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How To Lose Weight With a Busy Lifestyle
When our schedules are busy, we tend to put ourselves and our health at the bottom of our to-do list. It’s so easy to do everything else first – the work project that your boss is demanding, the weekly grocery shopping, the kid’s homework assignment, and the bills that haven’t been paid. Trying to fit in some time to focus on your needs can seem practically impossible, and you almost feel selfish even thinking about it.
But studies have shown that when we eat well and get adequate exercise our stress levels decrease and our ability to problem solve goes way up. So see if you can find a way to implement some of these small changes into your lifestyle…and watch the pounds go away while you’re at it!
1. Eat With Intention, Not Distraction
When we are busy and feel we have little time to take the time out of our day to eat properly, many of us will end up making poor food choices. Grabbing lunch from the vending machine in the office, or from a fast food place on our way to pick up the kids becomes the norm, not the exception.
And even when we take the time to plan accordingly, we still have a tendency to make choices around eating that aren’t great for our weight. Even if you took the time to make that salad this morning, or your brought healthy leftovers in from last night’s dinner, it may still be working against your weight loss goals if you then eat that meal sitting in front of your computer. We sit, shoveling it in while reading emails, and don’t think about how the food tastes, how fast we are eating it, or to stop when we are full.
Learn to eat with intention, even when you don’t have the time to think much about your food choices. Distracted eating is a sure way to wreak havoc on your weight loss journey.
2. Don’t Skip Meals
This one is similar to the one above, but deserves its own category since it’s a common problem for people who are trying to lose weight but live a busy lifestyle.
We’ve all at one point or another thought, “I’m already late and I could probably benefit from not eating breakfast today, so I’ll just grab a coffee,” right? Or, “I’m so busy, I’ll find something for lunch when I get home.” We think we are saving ourselves time, but we are actually sabotaging our diets.
As most experts tell us, the downsides of skipping meals greatly outweigh the upsides. Skipping a meal will leave you feeling sluggish and tired. The drop in your energy and blood sugar will then cause your body to want to over-consume at the next meal.
Though there has been more information lately about the benefits of intermittent fasting, the main meal you don’t want to skip is lunch, especially if your day is taxing. You will find yourself rushing home and gobbling down the first thing you can get your hands on…and often the first thing is not the healthiest.
3. Move When You Can
This is one I’ve fit into my daily schedule, and you’d be surprised at how well it works. Not only has it helped me drop a few pounds, but I feel better throughout my day.
I sit at a computer most of the day and it’s easy for hours to go by and not get out of my chair. I’ve learned that if I set a timer every 45 minutes and make myself get up and walk around, I’m actually more productive and it helps keep the weight off.
Finding ways to move can be challenging when you have a desk job or something else that keeps you relatively stationary, but it can make a big difference if you can find ways to incorporate movement into your daily schedule. Whether it’s taking a few laps every hour, parking your car a bit farther from the grocery or office, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, all movement counts, and even little ones will add up when you’re trying to lose weight.
4. Stand When You Can
This is another fun tip I’ve learned to implement into my day, and again – I can tell it’s helped my waistline and well as my overall wellbeing.
It is believed that, today in America, most of us sit for at least 6 hours a day. Sitting this long has actually been given the name, The Silent Killer.
Whether it’s sitting at a desk, or sitting in front of a television, we spend as much time sitting as we do sleeping. And, as doctors tell us, even if you are able to get to the gym or out for a jog after work, this doesn’t seem to be enough. We need to be able to find ways to get out of our seats more often if we want to lose weight and have optimal health.
If you can’t always find time to get up and walk around during the day, are there ways you can do your daily projects while standing instead of sitting? Many people have invested in stand-up desks which come in a variety of styles and sizes to choose from. These are a great alternative to sitting while getting work done. (Many of them also adjust, so you can sit when you need to.)
Think about other ways you can stand more outside of the office. How about folding laundry standing up and not sitting on the couch? Or standing at your children’s sporting events, at least for part of the time.
5. Get Your Watch on Board
A popular way that busy people have learned to hold themselves more accountable to their weight loss goals is through fitness trackers, like Smart Watches, Fitbit and others. These watches have really made a splash in the fitness industry, and can tell a person all sorts of things about their activity levels, sleep patterns, calories burned, and even track their moods.
Fitness watches come in a variety of styles, colors, and price points for people to choose from. These watches are great for not only giving you an idea of where your fitness level is daily, but they will help busy people keep track over a period of time what they are doing to accomplish their weight loss goals, and where they may be lacking.
Trackers will also hold you accountable for your goals. I know from my own experience that there are days that I get home, tired and ready to hit the couch. I look at my watch and realize how few steps I took that day, so I grab my sneakers and head out, wanting those numbers to increase before I call it a day.
6. Focus on Your Mental Health
Mental health has become an area in our lives that is finally getting the attention it deserves. When we feel good on the inside, it’s amazing how the outside is affected.
But the opposite is also true. Studies have shown that people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or just general malaise have a much harder time when it comes to taking care of their physical selves. They eat more (or not at all), they don’t get the necessary sleep (or too much) and they find it extremely difficult to do any sort of physical activity.
Don’t discount how your mental health may be contributing to your weight loss struggles. And, if you are struggling with mental health and are living a busy lifestyle, you are at even higher risk for weight gain as well as a whole host of other problems.