7 Ways to Avoid Overindulging This WeekendArticle posted in: Diet & Nutrition
From that Friday night party to Sunday morning brunch—weekends seem to be full of opportunities to indulge. While some indulging (allowing yourself one extra glass of wine or a slice of French toast) is okay, overindulging is not. You’ll never achieve your weight loss goals if you don’t set limits and cool it with the weekend weight gain. So how do you do that?
Here are seven simple ways to avoid overdoing it this weekend:
1. Be Conscious of Your Hunger.
You’re home. Surrounded by food. What happens? You eat. Whether it’s the smell of popcorn popping or the sight of it steaming in a big bowl, nose and eye hunger convince you that you’re hungry, even if you’ve just eaten, says Jan Chozen Bays MD, author of Mindful Eating.
Boredom can also convince you to eat when you’re not hungry, suggests a 2015 Frontiers in Psychology study. Participants in the study ate specifically to distract themselves from the sensation of boredom. If you’ve got a quiet weekend ahead, go to the supermarket and buy a few ingredients from the produce section you don’t usually purchase. Research recipes that put those ingredients to delicious use, make those recipes, and then enjoy them.
2. Schedule a Family Outing.
Teach your family to sail. Go for a hike at the state park. Go bowling. Organize some touch football in the backyard. It’s much more fun to be active with other people and scheduling time together will help you reconnect with your loved ones after a busy week. Plus, by getting out of the house, away from food and the comfy couch, you’re avoiding the weekend weight gain. Have healthy snacks ready when you take a break or head home like oranges, bananas beef sticks or trail mix.
3. Go Out to Eat.
Wait. What? Yep—you read that right. This weekend, try somewhere new like a vegetarian restaurant or farm-to-table café. Not only will you find inventive, veggie-filled dishes you can recreate at home, but you’ll get to practice your DIY eating, which is part of the South Beach Diet strategy. Don’t have many restaurants in your area? Go to your usual place and challenge yourself to order something completely new and healthy like a veggie frittata, grilled chicken salad (without the cheese or croutons), or sirloin steak with a sweet potato or side of broccoli. Be careful about cheesy garnishes, dipping sauces, dressing or butter—overdoing items like these can sneakily cause weekend weight gain!
4. Slow Down & Savor Every Meal.
Whether at a restaurant and/or Sunday dinner at home with the family, you can avoid overindulging (overeating) if you make a conscious effort to slow down the whole eating process. It takes about 20 minutes for the body to figure out and signal to the brain that it’s full, says Jan Chozen Bays MD. But the average American spends about 11 minutes eating lunch at a fast food restaurant and 18 minutes in a work cafeteria. If you slow down—putting down your fork or spoon in-between bites, chewing food at least 15 to 30 times before swallowing, or switching to chop sticks—the body has a better chance of getting that “I’m full” message to the brain, and you won’t want or feel you need more food. You might also avoid someone (perhaps mom or grandma) loading your plate up with seconds just because it’s empty.
5. Find Healthy Substitutes.
Weekends are a break from routine. For many, the perfect weekend is relaxing, fun and delicious. There’s no reason you have to change your weekend perks when you’re on SBD—even the “delicious” part. Just replace those not-so-healthy recipes with smarter ones. Instead of French toast on Saturday morning, mix up a veggie omelet or steel-cut oats with fresh blueberries. Instead of pasta and meatballs, make spaghetti squash and turkey meatballs. Rather than making fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, make Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies.
6. Don’t Reward (or Soothe) Yourself with Food.
Promotions should be celebrated. And bad days should be made right. But don’t turn to a bottle of wine or a plate of cheese fries to match your mood. Even if you’ve been really “good” this week: you went to the gym every day, you ate well, and you fulfilled your water requirements, “treating” yourself regularly can establish bad habits and lead to overindulging.
7. Have Your Own Party Foods.
Grandma’s 90th birthday party is this weekend. There will be cake so you’ve got to be ready to make a decision. If you absolutely love birthday cake, allow yourself one small slice. One cheat “meal” will not undo all your efforts, says Registered Dietician Courtney McCormick. “Remember that all foods can fit into a healthy diet; just enjoy indulgent treats in smaller portions,” she says. If you know there’s no way you can limit yourself to a small piece of cake, come to the party prepared with SBD snacks or a shake.