Beat the 2-Day Binge: Your Weekend Diet Survival Guide

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Beat the 2-Day Binge: Your Weekend Diet Survival Guide

If you’ve ever avoided your Monday-morning weigh-in because you blew your diet over the weekend, you’re not alone. Most people, even those who are not dieting, tend to eat more on weekends than they do during the week. You don’t have to be like the average person, however, if you follow a few simple steps. Here are 10 tips for surviving the weekend on a diet.In a study published in the journal Obesity in 2008, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis followed 48 men and women for a year to determine how weekend eating affected their diets. Almost all of the participants, who ranged from healthy weight to nearly obese, lost weight during the week and gained it back on the weekends. Their physical activity didn’t change much; the weight increase was caused by a higher calorie intake. Weekend overeating is so powerful, the researchers found, that it could lead the average person to gain 9 pounds over the course of a year.Indulging on the weekends can cause you to make up any calorie deficit you created during the week, which means you won’t lose weight. And who wants to diet without seeing results? Don’t let your days off derail your hard work. Be a weekend diet warrior.Eat within an hour of waking up
Starting your days with a healthy breakfast will give you energy and make you feel full longer. A healthy balance of protein and complex carbohydrates, such as an egg-white omelette with vegetables and whole-grain toast, plain yogurt sweetened with berries, or high-fiber cereal with low-fat milk, will stabilize your blood sugar and rev your metabolism, and it may help ward off hunger later in the day.

Stick to your meal plan
There’s no reason to change your meal plan on the weekend. If you eat five times a day during the week, eat five times a day on the weekend. When you sleep in on Saturday and Sunday, just shift your meal schedule to accommodate the later start, but keep everything else exactly the same. If you know you’re going out to dinner and will want to eat more, simply cut back on the number of calories you consume earlier in the day. But don’t skip meals, or your hunger will overpower you at dinnertime.

Plan ahead
Weekends are busy with family activities, socializing with friends, and running errands. Part of creating a healthy lifestyle is learning how to adapt your diet and exercise routine to fit any schedule. Know ahead of time when you’ll need to eat and plan for it. Bring nonperishable food such as dried fruit, nuts, and nut butters; make a sandwich; cut up some vegetables; throw a meal replacement bar in your bag; or pour some soup into a thermos and stash it in your car. You can also fill a cooler with food for you and your family when you’re out all day. Added bonus: You’ll all eat better and save money by not having to stop at a restaurant.

Lay off the liquor
You already know that alcohol’s empty calories and high sugar content are major diet busters. Many people lose their food inhibitions when they drink alcohol, which means they’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices after a cocktail or two. If you really want to drink on weekends, have one non-caloric drink such as club soda with lime (looks like a vodka tonic!) or water between every alcoholic drink. And stick to lower-calorie options such as light beer or wine rather than mixed drinks, which can have upwards of 500 calories each.

Be the first to order in a restaurant
Set the tone for the meal by ordering something healthy for yourself. Getting your order in first will make you less likely to be tempted by the unhealthy choices of your dining companions. And maybe your healthy selection will convince them to make better decisions about what they’re eating.

Stay busy. Boredom and loneliness are two common diet hazards
Plan your weekends so they’re full of activities, and you won’t be tempted to eat mindlessly. Keep up with your P90X® , Slim in 6®, or INSANITY™, get outdoors, play sports, meet friends . . . Just get off the couch.

Reward yourself with something other than food
If you’ve been dieting all week, you may feel like you deserve to indulge on the weekend. But a little splurge can result in slower weight loss. Is it really worth it? Instead of rewarding yourself with food, try something else. See a movie, buy a book or DVD, get some new workout clothes, or have a massage. Find something that makes you feel good and doesn’t involve food.

Get on the scale
Weighing yourself on a weekend morning can help you stick to your diet by reminding you of your goals. If you “think thin,” you’ll be more likely to maintain healthy habits throughout the weekend.

Treat yourself during the week
Any diet that makes you feel deprived is destined to fail. If you adhere to a strict eating plan Monday through Friday, you’re more likely to give in to temptation over the weekend. But when you add in a treat or two during the week, it’ll be easier to practice portion control on Saturday and Sunday. Just find a way to incorporate indulgences into your weekday calorie target.

If you do blow it, don’t wait until Monday to start over
Nobody’s perfect. If you have a blowout dinner or graze all day at a family party, simply get back on track with your next meal. This helps stop negative eating patterns that can carry over into the next week, and it minimizes the diet damage. No need to dwell on your splurge or feel guilty about it either; just forget about it and move on.

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