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10 Actionable & Effective Tips To Burn Fat On Busy Schedule

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Medically reviewed by Kimberly Langdon, MD

Burn Fat On Busy Schedule

Today’s busy lifestyles make it difficult to stay in shape. Add to this the stress and poor eating habits we adopt to compensate for this, and finding time to do some consistent activities to burn your fat is almost impossible.

Ditch the all-or-nothing attitude and try out some of these actionable tips to help you achieve your goals.

10 Fat Burning Tips For Busy People

Eat A Healthy Diet

Watch your daily and weekly calorie intake. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans[1], men will need 2000-3000 calories a day, and 1600-2400 calories for women.

The DGA also recommends the following percentages:

  • 45–65% of their calories from carbs
  • 20–35% of their calories from fats
  • 10–35% of their calories from proteins

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. If this supply is reduced, the body burns its stores of protein and fat for fuel. This is why low-carb diets have been so popular for losing weight.

In addition to watching your calories, shop wisely and choose to eat healthy, nutritious food. Drink clean water and keep alcoholic beverages, especially beer to a minimum. Instead, opt for low-calorie drinks that contain minimum or no sugar.

Don’t Eat On The Run 

As tempting as it is when you are busy, skipping meals or eating on the run is not only bad for your digestion but often this means eating high-calorie quick foods. Set aside a quiet time to eat, not at your desk or in your car. Surrounding noises and tension create stress which adds to poor digestion and ineffective fat burning.

Try to pack a lunch several times a week. This way you can choose healthy food in the right combinations and portions. Have healthy snacks with you for quick energy when you start to feel tired or sluggish.

Eat Early

As the body consumes energy differently during the day, the time and the way we eat are also important. Eating a healthy breakfast of lean protein such as eggs and raw fruit can keep calories down while supplying you with the energy you need to help get you through the day. Eating smaller portions also helps keep weight down.

At the end of the day, eat a lighter meal by 6 pm so your body has time to fully digest your food before you go to bed. Eating late leads to some discomfort and allows undigested food to ferment in your stomach, creating gas and fat that is stored rather than metabolized. This also applies to snacks just before bed.

Cook For Yourself

Although it can be a struggle to think about cooking when you are busy, cooking for yourself gives you total control over what and how much you eat. This also limits eating out where rich meals and fast foods are often the options. Either way, eat more protein and fiber. Consider drinking your veggies as in a smoothie or cold soup, and eat your fruit raw, with no sugar or dairy added.

If you can only cook once or twice a week, cook larger amounts and freeze individual portions later. This way you will still have the advantage of a healthy meal when you are without time or energy to cook.

Exercise In Small Doses

When you have a busy schedule, exercise routines are usually the first thing we let go of. Many studies have shown that exercise is important not only for overall health but also for burning fat. “After about 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise, your body starts burning mainly fat,” says Dr. Burguera of the Cleveland Clinic[2]. Try taking a short break to do some breathing and stretching exercises. Find a space at home or office to do limited positions. Work standing up.

It can be even more pleasant to stop occasionally and get outside, even for just 10 minutes. Walking is one of the easiest exercises to maintain both your physical and mental states. According to the Mayo Clinic[3], if you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories a day. If you can walk longer, then you burn more calories which helps burn fat.

Find Enjoyable Social Activities

Once a week do something you love like dancing or swimming. Try to set time aside to be with family or friends. This can not only relieve the stress of a busy schedule, but also offers opportunities to rest your mind, clear your head, and do something you enjoy. Exercise under these conditions can still burn fat.

Boring routines lead to inconsistent exercise. We all know this. So change up your routine, try something different, exercise at a different time of the day, or exercise with a friend who can keep the boredom away.

Get Consistent Sleep

Studies from The Sleep Foundation[4] indicate that Americans over the past several decades are sleeping less, have poorer quality sleep, and are gaining body weight. Loss of sleep also seems to encourage overeating.  They have also found that sleep-deprived people tend to eat more food that is high in carbs and calories.

Manage Your Stress

Busy schedules often come with numerous responsibilities. These in turn can cause stress. Weight loss varies from person to person and situation to situation. Short-term stress may not impact your desire to lose weight but over time, stress can affect your weight in two ways.  Either you binge on unhealthy food which can interfere with fat burning and cause weight gain or you skip meals which can cause you to lose weight but often come with unwanted side effects such as tension headaches, indigestion, fatigue, and even reduced sex drive. 

Although you may want to relieve your stress by electronic binging and checking social media, a survey done by the American Psychological Association[5] has shown that constantly checking your computers, cell phones, and tablets can actually cause you more stress. Limit their use.

Get Professional Help

Dieticians and nutrition counselors can help you plan your meals if you are struggling with how to create a daily healthy diet. 

Personal trainers can organize an exercise routine that fits your busy schedule as well as your body type, age, and how much fat you want to burn.

Follow a video or Zoom class to get you going. There are hundreds of options covering exercise, yoga, meditation, food planning, stress management, and more.

Use Technology

The invention of fitness trackers has made it much easier to keep track of calories, exercise routines, steps taken per day, and other weight loss measurements. Try one if you think this will help you.

Download websites or apps that can keep track of your weight loss and fat burning. These include the more popular MyFitnessPal, Lose It!, DailyBurn, or Calorie Counter PRO.


Busy people tend to stray from healthy routines. The two most important things to remember are to eat less and move more. The best way to get real, lasting results is to combine a healthy meal plan with a daily exercise schedule. Find what works for you and stick with it. If it is too difficult to do this, change it.

+ 5 sources

Health Canal avoids using tertiary references. We have strict sourcing guidelines and rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic researches from medical associations and institutions. To ensure the accuracy of articles in Health Canal, you can read more about the editorial process here

  1. Brazier, Y. (2018). How many calories should I eat a day? [online] Medicalnewstoday.com. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245588 [Accessed 31 Jul. 2021].
  2. ‌Family Health Team (2019). Where Does Body Fat Go When You Lose Weight? [online] Cleveland Clinic. Available at: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/where-does-body-fat-go-when-you-lose-weight/ [Accessed 31 Jul. 2021].
  3. ‌Mayo Clinic. (2021). Walking: Is it enough for weight loss? [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/walking/faq-20058345 [Accessed 31 Jul. 2021].
  4. ‌Sleep Foundation. (2020). Why Is Sleep So Important to Weight Loss? | Sleep Foundation. [online] Available at: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/weight-loss-and-sleep [Accessed 31 Jul. 2021].
  5. Survey finds constantly checking electronic devices linked to significant stress (2017). APA’s Survey Finds Constantly Checking Electronic Devices Linked to Significant Stress for Most Americans. [online] https://www.apa.org. Available at: https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/02/checking-devices [Accessed 31 Jul. 2021].

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

Sandra Cesca is a freelance healthcare writer with many year’s experiences working in the health industry. She covers allopathic, naturopathic, holistic, and complementary medicine. Sandra is also a cultural photographer and tour guide living her dream in tropical Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Medically reviewed by:

Kimberly Langdon

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