By Jaimi Jansen
Meeting your weight loss goals can be a daunting challenge, made even more difficult if you are a busy parent.
However, there are some simple tips that can be incorporated into a busy day to make losing weight that much easier. Here are four of them:
The mornings can be one of the most hectic times of the day – trying to get both yourself and your family out the door on time gets stressful. However, it doesn’t mean that skipping the most important meal of the day will work for weight loss. If time is an issue, plan breakfast in advance. One option is to make a large batch of oatmeal in the slow cooker, set it over night, and by the time the alarm clock rings in the morning breakfast will be ready to go.
Oatmealis a very healthy breakfast choice, it provides the body with lots of protein, fiber and a wide variety of vitamins like manganese, phosphorus, and iron. Oatmeal is also well-known for its role in reducing high cholesterol (LDL) levels which in turn has an overall positive effect on the heart.
For many, oatmeal is rarely enjoyable on its own, it can be a little too plain if not accompanied by something else. Chopped fruit is a great quick pairing with oatmeal, especially berries that are high in antioxidants. To get the added protein add low fat milk or yogurt, nutritional yeast, or protein powder. By incorporating this meal into an a.m. routine, achieves nutrient efficiency, increases fiber intake, and helps stimulate the metabolism first thing in the morning.
Consulting a nutritionist to get additional quick tips can help set you on the right path, as well.
Getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night is important for managing stress and energy levels. When well rested, good nutritional decisions are easier to make and follow through with workout plans is easier. Lack of sleep leads to suppressed energy levels during the day, making physical activity less likely.
Sleep also has an effect on hormones leptin and ghrelin which play a key role in reducing appetite, specifically. Leptin is a hormone made by adipose (fat) cells in our bodies in response to rising fat levels, and it has an inhibiting effect on appetite. Ghrelin is a hormone released by cells lining the gastrointestinal tract in response to an empty stomach, it promotes hunger by increasing gastric acid levels and stomach motility. Studies have shown that less sleep is associated with lower levels of leptin and elevated levels of ghrelin, translating into less of a hormone that inhibits hunger and more of the one that promotes it (Spiegel,1)(Taheri,1). Getting enough sleep is important for both weight control and general health.
Spend one day a week (Sundays are good) prepping meals for the week ahead. This ensures there will always be a healthy option at hand for when the day gets too busy. Often not having space without children makes it hard to prepare healthy food options. If the children are big enough have them help!
Quality time with the children while meal prepping gets multiple tasks done at once while having them help! Planning ahead with food doesn’t just lower stress by making the week more manageable but by feeding your body the nutrition dense meals it so desperately needs will help it to rev the metabolism and release the excess fat pounds.
4. Exercise with your children
It can be difficult to find time for the gym as a parent, but that doesn’t mean neglect workouts. Having a young child means the little one may need constant attention, so give it to them! Pack up the stroller and go for a walk or run around the neighborhood. Go to the park and run around with them for a fun workout while also accomplishing quality bonding time. The best thing about children in this situation is their endless energy. A highly effective workout can be achieved before you even know it!
Working out isn’t always easy, but it’s definitely do-able.
Let us know how you keep active with a busy schedule in the comment section below!
Spiegel, Karine, Rachel Leproult, Mireille L’Hermite-Balériaux, Georges Copinschi, Plamen D. Penev, and Eve Van Cauter. “Leptin Levels Are Dependent on Sleep Duration: Relationships with Sympathovagal Balance, Carbohydrate Regulation, Cortisol, and Thyrotropin.” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism | Oxford Academic. Oxford University Press, 01 Nov. 2004. Web. 10 Feb. 2017.
Taheri, Shahrad, Ling Lin, Diane Austin, Terry Young, and Emanuel Bignot. “Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index.” Short Sleep Duration Is Associated with Reduced Leptin, Elevated Ghrelin, and Increased Body Mass Index. The National Center for Biotechnology Information, n.d. Web. 10 Feb. 2017. <http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pmed.0010062>.