Every dieter knows that eating well Monday through Friday is the easy part.
But when the weekend arrives—you know, the two days that are practically synonymous with junk food and Netflix—that’s when willpower is truly tested.
While indulging a bit on the weekends won’t do too much damage to your waistline, going overboard can easily erase a week’s worth of your hard-earned weight loss.
To keep those pounds flying off—without feeling deprived—we rounded up expert- and science-backed advice to discover how you can keep your diet in check over the weekend.
Read the following top Saturday and Sunday slim-down strategies that can help you say sayonara to those pesky pounds—for good.
Order an Appetizer
On the weekend, many of us like to splurge by eating out at our favorite restaurants. “Most restaurant portions are completely distorted, offering twice as much food as you should actually eat,” Michelle Dudash, RDN, author of Clean Eating for Busy Families, tells us.
If you’re looking to keep your calories in check, Dudash admits, “I typically order an appetizer and a veggie-based side dish as my entree. If I’m eating at a Mexican restaurant, for example, I may share some chips and guac as an appetizer and then order a single taco and small salad. The vegetables are key; they help fill you up with fewer calories.”
Stick to an Eating Schedule
“I often sleep in during the weekends,” Lisa Moskovitz, RD, founder of Manhattan-based private practice, The New York Nutrition Group explains, “which throws off my entire eating schedule.
If I’m not careful, this can lead to overeating. To ensure I stay on track – no matter when I roll out of bed – I eat within an hour of waking, eat every four or five hours thereafter and stop noshing two hours before bedtime.”
Get Out and About
“Instead of seeing a movie or lounging around with friends on the weekend, do something active together. Visit your favorite museum, go window shopping, hit a rock climbing gym, try a new fitness class, or go biking or hiking,” Miriam Jacobson, RD, CDN of Food Coach NYC, tells us.
Become an Influencer
Stephanie Middleberg, MS, RD, CDN of Middleberg Nutrition takes control of what she eats on weekends and recommends you do too: “I use the weekends as an opportunity to eat clean foods – but this wasn’t always the case.
I had to stop being influenced by my friends and family and play the role of the influencer instead. If I want to eat someplace healthy, I’ll suggest it. If I don’t want that cheese plate with dinner, I let my friends know I’m okay without it, but that they should order whatever they want.”
Aim for Eight
It’s a weight loss tip that’s stood the test of time: “Focus on getting a good eight hours of shut-eye each weekend night,” Lauren Minchen MPH, RDN, CDN, a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist based in New York City tells us. “Even though ‘catching up’ on sleep is not the recommended way to approach a sleep schedule, I find that allowing myself extra rest on the weekends helps reset my appetite and helps me control my food and drink intake. It also supports my metabolism and gives me the energy to be active Saturday and Sunday!”