When Friday rolls around, your mind automatically flips the switch off from work and off from keeping your diet. Americans consume 400 more calories during the 48 weekend hours than during the same weekday time, according to a study published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. But that doesn’t mean you’re doomed to pack on pounds. Move more, eat less and still manage to have some fun along the way with these 11 strategies to gain control of your weekends.
Clean your place
Do you think June Cleaver ever went to the gym? To torch some calories, grab your sponge and whistle while you work. A half-hour of mopping can burn 300 calories, vacuuming 131 calories and scrubbing the bathroom up to 142 calories. Boost your burn even more by wearing lightweight ankle or wrist weights, suggested nutrition expert Erin Palinski. That extra elbow grease will definitely be worth it.
For those who like to greet the day closer to noon, brunch is a lighter option than eating both breakfast and lunch within just a few hours, said Palinski. Take advantage of the extra time the weekend allows by adding a batch of protein-rich eggs to the menu to help keep you feeling fuller longer so you aren’t starving by dinner. However, if you still keep weekday hours on Saturday and Sunday, you’re better off separating your meals.
Ramp up your mall excursion with a few added challenges. “Do curls with your shopping bags as you walk around the mall,” said Palinski. “You can also wear ankle weights under your pants to help you burn more calories.” Even making the small decision to take the stairs two at a time rather than riding the escalator can help tone your glutes and maximize your movement, said Palinski.
Switch up date plans
Instead of going out to dinner, prepare a meal at home. The change in plans can spice up your routine and you can cook by your own rules. “You have a lot more control when you cook at home, and can make smaller portions,” said Palinski. After dinner, fight the urge to curl up on the sofa and trade your night in for a fun night spent outdoors. Whether you’re up for a stroll or seasonal amusement such as ice-skating, you’re still getting your heart racing.
Those who are sleep-deprived burn the same number of calories daily as those who do get enough shut-eye but they consume an average of 300 more calories a day, according to a study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Why? When you’re exhausted, your body releases the stress hormone cortisol, which makes you think you’re hungry.
Schedule a girls’ night
What better way to unwind than on the dance floor with your girlfriends? With the music as your body’s guide, it’s easy to forget you’re shimmying off weight. Busting a move can burn up to 337 calories an hour.
On work-free weekends, you can devote a little more time to, well, taking your time. An hour of hot lovin’ can sizzle up to 300 calories, with kissing adding an extra calorie burned to every minute. What better weight-loss challenge could you ask for?
Sweat it out in the sauna
A single sauna sweat session burns anywhere from 300 to 600 calories. The experience also alleviates stress and acts as a natural sleeping pill by stopping the hormone cortisol in its tracks.
Taking time to enjoy the scenery with a light jog or an evenly paced run can easily torch 500 calories an hour. And just getting exposure to daylight can spur your body’s natural fat-burner. University of Nottingham scientists discovered that the fat known as brown adipose tissue burns more calories when your body is outside and in cooler temperatures.
Smarten your TV time
Instead of immersing yourself in a “Gilmore Girls” marathon, shape up for one! Bust out the Kinect for Xbox 360 or Nintendo Wii so you can have fun and get your workout on. The average person burns 144 calories in 30 minutes playing Super Hula Hoop on Wii Fit Plus.
Tap into your weekend warrior
If you don’t have much time during the week, see if your fitness center offers longer classes on weekends. Crunch, for example, offers intense workout classes on the weekends that fuse cardio, strength and flexibility into a 90-minute session gym goers can get in, work hard, and get on with the rest of their weekends.
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