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Avoid Weekend Weight Gain

How to unwind without undoing your diet.
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The Weekend Trap continued...

While physical activity may be the obvious answer, experts say there are other tricks that can help you overcome the habit of weekend overindulgence:

  • Start your day out right. "Eat a healthy breakfast on the weekend, when you have more time," says Susan Moores, RD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association. "You usually eat less during the day if you start with a healthy breakfast, and you get some good nutrition."
  • Don't go hungry to "save up" for a big dinner out. "Saving yourself backfires -- you usually end up eating way more than you would have if you ate normally throughout the day," says Moores. "Have a little bite to eat before you go out to take the edge off your hunger, and then simply enjoy good food when you go out."
  • Savor the experience of dining out. "Allow yourself to enjoy good food and savor it, rather than overindulge in it," says Moores. "People forget what the whole eating experience is about -- sitting with friends, enjoying your time together, and relaxing."
  • Eat slowly. "It takes 15-20 minutes for your brain to signal your stomach that it's full, so take your time," Moores explains. "Whether you're at a party or eating out on the weekend, remember to slow down when you're eating."
  • Start with soup. "Take your time when you order at a restaurant, and start with soup," says Moores. "Then, have the waiter come back so you can order an entrée -- you'll order much less than if you ordered all at once."
  • Halve your restaurant entrees. "Splitting an entree with a friend is a great way to make a significant cut in calories on the weekend," says Moores.
  • Don't skip dessert; share it. "Make it special," says Moores. "Choose something that is really delightful to you and split it with a friend. Keep an eye out for portion sizes, and if the dessert you want is huge, ask the waiter to slice it thin or split it with the table -- but I'm all for dessert."
  • Avoid overdoing it with alcohol. "If you can cut out one or two drinks per day on the weekend, that will save you 100 to 150-plus calories," says Moores. And, she explains, people who drink more tend to eat more as well. So drink alcohol with caution, if at all.
  • Remember your waistline. "Wear a tighter pair of pants when you go out on the weekend," says Moores. "Wear something that's not uncomfortable but that reminds you there are limits to what you should eat."
  • Find a substitute for soda. "Use water to satisfy thirst, rather than soda, which many people drink more of on the weekends," says Bryant. "Not only are they consuming a tremendous amount of calories, but soda is high in fructose, which stimulates the appetite."

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