‘I Work More Than 12 Hours A Day—But I Still Lost Weight By Making These Changes

Before: 185

After: 154

As the vice president of communications for my city’s tourist bureau, I’m in charge of marketing, advertising, social media, press, and communications. It’s not unusual for me to work 12 to 15 hours a day, especially when I’m showing travel writers around my food-loving hometown of Shreveport-Bossier City, Louisiana or attending conferences. At work dinners, gumbo, crawfish etouffee (a.k.a. crawfish in butter), and alcohol are all a given.

All that stress and unhealthy eating added up—as did my weight. And while I tried to lose weight a couple of times in the past, it never really stuck because, well, I was too busy. Or at least that’s what I told myself.

Finally, two years ago, I reached my highest weight of 185 pounds. That's when I realized that I was done with the excuses. I knew I needed to commit and decided to join Weight Watchers. In six months, I lost 30 pounds, and have successfully kept it off using these seven strategies. I’m positive they will help you, too—no matter how crazy work gets.

busy lose weight

Nothing else I did to lose weight would have been possible if I hadn’t made myself a priority. As a busy woman, I often believed that everyone came before me. I went into my weight-loss efforts with a mindset of “I’ll get to me,” but that approach never worked. I had to tell myself that I am a priority. I continue to tell myself that every day. 


To keep myself from stressing over the other stuff, I concentrated on the parts of my weight loss that I could control. For instance, with my job, I can’t always control what I eat (hello, work functions!), but I’ve found that I can control my exercise.

Most days, I get up at 5:30 a.m. and exercise for 30 to 45 minutes before heading off to work. Some days, I exercise at home with my kettlebell, other days I’ll walk/run a three-mile loop in my neighborhood. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I go to a Zumba class straight from work (I keep a packed gym bag in my office). If I know I’ll have to work late on one of my Zumba days, I exercise in the morning instead. If I am traveling for work, which happens pretty often, I make sure that I hit my 10,000 daily steps goal—even if that means pacing back and forth in a convention center.


Check out these moves that can help you work up a sweat—fast.


I am the queen of 10-minute meals. The reality is that I don’t have much time to devote to cooking meals, but by learning some quick recipes and experimenting in the kitchen I make sure that I’m filling up on healthy foods without sacrificing time.

Three to four times a week, I make a stir-fry with shrimp, a salad, or a simple protein and vegetable. I’ve recently gotten into Brussels sprouts and zucchini noodles. Then, whenever I cook, I make enough so that I’ll have leftovers to take to work for lunch the next day.


My office is seriously into lunch meetings, but I know the catered lunches don’t usually fit my nutrition goals. So I’ve cut down on the number of lunch meetings I take. If I get invited to one, I actually hit "decline" and request a different time. I don’t worry about giving an explanation. "No," is a full sentence!


As they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So when I’m taking people around the city to try different foods, I always head into restaurants with a plan. Generally, I know the restaurants well enough that I can decide what I want to order without looking up the menu, but if I don’t, I always check the menu online. 



Most professionals, like myself, are goal-oriented. After all, that’s how I got to where I am in my career. I use that drive to set healthy goals for myself, like having a daily step goal, a weekly workout goal, and (when I was working to achieve my healthy weight) a monthly weight-loss goal. Having short and long-term goals helped keep me motivated. The more I achieved, the more fired up I became.  


In the past, I rarely ate lunch. I had so much work to do that I didn’t feel I had time to step away from my desk. But when I went home at night, I would overeat big time. I think that’s true for a lot of career-focused women. I knew it was something I had to change to successfully lose weight.

Now, I actually schedule my lunch into my work calendar like any other meeting. That keeps me fueled and enables me to stay on track in the evening. My desk also has a stash of single-portioned nuts, dried fruit, and other snacks


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