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Weekend Survival Guide

You know how it goes. You’ve been good all week, you’re feeling great, you feel that you owe it to yourself to not feel strapped this weekend, right? I know I’ve been there and still get caught in the trap on occasion. Dang!

You can definitely screw-up 5 days of eating clean with 2 days of free flying. Doesn’t add up in your head…. Well, here’s why!

In order to lose weight you must carry a calorie deficit from week to week. Think about this, ONE pound of FAT is equal to roughly 3,500 calories. So that adds up to about a 500 calorie deficit a day to lose a pound. I’ll call that a healthy pound because you can lose more on crash diet, or in other super unhealthy ways like juice cleanses, starving yourself, or any of the miracle pills out there. I’m talking about 500 healthy calories less than you’re burning from exercise and your general metabolism. Lean muscle mass plays a pretty big role in metabolism so the more muscle you build, the more calories you burn, even when you are relaxing on the couch!

In a study published back in 2008 in a journal called Obesity, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis followed 48 men and women for a year to determine how weekend eating affected their diets. Most all of the participants, independent of their weight range (healthy weight to obese), lost weight during the week and GAINED IT BACK on the weekends. Their results were blown by a higher calorie intake, their physical activity didn’t change much! Weekend overeating is so powerful, the researchers found, that it could lead the average person to gain 9 pounds over the course of a year.

NINE POUNDS from free flying during normal weekends (and y’all know we have multiple 3 day holiday weekends), now that is a bit counter-productive isn’t it?

Indulging on the weekends can cause you to make up any calorie deficit you created during the week, which means you won’t lose weight. And who wants to diet without seeing results? Don’t let your days off derail your hard work. Weekends are the time we need to pay the most attention.

Here are 10 weight loss tips to keep your weekends on track.

Eat breakfast within an hour after you wake up. I know, you are taking it easy and you don’t feel like even moving because of your crazy night… doin’ whatever it is you do! However, you ABSOLUTELY need to start your days with a healthy breakfast. A breakfast that will give you energy and make you feel full longer. A healthy balance of protein and complex carbohydrates, such as an egg-white omelet with vegetables and whole-grain toast, plain yogurt sweetened with berries will stabilize your blood sugar and rev your metabolism, and it may help ward off hunger later in the day. Get your Shakeology in to help boost your Immune system and provide your body with super greens and proteins! Don’t fall for the fat/greasy/nasty cravings that trap you in old habits!

Stick to your meal plan. There’s no reason to change your meal plan on the weekend. If you eat five times a day during the week, eat five times a day on the weekend. When you sleep in on Saturday and Sunday, just shift your meal schedule to accommodate the later start, but keep everything else exactly the same. If you know you’re going out to dinner and will want to eat more, simply cut back on the number of calories you consume earlier in the day. But DO NOT skip meals, or turn into a HANGRY monster that will overpower you at dinnertime.

Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Weekends are busy with family activities, socializing with friends, and kid’s soccer games. Part of creating a healthy lifestyle is learning how to adapt your diet and exercise routine to fit any schedule. Know ahead of time when you’ll need to eat and plan for it. I will repeat… PLAN FOR IT! Bring non-perishable food such as dried fruit, nuts, and nut butters; make a sandwich, cut up some vegetables or pour some homemade soup into a thermos and stash it in your car. You can also fill a cooler with food for you and your family when you’re out all day. Even on long road trips we’ll stop at a store (instead of a food chain) and get healthy food and make our own meals and snacks right in the back of the car. Added bonus: You’ll all eat better and save money by not having to stop at a restaurant.

Don’t get hammered. You already know that alcohol is just empty calories and has high sugar content, both of which are major diet busters. Many people lose their food inhibitions when they drink alcohol, which means they’re more likely to make unhealthy food choices after a cocktail or two (think all the appetizers you order at the bar). If you really want to drink on weekends, have one non-caloric drink such as club soda with lime (looks like a vodka tonic!) or water between every alcoholic drink. And stick to lower-calorie options such as light beer or wine rather than mixed drinks, which can have upwards of 500 calories each.

Be the first to order in a restaurant. Set the tone for your dinner party by ordering something healthy for yourself. Getting your order in first will make you less likely to be tempted by the unhealthy choices of your dining companions. And maybe your healthy selection will convince them to make better decisions about what they’re eating. And… dessert is not a requirement. Yeah, you might catch some slack from those sitting next to you but who cares. You’re not having dessert just for them are you?

Stay busy. Boredom and loneliness are two common nutritional hazards. Plan your weekends so they’re full of activities, and you won’t be tempted to eat mindlessly. Get outdoors, play sports, meet friends . . . Just get off the couch and move!

Reward yourself with something other than food. If you’ve been eating clean all week, you may feel like you deserve to indulge on the weekend. But a little splurge can result in slower weight loss. Is it really worth it? Instead of rewarding yourself with food, try something else. See a movie, buy a book or DVD, get some new workout clothes, or get a massage. Find something that makes you feel good and doesn’t involve food.

Get on the scale. I’m not a huge fan of weighing myself all the time but I think there is a good exception. Weighing yourself on a weekend morning can help you stick to your diet by reminding you of your goals. If you have an “oh crap” moment, it might just change the way you treat the rest of your weekend.

Treat yourself during the week. Any diet that makes you feel deprived is destined to fail. If you adhere to a strict eating plan Monday through Friday, you’re more likely to give in to temptation over the weekend. But when you add in a treat or two during the week, it’ll be easier to practice portion control on Saturday and Sunday. Just find a way to incorporate indulgences into your weekday calorie target.

If you do blow it, don’t wait until Monday to start over. Nobody’s perfect. If you have a blowout dinner or graze all day at a family party, simply get back on track with your NEXT meal. This helps stop negative eating patterns that can carry over into the next week, and it minimizes the damage. No need to dwell on your splurge or feel guilty about it either; just forget about it and move on. Fah reals… you are doing great! FORGET ABOUT IT AND MOVE ON!

A lot of us have a bad weekend after several weeks of staying on track, it happens. Unfortunately some see the bad weekend as a failure and give up everything… even after seeing great progress (it’s just a mental thing). Don’t let that happen to you, be a weekend warrior!

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