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The Weekend Diet

Your days off don't have to be your dietary downfall.

The Weekend Warrior

The second approach is to use your extra weekend time to prepare healthy meals and catch up on the exercise that gets squeezed out of your schedule during the week.

You can spend more time at the gym or increase the intensity of your regular routine. But be warned: While it's fine to pump up your activity, tune in to how you are feeling and stop if you are overtired or in pain. Going overboard can result in injury.

With a little advance planning and a few hours to spare, you can stock your freezer with easy meals for the upcoming week. Batch cooking once a week can save you time and money. During the week, it allows you to get healthy meals on the table in minutes. And it can save you money both at the grocery store, where you can buy in bulk, and at the drive-through (which you'll have no need to visit).

Staying on Track

Weekends are supposed to be enjoyable, with free time to spend on yourself, family, and friends. And there's no reason why you can't enjoy the weekends while continuing to make progress toward your weight loss goals.

Successful losers eat breakfast every morning to help control frequent trips to the kitchen for snacks. So start your day with a healthy breakfast like a bowl of high-protein, high-fiber cereal topped with fresh fruit, and skim or low-fat milk. Feel free to enjoy eggs on the weekends; just limit the high-fat sides such as biscuits, bacon, and gravy. Replace them with lean ham, fruit salad, and whole-grain toast.

Don't let your portion sizes creep up while you're relaxing. Have a large vegetable salad with light dressing before dinner to help fill you up. If you're still hungry after your healthy meal, drink a big glass of water and wait 15 minutes. Still hungry? Eat vegetables or fruit.

Be sure to drink unsweetened beverages and water, or small portions of other beverages, to help control your liquid calorie intake. Calories from sweetened beverages, including coffee, tea, soda, juices, and alcohol, contribute as much as 20% of the calories in our diets according to a recent study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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