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Eat It: How to Avoid Weekend Weight Gain

Mar. 12 2009, Published 9:39 a.m. ET

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Picture this: It’s Monday morning. You hop on the scale after your shower – and whammo! You’re up three pounds! You can’t get your jeans to button! Now, we know what you’re thinking … how could this have happened?

Think about your weekend.

A few beers after work on Friday? Pizza and a movie with your girlfriends on Saturday? And that was BEFORE you guys popped open the bottle of wine.

Those little indulgences can wreak havoc on your bodyf – but there’s help. Here’s how to avoid the weekend pitfalls that lead to the dreaded Heavy Mondays.

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If you must party (and of course you must!) make sure to add at least one longer workout toward the end of the week. The more calories you burn during the week, the more wiggle room you’ll have on the weekend. And mix it up a bit. If you usually jog, try swimming. If you’re an elliptical devotee, hit a boxing class. Changing up the muscles you work will burn more fat. And please, don’t skip breakfast on Saturday and Sunday – even if you’re a late sleeper. Eating something healthy in the morning (No Lucky Charms!) will rev up your metabolism for the rest of the day.

OK, now that you’re off to a good start … here’s a few more tips that’ll help keep that belly from bulging.

Make sure you eat before you head out to the bar – and try to get in at least six ounces of protein and a cup of veggies. You know what happens otherwise. After a few drinks, you end up ordering those fatty chicken wings and a cheese enchilada! The calories and fat in those “snacks”? You DON’T want to know.

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Choose your drinks wisely. You can do a 150-calorie beer or glass of wine – or go for the fruity mixed drinks at 500 calories a pop. Not really worth it, is it?

Not a partier or just taking a weekend off? You can do damage even when you’re chilling at home. Here’s what you do … weigh yourself Saturday morning – and plan on doing it again Monday. Research shows that scale-watchers have an easier time maintaining their weight.

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Choose one healthy afternoon snack – like almonds, popcorn or pretzels – and keep it to one serving. Don’t turn on the TV and leave a big bowl of goodies in front of you. You’ll end up picking at it. Take what you want to satisfy the little hunger pangs and then put the food away in the kitchen. Same goes for drinks. Out of sight, out of mind.

Even if you’re planning to join friends (or a date) for a dinner out, you can still keep things in check. Order first and order healthy – it’ll set the tone for the meal. Don’t fill up on breads and baked potatoes – save the calories for stuff you wouldn’t make at home. And sip water before your meal comes – not an alcoholic beverage. You don’t want to lower your resistance and end up ordering that friend cheesecake for dessert.

Finally, make sure to get some shut-eye. Sleep deprivation can do scary things to your metabolism. And you’ll have a much harder time fighting off your food cravings if you don’t get enough rest – especially if you’ve been out all night drinking!



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