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Friday, September 16, 2011

Surviving the Weekend

I'm often asked why we keep scheduling the weigh-ins for Biggest Loser on Monday nights."Why Mondays?"
"How am I supposed to cheat on the weekends when I have to weigh-in Monday? I need a few extra days to lose those extra calories I ate!"

And my answer always is this. Weekends don't go away. They are always here. Same thing for holidays. The problem isn't the date of the weigh-in, it's how we treat our weekends and holidays as free passes to over-indulge. Here's a great article on the subject along with some helpful tips for surviving your weekend and still losing the weight.

Weekend Diet Traps
Question: I eat a healthy diet Monday through Friday, but on the weekends, it's no holds barred. How do I bring in the reins?

Answer: After working hard all week, you are ready for some rest and relaxation -- and that mindset seems to also extend to your diet. You start with cocktails and greasy appetizers Friday night with friends. On Saturday, you go grazing through the food court while shopping at the mall, then go out for a big dinner that night. On Sunday, you are feeling kind of lazy and lounge around on the couch watching television and snacking on chips and dip.

Your mindless weekend binge just ruined an entire week of healthy eating. Then the guilt sets in. You get back to your routine diet on Monday, feeling bad and vowing to eat right next weekend. But then Friday comes around and the whole cycle starts all over again.
This is a pretty common scenario. But don't despair. With a little thought and preparation, you can continue to eat healthy and still enjoy your weekends. Here are some tips:
Plan ahead
Don't load up your kitchen with lots of tempting, high-calorie snacks. Keep fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grain crackers and your favorite cheese on-hand for nutritious snacking.
Don't skip breakfast
Start Saturday and Sunday mornings with a healthy breakfast1 with plenty of protein and fiber. Good choices include eggs, whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, or whole-wheat toast with peanut butter.

Use a food diary every day
A great way to stay motivated to eat a healthy diet is to keep track of the foods you eat. Print out your own food diary2, or use Calorie Count3, a free online tool that can help you track your eating and activity (you can even look up food labels4).
Give yourself a small treat or two during the week
Any diet that leaves you feeling deprived will ultimately fail. Enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate or one scoop of ice cream during the week.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
They are low in calories, and high in nutrients and fiber6. Fiber is key -- it will keep you feeling full.

Eat less at restaurants
Going out for dinner? Most restaurants serve very large portions. Choose a soup and a salad, or a salad and an appetizer for your meal. If you order a large meal, take half of it home for a delicious lunch the next day.

Be careful with shopping trips
Eat a healthy lunch before you go to the mall. If you go hungry, you are much more likely to give in to the temptation of unhealthy foods at the food court.
Get some exercise each day
Go for a walk. Not only will you burn calories, the exercise will improve your mood and may distract you from your cravings.
Once you learn how to continue your healthy diet on the weekends, you just might find that you have even more energy to do fun things with family and friends. Enjoy your weekend away from work. You've earned it.

By Shereen Jegtvig, About.com Guide

Updated September 12, 2011
About.com Health's Disease and Condition content is reviewed by our Medical Review Board

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