Don’t undo clean eating with weekend habits
You can stay in control of your diet if you take naps and wear tighter clothes
Weekends are often the time we let go of clean eating after being meticulous for the work week.
It is more tempting to indulge in the presence of our families and friends, but this can turn cheat meals into cheat days. Do not let Friday dinners, Saturday brunches and Sunday lunches ruin your diet.
Here is how to stay in control:
Do not be too strict on weekdays
Yes, have that slice of cheesecake with your Wednesday afternoon coffee. Losing control of your diet on weekends is usually a result of having restricted yourself too much during the weekdays.
Instead of having hard and fast diet rules, why not practise portion control? That way, you keep your cravings monster at bay and still stay within your daily calorie limit.
Set a cut-off time
The later part of the day is when people tend to indulge the most. Set a strict cut-off time for eating after having dinner at either 7pm or 8pm.
A study by the University of Pennsylvania found out through a two-week experiment that participants who ate dinner later at night gained weight, while those who ate between 8am to 7pm felt more satiated for longer.
Reward yourself in other ways
Instead of celebrating with unhealthy food items, reward yourself in other ways. Plan a healthy picnic with your friends, go for a therapeutic spa session or get yourself that new dress you have been eyeing.
Feeding off empty calories found in junk food will fail to energise you or keep you full for long, causing you to reach out for more snacks throughout the day.
Go for healthy substitutes
If you are craving fries, bake at home some sweet potato fries, which taste just as good.
Or opt for a healthy homemade pizza so you get to control the amount of cheese and oil that goes on it.
Choose wholesome toppings such as rocket leaves, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and grilled chicken.
Share it with someone else
If your favourite dessert has 500 calories, sharing it with someone else instantly cuts that number in half.
That way, you get to have your cake and eat it too.
Do not lounge around cafes
Once you are done with brunch, avoid remaining seated after the plates have been cleared. Being with friends at an empty table might cause you to order more, hence making you overindulge.
So, after eating, make it a point to get a small cup of coffee to go and take a walk around town.
Take a nap
Running around due to hectic work schedules on weekdays makes us feel extra tired on weekends. That means it would not be long before we reach out for high-calorie snacks to lift our mood and reverse the lethargy.
Instead, energise your body naturally by taking a nap. If your body is well rested, you would not be eating as much as you would when you are experiencing fatigue.
Wear tighter clothes
Pick a tight-fitting pair of pants or slip on a figure-hugging dress, as these clothes make you feel conscious about how much you are putting into your body.
Going to cafes in sweats means losing the inhibition to watch what we eat. Instead, we eat to our heart's content because our stomach, in those elastic-waisted pants, will always be willing.
Whip up a healthy feast
Stay at home and cook some comfort food. It is as easy as putting a pot of chicken stew to boil before serving it with some steamed rice.
Season with natural ingredients such as spices and add sweet potatoes for a sumptuous stew that will satiate your mind, body and soul.
This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg).