The back-to-school rush, whether it’s for you or your kids, is a time of transition.
We go from carefree fun-in-the-sun to morning routines, after-school homework, extracurricular activities, and much more. We may start it off with the best of intentions, and as excited as we can be for these new busy schedules, being busy can also add on pounds.
Despite the things that can easily get in the way of keeping up with our fitness goals (like all those things I just mentioned), I came up with 10 suggestions for you to stay on track while you adjust to a new way of life!
10 Back-to-School Weight Loss Hacks
1. Say “Adios!” to Eating Out
When you are in the car driving your kids back and forth between baseball practice, soccer games, student council meetings, and so on, it’s “Hello!” to eating out and having Happy Meals and Big Macs in the car. Or, for busy moms and dads who are in school and work, it means Jimmy John’s sandwiches in front of your computer or delivery pizzas in your office.
These unplanned excess calories from fast-food meals can cause weight gain. However, I totally understand that busy schedules are hard to eat around!
So, on the days you know you’ll be playing taxi driver or studying late, try packing peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the kids, and a fresh grilled chicken salad for you. Have water bottles on hand, have chewing gum within reach, and have healthy snacks like string cheese, nuts, or slices of fruit. This will help you not cave in on unhealthy food options.
So, say “Adios!” to eating out and offer a welcoming “Hello!” to picnic dinners at those baseball practices or soccer games. You will be making the best out of busy schedules by creating conversations, memories, and building relationships with your kids, all while teaching them healthy habits!
2. Learn to Relax
Like I said, being busy can add stress, and stress can add extra pounds.
This is because ghrelin, the chemical in our bodies that stimulates appetite, increases food intake, and promotes fat storage, triggers hunger for “comfort” foods (foods that are high in fat and sugar) when we are stressed.
Stress means different things to different people, but some stress factors that come with an upcoming school year might include getting out the door on time, due dates and deadlines, organization, social pressure, or upcoming tests. Conquering stress won’t occur overnight, but it helps to plan and practice.
First, plan. Write a list of things that help calm your mind during a moment of stress. Maybe it’s a brisk walk, five minutes of silence, an unplugged screen, taking a few deep breaths, or a hug.
Second, practice. When you feel a stress response like an increased heart rate, quickened breath, tight muscles, or high blood pressure, it’s time to act. Practice one or two of the items on your list to help you cope with a stressful situation.
Keep in mind that our bodies are designed to handle small doses of stress, but we are not equipped to handle long-term chronic stress. An excess of stress can lead to consequences like headaches, upset stomach, insomnia, frequent colds or infections, and low energy.
3. Build in an Exercise Program
Workouts during the school year can be hard to come by, so they should be scheduled just like they are a doctor or dentist appointment.
Write them in your calendar and look at it every day. Seeing your exercise planned out for you will help you feel like you are more in control no matter what kind of chaos the school day brings!
4. Don’t Skip Meals
Whether you are busy in between classes or running around your child’s school as PTA president, it can be hard to pause long enough to have a meal, and finding healthy snacks is a challenge.
However, bad snacking and extended time between meals can sabotage your fitness goals, so it’s important to have options on hand that help you stay full, fit, lean, and healthy! A few staples of healthy snacks to take with you that will help you keep up with your busy life and busy kids are:
-Meal Replacement Shakes