Being able to lose weight with a busy schedule and reach your goals can seem easier said than done. After all, if your day is already packed with appointments, work, errands, and other obligations that eat away at your time, a new challenge hardly seems achievable. Still, just because you’re living a hectic lifestyle at the moment, it doesn’t mean that healthy weight loss is out of the question. In fact, if you have the right hacks on your side, you can take on your dieting goals without having to make any significant changes to your schedule.
This doesn’t mean that you won’t need to make any changes at all. Yes, you can lose weight with a busy schedule, but you will still need to introduce some new healthy habits and tactics. After all, if you don’t change anything at all, why should you expect any results? The difference is that you don’t actually need to spend all day and night prepping food and you don’t need to sign up for an hour-long boot camp at the gym every two days.
The following hacks are meant to help you lose weight with a busy schedule but without losing your mind at the same time. You can either introduce these hacks gradually, in order to make them more manageable to implement and easier to remember, or you can leap in head first. There’s nothing wrong with being motivated as long as you’re willing to maintain your changes over time.
Top Hacks to Lose Weight with a Busy Schedule
1. Do meal prep in advance
One of the main reasons many of us with busy lifestyles struggle to eat nutritious, homemade meals is that they seem to take a very long time to make. The prep alone can use a half hour of time or more than we simply don’t have to spare. Instead, do all your prep on a weekend. Chop and dice your veggies and marinate your meats. Then, either freeze them so all you need to do is throw them in the pan, oven or on the grill, or put them in the fridge if you’re going to use them in the next couple of days.
2. Cook large amounts
Another favorite for being able to lose weight with a busy schedule is to cook large quantities of food when you do make something homemade. That way, you can have leftovers for lunch the next day and can freeze the rest in portions, so you’ll have ready-made meals. All you have time to do is reheat.
3. Get healthy snacks
Many of us tend to overeat at snack time. Store healthy snacks in your bag, desk and pantry. That way, when you would usually reach for a bag of chips or candy bar, you’ll have something nutritious and low-cal instead.
4. Keep “emergency snacks” handy
Another great tip to lose weight with a busy schedule is to keep healthy snacks handy for times when you’re not typically hungry. That way, you can satisfy your hunger without risking overeating by being starving at meal time.
5. Drink water
Yes, it’s this tip again. Instead of sighing, give it a try. Drink water throughout the day. It will give you energy and shrink your appetite. It works! Plus, it makes your skin look great, too.
6. Keep a fruit basket
Keep a basket of fruit on your kitchen table or countertop. Fruit is beautiful, colorful and sweet. If it’s right there in plain sight, you’ll be more likely to take one when you’re feeling peckish. It’s also a great time saver for people who want to lose weight with a busy schedule because your decision is made without any thought!
7. Be consistent with workouts
As much as it’s time consuming, you do need to exercise in order to make your weight loss strategy successful. Regular, consistent workouts are key to a healthy body that will keep up a high metabolism and burn stored fat and calories from your food. When you’re crazy busy, workouts first thing in the morning are typically the most successful.
8. Sit down and eat your meal
It may sound counter-intuitive, but stopping everything, sitting at a table (shutting off your phone) and eating your meals takes less time than eating in front of the TV and lets you eat more mindfully so you’re less likely to overeat.
9. Strength train
If you want to lose weight with a busy schedule, make your muscles a priority. Lean muscle mass requires additional calories. Therefore, by strength training, you can turn your body into a fat burning machine even when you’re idle or sleeping!
10. Learn to share
If you want to lose weight with a busy schedule, that doesn’t mean you can’t ever have treats or take part in fun celebrations. That said, just because you eat birthday cake, it doesn’t mean you need a huge piece. Share your piece with someone else. It’s fun, you still get to have some, and you cut the caloric impact in half.
11. Move around during the day
Even when you’re not exercising, take the chance to move around when you can. Don’t go more than 30 minutes without getting up, stretching and moving around a little. It’s better for your health, and you burn a few more calories every time.
12. Stop drinking calories
If you’re drinking specialty coffees, sodas (even diet pop) or sugary juices, you’re packing on the calories and sugars without any impact on your hunger. Try water, black coffee, green tea and other improved options.
13. Sweeten wisely
Cutting back on sugar is great for your health and weight loss at the same time. If you want to lose weight with a busy schedule, don’t waste your time adding sugar to your coffee which will only require you to exercise more. Use cinnamon! It works.
14. Learn to say ‘no’
There are times when we need to keep packing our schedules and there are times when we need to know how to say ‘no.’ Spreading yourself too thinly is a waste of your time, mental health and your ability to treat yourself well to lose weight.
15. Favor whole foods
Overall, the fewer processed foods you eat, the easier it is to control your waistline. Place your preference on meals made with whole foods, particularly fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein and healthy fats.
16. Portion your snacks
When you’re eating snacks you know you should have in limited amounts (chips, peanuts, etc.), measure out a portion for yourself. Giving yourself a little bowl or baggie of chips will help to stop you from emptying the entire chip bag. When you want to lose weight with a busy schedule, you won’t have time for multiple refill trips.
17. Have a goal in mind
Know what you’re trying to achieve and why. If you’re working hard just to lose weight, you won’t be able to stay motivated if all you’re chasing is a number. Have a reason for your goal. Visualize it and let it drive you to keep trying. If you would like a little extra support, this article from Intechra Health features some great supplements that do just that.
18. Don’t over-complicate things
This isn’t as much of a hack as a change of attitude. When you’re attempting to lose weight with a busy schedule, you don’t have time to waste on nonsense. Keep it simple and straightforward so you can focus on your goal and keeping up with your life!