Wondering how to lose weight with a busy schedule? When you’re booked from 9 to 5 (and beyond), eating well and exercising can seem like a challenge.
But prioritizing your health can truly be the key to supporting yourself when schedules are tight. Read on for tips on how to lose weight with a busy work schedule, including weight loss tips for the busy woman and man.
3 Challenges of Losing Weight with a Busy Schedule
Finding time to stay healthy with a busy work schedule can seem impossible, especially if you have the goal of losing weight. The following are three major challenges that ring true for most busy people.
Feeling Rushed For Time
When you feel rushed, it can seem impossible to stay in the present moment. Plus, always rushing from place to place can increase the amount of cortisol (stress hormone) in your body. To make matters worse, chronic stress is linked with weight gain.
Showing Up Unprepared
From forgetting gear to struggling to show up on time, many busy-bodies feel unprepared. It’s also hard to predict when you’ll be hungry, meaning you may be craving a healthy snack on-the-go but your only option is the vending machines.
The Pressure of Perfectionism
Your workouts don’t necessarily have to be in the gym, and your family doesn’t need a five course meal. However, with the rise of social media, it can seem like everyone else has it together.
It’s easy to believe that living healthy has a certain “look.” In reality, though, health looks different for everyone.
How to Lose Weight with a Busy Schedule
When it comes to weight loss goals, it doesn’t matter how busy you are. There is still time to fit fitness and healthy food in the schedule! It’s helpful to ask, “Am I too busy for this, or am I just not making it a priority?”
The good news is that it is never too late to start a healthy habit. The following six tips can help you find small pockets of time to make big changes for the better.
Try Hitting The Gym During Your Lunch Break
Even high-intensity interval training (HIIT) like a Tabata workout is just 30-60 minutes—and that includes a warm up exercise and cool down activity. If you’re a fan of low intensity workouts, a quick walk can easily be inserted into a busy schedule. Even if you walk just 10 minutes a day for six days a week, you’ll get at least an hour of exercise each week among the hustle and bustle!
What if the weather isn’t cooperating? Desk stretching and yoga can help you breathe, loosen up, and burn a few calories.
Also, keep in mind that planning quick and easy lunches can leave plenty of time for a midday workout.
Make the Most of Mini Workouts
Even the busiest person can carve out a few minutes in their schedule. Try an "exercise snack" or mini workout in which you do some sort of exercise using your own body weight—no gear required—such as:
Focus On Food Choices
When time is of the essence, fueling your body properly is of the utmost importance. While processed foods or refined carbs may sound appealing when time is short, these foods are often high in calories but not high in nutrients. Instead, select foods with plenty of fiber, healthy fats, and protein to keep you feeling full through the day.
Don’t know where to start? Here are some snack ideas you can throw together in a jiffy:
• Apple + 2 Tablespoons of nut butter
• Avocado toast topped with shredded hard boiled egg
• Greek yogurt + granola
• Homemade trail mix + a piece of fruit
• Protein bar + string cheese
• Raw veggies or seed crackers + plant-based dip (i.e. guacamole or hummus)
Balance Your Blood Sugar Levels
When your blood sugar isn’t balanced, you can feel like you’re running on fumes. Sharp spikes or shifts in blood sugar can cause that familiar “crash” in the middle of the morning or afternoon.
Instead of staying awake with coffee, try incorporating the following foods and healthy snacks into your routine to help balance blood sugar:
• Healthy fats like nuts and seeds)
• High-fiber carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables
• High-protein foods, including chicken breast, eggs, and Greek yogurt
Being sure to include a quick and easy breakfast at the beginning of the day can help stabilize your blood sugars in time for morning meetings. A protein shake, overnight oats, and yogurt parfaits are all examples of fast breakfasts that fuel—without the mid-morning “crash.”
Cook Smarter, Not Harder
Meal prep as portrayed on social media looks like quite the ordeal. However, even cutting up veggies and packing school lunches the night before can create less stress for the day ahead.
For busy schedules, it’s best to plan your meals full of healthy food recipes that only include a few simple steps. For example, slow cooker meals can feed a fairly large family with a “set it and forget it” method of preparation. Sheet pan recipes are also great since all the meal components are cooked at once.
Look for Long Term Solutions
One key for developing healthy habits is to implement regular routines that will help things fall into place, not just quick fixes “for now.” For example, setting up a daily evening reminder to meal prep or having a workout partner to help motivate you can make for more sustainable changes.
Overall, try setting up patterns that support you in your weight loss journey—even when you’re busy.
The Last Word On Losing Weight with a Busy Schedule
If you’re in a busy stage of life, all is not lost! Try setting up sustainable health habits to help you eat healthy, exercise, and ultimately lose weight. Small changes can have big results when you’re consistent.
How can I lose weight if I work all day?
Finding small windows of time to devote yourself to health can help. For example, take 10 minutes during your day to take a walk. You can also employ tactics like meal prep or mini workouts to make the most of what little free time you have.
How do I start losing weight with a busy schedule?
Start small and keep working towards your goals. Devoting just 10 minutes a day to workouts or healthy eating can add up to over an hour a week! Instead of getting discouraged, work smarter (not harder) by utilizing practices like meal prep or at-your-desk yoga.
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Mangieri H. 30-Minute Workouts for Any Schedule. EatRight. Published March 2020.
Mawri S. Beware High Levels of Cortisol, the Stress Hormone. Premier Health. Published August 2022.
Sharp A. Best Healthy Snacks And Foods To Balance Blood Sugar. Abbey's Kitchen. Published August 2020.