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Weekend Diet Tips

Don't let your off days make you fat!

Saturday and Sunday backsliding can erase your fitness gains made during the week. Here's how to party like a rock star and still feel fit on Monday.

IF YOU PLAN TO . . .

. . . party:
* Pencil in at least one longer workout later in the week to counteract the extra weekend calories you'll no doubt consume.

* Take a break from your typical routine to cross-train or, say, attend a boxing class. You'll burn more fat as you put demands on different muscles. Take a swim instead of your typical stint on the elliptical machine; or play basketball or soccer. Maybe swap a short run for a longer one that includes sprints and hills.

* Try to start Saturday and Sunday with a healthy breakfast, even if you're waking up later. It'll rev up your metabolism. Successful weight control is consistently linked to breakfast-eating.

. . . chill at home:
* Jump on the scale on Saturday morning, and plan to do it again on Monday. Researchers say people who weigh themselves are better at weight control.

* Variety is the cornerstone of a healthy diet, but having too many options spells doom for persistent snackers. Restrict afternoon snacks to one healthy choice, such as almonds, popcorn, or pretzels. No refills!

* Avoid mindless eating while you commune with your DVR. Leave food and drinks in the kitchen. When food's directly under your nose, you eat more.

. . . barhop:
* Head out with a full belly. Before hitting the bar, eat a meal with at least six ounces of meat, poultry, or fish and a cup or more of cooked vegetables. When you're full you're less likely to cave in to high-fat bar food.

* Steer clear of mixed drinks, which can pack upward of 500 calories per. Stick with a 150-calorie beer or glass of wine. Or at least opt for something made with a low-cal mixer, like diet soda or diet tonic.

* Budget. Set a limit on how much you'll spend on drinks before the night starts. Then alternate alcoholic beverages with mineral water or club soda. You'll drink less alcohol and maybe even come in under your goal.
* Get your rest. Sleep deprivation can wreak havoc on your metabolism and makes it difficult to avoid overeating, especially after a long night of drinking.

. . . eat out:
* Order first. Set the tone for the meal by choosing a healthier entrèe.

* Don't waste calories on mundane foods, like white rolls or baked potatoes. Save those calories for foods you don't eat very often or never make at home.

* Drink with dinner, not before. A predinner drink lowers your resistance, making you much more likely to indulge on something you didn't really want.

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