We get it: Between your career and your kids, you’ve got a lot on your plate: competing schedules and priorities, a jam-packed calendar and a to-do list that never seems to end. And if you’re trying to add weight loss to the mix, it can feel pretty overwhelming … with your own needs potentially taking a back seat to everyone — and everything — else.
Maybe you’ve tried a fad diet or perhaps cut out certain food groups to try and lose weight while juggling all of life’s demands — only to become frustrated when the pounds crept back on because it wasn’t sustainable. Rest assured: there are healthy techniques you can master to help you find more balance while achieving the weight loss you want. Here are a few:
First, Give Yourself Permission
The first and most important step in your weight loss effort is to truly give yourself permission to make your health and wellness a priority. If you are a parent, you most likely put your family first a majority of the time. If you are an adult with a profession outside of the home, you also probably put everything you’ve got into your career. But it’s important to remember your self-care is a priority, too. After all, when your body is nourished with good food and feels energized, and when you take some well-deserved time for yourself, you’ll feel more equipped to care for others.
Pack Your Snacks and Lunch the Night Before
As tired as you undoubtedly are after working all day, chauffeuring kids to and from their activities, making dinner and supervising homework, it pays to take a few minutes before bed to prep and pack your meals for the next day. This is one of the best ways to make sure the morning runs as smoothly as possible. Plus, as we have all experienced, the morning can influence our mood for the rest of the day.
What’s more, packing your food the night before ensures you will have healthy options at your fingertips, so you’ll be less likely to grab a sugar-laden treat at the mid-morning meeting.
Lay Out Your Next-Day Outfit, Too
Some of the most successful people in the world are known for wearing the same clothing every day.1 Why? Because doing so frees up the mind to focus on other, more important decisions. So try taking a page from their book: With your outfit laid out and ready, you can toss it on quickly and continue with your to-do list without missing a beat.
Map Your Day
Before winding down for the night, do a quick look at your planner, phone and agenda the night before. When you know exactly what to expect the next day, you’re less likely to be startled by surprise meetings or events that may get in the way of hitting the gym or going for a quick walk on your lunch break. And book out time on your calendar so that you can take that walk at lunch so that you stick to your plan and break away from your desk.
Stay Healthy at Work
If you’re at work the majority of the day, it’s important to make that time count. Here are ways to make your hours at the office healthier — and, hopefully, more productive:
- Include more movement: If you work at a desk job, try to incorporate more walking breaks throughout the day. Or, if your company will spring for it, try a stand-up desk. Not only does standing require more energy, but it’s also a great way to avoid sitting for hours on end — which studies have linked to health concerns such as high blood sugar, increased blood pressure and obesity, to name a few.2
- Avoid the snack area: Sure, lunch-room offerings such as donuts and cookies are tasty, but they sneak in a lot of empty calories. Sugary treats also lead to a massive drop in blood sugar shortly after they’re consumed, which can lead to a drop in energy and bring on feelings of sluggishness.2 Instead, reach for a snack that will keep you satisfied and your energy levels stable.
Eat at the Right Times
In addition to focusing on what you eat, when you eat is equally as important for working optimally with your metabolism. Research shows that eating according to your circadian rhythm3 — the mental, behavioral and physical changes that happen naturally over a 24-hour cycle — can help boost your metabolism, in addition to aiding with weight loss and digestion, helping with depression and perhaps even improving your memory.4,5,6
To adhere to your circadian rhythm, try implementing a daylight nutrition strategy. This involves what’s known as time-restricted feeding, or arranging your meals to a 12-hour eating window. The reason for this is simple: Your body burns the most calories during daylight hours.
The strategy is fairly straightforward: Eat during daylight hours over a span of 12 hours. So, if you eat your first meal of the day at 7:30 a.m., finish your last meal and snacks by 7:30 p.m.
Also try to consume the majority of your calories prior to dinner, when your body is burning calories at the highest rate.
Jenny Craig’s newest program, Rapid Results, includes a daylight nutrition strategy, along with a plan so you don’t have to count, track or worry about what or when to eat.
Find a Healthy Balance
We hope these tips bring more balance to your busy life, and that they help you on your weight loss journey. Just remember: Your self-care matters — for yourself and your family.
Want to save even more time in your busy day? Join working parents just like you who use the convenience and effectiveness of the Jenny Craig program to learn how to lose weight and keep it off. Contact Jenny Craig to book your free appointment and get started today.
This article is based on scientific research and/or other scientific articles and is written by experienced health and lifestyle contributors and reviewed by certified professionals.
Our goal at Jenny Craig is to provide the most up-to-date and objective information on health-related topics, so our readers can make informed decisions based on factual content. All articles undergo an extensive review process, and depending on the topic, are reviewed by a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) or Nutritionist, to ensure accuracy.
This article contains trusted sources including scientific, peer-reviewed papers. All references are hyperlinked at the end of the article to take readers directly to the source.
Stephanie Eng-Aponte is a copywriter for Jenny Craig, based in Carlsbad, CA. They’ve focused on writing within the health and wellness space for the last several years, but have dabbled in the tech and environmental industries. Stephanie graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Media Studies. Stephanie employs a “eat first, write later” approach to food blogging and enjoys the occasional Oxford comma. Outside of writing, you can find Stephanie photographing a muttley crew of rescue pups, brewing kombucha, or exploring San Diego.
Favorite healthy snack: Green apple slices with sunflower butter.