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How to Keep from Derailing Your Diet Over the Weekend

weekend dietIt can be so frustrating when all week long you work hard to read labels, make healthy choices, and stay away from foods that trigger binging and weight gain. Then, the weekend comes along and a few days of overdoing seem to undo a week’s worth of effort. How can you enjoy some weekend indulging and still stay on track? Here are my 10 top tips:

1. Choices or Portions – When dining out, make the decision that if you’re going to choose a highly caloric, heavy food choice than you need to minimize the portion you’ll have of that food. If you’d rather eat a large portion, make the decision to make a healthier choice. It’s either choices or portions and it can’t be both. Choose one or the other and it’s up to you.

2. Make it Difficult – The more steps or the more you have to do in order to have a snack or dessert, the more time you have to reconsider. For example, if you know those delicious desserts are in the refrigerator in the garage vs. the kitchen, you have time to decide how badly you really want it as you walk towards the garage. The same goes for snacking while out. If you position yourself away from the snacks, you need to make a conscious effort to walk over and get to them vs. standing right by the bowls and plates of snacks. Making it difficult makes it easier to stay on track.

3. Order First – Sometimes we can be influenced by what others are ordering and when we are, we may make decisions we’ll later regret. By ordering first, you’re less likely to give in to the temptation you may feel when hearing what others around you are ordering. Who knows, you may even influence them to make a healthier choice for themselves!

4. Preplan your Drinking – Preplan the number of drinks you’ll have before the event (dinner, party, etc.). Remember the more you drink the more likely it’ll be that your judgment won’t be as strong. Make the decision ahead of time to either commit to a certain number of drinks, alternate sips of a drink with sips of water, dilute your wine by having a wine spritzer instead, drink with your meal only or whatever decision you need to make to ensure you limit your alcohol intake.

5. Create Structure – One of the setbacks from weekend eating comes from the lack of structure. If you’ve found that true for you it may be helpful to implement a rule to maintain some type of structure over the weekend like: all eating must be done while sitting down. Create a rule that works for you and commit to it.

6. Get that Workout In – Besides it’s many benefits, working out makes us feel more in control, healthier and demonstrates to us that we’re taking care of ourselves. Starting your weekend mornings with a workout sets the tone to continue with those healthy thoughts as the day progresses; making it more likely you’ll continue with those healthy choices to go along with your decision to workout.

7. Don’t Go to a Party Hungry – Being overly hungry leads to overeating every time. A small snack with protein and fiber (fruit with some nuts, veggies and hummus, etc.) can make sure your judgment stays in tact when faced with high calorie/high fat appetizers once you’re out.

8. Try the Clutch Trick – I’ve been recommending this trick for over 20 years and more than a few times, I’ve been out when someone rushes over to me and days “Debi, I use your clutch trick every time I’m at a party- it really works!” Here’s what you do. Grab a clutch bag or simply tuck in the strap of a pretty evening bag. Now you need to hold it in your hand, which eliminates one hand that could be grabbing unhealthy foods and drinks! With one hand only, you’re able to limit how much you eat or at least slow down the rate at which you’re grabbing those unhealthy choices.

9. Strategize What You’ll Say to Food Pushers and Food Buddies – Come up with a statement you’ll say when a food pusher says something like: “Have some of my cookies, I made them just for you!” or when a food buddy says: “C’mon, what’s one drink going to do?” or whatever it is you typically hear that leads to falling off track. Have a simple response that works for you ready to go and implement when needed.

10. Wear Fitted Clothes – Wearing something fitted gives us a subconscious reminder to keep overeating in check. I learned this first hand back in college when everyone was gaining the dreaded “Freshman 15”…and I didn’t. Why? Most college kids wore sweatpants and out of habit, I preferred wearing jeans. I simply couldn’t afford a new wardrobe so whenever my jeans started feeling tight I pulled in the reins so I can pull on my jeans! I’ve been using that same strategy ever since and I’m happy to report, I’m not that far off from the weight I was in college!

Which strategy will you implement to keep your weekend eating in check? Start with one and watch your best body emerge!