one more day to recover from the weekend, but you will make up for it later in the week (honest!). Before we know it, we have lost a day and we then spend the rest of the week trying to make it up.

One of the big causes of wasted Mondays is that, as parents, our weekdays are often drastically different to our weekends. Some of that is unavoidable. Weekends don’t feature the usual busy schedule of school runs, work commitments, different family members eating at different times and the creation of last minute fancy dress costume of the Gruffalo made out of whatever is in the recycling bin! Much of this is out of our control, but there are some elements we can control, especially what we eat. It is increasingly common to find a huge difference between weekday and weekend lifestyles/diets.

“I eat pretty healthily” commonly means “I eat pretty healthily (during the week)”. If your healthy week starts on a Tuesday and ends sometime on Friday before wine o’clock then your period of eating pretty healthily is actually only 3.5 days long. No matter how healthy your diet is during that time it is going to be difficult to hit any health goals. Any diet that is 50% “pretty unhealthy” is going to make life a struggle especially if you are whipsawing from 1,500 calories per day during the week to 5,000 per day at the weekend, which is not unheard of.

The good news is that this is not the part where you are made to feel guilty about your weekend indulgences and are have to reconsider that well earned G&T on a Friday night. That’s where too many people go wrong. Let’s be honest with ourselves, we are parents, many of us British parents and relaxing at some point over a weekend is an embedded part of lives. If someone told us that all we had to do to achieve our health goals was give up our wine and extra weekend calories then we might try it, some of us probably have tried it, but it is unsustainable and inevitably fails… and then makes us feel bad for failing.

The trick here is to increase calories during the week whilst also being a bit more conscious at the weekend, which should be less painful as the weekdays are not so restrictive. Instead of consuming 17,500 calories per week (1,500 x 5 plus 5,000 x 2) you can have 1,800 calories on a weekday and 3,000 at the weekends and then come in at a weekly total of 15,000 calories, saving yourself 2,500 calories per week. The new and improved move from 3,000 calories on Sunday  to 1,800 calories  on Monday is also much easier to handle than the 5,000 to 1,500 calorie shock!

There are more specific things that can also be done to make Mondays amazing. Plan ahead. This may compromise your Sunday night wind down but it is worth it, big time. Plan your week so you are in control from day 1 (Monday). Meal plan so you stay in control of your food and don’t accidentally let the weekend indulgences drift in an unplanned fashion into the start of the week. Get ready for Monday itself. I can’t be bothered to do it every day, but on Sunday night I get out what I am going to wear on Monday. It just means that you are not contributing to decision fatigue first thing on Monday. Get up. Put on clothes. Get going. Simple.

Eat well on Monday and exercise or do something active if possible. Is it better to exercise before breakfast? Who cares!? If you have kids then the best time to exercise is any time you can fit it in. Also, it doesn’t matter what. Again, if you have kids and are time pressured, then do whatever you can that works for you. It can be a 10 mile run, a 20 minute HIIT session or can just be the day you walk on the school run. It really is up to you. Doing something that works for you is much better than not doing something that someone else thinks you should do.

If you can get your Monday right it has a positive knock on effect for your week. Start with healthy acts and intentions and it will be easier to keep these going through the week. Start the week lazy and foggy and you will be chasing the lost day and cause stress. Get ahead of the game, have healthy stress free week and look forward to many more Happy Mondays.

"Neil Welsh knows how to get what mums want. Lose weight, get your kids to eat the healthy food that you want to eat and end mealtime battles… no matter how fussy your kids are. To start now, check out for more info!"


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