It happens to the best of us -- the overindulgent weekend. And if your coming-attractions calendar doesn't already include at least one bachelorette bash, a big wedding, and a few summer cookouts, it soon will. So what's a person to do when these parties pop up in the middle of swimsuit season?
Go. Have a blast. Forget the diet. Just implement a before-and-after contingency plan "to help you get back on track, so that your lapse doesn't become a collapse," says British diet and fitness guru Joanna Hall.
In her new book, The Weight Loss Bible, Hall serves up a buffet of ideas perfect for getting you through a 48-hour bridal extravaganza, Labor Day weekend, or no-guilt getaway with your girlfriends -- and leaving you able to still fit into your jeans on Tuesday.
Eat less, sweat more the day before and after. "If you know you're heading for a weekend of excess," says Hall, "squeeze in a workout and eat 300 fewer calories the day before the partying begins." Same goes for the day after. But don't punish yourself by skipping a meal -- it'll just make you cranky and hungry. Limit portions or forgo a snack (a blueberry muffin or small bag of potato chips each have about 300 calories).
Curb carbs at lunch and dinner. Hall is known throughout the UK for her Carb Curfew diet, which means “no starchy carbs -- bread, pasta, rice, potatoes or cereal -- after 5 pm." And for food-filled weekends, she suggests turning the carb cutoff back to noon. Why? "Chances are your fat intake will be higher on these days, pushing up your calorie intake, and with party food, it's often easier to avoid carbs than fatty foods."
Drink up! Lots of water, that is. A boozy weekend can leave you dehydrated and too hungover to stomach your usual workout. Hall’s advice: Drink plenty of water during and after endless cocktail hours or a wild weekend. As for postparty exercise, go for a walk instead of doing a full workout, "especially if you have a sore head!"
Eat a big bowl of veggie soup. "Foods with a high water content help stave off hunger and make you feel full. Studies show that dieters who follow this advice tend to stick to their plan without feeling unsatisfied or deprived." So before you leave home, slurp up a big bowl of vegetable soup.
Shake your booty. "Sometimes you just have to go out and burn a little more energy," says Hall. But here's the good news: Dancing is one of the all-time best calorie burners. So get out there and cut yourself a big ol’ slice of rug. You'll wind up boogying away a few hundred calories before the night is through.
Get a sweet payback. Keeping your weight and BMI (body mass index) at a healthy level can make your RealAge as much as 6 years younger.