Do you spend the weekend unwinding a little too much, only to find come

Monday morning the needle on your weighing scales isn't quite as

favourable as you'd hoped?

According to researchers our eating habits change quite dramatically at

weekends, particularly as we reach for more alcoholic beverages and

calorie-dense foods. If this is the case for you it can certainly be

very easy to gain weight over time.

A study published in the journal Obesity reports, Statistically

significant dietary intake differences occur for different days of the

week. Researchers found that 19 to 50 years olds take in 115 calories

per day more on the weekend in comparison to weekdays.

While that may seem like a small amount, over the course of a year it could add up to nearly 18,000 extra calories.

How to Put a Halt to This Weekend Weight Gain:

1. Be Consistent

A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that

those who successfully lose weight and keep it off long term are

consistent in their eating and exercise routine, regardless of which

day of the week it is. In fact, these participants were 1.5 times more

likely to maintain their weight within 5 pounds over the subsequent

year, than those who dieted more strictly on weekdays.

So, the message is clear, try to maintain good eating habits every day and you'll see results.

2. Get A Move On

If you want to keep your weekends as stress free as possible try

finding active ways to relax, rather than vegging out in front of the

TV. Good alternatives include cycling, team sports, swimming, or even

window shopping.

Look for as many opportunities as possible to move a bit more. This way

any extra calories you do take in over the weekend will be offset by

the increased activity.

3. Stock Up On Healthy Food

Don't give yourself the excuse to eat poorly over the weekend by making

sure your kitchen is well supplied with wholesome food. If you need to,

check your fridge and pantry on Friday morning so that you can drop by

the store on your way home to re-stock for the weekend ahead.

4. Start As You Mean To Go On

Get your weekend off to a good start by having breakfast. This will

help you to naturally eat fewer calories during the day, and if your

week's normally pretty busy, it can be a great time for the whole

family to enjoy each others company without feeling rushed.

5. Don't Go Hungry

If you normally eat out on the weekends try to avoid skipping meals

during the day to save up for later. This normally backfires, and you

end up eating way more than you would if you'd simply eaten normally

throughout the day. Instead, go for a few lighter meals earlier in the

day to keep you going until later - this will help take the edge off

your hunger, which means it'll be easier to avoid overeating.

If you're still concerned about overeating, choose a bowl of leafy

green salad or vegetable soup as your entrée, then go for a lighter

meal with plenty of vegetables, and share dessert or simply finish with

a freshly brewed coffee.

6. Watch Your Alcohol Intake

It's a well known fact that most alcoholic drinks are pretty heavy on

the calories, so try to keep it to moderate amounts. In fact, cutting

out just one drink could save you 150-plus calories (depending on the

drink of course).

7. Keep Your Goals In Mind

Try to keep your lifestyle goals in mind over the weekend, but don't

get too obsessed - the weekend should be a time to relax, unwind and

enjoy yourself!

Remember, it's okay to make an occasional splurge. And, if your weekend

doesn't quite go to plan, tomorrow is a new day! There's no need to

give up altogether even if you've had your second or third bad weekend

in a row.

Instead, try to get back on track quickly by having a healthy

breakfast, bringing your lunch from home, snacking on whole foods, and

making time for exercise after work.

What are your weekend survival tips?