Weekends are notorious for weight gain. The mix of Friday night drinks and nibbles, brunches, long lunches, treats, desserts, restaurant meals and high calorie takeaway means that our calorie intake increases significantly, which can result in an increase of several kilos on the scales come Monday.
So, if you are keen to avoid this trap and instead drop a couple of kilos over the weekend, here are the simple ways to do it.
1. Fast on Friday night
There is nothing wrong with enjoying some high calorie food and a few drinks at the end of the working week. Where we go wrong is the fact that we do not buffer the extra calories consumed and continue overeating on Saturday.
An easy habit to develop to help you buffer your Friday nights is to fast until Saturday lunchtime. Here, you can give yourself at least 14-16 hours overnight without any calories to help buffer the effects of the high calorie intake the night before. All you need to do is skip an early breakfast in favour of some herbal tea or black coffee until it’s brunch or even lunchtime.
2. Add in the cardio
Let’s be honest, no one likes to work out on a Sunday, but Saturday is a great day to hit the ground running and burn some serious calories with a high intensity workout before your first meal.
Think a cycle class, a run with a friend, interval training or a CrossFit session to really get your heart rate up, so you can work through all the extras from the night before and get really hungry before your first meal.
3. Cut the snacks
Snacking on the weekend tends to mean high sugar, high calorie extras such as cakes, biscuits, smoothies and juices, which can add up to an extra 500-600 calories per day. One of the easiest ways to keep your calorie intake controlled over the weekend is to focus on well balanced meals so that you are not tempted with extras in between.
4. Sleep in on Sunday
Few of us get enough sleep when life is busy and you are juggling social demands, family and work commitments.
Making up for this sleep debt by turning off the alarm and allowing yourself to sleep for as long as you need at least once each week plays a powerful role in helping our body’s recovery properly from the demands of the week – it helps to reduce inflammation in the body and regulates our hormones long term.
A long sleep will also help you to get back in touch with your hunger cues and reduce your overall calorie intake as tired people have been shown to eat more overall, as well as more calories from sugars throughout the day.
5. Go light on Sunday night
Forget getting your diet back on track on a Monday; instead start on Sunday night. Choosing low calorie, vegetable rich meals such as a vegetable soup, white fish or prawns with salad or even having dinner early will give your body a relatively long fast overnight, which will mean you start Monday morning lighter and ready for a protein rich breakfast.
Going light on Sunday night is a great habit to adopt, allowing you to enjoy your heavier weekend food with a built in buffer so you start a new week with your diet on track and even a few kilos down on the scales.
Susie Burrell is a nutritionist. Continue the conversation on Twitter @SusieBDiet