How to lose half a stone this weekend – and keep the weight off – The Sun

FROM that cheeky Saturday night takeaway to your huge Sunday roast – the weekends are often synonymous with weight gain.

We're all prone to treating ourselves when we're not slaving away in the office, which is why the figure on the scales may have gone up by Monday morning.

However, top dietitian Susie Burrell says that there are some simple ways you can avoid falling into this weekend trap and seeing your waistline expand.

And she says if you follow the right steps you could even lose nearly half a stone by Monday – and keep it off.

Here, Susie reveals her quick and easy lifestyle changes you can make as soon as you leave work on Friday to trim down…

1. Fast on Friday night

There's nothing more we all love than celebrating the end of the working week by gorging on some high calorie food in front of the TV on a Friday night.

However, Susie says many people don't take into account all the extra calories they'll also be consuming and overeating on Saturday.

All you need to do is skip an early breakfast

She recommends fasting until Saturday lunchtime to help you buffer your Friday nights.

Susie told Body+Soul: "You can give yourself at least 14-16 hours overnight without any calories to help buffer the effects of the high calorie intake the night before.

"All you need to do is skip an early breakfast in favour of some herbal tea or black coffee until it’s brunch or even lunchtime."

2. Add in some cardio

You only need to give up half an hour of your weekend to doing some cardio to burn some serious calories.

Exercises that really get your heart-rate up like running or a spin class will really help you blitz your body fat.

And it will make you feel less guilty about that extra slice of pizza you had on Friday night or those beers you're planning on having with your friends on Saturday evening.

Susie added: "Think a cycle class, a run with a friend, interval training or a CrossFit session to really get your heart rate up, so you can work through all the extras from the night before and get really hungry before your first meal."

3. Ditch the snacks

Whether it's cakes, smoothies or a cheeky biscuit – we're all guilty of reaching for high calorie treats to give us a pick-me-up on the weekend.

Despite this, Susie claims by doing this you can add an extra 500-600 calories to your day.

She recommends: "One of the easiest ways to keep your calorie intake controlled over the weekend is to focus on well balanced meals so that you are not tempted with extras in between."

4. Have a lie in on Sunday

Good news to those who love their shut-eye – getting a good night's sleep is a great way to speed up weight loss.

It's all down to two 'hunger hormones' – ghrelin and leptin.

Ghrelin is released after the brain signals the stomach is empty, while leptin is released from fat cells to suppress hunger – and tell the brain it's full.

Tips to get a full night's sleep

1. Ditch your phone – phones or tablets that emit blue light have been shown to disrupt melatonin levels – the hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle.

2. Stay cool – Dr Neil Stanley, ex-chairman of the British Sleep Society, says the optimum temperature for a good night is 18C or lower.

3. Regulate your coffee – Dr Sarah Brewer, a registered doctor and nutritional therapist, recommends that you have your final cup of coffee no later than 5pm.

4. Don't eat before bed – experts say you should avoid eating within three hours of bedtime to "avoid indigestion, acid reflux and even nightmares".

5. Avoid booze – alcohol blocks tryptophan – an amino acid that helps you sleep – from getting to the brain.

6. Shut pets away – pets can rob us of those vital zzzzs – not just because they fidget about, but also because of fur shedding.

7. Shower 90mins before bed – a new study has found that taking a warm shower 90 minutes before bed can help people nod off 50 per cent faster – and increase their total sleep time by 15 minutes.

8. Get some comfy pillows – a recent study found that participants who used supportive pillows had better sleep. 

But, when you don't get enough zzzs, the body makes more ghrelin and less leptin – leaving you hungry and increasing your appetite.

Susie says: "A long sleep will help you to get back in touch with your hunger cues and reduce your overall calorie intake as tired people have been shown to eat more overall, as well as more calories from sugars throughout the day."

5. Say goodbye to Sunday roasts

Us Brits love a good old Sunday roast to finish the weekend – full with Yorkshire puds, plenty of spuds and all the scratchings.

However, the average Sunday roast can total up to a staggering 850 calories.

Susie urges slimmers instead to get their diet on track on a Sunday and go for a lighter, vegetable rich meal such as vegetable soup, white fish or prawns with salad.

She says this will mean you start your Monday morning lighter and ready for a protein rich breakfast.

Susie says: "Going light on Sunday night is a great habit to adopt, allowing you to enjoy your heavier weekend food with a built in buffer so you start a new week with your diet on track and even a few kilos down on the scales."

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