For most people, working on weight loss during the weekdays is much easier to accomplish by the routines we all maintain. Work, lunch time, leaving work and our relaxing time when the day is over stays pretty consistent Monday through Friday. But oh boy when the weekend rolls around and the normal weekday routine takes a backseat to a different kind of busy and temptations you are not normally exposed during the week, you can find yourself unraveling all your hard work of the previous five days.
Without a solid plan for navigating the pitfalls of the weekend, by the time your alarm sounds Monday morning, you’re left feeling overstuffed and bloated, which inspires you to get back to your disciplined diet.
But if you’re looking for real weight-loss results, you must stop this counterproductive cycle, and build weight loss into your plans seven days a week.
Here are the strategies you need to make it happen.
Happy hour prices and two for one’s might be a great way to save some money on your Friday evening wind-down from a hectic work week, but the money you save will be little consolation during your Monday morning weigh-in rolls around.
Alcohol is high in calories and can loosen your resolve. This can make that free snack bowl on the bar look even more inviting. Socialize without the temptation, ask the bartender to take the snacks away , or choose a seat where you can’t easily reach them. Trust me you don’t want to eat a bowel of stale pretzels that everyone has been putting their hands in, yuck!
Keep track of how much you’ve had to drink and in between drinks, down a full glass of water to fill up without excess calories and help prevent a morning hangover.
Order sensibly, choose a drink that will take some time to drink like a glass of white or red wine. Avoid ordering “shots” or fruity drinks that can go down two fast. Don’t be fooled into thinking ordering the fruitier drink is a healthier option. It can add up to hundreds of calories very quickly.
Lastly, don’t forget to eat! A sensible dinner before you go out, it will help you drink less and avoid the happy hour buffet or any late-night food temptations.
There’s no reason to skip dinner with friends because you’re on a diet — just be smart about what you order. If you can, go online and look at the restaurant menu before you get there. Plan your ordering strategy so you’re less tempted to splurge in the heat of the moment. Decide to choose fish, lean meats, or poultry that’s steamed, baked, broiled, or grilled. Skip any dish that’s fried or battered or served in a creamy sauce. If the portions are over-sized, see if one of your friends wants to share an entrée or, before you start eating, ask the waiter to pack up half for you to take home . According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, average restaurant meals are four times larger than they were in the 1950s and, not surprisingly, adults are 26 pounds heavier.
Turn your Saturday shopping spree into a weekend weight-loss workout. Park far away from the entrance and build a few extra, calorie-burning steps into your day. Visit stores on different levels and take the stairs, not the escalator . If you must hit the food court at lunchtime, look for places that offer healthy choices, where you can get a lean protein that’s grilled, not fried, and a salad with dressing on the side and without high-calorie toppings
Streamline Your Saturday Night Soiree
The key to going to a party is not showing up starved. Have a small snack before you head out of the door, so you can indulge on party favors in moderation. An apple is a great choice. Researchers at Penn State University found that people who ate an apple 15 minutes before attending a party consumed nearly 290 fewer calories than those who didn’t. Another good snack choice is a handful of almonds. Almonds provide protein, monounsaturated fats, and fiber that will fill you up. Just be sure to limit yourself to one handful so the calories don’t add up.
Although popcorn can be a healthy snack option in moderation, movie theater popcorn is ridiculously high in fat and calories. Wash it down with a large soda, and you’ll put back over 1,000 of the calories you spent all week cutting out. Instead, indulge your passion for going to the movies, but stick to your weekend weight-loss plan by skipping the concession stand. If you just enjoy the movie without a snack, pop a 100-calorie bag of microwave popcorn at home and take it with you. If you’re watching a movie at home, portion out any snacks into a small bowl rather than eating directly from the bag or container.
Be Sensible at Sunday Brunch
Sunday brunch can be troublesome for weekend weight loss if you’re ravenous when you get there. If you’re not meeting until 11 a.m. or noon, have a light breakfast at home. That way you’ll keep your hands out of the muffin basket while you’re waiting for your meal to be served. An egg-white veggie omelet with whole-wheat toast is a great diet choice because it delivers filling protein and fiber to keep you fuller longer . Enjoy the company and eat slowly, and limit yourself to just a couple items. Too much variety can lead you to overindulging by trying to sample it all.
It’s tempting to spend Sunday sitting on the couch, watching baseball or football or catching up on your favorite TV shows. Instead, take advantage of the fact that you have free time and go for a hike, bike ride, or swim. Using the day off for some intense, calorie-burning activities that you can’t squeeze in midweek can result in a nice weight loss come Monday morning.
Savor Sunday Dinner With Family
Most experts warn against diet cheat days — feast on junk food, and you can easily consume 2,000 to 3,000 extra calories. However, one cheat meal over the weekend won’t destroy all your hard work. Actually it may help keep you motivated to stay the course the rest of the week knowing you have an opportunity to sample some of your favorite foods. Just remember to manage the splurge by limiting yourself to smaller portions and eating sensibly the rest of the day.
Sleep deprivation often makes you eat more — about 500 extra calories a day — studies have found. Maximize your Sunday by unwinding and getting ready for bed early. Instead of splurging on a late-night dessert you’ll regret or stress-eating your way through the night while you think about Monday morning, cap off your weekend weight-loss efforts with a relaxing activity and then head to bed early to squeeze in some extra sleep.