Busy Mom Eating Strategies for Weight Loss

by | Nov 14, 2020 | +STRATEGIES

When you’re a busy mom, often your focus is on all the to-do’s and everyone else’s health. With this mindset, it’s all too easy to push yourself to the back burner. But, improving your own health and body confidence will only make you a happier and more patient mom.

As a busy mom, you have a tight schedule and need to make the most of the time you have. Your way of eating and your exercise plan has to fit this lifestyle in order for you to maximize your time and results. Fasting can be one easy and effective method for busy moms to achieve weight loss, particularly time-restricted fasting.[1]

Here are 13 effective strategies to lose weight as a busy mom so you can be the best mom you can be.

 

1.   Create a healthy home environment

One of the best ways you can support your weight loss goals is by creating a healthy environment in your home. If you are trying to limit sweets but you have donuts visibly out on the counter, you are making it harder than it has to be. You will need a lot of willpower to ignore those foods sitting right in front of you.

Make it easier on yourself by keeping healthy choices in your line of sight. Keep nutritious snacks such as cut-up fruits and vegetables in easy to reach places. Then, these snacks will be the most obvious choice when hunger strikes.

You can absolutely keep some sweets in your house, but try to keep them in hard to reach places. Putting them behind healthier foods, in the freezer, or just keeping less in your house can help. This is where the phrase “out of sight, out of mind” comes in. In this way, the sweets will not be the default and you’ll have to put more thought into how badly you want them.

2. Stay organized

This also relates back to your environment. Keep your kitchen and pantry well-organized so that it is easy to find items in a pinch. When you are time-strapped, it’s easy to resort to takeout if you can’t find that key recipe ingredient. And how frustrating is that when that ingredient decides to show up 2 weeks later in the back of your pantry!

To keep organized, go through your refrigerator and pantry once a week. See what you need and don’t need, and try to base your meals around the ingredients that you already have. This saves you money and the trouble of buying things you don’t need. Then use these pantry items as a guide to building your weekly grocery list.

3. Keep things simple

Eating healthy does not have to mean cooking with a million ingredients or spending hours in the kitchen. Here are a few ways to simplify healthy eating and meal prep:

Find recipes you can make in 30 minutes or less. Eating healthy is not an all-or-nothing process. As a busy mom, you don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen, and you don’t have to. There are plenty of 30-minute meals out there that are super healthy and will support your weight loss goals.

Find recipes with minimal ingredients. It is even more ideal to find recipes with ingredients you already have on hand. Recipes with a laundry list of ingredients can be so intimidating, and can deter you from wanting to cook. Know there are plenty of recipes out there with minimal ingredients that taste delicious.

Buy pre-cut fruits and vegetables. The prepping and chopping portion of meal prep is often one of the most time-consuming parts. Save yourself time and energy by buying pre-cut produce that’s ready to go. It’s well worth the extra cost for the time it gives back to you.

Cook once, eat three times. Who says you have to cook every day? If you don’t mind leftovers, set a goal to cook at least twice a week and triple the recipe so you have enough for 3 days. Even if you don’t like leftovers, you can always make your leftovers into another dish. For example, add leftover rotisserie chicken to a salad or soup the next day.

Try one new vegetable, fruit, or recipe per week. You don’t have to change everything all at once. In fact, that is not sustainable. Small, simple changes will bring real weight loss results.

4. Create a fasting window

Following a fasting protocol may support weight loss for busy moms.[2] Fasting, particularly time-restricted eating, puts you on a schedule. As a busy mom, it’s easy to feel scattered with your routine. Because of this, many moms may find themselves skipping meals or just grazing all day long, leading them to consume more calories than they intended.

Following a time-restricted fasting protocol creates a daily meal schedule that may help prevent overeating and endless snacking. This alone can support a reduction in calories, even without changing what you are eating.

Fasting protocols often begin first with outlining when to eat rather than what to eat, which is less to think about for busy moms. If you’re someone who typically eats on and off all day for 12-14 hours, moving to an 8 or even 10-hour window can effortlessly reduce your calorie intake.

Fasting is a simple method to help support your weight loss goals, without having to worry about counting every single calorie. Plus, you can choose the type of fasting that best fits your lifestyle.

5. Get in a good sleep routine

Proper sleep is crucial for weight loss and an optimal metabolism.[3] If you don’t get enough rest, your cells do not have the opportunity to repair and recover. This may lead to an increase in the hunger hormone ghrelin. Which in turn results in more intense cravings particularly for carbs and sweets, undermining your best efforts to lose weight.[4]

Create a good sleep routine by going to bed and waking up around the same time every day. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep every night, and establish a relaxing bedtime routine that may include reading, a cup of decaf tea, or some meditation. This will help you fall asleep faster and make it more likely you will stay asleep.

6. Drink plenty of water

Many busy moms rely on coffee for energy. The problem with this is that it dehydrates you and also ends up replacing a lot of water that could have been consumed. Staying hydrated is essential to keep your body in prime fat-burning mode.[5] Additionally, it may help to control your appetite.

More often than not, we think we are hungry when we are in fact just thirsty. There are many signs of thirst, one being a physical sensation similar to hunger in our stomach. So if you find yourself feeling this way and you recently ate, drink a glass of water first. You may find that was exactly what you needed.

For most of us, it is recommended to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day or half of our body weight in pounds.[6] For example, a 150-pound person should drink 68 ounces of water per day, or 150 divided by 2.

7. Manage stress

It is common for moms to experience stress. While we can’t avoid all stress, there is such a thing as an unhealthy level of stress. This can negatively impact our health. Even if you are doing everything right with your diet and exercise, too much stress can hinder your weight loss progress.

Do something for yourself every day to manage your stress levels, such as meditating, journaling, or exercising. Whatever it is that helps to calm you and keep you grounded, put it in your calendar and do it regularly. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time either – starting with just 10 minutes a day is a great start.

8. Find effective exercises

When you’re a busy mom, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have time to exercise. But, exercise is an important part of the weight-loss equation. Don’t worry – there are plenty of truly effective exercises that don’t take a lot of time. Finding effective exercises that bring you big results in less time are going to be the biggest bang for your buck.

Higher intensity workouts such as running or a combination of intervals and strength training workouts are your best bet. These workouts will increase your energy and maximize your calorie burn. In fact, HIIT (high-intensity interval training) exercises may be more effective for burning fat than longer, less intense workouts.[7]

9. Display visual reminders

Create visual reminders you can display around your house to remind you of what you’re working towards. On stressful days it can be easy to forget why you started this process in the first place. Having visual motivators can be incredibly helpful to keep the momentum going.

For example, display pictures of yourself when you felt your best or motivational quotes such as “remember what you’re working towards” or “you can do this.” This can serve as a constant reminder of your ability to achieve your goal. It also brings you back to your “why” which is what drove you to change your habits in the first place.

10. Practice portion control

Reducing portions alone can aid in weight loss. It can be very helpful to use smaller plates to encourage smaller portions. If you are trying to reduce portions but are using a large plate, you will likely feel restricted and less satisfied. We eat with our eyes, and so filling a small plate completely with food looks visually more satisfying.

Use a 9-inch plate instead of a large dinner plate to practice portion control. In this way, you don’t have to measure everything. This is a really simple way to eat the foods you want and still consume fewer calories.

11. Add more fiber

Fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables like greens, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, or brussels sprouts. These vegetables are packed with fiber to keep you full but are also low in calories. Plus, research shows that those who eat more fiber tend to lose more weight.[8]

12. Eat mindfully

As a busy mom, you may find yourself scarfing down many of your meals mindlessly and distracted. This can lead to overeating and is also not an enjoyable way to eat. Practice slowing down your pace when eating and minimizing distractions during meals.

This means not eating in front of the tv or when you’re simultaneously working. While multitasking may appear to be an effective use of time, it actually can lead to more calories consumed when the day is said and done. This is because it is difficult to realize when you’re getting full when you’re eating distracted.

Pick one meal to start with where you can slow down and savor, ideally for at least 20 minutes. While this may seem difficult to do, with more practice you will become a pro.

13. Don’t eat your kids’ food.

No matter how old your kids are, it’s likely common for them to not finish their meal. It’s easy to eat your kids leftovers or munch on their snacks, and before you even realize it you just consumed another meal.

To better manage this, cover or put away your kids’ meals once you know they’re finished. This will serve as a reminder to not mindlessly grab them just because they are there.

You can successfully lose weight as a busy mom. These simple tips and intermittent fasting can help support your weight loss efforts. Losing weight is about finding healthy habits that can be easily added to your life, the key is to simply be consistent.

Read More:

[1] Intermittent fasting and weight loss
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7021351/

 [2] Ten-Hour Time-Restricted Eating Reduces Weight, Blood Pressure, and Atherogenic Lipids in Patients with Metabolic Syndrome
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31813824/

 [3] Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7021351/

[4] The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3763921/

[5] Increased Hydration Can Be Associated with Weight Loss
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4901052/

[6] Water Intake, Water Balance, and the Elusive Daily Water Requirementhttps://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6315424/

[7] High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2991639/

[8] Fiber Intake Predicts Weight Loss and Dietary Adherence in Adults Consuming Calorie-Restricted Diets
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31174214/

Author:

Melissa Mitri

Melissa Mitri, MS, RD

Melissa is a health writer with over 12 years of experience in the field of nutrition.  She specializes in helping women move away from restrictive habits that lead to vicious yo-yo weight cycles.  Melissa enjoys writing about health, nutrition, and fitness with the goal of simplifying complex health topics for the reader.  You can find out more about Melissa at www.melissamitri.com.