As a busy professional, weight loss can be a challenge, especially when you’re juggling things like:
- Working late hours
- Back to back meetings
- Not having time to eat
- Cooking dinner after a long day
- And for many, tending to kids as well
It can be hard to find the time and energy to make healthy food choices and create, let alone stick to a nutrition plan, when skipping meals, ordering takeout, and grabbing snacks on the go become the norm. The good news is, getting on track doesn’t have to involve expensive, complicated diet plans or calculations or unhealthy fads. Even if you’re incredibly busy, simple shifts can make a huge difference.
Top 5 Weight Loss Tips for Busy Professionals
by Helen Tieu – Registered Dietician
Tip #1 for busy professionals: Meal Prep
This is listed as #1 for a reason!
Instead of cooking every single day or ordering takeout, you bulk cook 1-2 times a week to make lunches (or dinners) that last for the entire week. Essentially, you only invest 2-3 hours each week to set yourself up for success for the entire week.
Nailing this habit down not only saves you tons of time, but it also helps make the right choice the easy choice every day of the week. Many times, it’s not necessarily that we want to make the less healthy choice per se. It’s just that the less healthy choice is easier and so we opt for that.
So when we make the healthy choice easy, that’s when we win!
Tip #2 for busy professionals: Revamp Your Environment
No, I don’t necessarily mean channelling Marie Kondo or the ladies from The Home Edit for a room reno. By this, I mean your food environment.
Make the healthy choice the easy choice!
On those busy days when you’re mentally exhausted from work (basically most days, right?), your willpower and energy levels will likely be low.
This can make snacking on chips, cookies, or whatever is lying around the house, very enticing and far too easy. Set yourself up for success by not keeping these foods in the house. And if you have to keep them around, keep them hidden deep in the cupboards!
Instead, stock your house with healthy, convenient options in plain sight.
Here are some ideas:
- Veggies and dip
- Greek yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Whole wheat toast and nut butter
- Protein bar
- Healthy granola bar
That’s it! We’re big fans of keeping it simple. Want more healthy ideas? Check out our snack ideas blog here
Tip #3 for busy professionals: Snack Between Meals
Yes, I’m encouraging you to snack between meals – if:
- You’re hungry
- Don’t have time to eat a full meal
- Or know that it will be a long time until your next eating opportunity
As a busy professional, eating opportunities may be far and few between in your busy day.
When we go too long without eating, our blood sugars can gradually drop, we can start feeling ravenous or “hangry”, and want to eat everything in sight. This can lead to overeating and/or snacking excessively once we do get the opportunity to eat later on. And this can work against your weight loss goals.
By having a quick and convenient snack (like the ones listed above – fruit, nuts, smoothies, and bars are popular ones!), we can reduce hunger and mitigate or prevent overeating later on.
Conclusion: Keep those snacks stocked in your kitchen and work office!
Tip #4 for busy professionals: Increase Your Step Count
Of course, I do encourage you to get in workout sessions a few times a week if possible. Aside from that, you can also increase your daily step count as “passively” as possible. By this, I mean without taking too much additional time out of your day and to walk while doing something you’re going to be doing anyways.
This can look like:
- Walking to the grocery store, work, or gym when possible
- Walking around the house during meetings
- Going for a 10-15 minute walk at lunch or during a break
- Walk whenever you talk on the phone
- Walk your dog
Every little step counts!
Tip #5 for busy professionals: Buy Back Your Time
This can involve leveraging paid services such as:
- Grocery delivery (e.g. Instacart and many local grocery stores have their own delivery, too)
- Meal kit delivery services (e.g. Hello Fresh, Chef’s Plate)
- Ready to eat meal prep / delivery services (e.g. 2 Guys With Knives, Fresh in your Fridge)
- Working with a personal trainer
- Working with a nutrition professional
Sometimes, depending on the amount of spare time you have, it may be more worth it to pay for these done-for-you services, or have a professional in the field to hold you accountable and guide you toward your goals, versus doing it yourself.
These investments can save you time and energy in the long run that you can use towards other areas of your life!
At the end of the day, we can do as much as we can to minimize the amount of time required to eat healthy and stick to our nutrition and exercise plan.
But some time will still be required. And if weight loss is a priority to you at this time, commit to spending the time required to build the right systems and habits to ultimately make weight loss easier for you in the long run!
- Helen is passionate about helping others to improve their health and reach their body composition goals, so they can grow into the best version of themselves and life their best life! Her approach involves making gradual, sustainable changes, while maintaining balance and a healthy relationship with food.