The Ideal Weight Loss Routine for when your Work Life is Unpredictable
We all know that the single most important thing when losing weight is to be consistent. Which is why having a job that involves heaps of travel, weird hours, lots of work lunches and/or lots of networking can be a total nightmare. Not to mention the fact that a hectic work life means you’re pretty tired by the end of the work day, so when dinner time rolls along you’re hard pushed doing much more than cooking a bowl of pasta and throwing in a store-bought tomato sauce. Or getting takeaway. Or having dinner out. Because seriously, who could be stuffed washing up?
But I Don’t eat a Terribly Bad Diet. Why am I Still Overweight?
The thing is, no matter how much you want to lose weight, hectic work schedules are a serious barrier to being consistent. They affect what we eat, when we eat and how often we eat. And when this happens on a daily basis, it can completely disrupt our efforts to lose weight.
These types of work schedules are also conducive to you putting on weight. Women find that they eat a reasonably healthy diet when they are at home and can make decisions about what they are eating, but too often their work routine (or lack of) means that too many meals are eaten on the run and with less control over what is in them. And to add insult to injury, the fact that hectic schedules quite often make them stressed, probably means they are hampering their efforts to lose weight in more ways than one.
But I like my job and don’t want to cut down my workload, yet I still need to lose weight. What do I do?
The challenge may well be that many of these aspects of your job (the networking, the travel, the lunch meetings) are the bits that you like the most. And that is great, it’s so wonderful that you have a job that you enjoy doing. You just have to find a way to hold them both (your work schedule and your desire for weight loss) within you at the same time. And so far, I haven’t had one client that hasn’t had to put some serious thought into how they are going to manage their weight loss at work. But the solution is always the same.
Make a plan for where you’re going to come unstuck in your day and stick to it.
Do this before you are confronted with being stuck in the cab from the airport on the way to your 9am meeting, having not had a decent breakfast and with no snack in your handbag to keep you from seriously going to town on a burger and chips at lunch time.
So, here are my top strategies for staying consistent with your weight loss when you have a hectic job.
Pre-make or pre-decide (meaning decide before you get there) what you’re going to have to eat in your day as often as possible. If you would like some easy pre-makable meals that you can make before a work trip or take in your handbag you can find a great selection here.
Try (with the support of a qualified practitioner) intermittent fasting. Some of my clients have successfully used a 16:8 eating window while travelling or during hectic work periods. It means they only have to think of one or two meals rather than two or three.
Don’t drink soft drinks or alcohol while you’re at work lunches. One or two of these can be the equivalent in energy of another whole meal.
Design yourself a set of ‘bare minimums’ and stick to it.
At restaurants or catered work events, load up on vegetables wherever you can and eat them first.
Do the same for protein dense foods and eat them second.
Don’t snack. Commit to three decent, balanced meals a day and don’t snack at all.
If you do need to snack, have a suitable one available in your handbag at all times. Try some nuts and a piece of fruit. That way if you get caught out and you’re starving you have something to go to.
Meal prep like a boss on your weekends. And sit down the night before and plan out your next day’s meals. This can just be in your head but at least decide what you are going to eat and where you’re going to get it from.
If you haven’t already, sign up for my free download to help you develop key weight loss habits for the less hectic times so that you’re on top of things when times get busy.