Everyone can agree that nothing puts a damper on fitness and weight loss goals quite like a crazy, hectic schedule. But being busy doesn’t mean you have to give up on your health objectives. Even with a full schedule, your weight loss goals can be reached! It’s just a matter of setting a plan for yourself.
Here are 10 weight loss secrets for the go-getters who need some sound advice on how to capture their weight loss goals.
1. Set realistic goals for yourself
In planning a successful weight loss regimen around a busy schedule, the worst thing you can do is bite off more than you can chew. “When expectations are too high, it doesn’t take much to throw a person off,” Leslie Fink shared with fellow R.D. Timi Gustafson.
Take the time to figure out how much of your day you can devote to exercise and meal prep and plan accordingly.
2. Use the buddy system
Whether it’s a workout partner or simply someone to help remind you to stay on track, having help reaching your health goals cannot be undervalued. Plus, if you are someone with a very full schedule, having reminders and encouragement in your corner can keep you from feeling too overwhelmed.
When it comes to finding the right weight loss buddy, consider looking for qualities that you might not like in a best friend or partner — like someone that gives you side-eye for every bite of food you take.
3. Declutter your kitchen
Clutter isn’t good for your mental state and can increase your stress levels. That also applies to your kitchen, where mountains of unhealthy foods can easily derail your weight loss regimen. Organizing your refrigerator and pantries isn’t just good housekeeping. It will also help you eat better, no matter how crazy and busy your schedule.
HuffPost has a very user-friendly guide for reorganizing your kitchen to help you eat better.
4. Prep your meals
Yes, the idea of prepping your meals for the week sounds like a daunting task. But it is the best way to keep yourself on track with your weight loss goals.
Bonus: Prepping saves you money. So you can kick that fear of overspending on healthy food to the curb. And if there’s one thing that is going to make losing weight on a busy schedule less intimidating, it is making your grocery shopping trips less stressful or expensive.
5. Schedule workout time
How does an overly-booked individual “perceive” that they do in fact have the time for regular exercise? By scheduling it like an important appointment. If you are an incredibly busy individual, you are probably already glued to your handwritten day planner or Google Calendar. Why not also use those tools for penciling in your workouts? Experts across the board praise regular exercise, and there’s no better way to keep to a regular exercise plan than to block it off on your calendar.
6. Integrate a workout plan with full-body exercises
The key here is to integrate exercises into your workout that give you a full-body blast and mix muscle work with cardio. Think jumping jacks, mountain climbers, burpees, plank exercises, etc. Also, if you can, add dumbbells or kettlebells to your workouts to help create resistance and help burn more calories. These exercise staples make great additions to a 20- to 30-minute circuit workout, perfect for busy execs and on-the-go parents who don’t have the luxury of taking a long jog through the park every day.
7. Cut back on liquid calories
Having a hectic schedule often involves social gatherings, like happy hour with co-workers or Sunday brunch with friends. This also means partaking in adult beverages which, sadly, pack in mad calories. In fact, according to Bodybuilding.com, alcohol packs in twice as many calories as protein and carbohydrates!
If you just can’t go without a 5 o’clock cocktail, be mindful of what you are sipping. (Grab a glass of wine instead of a creamy mixed drink, for example.)
8. Don’t completely deny yourself guilty pleasures
Fear not, busy beavers! You don’t have to completely give up on the guilty goods. In fact, a secret to keeping yourself from falling off the weight loss wagon is to not completely deprive yourself. R.D. Lisa Moskovitz says having a couple unhealthy things won’t kill you, as long as you have them in moderation. “There is a time and place for every food in your diet, as long as it’s not excessive,” Moskovitz told Self.
9. Don’t throw it all away on the weekends
When the week is over and your schedule lets up a bit, it can be incredibly tempting to let yourself go and completely abandon your weight loss regimen. Don’t do this.
According to a piece The Guardian published in early 2017, studies are showing that “weekend warriors” can benefit from their couple days of activity just as those who workout during the week. To integrate this methodology into your weight loss plan, do a lengthier — maybe even less intense — workout over the weekend.
10. Be mindful of scheduling workouts and meals
The final step in keeping your weight loss schedule is to, well, schedule properly. Since you are already penciling in when you can work up a sweat, it is beneficial to be mindful of how exercise and meals coordinate. This consists of standard knowledge when planning your exercise and meals for the week: Don’t hit the gym right after you eat, because you risk making yourself sick. Be mindful of what you eat after your workout, because binging on carbs and sugars are only going to nix the productivity of your exercise. If you can follow those easy basics, losing weight with a busy schedule is completely doable.
Laura Bauer also contributed to this article