I kind of hate the term “busy mom,” I mean just the title “mom” should indicate your busyness, am I right?
But I get it, we use the term to convey that we’re moms and we’ve got a ton of other stuff going on at the same time. Between packed schedules and the constant need to feel like we’re keeping up with all our responsibilities, it’s logical that some things will need to fall through the cracks or get pushed to the backburner.
Unfortunately, it’s usually our health and fitness that end up simmering in the back. And while I can totally relate to those who feel as though they just aren’t in the right season for getting in the best shape of their lives, that doesn’t mean that you can’t make small changes that are going to help you lose weight, feel better and be more confident.
So whether you have those last few pounds of baby weight that you’d like to shed or you’ve got a long way to go, weight loss for busy moms is a multi-faceted topic. As an RD, a personal trainer, and a momma, I can tell you that weight loss is never as easy as we hope it’ll be, but that’s it’s totally possible when we have the right tools in our toolbelts.
In this article, I’m going to explain weight loss for moms; how to do it, what it takes, and some practical tips and tricks for getting it done without needing to derail your whole life. You deserve to look and feel your best, and your family deserves you at your best, so let’s dig in!
8 Weight Loss Tips for Busy Moms
We all know the basic equation for weight loss: calories in < calories out. This is what we refer to as a calorie deficit which can be achieved through diet, exercise, or both (and we generally prefer the latter as the most efficient and sustainable way to go!).
Although the equation seems simple, it’s anything but easy for busy mommas who already have their hands and minds full. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by getting started on your weight loss journey, take a look at our top tips for weight loss for moms. Start implementing these tips slowly as you can, and I promise you that you will begin to see those results that you’re seeking.
1. Become aware of your eating habits
Since nutrition is going to be where 90% of your weight loss comes from (not exercise), you have to start here. Often, it takes having a really honest look in the mirror at your eating habits to truly understand what your starting point is.
The best way to become aware is to track all your food intake for at least two consecutive weeks in a tracking app like this app (this is the app I use personally to track). There should be no shame or judgment in this phase. Just track everything you eat, and I mean EVERYTHING (this includes all of the bites, licks, and tastes you take throughout the day).
Tracking consistently and honestly for a period of time will give you a rough idea of where you’re current calorie intake is at. This information is vital as you prepare to cut those calories down a bit in order to lose weight.
2. Make a nutrition plan
Make a nutrition plan. I am not a big fan of crazy diets or fads, as an RD, we believe fully in a nutrient-dense diet that focused on consuming the proper amount of macro and micronutrients. I highly recommend either using a macro counting approach to weight loss or WW (Weight Watchers).
Both of these nutrition plans allow you to make informed choices and never include restriction, which is the key to sustainable weight loss. If you choose to count macros, you should either plan to hire a dedicated macro coach, or use an app like the 1st Phorm App that will calculate your macros for you and allow you to track simply and easily.
3. Prioritize protein
Some studies have shown that about 50% of women don’t consume enough protein per day. Honestly, I’d wager to bet that that number is even higher! We should be getting anywhere from 0.8-1.2 g of protein per lb of body weight. So, a 150-pound woman should eat around 150 g of protein per day. I realize that this number might seem impossible at first, but here are a few tried and true tips and tricks for sneaking in extra protein to hit your daily goal:
- Start your day with protein coffee. Not only does it taste amazing, but you can pack in anywhere from 20-25g of protein right off the bat!
- Prioritize protein at every meal. The first consideration for each mealtime should be your protein source. Decide on that and then build your plate around that. For example, for breakfast, you could choose your protein to be egg whites and Greek yogurt. Add on a piece of toast and a bowl of berries and you’ve got yourself a high-protein breakfast that will keep you full for hours.
- Keep high-protein snacks handy. Don’t leave home without them.
- Add an extra serving of protein to the meals you’re already eating. For example: if you’re eating chicken and veggies, instead of having 4 oz of chicken, bump up to 8 oz to double your protein.
Adding more protein to your diet will help you build and maintain lean muscle mass while simultaneously losing body fat. Without proper protein, you could end up looking “skinny fat,” which is not the look that most of us are going for.
4. Plan your meals
Once you’re armed with your nutrition plan, you’re ready to make a plan as to how you’re going to fulfill it. Take some time each week to pre-plan for the week upcoming. I usually do this on Sundays. Make a plan for your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, and don’t be afraid to keep things very boring and repetitive. I know some foodies will groan about this, but having a few tried and true recipes for each meal will be invaluable on your weight loss journey.
For example, I currently have just two breakfasts’ that I switch between each week and I generally eat the exact same thing for lunch every single day. For dinners, I will switch it up a bit and be a bit more flexible, which works well when my other two meals are consistent. Regardless, each meal should have a primary focus on protein, as mentioned above.
5. Drink Plenty of Water
I know, I know, it’s hard to drink a lot of water when you’re a busy mom. You’re often so focused on keeping the tiny human(s) alive, hydrated, and fed that you can hardly imagine taking the time to fill up endless water bottles for yourself, not to mention the ensuing trips to the bathroom that you’ll need to take. But the truth of the matter is that you should be getting at least 100 oz of water per day for optimal hydration and weight loss. My recommendation: grab yourself a big old water bottle like this one and carry it around with you just as you do your baby.
6. Get get those steps in
By now, we’ve all heard that the magic number of steps to aim for each day is 10,000, which can feel daunting for a busy mom. However, studies have shown that you can still get the health and weight loss benefits by hitting 7,000 or more, which feels much more doable for many of us mommas.
My favorite way to get those steps is grabbing my stroller and getting outside. Whether it’s hot, cold, windy, or anywhere in between (short of a storm, be smart), you can usually find a way to dress yourself and your baby appropriately for an outdoor walk - maybe even two! Getting outside in the fresh air is awesome for both you and your little, both from a physical and a mental standpoint. If you have a toddler who’s going through a stroller boycott, which is common, have them walk but bring the stroller along so they can rest when their little legs invariably get tired.
It’s never about how fast you’re walking or for how much time, it’s about being intentional about getting up and moving your body. You’d be surprised by how many steps you can log just dancing around the kitchen or vacuuming. Get creative and make it fun!
7. Find the workouts you enjoy
After you’ve got your nutrition dialed in and you’re being intentional about hitting your daily step goal, you’re ready to move on to adding in some workouts. If you’re brand new to working out, take it slow. Especially if you are newly post-partum. Be sure you’re cleared by your doctor and focus on taking care of yourself and enjoying movement.
Exercise should never be a punishment. In fact, when you find the right workouts, you just might find it’s one of the best parts of your day! That sure is the case for me! Here are a few of my personal favorites, but feel free to do your research and find what YOU love:
8. Give yourself love and grace
I get it, you’re ready to shed those excess pounds and feel like the best, happiest, and healthiest version of yourself. But you can’t rush the process. The unsexy truth is that weight loss takes time and consistency. The good news is that if you follow the tips outlined in this article and you implement them slowly over time, you will 100% start to see results.
Don’t fall prey to the fads and the unfounded promises that lace your news feed. Save your money and follow these tips instead. The results you achieve by prioritizing your health, nutrition, protein intake, water, and movement will reveal themselves and you’ll build an immense amount of confidence in the process.
And, remember, this isn’t about being perfect. You will fall off some days. Some days will get the best of you and you won’t hit all your goals. Recognize it, and move on. Get right back on track the next day, keeping in mind why you started in the first place.
Weight Loss for Moms FAQs
Now that you have our bulletproof action plan for how to lose weight as a busy mom, let’s answer some of your most common questions about the topic.
Should I try prescription weight loss?
You may have seen the buzz recently about new FDA-approved weight loss medications that are helping those who qualify to lose weight and keep it off. If you meet certain criteria, you might be eligible for RX weight loss medications.
Personally, I highly recommend seeking these medications through a weight loss program like Found or Form Health. Both of these companies offer not only access to RX medications to those who qualify but also offer specialized medical advice from real weight loss physicians and one on one coaching to help you reach your goals.
Even if you don’t meet the criteria for RX medications, you can still get so much out of the accountability and education that you get from participating in these programs.
How Do Stay at Home Moms Lose Weight?
Stay at home moms can lose weight by prioritizing movement and nutrition and being intentional about scheduling their day. Being home with the kiddos all day is certainly not a vacation; you’re busy, tired, and constantly needed for something. Rather than focusing on how little time you have for yourself, critically think about your schedule and where you can fit in the things you need to do for yourself to lose weight.
For example, does your baby or toddler have a nap time? Quiet time? I know by that time, you’re tired yourself, but at least a couple of days per week you could dedicate that time to getting in a workout. It doesn’t even need to last the whole time! Take 30 minutes, put your head down, and get to work! You’ll be so glad you did.
Also, make sure that you’re fueling your body with high-quality, nourishing foods. You need to keep up with the demands of your kids, don’t hinder your ability by eating junk. Protein, water, veggies - make sure they’re there with every meal and you’ll feel yourself enjoy more energy.
How Do Working Moms Lose Weight?
Working moms can lose weight by managing their schedules incredibly strategically. For moms who work outside of the home, it can feel challenging to find the time to fit in exercise and adherence to nutrition. But it’s not impossible!
Choose a few mornings or evenings per week to dedicate to working out. Either set your alarm for early in the morning before it’s time to get ready for work, or save the date for after your workday is done. Make it a scheduled priority and a non-negotiable in your day, just as you would a meeting with your boss. Show up and get it done.
Another tip is to use your lunch break as a walk break. Many of us spend a lot of time in front of our computers every day, which means we aren’t hitting our step goals very easily. One way to combat this is to take your lunch break on the go. Instead of heading to the lunchroom to eat, go outside and take a walk. Bring your lunch with you if it’s portable, or eat at your desk before or after you go.
Find your pockets of time and utilize them!
How Do Busy Moms Get in Shape?
Busy moms get in shape by prioritizing themselves when and where they can. The truth is that mommas have a lot on their plates, and no one else is going to prioritize you and your goals, you have to do that for yourself. And it’s 100% not selfish to do so!
In fact, I find it to be selfish not to. Think of it this way; when you’re happy and satisfied with yourself, aren’t you so much more likely to pour those good emotions into your kiddos? For most of us, a happy mom equals a happy family. Take the time to implement the strategies we listed above to make yourself and your fitness journey a priority.
I hope that the information in this article will help you to get started on your journey to feeling your best, even as a busy mom. Whether you’re home with your kids all day or you’re out in the workforce, motherhood is not for the faint of heart. You’ve got enough on your plate every day to keep 3 people busy, but where there’s a will, there’s a way.
With a little bit of education, time spent tracking and planning and squeezing in some movement, you can make significant progress towards your weight loss goals. If you landed here hoping to get a quick fix answer on how to lose weight as a busy mom, I’m sorry to tell you that you landed in the wrong place.
My education as a Registered Dietitian along with my experience in the fitness industry and as a mom has helped me to understand that losing weight is a long game and one that needs to be approached with that in mind. So put these actions into play and get to work feeling and looking your best, no matter what stage of motherhood you are in.