You're busy and losing weight is one more thing to add to your to-do list.
Believe me, I get it.
I want you to know that you're not alone.
I'm a working mom of 3 teenagers myself.
You may have found this article searching for "weight loss tips for women" and I promise I have loads of tips for you, but I want to start with a bit of a perspective shift. Without this shift all the tips in the world won't help you:
"Too busy" says more about your priorities than about your calendar.
If I told you I'd give you a million dollars to track everything you eat, get in 100 grams of protein daily, work out 2-4x per week and hit 10K steps per day for the next 3 months, I bet there's close to a 100% chance you'd do it.
Would you do it to reach your fitness goals without the incentive of a million bucks though? That's the question to ask yourself. Maybe the answer is no. Which is perfectly fine. It's just important to be clear in your head that "too busy" is really about your priorities.
Of course there's more to it, such as:
Nutrition: The Most Important Part of Any Weight Loss Program
If you literally do only this one thing you'll lose weight.
Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye, it's true.
You must be in a calorie deficit consistently for an extended period of time.
Here's a quick way to find a starting number of calories:
Here's an example :
Let's say that your goal weight is 140lbs.
140 x 12=1680 calories. That's your daily target. Personally, I prefer people to use a target range. It's mentally less stressful than trying to aim for an exact number. So 50 calories below and 50 calories above will give you a range of 1630-1730 calories.
Make this your top priority.
CALORIE COUNTING EFFICIENCY TIPS:
Getting in enough protein is weight loss nutrition priority number 2. If you eat enough protein you'll stay fuller, increase your metabolism, and burn fat instead of muscle (you might even build muscle if you're new to strength training or are a person with obesity.) How much protein?
Returning to our previous example: If your goal is 140 pounds:
140 x 0.7 and 140 x 1.0 = 98-140 grams of protein per day.
Mostly Nutrient Dense Food
Most of your diet should be nutrient dense, minimally processed food: fruit, vegetables, whole grains, protein. The stuff that grows from the ground, had a face, or came from something that had a face. 80-90% of your diet should live here. The remaining 10-20% can come from less nutrient dense sources. Sweets, fast food, more processed food.
Eating in this way will keep you full, help you hit your targets, and allow you enough wiggle room to enjoy your favorite foods, eating out and socializing.
MEAL PLANNING/PREP EFFICIENCY TIPS
Exercise: What, When & How To Get It In
Just like with nutrition you should focus on the things that will get you the most bang for your buck.
Then let the rest go. What to focus on as far as exercise for fat loss?
Lifting weights, along with eating enough protein, is what helps you to keep your muscle while you lose fat in a calorie deficit. More muscle boosts your metabolism and is a big part of looking toned and defined. That's the why. Here's the how:
3 days =1 full body + 1 upper body + 1 lower body
4 days = 2 upper body + 2 lower body
Pick what fits into your life the best. More isn't better. Being consistent is better. Choosing 2 and being consistent with it is better than choosing four and regularly skipping one or two sessions. If you're on the fence about how many days is realistic for you, choose the lower number. Do it for a month and then reevaluate.
Calendar your workouts. You don't have to have set days if your schedule isn't set up that way (mine isn't) but every Sunday physically type into your calendar your workout appointments.
Use Supersets. Supersets pair 2 exercises together. There are multiple ways to use supersets, for our purposes here you'll pair together 2 exercises that work different muscles. In this way you'll get more work done in a shorter period of time. Here's an example for a full body day:
1A 3 x 8 Goblet Squat
1B 3 x 8 Single Arm Row
2A 3 x 10 KB Deadlift
2B 3 x 10 DB Incline Bench Press
3A 3 x 12 Single Leg Hip Thrust
3B 3 x 12 DB Overhead Press
3C 3 x 12-15 seconds Hollow Body Hold
For each number group you do A followed immediately by B (and C in the case of number 3) then rest and repeat the same moves for the given number of sets before moving on to the next superset. So for 1 you'd do 8 goblet squats followed immediately by 8 rows with the left arm and 8 rows with the right arm, rest and repeat for a total of 3 sets before moving on to number 2.
Put away your phone It is so easy to add on a significant amount of time to your workout if you're checking Instagram and texting between sets. Don't do it! Keep your phone in airplane mode or in your pocket or face down next to you until you're done.
Keep isolation moves to a minimum. You'll get more bang for your buck with those big compound moves I listed above then with isolation moves. Push ups work your triceps as they're working your chest, while tricep kickbacks just work your triceps. Deadlifts work the whole back of your body in an efficient way. Donkey kicks, while not useless, don't deliver the same value for the time they take. Of course you *can* do isolation stuff, but think of dedicated tricep/ bicep/ inner thigh/ glute/ calf exercises as the seasoning, not the main course. Sprinkle them in lightly.
Getting in as much movement as possible helps to create your calorie deficit. You don't need to do dedicated cardio, though you can. I have my online clients get a baseline of their daily steps and then we work to increase them to 10k+ over time. Some of them like to have an actual cardio session or two to get those steps in, but most don't.
MOVEMENT EFFICIENCY TIPS
Use phone time to get in steps: walk around the office if you're on a call at work or around the neighborhood if you're at home.
Listen to books on Audible while taking a walk instead of sitting down to read
Get in your steps in small pockets of time: Walk around the field while you're waiting for your kiddo to finish soccer practice. Walk around the perimeter of the store an extra time or 2 when you go to Target. Use a bathroom on a different floor at work. These small efforts add up without taking up a big chunk of your time.
Mindset: Success Starts Here
To be successful at weight loss your mindset is critical. Here are changes to consider:
I'm a NASM certified personal trainer who is passionate about helping women transform their bodies through strength training and sustainable nutritional habit changes.