Many of us are notorious for eating lots and ditching all our self-imposed diet and exercise rules on the weekends.
When our weekdays are over-scheduled and overwhelming, the weekend can actually provide a fantastic opportunity to take control of our health and nutrition and set the scene for weight loss.
If you feel you need to drop kilos this weekend rather than gain them, here are some easy ways to turn the weekend weight gain cycle around.
1. WATCH THE CAFE BREAKFASTS
Whether it is a jumbo smoothie, a big fry up or a cheeky banana bread, extra-large weekend breakfasts can add up to 1000 calories to our weekend calorie count.
But cutting back on the weekend does not mean you have to skip brunch altogether, but rather focus on lower calorie options.
Good, healthy choices include vegetable omelets, vegetable juices, small coffees and plain eggs with vegetable sides.
2. CUT THE NUMBER OF MEALS YOU HAVE
The great thing about weekends is more sleep and less structured time. This can work in our favour when it comes to weight control, by allowing us to cut back on meals and snacks.
For example, you may only need brunch and dinner, or three light meals to get through the day, rather than the continual grazing and regular snacking that often becomes part of the long working day.
While skipping too many meals is not advisable, two-three meals a day on weekends will be more than enough to manage your appetite, and also controlling your calorie intake.
3. SCHEDULE ACTIVE SOCIAL EVENTS
Weekends are for relaxing and socialising, so why not socialise while being active rather than seeing it as another opportunity to eat and drink?
Swap coffee dates for catch ups while walking, trips to the pub for long walks and shopping centres for the beach or national park.
Not only is getting outdoors and getting active great for mental health but every time you are moving, you will be burning calories.
As a rule of thumb, churning out 15,000-20,000 steps each weekend day will help with your weight loss goals.
4. PLAN AND SHOP
The weekend can be a great opportunity to get organised, plan your meals and set yourself up for a healthy week ahead.
A couple of hours each weekend spent shopping, cooking and planning meals can be the difference between eating a calorie-controlled diet each week, or simply consuming whatever crosses your path.
Once you have the foods on hand, you need to eat well and avoid resorting to fast food and takeaway. Cook two different meals up for the week, separate them into containers and store them in your fridge or freezer.
This way, you are improving your nutrition not only for the weekend, but for most of the upcoming week as well.
5. Go light on Sunday night
Many of us eat what we like all weekend, but say we'll start a new diet and lifestyle program each Monday.
But weekdays are often hectic, so there is little time or energy left to commit to new significant lifestyle changes.
To combat this, forget waiting until Monday to restart your healthy diet. Instead, commit to light meals on Sunday night to help support weight loss.
Soups, salads and grilled fish or prawns are all low calorie choices that are appetising. They're also easy to fit into weekend socialising and won't make you feel as if you are dieting at all.