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10 Weekend Habits That Will Flatten Your Belly

You can still enjoy your days off having fun, and drop those unwanted pounds.

It's no secret that most people end up consuming a higher number of calories during the weekend compared to a typical weekday.

Indulge in those extra calories for just nine weeks, and you can welcome one additional pound of flab to your frame. Continue the habit for a year, and you'll gain an additional five—talk about derailing your hard-earned weight loss wins. But we totally get it: The weekends are meant for fun and a little bit of rule-breaking. And with a bit of planning, you can do just that while working toward your better-body goals.

Follow our best slimming strategies below to lose weight while doing the weekend activities you love. And just so you can get back on track after the weekend, here are The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.

Catch a Buzz

woman pouring glass of wine

… just go with wine or bubbly. No need to give up a night enjoying some drinks, just adjust your drink order. Typically drink a Cosmo? Don't. Although they're delicious, they're also loaded with waist-widening calories. Beer can also be a gamble. While some of them are diet-friendly, other carry up to 200 calories a can! On the other hand, when you order red, white, or bubbly, you pretty much know what you're signing up for. Most glasses of wine come in around 120 calories, while champagne sits around the 90-calorie mark. Note: Even though they're low-cal, that's still no excuse to go overboard. The more you drink the more appetizing diet-derailing treats will become. Cut yourself off after a glass or two to stay on track.

Sip on Green Tea

green tea

Make it your new brunch go-to, along with that mimosa. In a Swedish study that looked at green tea's effects on hunger, researchers divided up participants into two groups. One group drank water while the other group drank green tea. Not only did the tea-sippers report less of a desire to eat their favorite foods, but they found those foods to be less satisfying, and hence ate less when they did indulge. And just so you know, test panelists on The 7-Day Flat-Belly Tea Cleanse lost up to 10 pounds in one week!

Go Shopping

grocery shopping headphones

… just not online. Whether you're buying new clothes, shopping for lawn furniture, or in need of groceries, resist the urge to order it all online. Sure it might save you time, but when you shop online you lose out on a valuable opportunity to burn major calories (which is great news if you typically don't hit the gym over the weekend) and spend time with the people you love. Not convinced? Consider this: A 150-pound person burns just 70 calories shopping online for an hour. However, walking around the mall or supermarket can scorch up to 160 calories in the same amount of time—and that doesn't even include walking to or from the car or unloading all the packages. Not bad! Every calorie counts when you're trying to slim down and lose belly fat.

Have a Dinner Date

Couple cooking pizza

… at home. Saturday is practically National Date Night, and going out to dinner is arguably one of the most popular coupled-up activities in America. And even now, if The only trouble is, the average restaurant meal contains a whopping 1,128 calories, which is nearly 60% of the day's recommended intake, according to a recent JAMA Internal Medicine study. On the other hand, when you whip up something at home with your honey, you have complete control over what goes into your meal. The end result typically has fewer calories, fat, and salt, and it's a lot more economical, too. Not sure what to make? Check out our Healthy Chicken Recipes for Weight Loss.

Eat Brunch

… but adjust your order. Those pancakes and waffles you typically get sure do look amazing sitting on your plate. But once they've found their way into your stomach and settled onto your frame, your perspective is bound to change. So what should you go for? Eggs. Any style will do—scrambled, over easy, hard-boiled, or an omelet— as long as it has the yolk! Although only eating the whites will initially save you calories, dietary cholesterol, and fat, it's not going to help you lose weight in the long run. Thanks to a nutrient called choline, eating the yolks can actually help boost metabolism and burn belly fat. Plus, the yellow is loaded with nutrients like vitamins D and B12, so it can help keep you healthy, too.

Get Some Loving

couple in bed

… at least once. While it may difficult to find time Monday through Friday for a steamy romp in the sack, there should be no excuse over the weekend. And really, we shouldn't have to convince you to strip down to your skivvies and have some fun, should we? Not only does sex feel good, it burns some calories and decreases stress—which is actually really beneficial for your waistline. Why? When you're stressed out, levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, soar which increases appetite and fat storage—not what you want when you're trying to trim down. So if you're not having sex, start. Already getting busy? Consider going for a second round to boost the benefits further.

Have a Cheat Meal

fast food

… not a cheat day. "Occasionally including can aid weight loss efforts by warding off feelings of deprivation and bouts of overeating," explains dietitian Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life. "It can make it easier to stick with your healthy eating regimen for the long haul." But if your cheat meals turn into cheats day or a cheat weekend, that's when things can head south.

"Treating yourself to a beautiful steak and baked potato is different than four slices of pizza and a six-pack of beer. The way we view the actual 'treat' makes a difference," says celebrity trainer, Anna Kaiser. To keep calories in check, pick your cheat meal before the weekend begins and be sure to jump right back on the healthy eating bandwagon afterward—no matter how good a second greasy meal may sound.

Order an Appetizer

passing side salad across dinner table at vegetarian restaurant

… or two! As we told you earlier, most restaurant entrées serve up a ton of calories, often offering twice as much food as you should actually eat. To keep calories in check, Michelle Dudash, RDN, suggests ordering an appetizer and a veggie-based side dish, like a salad, grilled vegetable plate, or crudité, in lieu of a traditional entree. Just be sure to stay away from anything "fried", "battered" or "crispy." That means avoiding fried calamari and yes, even sweet potato fries—sorry. And if you're typically swayed by your dining companion's orders, be sure you speak up and tell the waiter what you want before anyone else.

Hang Out With Friends

Middle Aged Couple Meeting Friends Around Table In Coffee Shop

… and have fun! Researchers say hearing the sound of a loved one's voice can trigger the release of oxytocin (the hormone naturally released during times of bonding), which can help regulate food intake and suppress appetite. Translation: spending time with your friends—or just calling them on the phone or hopping on FaceTime or Zoom—can help you keep calories in check over the weekend. To burn torch even more calories, use your time with your friends to do something active. Try a new workout class, hit the gym, sign up for a 5K or just go on a walk around the park. The time will fly by, you'll have a good time and get a good sweat going. It's a win all around!

Get Sweaty

at home workout

… but try something new. A lot of people use the weekend to make up for workouts they missed during the busy work week. Although we commend your commitment to fitness, don't just go through the motions of your typical workout and zone out. When you do that, you're missing out on a prime opportunity to accelerate your weight-loss efforts. "The key to losing weight is to exercise intelligently and to truly challenge your body every time you hit the gym," explains celebrity trainer Dan Roberts. Use the weekend to try a new body-weight workout, check out a fitness class you've never tried, or even get out of the gym altogether and take a hike or a rock-climbing class. Mixing things up will not only challenge your muscles in new ways and help you see progress sooner, it will also challenge your brain and keep your workouts interesting.

Dana Leigh Smith
Dana has written for Women's Health, Prevention, Reader's Digest, and countless other publications. Read more about Dana Leigh
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