What you eat and how much exercise you do are at the core of the science behind weight loss tips for women, ie. calories in versus calories out, but there are plenty of other things that influence your ability to lose weight.

There is lots of evidence that tells us that everything from the quality of your sleep to the health of your gut influences your appetite and your ability to lose body fat.

Luckily, there are lots of small changes you can make each day that can have a big impact on your efforts to lose weight.

Here are 17 weight loss tips for busy mums.

1. Cut down on refined carbs

Refined carbohydrates are exactly as the name suggests – highly refined and heavily processed.  All of this processing removes much of the fibre and nutrients leaving the final product a shadow of its original self.

These foods are often high GI causing spikes in blood glucose levels, leading to increased hunger and overeating, which will contribute to weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

To avoid this, limit your intake of white bread, pasta, rice and low fibre cereals.  Instead, go for whole grains like oats, brown rice, quinoa and barley.

Related: What is low GI (and what is it used for)?

2. Drink more water

Not only is water a natural appetite suppressant, but studies have shown that drinking water helps to boost your metabolism.

Drinking water will also help to reduce your overall liquid calorie intake.  Beverages like soft drinks, cordials, sports drinks, juices and alcohol contain what we call “empty calories”.  They don’t provide your body with any nutrition apart from the calories.

3. Eat more protein

Protein containing foods like red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, dairy and legumes are essential for a healthy diet, even more so when it comes to losing weight.

Including a protein containing food at meals and snacks will help to keep you feeling fuller for longer, curb your appetite and reduce cravings. 


4. Set a regular sleep schedule

Getting enough good quality sleep has a significant positive impact on your ability to lose weight.

Getting less than 7 hours of good quality sleep each night stimulates the hormone Ghrelin and suppresses another hormone called Leptin.  Ghrelin’s role is to make you feel hungry and go out and seek food while leptin is responsible for feelings of satisfaction and fullness.

So, not getting enough good quality sleep is going to cause you to feel more hungry and less satisfied.

5. Fill up on fibre

Increasing the fibre in your diet is a common weight loss strategy as it slows down the emptying of food from your stomach, helping you to feel fuller for longer.

Even if you don’t make any other changes to your diet, just getting enough fibre each day has been shown to reduce your overall calorie intake leading to a modest weight loss of about 2kg over 4 months.

Women should aim for between 25-30 grams of fibre each day in their diet.  Whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes are an excellent source of fibre.

Related: What is fibre and why is it important?


6. Snack smarter

Choosing healthy, high protein-high fibre snacks between meals is a great way to lose weight and minimise your hunger levels between meals.

Protein and fibre in snacks help you to feel fuller and experience fewer cravings.

Apple and peanut butter, carrot sticks and hummus, or natural yoghurt with nuts and seeds are all snacks that will help you to feel fuller for longer.

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7. Ditch the diets

This is my favourite weight loss tip.  Chronic dieting is a trap that many people get caught in.  It can end up becoming a cycle of negative emotions and restrictive eating that leads to an unhealthy relationship with food.

Fad diets, often not based on sound scientific or nutrition principles, can promote unhealthy, restricting eating habits and leads to yo-yo dieting.

Achieving long term sustainable weight loss requires you to create healthy habits, not restrictions.

8. Become an intuitive eater

Rather than eating from a meal plan based on a rigid set of diet rules, learn to eat when your body tells you it’s hungry & stop when it tells you you’re full.

Once you master this skill your guilt around eating will disappear, you’ll stop obsessing about dieting, you’ll no longer overeat, and you’ll start to lose weight sustainably.

9. Get more steps

Did you know that non-exercise-related activity may account for up to 50% of the calories you burn each day?

If you are finding it difficult to fit some planned exercise into your regular schedule, increasing the number of steps you take each day may be a way to burn more calories and lose weight.

Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, park further away, go for a stroll on your lunch break or think about converting to a standing desk.

10. Set achievable goals and make a plan

Instead of just saying you want to lose 20kg, make your goal more specific, measurable, and time-based.

By setting a time frame around when you want to achieve your goal, it will hold you more accountable.  So saying you want to lose 20kg in the next 12 months is a more appropriate goal to set.  Just make sure it is achievable for your situation.

You should also create a plan for how you are going to achieve your goal.  Just setting a goal won’t make it happen.  Outline what changes you plan to make to your eating habits and how you plan to increase your activity levels.

11. Keep stress under control

There are a few studies that indicate high-stress levels may impact your ability to lose weight.  This is thought to be due, in part, to raised levels of the stress hormone cortisol.  High concentrations of cortisol turn on food reward centres in your brain that make you want to eat more food – particularly high carbohydrate, high-calorie food.

Participating in regular exercise, getting enough sleep, listening to music, participating in a hobby, journaling or talking to friends and family are easy and effective ways to decrease and manage your stress levels.

12. Optimise your gut health

Your gut is home to trillions of beneficial bacteria that can regulate your appetite, influence your moods and even help you burn fat.

The ability of these bacteria to aid in your weight loss efforts depends on the types of foods you feed them.

You can optimise the health of your gut bacteria by consuming a diet that is high in plant fibres, moderate in animal proteins, and low in excess sugars, saturated fat and salt.

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13. Limit processed foods

Processed foods are generally high in calories, fats, sugar and salt – but low in key nutrients like protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Eating excessive amounts of processed foods is associated with unhealthy body weight.

For this reason, limit your intake of processed foods and go for more whole foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats and gut-friendly dairy foods.

14. Cut back on added sugar

Excess sugar in the diet is anything above about 6 teaspoons of added sugar each day.

Foods high in added sugar are generally high in calories, but lacking key nutrients like protein, fibre, vitamins and minerals, which are essential to a healthy body.

Limit your intake of high sugar foods like lollies, cakes, biscuits, soft drinks and juices to help promote overall health and help you lose weight.

15. Drink green tea

Green tea would have to be one of the healthiest drinks on the planet.

There is much evidence that demonstrates green tea can help you lose weight, and its mostly due to its high concentration of antioxidants and various beneficial plant chemicals.

One of these antioxidants is epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin that can boost metabolism and promote fat breakdown.  Although these effects may be only minimal, drinking green tea in the long term has many additional benefits to your health.

16. Eat more fruits and vegetables

It’s something we hear all the time, but that’s only because they are so nutritious and very important for your health.

There is lots of research that demonstrates that people who eat more fruits and vegetables tend to weigh less.

Fruits and vegetables have several properties that help to aid with weight loss.

Not only are they generally low in calories but they are high in fibre and water content, making them filling and keeping you feeling fuller for longer.

17. Get emotional eating under control

Anything from work stress to money troubles, health or relationship issues can be a trigger for emotional eating.  While it is an issue that affects both genders, it is more common with women than men.

The first step in overcoming emotional eating is to identify your triggers.

Then you need to come up with other ways of dealing with these emotions that don’t involve food.


There are many pieces in the puzzle that is weight loss that extends beyond the first line strategies of eating less and moving more.

Implementing a few of these weight loss tips and simple changes to your lifestyle can be the beginning of achieving sustainable and healthy weight loss.

Just working on introducing one or two of these weight loss tips into your lifestyle will be your first step towards creating healthy habits, not restrictions.


Find dieting hard, consuming and confusing?  My 10 Steps to Lose Weight Without Going on Another Diet makes it easier.  Download my FREE guide now by simply clicking the link below.