Dr. Oz’s Weekend Challenge

From TGIF to a lazy Sunday, your weekends stand for one thing: precious relaxation time. But as you unwind, are your indulgences sending your health into a tailspin? The weekend shouldn’t be a detour from your healthy lifestyle. Dr. Oz has a simple plan to make your weekend truly restorative. In only 2 days, you can overhaul your health.

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By the time you crawl into bed on Friday evening, you would rather take a hammer to your alarm clock than have it wake you up on Saturday morning. But when you sleep in too late on Saturday, you find you’re more tired and groggy than ever. Learn how to catch up on sleep the right way.

Set a Normal Wake-up Time

Sleeping in significantly later than usual can cause sleep jetlag – just like when you jetset between different time zones, your body’s natural sleep cycle (called the circadian rhythm) is thrown off. To fight feeling like you’ve just flown back from Asia come Monday morning, force yourself to wake up at the same time each day.

Nap in the Afternoon

Naps aren’t just for the kids – a 20-minute daytime snooze is the perfect opportunity to catch up on sleep without overdoing it. Your powernap will leave you refreshed for the afternoon without feeling like a zombie on Monday morning.

Eat a Healthy Breakfast Every Day

It’s normal to wake up and still feel worn out from your long week. Fight the fatigue by starting your day off with a good breakfast. Get extra motivation by making a different dish than the rest of the week. You’ll rev your metabolism and start your day off right.

A high-fiber cereal with a banana for potassium and 1% (or soy) milk is a good start. Or you can make Dr. Oz's Magical Breakfast Blaster, a power-packed breakfast smoothie you can take on the go. It’s the most important meal of the day – and you’re making the simple commitment to eat it every day.

You look forward to girls’ night out all week. When you get together, the food, drinks and long overdue catch-up conversations start flowing. Before you know it, you’re about 2 drinks over your threshold and your self-control to resist just-one-more-bite has been displaced by your buzz. Think of these tips to keep yourself in check next time you’re out on the town.

Drink Smart

There’s nothing wrong with having a cocktail or 2, but it’s easy to overdo it. The next time you’re your sipping on something, consider these points:

  • Cut back: Having only 2 glasses of red wine as opposed to 4 translates into saving about 300 calories a night. Over the course of a year, that’s 21 cups of sugar, equating to a 5 pound weight loss.

  • Make Smart Swaps: Instead of wine, try a vodka-soda – you’ll save around 100 calories. Flavored vodka with soda water provides a bubbly burst of sweetness without the excessive sugar or calories.

  • If your drink of choice is a white wine, try creating your own spritzer. Use about 4 ounces of white wine with a big splash of lemon-line seltzer water for around only 100 calories. Click here for more Dr. Oz-approved cocktails.

  • Go Virgin: Don’t forget, you can still toast with classy cocktails sans alcohol. Click here for healthy juice-infused “mocktail” recipes.

Serve with Strategy

If you’ve prepared or ordered up a large spread, enjoy only 1 appetizer at a time. You’ll savor the different dishes, instead of gobbling it all up at once. You’ll give your body more time to realize there’s probably more food on the table than it should be consuming.

Also, try to incorporate Dr. Oz’s detox appetizer – asparagus. Research suggests that asparagus is actually loaded with vitamins that help us metabolize the alcohol, so you’ll spare yourself the misery of a hangover.

Click here for a recipe of asparagus guacamole.

On Sunday afternoon, you head to the grocery store for your weekly shopping trip. But mindlessly sauntering through the aisles can leave you with a cart full of diet deal-breakers. Luckily, there are easy ways to find better food for less money.

Outsmart Your Supermarket

Shopping on the weekend isn’t just convenient, it’s smart. With weekend sales and coupons, Sunday night is the cheapest time of the week to buy groceries. And if you go closer to closing time, all the fresh items – meats, baked goods, produce, etc. will all be at their least expensive price.

Scan top and bottom shelves of grocery aisles for the cheapest, more nutritious options. Marketers put more expensive and fattening items at eye-level for a reason.


Section Off Your Shopping Cart

Bring masking tape and divide your shopping cart into 3 sections by taping halfway across it. Use the front half of your cart for fruit and veggies, the back half for staples and canned goods, and the small top shelf of the cart for snacks or treats. You’ll save the money you would have spent on extra treats and put it towards the healthy stuff instead.

On Sunday afternoons, many of our daily routines resemble that of a sloth. Turning the time you usually do nothing into time where you pursue productive activities can be beneficial for both your mind and body. There’s no better way to get moving than with a home renovation. Don’t be intimidated if you neither own nor know how to operate a power tool – you don’t have to have to knock down walls to make a big difference.


Renovate Your Medicine Cabinet

Everyone has a stock of over-the-counter medicines, but are you turning to quick cures instead of implementing a more effective long-term strategy? Put the OTC options under the counter so you don't look at them and try these natural cures and lifestyle changes instead.

  • Too much stress is at fault for 90% of tension headaches. Instead of popping a painkiller, try utilizing an acupressure point. Take 2 fingers and press firmly on the bridge of your nose, right beneath the brow line for a few minutes.

  • For back pain, don't underestimate the value of a heating pad or even a little bit of stretching.

  • Instead of taking laxatives, incorporate more fiber into your diet. Consider a fiber supplement or drink more water. To see a selection of high-fiber foods, click here.

Reinvigorate Your Kitchen

A few simple swaps can totally change the way you eat. Try the ideas below.

  • Use the 2-4-8 rule. Microwavable meals are fast and easy, but make sure you’re making smart choices. Choose selections that have greater than 20 grams of protein, fewer than 400 calories, and less than 800 milligrams of sodium.

  • Reorganize your cupboards. Keep smaller soup bowls or salad plates front and center and move big plates up higher. Studies have proven that if you use smaller plates, you'll eat less food.

Monday morning definitely feels like the worst time of the week and guess what? Science proves that, for your body, it truly is! Monday morning can really be like a ticking time bomb. For women, blood pressure spikes in the morning. Your cholesterol is higher, your blood is thicker and your platelets clot earlier in the morning – making it the most common time to have a heart attack. To defuse any imminent threat, implement a heart-healthy lifestyle today.

Take the Healthy Heart Challenge

Heart disease is the #1 killer in the US; every year, more than 600,000 people die from it. This year, nearly 800,000 people will have their first heart attack and as many as 500,000 will have a recurrent attack. You don't have to become one of them. By committing to a healthy lifestyle, you can reduce your risk by up to 80%. Take Dr.Oz's Heart Healthy Challenge today.

Monday morning doesn’t have to take your blood pressure on a roller coaster. Use your weekend to eat nutrient-rich foods to keep your blood pressure under control.

Add 3 Key Ingredients

While you’re whipping up your dinner on Sunday, incorporate these superfoods.

  • One cup of beans a day helps you meet a good portion of your folic acid dose for the day. Eating plant protein instead of meat reduces saturated fats – a change that is associated with cutting your risk of heart disease.
  • Grains high in polyphenols like quinoa or amaranth are good choices. Polyphenols are a powerful antioxidant. Additionally, quinoa is high in magnesium, which helps to relax the blood vessels.
  • Include anti-thrombotic spices, such as thyme, rosemary and garlic, in your Sunday dinner. They provide not only an extra kick, but a great way to help fight blood clots.

Click here for a recipe that incorporates all these ingredients for the perfect family meal on Sunday.

Get Fruity!

Incorporating fruits into your diet will help with a lot of things - including the cholesterol issues that can sometimes predispose us to a heart attack. Many of our eating habits fall short during the weekend, so be conscious and try to end your week on a sweet and powerful note for your health. Try some of Dr. Oz’s faves:

  • Strawberries are packed with antioxidants that help to literally reduce LDL cholesterol build up.
  • Kiwi Two kiwis have more fiber than a bowl of bran cereal and more potassium than a banana. Fiber and antioxidants are a winning combination to help with cholesterol.