2014-09-01 / Health

Strengthen your weekend

Here’s how to live it up on the weekends without the extra pounds
By Jeff Schnaufer
CTW Features

When the weekend used to roll around, Julia Griggs Havey would walk to the freezer and pull out a pint of Baskin and Robbins Expresso ’n Cream Light — over and over again.

“I would have a spoonful, then go back and back until most of it was gone,” recalls the St. Louis resident, who used to weigh 300 pounds.“Then I would go out and buy another one to replace it so my husband would not know how much I ate. ”

Looking back, Griggs Havey says her cravings were partly based on boredom — one of several factors nutrition experts say can stop your diet cold on a weekend. People also cheat on their diets during the weekend because they are fatigued, eat out more on weekends or feel a need to reward themselves after a hard week of work or strict dieting.

But there are ways to keep the weekend from turning into a diet-breaker.

“If you feel like your eating on the weekend is getting out of control, my first two pieces of advice is get enough sleep and get out and move around,” says Donna Feldman, a registered dietitian in Boulder, Colo.

“A lot of people think that if they are fatigued, food will give them energy,” Feldman says.“That is an inappropriate response to being sleep deprived. Food isn’t want you really need. Instead, be aware and get enough sleep.”

Some people see the weekend as a reason to forget getting up early and going to the gym. Instead, they head for the refrigerator.

“If you’re just hanging out just mindlessly eating whatever you find, you need to put on your running shoes and get out of the house,” Feldman says.

When it comes to controlling your portions, weekends also can be tricky. Restaurants may serve more than you really need to eat.And if you are eating over at a friend’s house on the weekend, you may fear offending them if you do not eat what you are served.

The key, says Feldman, is to be assertive and aware.That means choosing not to eat at one of those restaurants that specialize in large portions.And learning what is worth eating on the menu and what is not.

“When it comes to portion control, the person needs to make that commitment seven days a week so that it becomes second nature,” Feldman says.

Bringing something healthy for you to eat to a friend’s dinner party or special event can take the fear out of your visit. And it may even be appreciated by fellow dieters.

“It’s a good deed. It’s also a good self defense of your diet,” Feldman says.

But what about your favorite foods or drinks like beer, chips or ice cream? Can’t you cheat a little on weekends?

Feldman recommends light beer or alternating between beer and sparkling water, which still feels like a treat.Also, stock the refrigerator with healthy snacks like cut up vegetables and low-fat dips. And if you do indulge in an ice cream sundae, consider it a meal in itself. Or better yet, find someone to share it with.

For her part, Griggs Havey lost more than 130 pounds in 15 months by giving up her greatest food vices: ice cream, fast food and soda.An author of two books, including“ TheVice Busting Diet”(St. Martin’s, 2007), Griggs Havey believes the key to losing weight is to identify your food vices and remove them from your meals — even on weekends.

“If someone is addicted to a particular food, they cannot indulge in consuming it because it’s the weekend,” Griggs Havey says.“Health doesn’t take weekends off.”

© CTW Features

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