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10 easy weight loss solutions for busy parents

Belfast PT and nutritionist Alan Waterman shares his weight loss tips for busy parents

By Alan Waterman

Want to know something about weight loss? It's all actually pretty simple.

These days, our increased knowledge has led us to one very important universal truth about weight loss: it's not how or what we eat that matters, it's how much we eat that is important. Our calorie balance is, above all else, the main consideration we need to make for weight loss - if we want to lose weight, we need to find a way of consuming fewer calories than we are burning off (i.e. create a calorie deficit).

See? Simple!

However, although the theory is relatively simple, putting into practice the actions, behaviours, and changes in lifestyle we need to for weight loss can be much more challenging. This is especially true for those of us who live busy lives!

For busy parents, juggling work, family, kids can make focusing on achieving our weight loss goals all the more difficult.

So, the theory of weight loss is not going to  be necessarily easy to put into practice. That's the real problem when it comes to losing weight.

But the good news is that there are some simple changes we can make which can dramatically increase our likelihood of success!

Check out 10 of my favourite diet and lifestyle changes which you can put into practice to help you start losing weight right now, even when you've convinced yourself that you're too busy to start working on those goals...

1. Improve your food environment

Our 'food environment' is the food we keep within immediate or easy access around us. By making 'treat foods' that we are prone to overeating more difficult to access (e.g. by sticking them out in the garage, in a top cupboard, etc.), and instead having healthier food options in more easily accessible places, we'll be less likely to consume those higher calorie foods, and more likely to opt for the better quality (and often lower-calorie) options instead.

2. Focus on protein and vegetables

No idea where to start with piecing together a nutritious meal? Aim for the first two things on your plate to be a protein source and a vegetable. It seems like a very basic starting point, but as protein and veg intake are two of the most important elements of our diet (and are helpful in helping improve appetite control), it's a very effective one.

3. Include high-volume foods

We can aim to 'bulk out' meals with foods which are lower in calories, but higher in their volume. This allows us to eat a larger amount of food (to help with appetite control) without overeating on calories. Vegetables are a perfect example, as well as foods which are high in water content - porridge, soup, etc.

4. Don't fight cravings

Allowing ourselves to have even a little of the foods we're craving can prevent those cravings building to possible binge episodes. Often, people tend to overeat on other foods while unsuccessfully trying to deal with cravings, whereas less total calories would've been eaten by actually allowing a little of the desired food. Remember, all foods can have their place within our diet - we have no inherent need to remove any of them!

5. Establish rules

Have a tendency to snack in front of the TV at night? Put a rule in place that you don't eat after dinner. Eat out multiple times during the week? Establish a rule that you only do so over weekends. Putting rules in place to help tackle your biggest dietary pitfalls can be hugely effective ways of limiting the damage they have on our weight loss efforts.

6. Drink more water

Hungry? Energy suffering? Consider whether or not your water intake has dropped. Keeping properly hydrated is essential for keeping us functioning properly, as well as preventing those hunger pangs. By aiming to drink a minimum of two litres of water daily, we stand a much better chance of staying adequately hydrated, whilst preventing those pesky hunger pangs.

7. Remove trigger foods

If we can identify a food/drink that, when eaten, set us into a binge, or that we have great difficulty controlling our intake of, we should consider eliminating it entirely from our diet, with the intention of eventually being able to gradually work it back in. It's not ideal to have to remove any food from our diet, but if something is constantly sabotaging our weight loss attempts, it may be our best option.

8. Calorie repartitioning

Tend to be hungrier in the evening? Consider re-adjusting calorie intake or portion sizing of meals during the earlier part of the day to allow for a bigger allowance later in the day, as this can prevent overshooting your total daily calorie target. Timing of our calorie intake has next to no impact on our ability to lose weight and adjusting the timing to better suit our own preferences is typically favourable for weight loss.

9. Ditch calorie-containing beverages

When calorie intake is sitting lower, we should try not to waste calories on calorie-containing drinks. They do very little to help control hunger (especially due to lack of fibre), and reduce the number of calories we can put towards eating actual whole foods,which will better suppress our appetite.

10. Limit eating out

As meals from restaurants tend to be higher in their calorie content, the more we have to estimate the calorie content of a meal, the greater the likelihood of an incorrect estimation. This is especially true with restaurant meals, as often extra calories are added during the cooking process (butter, oils etc.) We should limit the potential for eating into our calorie deficit by being conscious of how many meals out we eat per week.

Want more weight loss tips like this? You can find 40 of them by downloading your free copy of The Little Black Book Of Weight Loss here.

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