When it comes to setting out on a weight loss journey, you will be faced with many barriers. One of the most common ones is time availability. Here is how you can effectively lose weight even when you have a busy schedule.
We live in a world that is fast-paced and time is something of a valuable commodity that so many of us always seem to be lacking.
Working, social life, throw in a few kids and your own health can get thrown to the back burner.
I get it and I feel the challenges too. I have lost count of the number of times I have muttered the words ‘there are just not enough hours in the day’
Yet, I also know the power of realising that it really comes down to prioritising the time that you do have and using little habit changes to bring about the results that you want.
I know that when I carve out the time in my day to complete a workout or prepare a healthy meal it actually helps out in every other area of life too.
Having a healthy body gives me more energy, eating well helps me to have more focus and less brain fog. A happy healthy body will just help you do and perform better in other areas of your life and so it’s worth taking the time to hike it up the never-ending list of priorities.
Not to mention wanting to set an example of health to my kids too.
So when you are short on time, the key is to be most effective with the time that you do have.
So use these steps to keep it simple, but also keep it effective if you want to improve your health but also lose weight in the process. If that is the goal, of course, it doesn’t always have to be about losing weight.
1 Create A Calorie Deficit
It will likely come as no surprise to hear that in order to lose weight, or more specifically to lose body fat, you need to be in a calorie deficit. You must burn more energy than you are consuming.
Work out your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR), this is the rate at which your body will burn calories throughout the day. You can use an online calculator with a simple google search. Input your information and get your guidance for the number of calories you need to sustain your current body mass.
Then if your goal is weight loss, look at reducing this number by 10–15% as a starting point.
I’m not a fan of calorie tracking for the long term. It can be time-consuming in the beginning, and you are already short on that, but it can certainly serve a purpose when you are getting started.
If you feel you may struggle with this, then you can always get some help with a done-for-you plan.
2. N.E.A.T UP
Formal exercise actually only makes up a small part of your total body expenditure which is why I’ll leave that one until the end. Non-Exercise Thermogenesis (NEAT) is what takes up a lot more is your energy throughout the day and is a powerful tool for weight control.
This is all of the movement you do throughout your day, from walking fidgeting, the type of work you do, housework, literally every movement you do.
This makes up a huge part of your daily energy usage and is why it’s key in weight management.
So the focus here is to get up and moving, and why you often hear about the 10,000 steps per day target. Get up and move at regular intervals throughout the day especially if you have a more sedentary job.
The more you move, the easier it will be for you to hit your weight loss goals without taking a tonne of extra time out of your day.
3. What You Eat Matters Most
Effective and lasting weight loss is not just about calories in and calories out, your body reacts to different foods in different ways.
The changes to metabolic rate from the types of food you eat are pretty minimal, but it’s worth mentioning as it can add up to around 10% of your calorie expenditure, known as the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF).
So if you eat 2000 calories of food, around 200 of those calories will be burnt in the absorption and breakdown of those foods through the digestive system. This can vary massively from person to person but I’m keeping it in simplistic terms for the explanation.
Foods such as protein and complex carbohydrates have a greater TEF than fats and simple carbohydrates.
Not only will a higher protein diet support you in increasing the building blocks to create lean muscle (which also helps your body burn more fat) but it will help you to feel more satisfied and will actually require your body to use more energy to digest it.
So when you are short on time and grabbing foods on the move, always opt for a higher protein option whenever possible.
Aim for a portion of protein the size of your clenched fist at most, if not all meals. This simple tool helps you make sure you are getting in enough without the need for counting calories.
4. Exhaustion Will Win
If you are stressed out, burnt out, or tired AF, then none of the above will have any impact.
It’s practically impossible to make better choices for your health and waistline if you constantly feel exhausted. Have you ever made a good healthy choice when you are feeling tired? No, me neither.
If you work on getting at least a solid 7 hours of sleep a night, all of the above gets much easier.
Missing out on sleep, rest and recovery will keep you spinning on this hamster wheel you are so desperately trying to get off.
So make sleep a priority for balancing hormones and giving yourself the energy to make the changes to your life that will see you turn the tide on your health.
5. Workouts That Get More Bang For Your Buck
I have put this one near the end as you can actually lose weight without even needing to do formal exercise. This is kinda the bonus one for those that can fit this in.
Workouts don’t have to be long to be effective and they help you make bigger strides forward with not only weight loss but overall fitness.
Just getting your body moving for a short High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) such as the one below can be effective.
This is just one video from my Youtube channel, you can access more by subscribing HERE. I know home workouts are not for everyone, but if you are someone who is short on time, they can become a real-time saver as you are cutting out travel time, plus cutting costs too as they are also free too when accessing from Youtube.
You don’t have to implement all of these changes at once. Start with one and work from there.
Improving your health and losing weight doesn’t have to be stressful and time-consuming.
If time is your biggest weight loss barrier, let me know in the comments what you are struggling with most.