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Weight Loss Tips For Women: Too Busy To Lose Weight?

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:

  • Understanding that losing weight doesn’t have to require as much time daily as you might think it does.
  • Being clear on exactly what it takes to lose weight, because lack of clear directions can be overwhelming and lead to shrugging it all off with the excuse of “I don’t have time for this.” A clear and concise to-do list fixes this right up.
  • Knowing that there’s a learning curve. It will all take longer in the beginning: figuring out how much to eat, how to get in enough protein, how to do each exercise.  It gets faster and easier the more you do it.

This guide to weight loss for busy women is going to cover all of that in depth.  By the time you’re done reading it you’ll know exactly what you need to do to lose weight and the most efficient, streamlined way to do it. Let’s go!

Nutrition: The Most Important Part of Any Weight Loss Program

Calorie Deficit
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:

  • Choose a few go-to meals and repeat them. Makes tracking way faster.
  • At the 2-3 restaurants you frequent most choose 2 meals that will help you stay on track and get them in your tracking app.
  • Eat more single ingredient items: an apple, a grilled chicken breast. Way easier to track then recipes such as stir fry.  That said:
  • For your favorite go-to recipes take an hour and create recipes in your tracking app so that thy’re there and ready for you to select quickly 

Protein
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

  • Prep more then one meal at a time.  To do this you can double (or triple) a meal and freeze a portion. Or you could cook more than one meal at a time.  For example you could prep breakfast and lunch for Tuesday while Monday’s dinner is cooking.
  • Do a super easy meal prep weekly. One example- At  the same time: hardboil  a dozen eggs, grill chicken breasts, put chili in the crockpot, chop veggies and make rice in the rice cooker.  You’ll be done in an hour (obvs crockpot will keep cooking)
  • Pre log your meals the night before.  It saves you time and mental energy to just eat what you’ve planned (not to mention it keeps you on track,)
  • Keep “fast food” that’s not fast food at the ready. My short list to keep on hand : a rotisserie chicken or 2, bagged salad mix, frozen vegetables, tuna packets, greek yogurt, frozen berries, cottage cheese, hard boiled eggs & oatmeal.
  • Buy pre-chopped vegetables

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?
Resistance Training
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:

  • 2-4x per week:

2 days= 2 full body sessions
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 consist
ent 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. 

  • Prioritize big compound moves: squats, deadlifts, rows, lunges, push ups and other upper body presses such as chest presses, chin ups and/or lat pulldowns.
  • Focus on getting stronger at those moves.
  • Don’t focus on getting sweaty and out of breath.  To get stronger you need to move heavy (for you) weight.  You can’t do that if you’re rushing from exercise to exercise in an attempt to keep your heart rate up.  Remember- the goal isn’t to burn calories, the goal is to preserve and build your muscle.

WORKOUT EFFICIENCY TIPS:
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.

Movement
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 too busy to exercise -> I value exercise and will make and keep exercise appointments with myself
  • For exercise to be effective I have to spend hours in the gym->I can get in a good workout in less than an hour 2X per week.
  • Meal planning and prepping takes so long-> meal planning and prepping saves me time and keeps me on track. I can get a lot done in just an hour.
  • Tracking my calories takes up too much time-> There’s a learning curve but once I know how to track calories It won’t take me more than 15 minutes a day.  I spend at least that mush time thinking, worrying, and stressing about how to lose weight anyway.
  • When I’m busy I have to rely on fast food -> It’s just as quick to get a salad from a grocery store salad bar or grab a rotisserie chicken as it is to grab a pizza.

You write the story line of your life.  You can frame it any way you’d like.  Keep telling yourself you’re too busy and you’ll be too busy.  Start repeating and believing the statements above and you’ll be making progress in no time.  Remember- “too busy” says way more about your priorities than it does about your calendar.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. I think you are right about doing body sessions for better progress. I need to lose 50 pounds by 2022. I’ll have to get with a program with possible gastric solutions.

  2. I like the idea of doing lower-body days. That would seem to help improve my leg mass. I’ll have to consider getting a coach to help me drop a few pounds.

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