10 pitfalls to avoid for weight loss on weekends

According to one study, people eat 37 more calories per meal on weekends, which over time can add unwanted pounds. Watch for these pitfalls that prevent you from losing weight and opt for healthier activities.

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Instead of watching TV …

Try: Have a dance party

Here’s why: Staying in a comfortable chair or on the couch can lead to nibbling and overeating. In fact, studies have reported that people eat a whopping 40% more while watching TV than during other activities. So, instead of slouching to relax after a long week, spin your favorite music (Bruce Springsteen or Lady Gaga, whatever) and let yourself go! The goal: pleasure, pleasure, crazy pleasure.

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Instead of eating popcorn in the cinema …

Try: Nibble almonds.

Here’s why: At 161 calories for 30 g (about 23 whole almonds), almonds are a treat for waist circumference. An average popcorn at the movies with a soft drink contains 1,610 calories (more than your needs for a day!). What’s more, almonds have been proven to help people lose weight. In a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, a control group of obese adults on a low-calorie diet lost more weight by adding almonds to their diet than another control group who ate the same amount of calories but without nuts. Almonds contain monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins and fiber, which promote a flat stomach and also have heart health benefits.

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Instead of nibbling in front of the fridge …

Try: Change your ideas in another room of the house.

Here’s why: When we’re stressed or bored, it’s easy to eat what’s lying around. Too often we are not really hungry, but we do it by habit. So when you see yourself wandering in the kitchen, stop and think. Is it your belly or your spirit that leads you there? Drink a glass of water (we often confuse hunger and thirst) and entertain yourself with a relaxing activity such as a relaxing bubble bath or a pedicure.

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Instead of going out for dinner …

Try: Invite friends.

Here’s why: The restaurants, with their gigantic portions and multi-service meals, are one of the biggest pitfalls of our diet. Research has shown that people who eat at least 13 times a month at the restaurant consume on average 32% more calories than those who eat five times or less. When you make shrimp at home, for example, you know exactly what your dish contains (and you can leave out the extra butter and oil for which restaurants are infamous).

In addition, you are likely to eat less at home after a day spent cooking, thanks to the phenomenon called Christmas dinner syndrome. The host usually does not eat as much as his guests because he or she has known the smell of food all day long and is, therefore, less tempted.

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Instead of watching a sports match …

Try: Play ball.

Here’s why: Attending a sporting event can be fun, but the food offered in the amphitheater hides traps that can get you out of your diet. If you can avoid food counters, it’s fun to cheer on your team. If not, gather the children for a ball game in the yard or take out your old basketball and play one against one with your spouse. You’ll burn calories, laugh on your own and save money on tickets and junk food.

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Instead of having a drink at the end of the day …

Try: Drink sparkling mineral water in a glass of champagne or in a glass of red wine.

Here’s why: Sneaky source of calories (no, it’s not just liquid …), alcohol can slow weight loss. Did you know that margaritas and mojitos contain more than 150 calories per glass? Multiply that number by two or three and you have the perfect cocktail to gain weight. To keep a festive spirit, take sparkling mineral water in a glass of champagne and add a fun topping such as a piece of pineapple or a maraschino cherry.

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Instead of staying until the end …

Try: Come in early.

Here’s why: It’s natural to want to watch over the weekend evenings, because you do not have to get up at 7 am the next day. However, keeping your sleep schedule as constant as possible keeps your diet on track, for two reasons. First, the later you stay, the more likely you are to nibble. Second, sticking to a routine helps reduce the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and the less stressed you are, the more likely you are to eat less.

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Instead of reading for hours …

Try: Take short breaks between chapters to walk around.

Here’s why: Taking two or three hours on a Sunday morning to read the newspaper is good for your brain, but it’s better for your body to get up and move. Research shows that people who take frequent breaks have thinner height and lower levels of a protein that signals potentially dangerous inflammation than those who have neglected breaks.

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Instead of brunching with friends …

Try: Go walk with them.

Here’s why: If you know that the clinking glasses of Bloody Mary and the alluring scent of hash browns and waffles are too tempting, go for brunch and invite your friends to walk, instead. A friend’s company helps keep your stamina and morale up, which translates into higher mileage, with less effort, and at a steady pace.

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Instead of doing nothing …

Try: Gardening … or any other activity you love!

Here’s why: We were inspired by Digest Diet’s Facebook friend, Kathleen McKenna Foley, who wrote: “I just watched how many calories I burned yesterday, gardening for four hours … (drum roll) 977! Unbelievable! I ache everywhere, but seeing the result, it’s worth it. No wonder the landscapers are so thin! Gardening is a great workout and a way to do something nice too. In fact, the most important thing is to find at least one thing you will love to do. You do not have a green thumb? Try reorganizing a closet, follow a workout DVD or run with your kids. To add to the fun, listen to music while you do your business.