Happy Healthy Monday to You

I LOVE MONDAY. I have been doing a local Monday morning TV segment on NBC  KARE 11 in Minneapolis for 6 years and I email my free monthly fit-tips on Monday. Even my coffee shop, Caribou Coffee, started offering a cup of coffee for $1 on Mondays…. So why Monday?

In our society, Monday has kind of become our natural start of the week. We go back to work on Monday morning; our kids go back to school on Monday morning; the mail starts up again on Monday. After a weekend of family, fun and hopefully a little downtime, Monday is the natural day for people to ask, “What is going on this week?” The way I see it, you have 52 Mondays a year to start fresh—I love the idea of Monday as a trigger day for your weekly goals, efforts and dreams. It is a natural, regular and recurring time to call ourselves to action to live a healthier lifestyle.

On Mondays we already naturally take stock of all sorts of things for the week: our business appointments, upcoming family activities, grocery shopping, etc. Why not also make it the day we take stock of our current health status? Studies have shown that people do better at maintaining habits and behavioral changes if they have a reminder or a cue that brings them back to their goals and intentions.

Better yet, Monday has been proven to be the common day for starting behavioral changes such as a new diet and/or exercise program. Personally, I often take a break from work and exercise on Sundays, but I mentally need to get in a great workout on Mondays to set my tone for the week.  And I always tell my clients to do the same.

I came across another Monday-focused organization called Healthy Monday, which also strives to make Monday “a weekly start to a healthier you.” It’s a nonprofit movement of people and organizations who commit every Monday to the behaviors and actions that will end preventable disease in the United States. Listed on their website are many national initiatives happening on Mondays.

So why not CHALLENGE yourself to use Mondays as a day to set weekly goals, refocus and recommit?

1. GET TO BED early on Sunday nights to begin Monday well rested.

2. ALWAYS do a Monday workout—it sets the tone for your mental state for the week and helps you rid your guilt of any overindulgence from the weekend. (If you are on the road, find a way to get in a Monday mile. I’ve done it many times at the airport.)

3. SCHEDULE the rest of your workouts—put them in your Outlook, Google Calendar, iCal, or whatever program you use to be accountable.

4. Grocery-shop and meal-plan on Sundays; eat at least ONE HOME-COOKED MEAL on Mondays.

5. GO MEATLESS ON MONDAYS. By eliminating meat one day a week, you can reduce your risk of disease and reduce your carbon footprint. No need to be a vegetarian, but this one day makes a difference. Read more at www.meatlessmonday.com.


Chris Freytag has dedicated her adult life to motivating people to lead healthier lives. A contributing editor to Prevention magazine, she's also written two books, Shortcuts to Big Weight Loss, and her latest, 2-Week Total Body Turnaround. She also has appeared on NBC's Today show and MSNBC's Weekend Update.

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