When it comes to losing weight, everyone knows there are two elements you can focus on: diet and/or exercise.
So, basically, weight loss comes down to eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.
It’s that simple, right?
But the thing is, if it is that simple, why do most people FAIL when it comes to losing weight and then – this is were people really fail frequently – keeping the weight off?
Well, there are quite a few reasons that I’m sure spring to your mind.
But one of the core reasons is rarely mentioned and it is one that most people would not really consider.
And that is: poor time management.
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Managing your time requires discipline, routine, structure, planning and the formation of habits.
And this is what is required to maintain a good diet and a regimen of frequent exercise, which is what will ultimately help you to lose weight.
So logically, you can say that to lose weight effectively, you need to invest time and effort.
Part of the reason many of us put on weight has as much to do with the way in which we manage our time, as it does with what we eat and whether or not we exercise enough.
And what’s one of the biggest excuses for being overweight or being unfit?
Yep, you probably guessed it – “I don’t have time!”
People say that they have such busy schedules these days that finding time to workout seems impossible and eating on the fly becomes standard practice.
Add that to the fact that most daily activity is largely sedentary, it’s little wonder then why so many of us end up overweight and out of shape.
In the past, especially after having children, I know that one of the first things that slipped was my exercise regimen.
Yes, I definitely had less time to myself because I wanted to give the kids more of my attention, but really, my excuse of “I don’t have time” was actually pretty weak.
I could have easily reviewed my daily schedule and found somewhere to fit in a workout each day, but instead, I took the lazy option and played the “too-busy card”.
If something is important to you, you can always find the time.
And it is usually a case of simply reorganizing and managing your time better than you are currently.
The actions needed to lose weight require the investment of your time, but the process itself can also take time – it is not something that can happen quickly, so it is important that you understand that within the context of whatever lifestyle changes you have chosen to make in order to lose weight.
And the long-term commitment of losing weight, keeping it off and maintaining fitness is much easier when you have routines and habits that are ingrained – again these take time to adopt.
Time is required to educate yourself in nutrition, exercise and healthy living.
Time is required to plan your meals, shop for ingredients, prepare meals, to exercise and to monitor and review your progress.
In contrast to this, it doesn’t take an awful lot of time to stay fat.
Weight loss, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping in shape is really about your lifestyle.
And your lifestyle is about daily habits.
And daily habits are formed through good use of time.
When it comes to setting up a daily schedule, we all really ought to include the things that have the biggest impact on our health and well-being.
However, in today’s society, it seems that work-related matters often come first. But unless you want to start looking like Emma in the video below, the prevailing attitudes around the work-life balance need to change.
Hopefully our working practices will change before things get to this point but it’s a good reminder of the long-term hazards of a sedentary, desk-based vocation.
How to manage your time
Better time management may require various different strategies and tools, depending on your lifestyle, work and goals.
But when it comes to managing your time properly within the context of losing weight, there are certain things that should remain a priority in your weekly schedule and I have outlined six here.
A good night’s sleep is essential for all us, but studies have shown that poor sleep is associated with the increased likelihood of obesity in both adults and children.1
Getting better sleep is not necessarily something you can control, but you can control your sleep environment and the time you choose to go to bed.
Try these tips for a better night’s sleep.
Weight loss requires a calorie deficit, so as well as managing what you eat, you also need to be burning calories. That requires your time, so schedule time every day to do it.
And I don’t mean somewhere near the bottom of your To-Do list. Your health is a priority, so within the context of the Eisenhower Box, exercise is in the top right quadrant – important.
So make the time.
It doesn’t matter whether that means getting up thirty minutes earlier or combining it with your commute to work or a walking meeting, you need to schedule it in.
Note that when you are scheduling in exercise, it is possible to multi-task. For example, you can run while listening to an audio book or podcast, watching the news, etc.
Check out this post: What Is The Eisenhower Box? >>>
3. Planning trips to the grocery
This might sound ridiculous, but many people eat on the fly and don’t really schedule a “weekly shop”.
Meals then get grabbed when you’re hungry and this is the worst time to buy food as you’re going to be attracted to all the high carb ‘junky’ stuff or some kind of crappy microwave meal, which is not ideal when you’re looking to eat more healthily.
Plan your daily meals in advance and shop accordingly.
4. Preparing meals in advance
As well as scheduling your grocery shopping trips, try working out a weekly meal plan in advance. Knowing what you’re going to eat at mealtime is one less decision that needs to be made and another thing that will not distract your attention from whatever else you’re doing at the time.
If you want to go one step better, go as far as preparing and freezing meals in advance.
Batch cooking will save you a lot of time during the week. The downside is you may have the same meal more than a couple of times in the same week, but you can always mix up the side dishes for some variety.
For example, if I cook up a batch of chilli, I’ll make enough for maybe three meals and I’ll eat chilli on alternate days, but with rice one day, with a jacket potato the next and maybe just in a bowl with some bread and vegetables on the third day.
5. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is essentially a way of managing when you do and don’t eat food.
There are several variations of this and one of the most common is the 16:8 plan in which you block out an eight-hour period when you don’t eat (known as fasting).
Since much of this time can be spent asleep it is not as difficult as you might expect.
Following this method of eating usually means that you skip breakfast, which leaves time to do other things – great time management tip!
However, you still need to schedule a healthy lunch and evening meal.
6. Tracking your day, reviewing your week
This is a crucial part of any routine you want to maintain, as it creates accountability for yourself.
Tracking progress, whether you use a diary, notebook, bullet journal or some kind of note-taking app, and looking back and seeing that you have been successful in your dieting goals is a great motivator.
Doing this will also help you to identify previous errors and eliminate them the following week.
And if you had a bad week, reviewing will help you take stock of everything and get you back on track quickly.
Time Hack Hero Takeaway
If you’re managing your time better, it means that you are more organized generally and if you’re better organized, you’ll be less stressed. Stress is a big trigger for comfort eating, so you’ll really benefit from a less stressful day created by better time management.
Implementing each of the six points above is highly do-able, but may prove difficult if you don’t manage your time very well currently, so check out the rest of the tips on this blog and start improving your time management today!
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(1) Sleep studies
Time Hack Hero YouTube Channel
Hey, one more thing! Are you a blogger?
If you’re a blogger, check out my Time Management For Bloggers course!