A person will burn fat when their body uses more energy than it takes in from the diet, resulting in a calorie deficit. Maintaining a calorie deficit can be time-consuming, and many people find it challenging to fit regular exercise and healthful meal preparation into a busy schedule.
However, other simple methods of burning fat place less demand on a person's time. For example, maintaining a healthy sleep pattern and reducing stress are good ways to help the body burn fat. Adopting these habits over time can make it easier to maintain a calorie deficit, which should lead to fat loss.
In this article, we discuss some of the best ways for people with a busy schedule to burn fat.
Protein is an essential nutrient that supports cell functioning and helps build and maintain bones, muscles, and skin. It is also useful for people looking to burn fat.
Research consistently shows that protein is the most effective nutrient group for satiety, which means that it can help make a person feel full.
Incorporating high-protein foods into meals may mean that people need smaller portion sizes to feel full, and it might help people avoid snacking between meals.
In these ways, protein can reduce the total number of calories that a person consumes throughout the day.
Foods that are high in protein include:
- dairy products
Physical activity is crucial for weight loss, and it does not have to include structured exercise, such as going for a run, playing a sport, or working out at the gym.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommend at least 250 minutes per week of moderate-intensity physical activity for significant weight loss. Examples of moderate-intensity physical activity include:
- brisk walking
- household chores
- active games, such as playing with children
- walking up stairs
- carrying or moving heavy objects
- working in a job that involves lots of movement, for example, a waiter or mail carrier
Doing more of these activities throughout the week will help burn fat. People can try walking to work instead of using public transport or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, for example.
Sleep is important for many aspects of health, including fat loss.
The National Sleep Foundation recommend that adults aim for between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 35.2% percent of adults across the United States are getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night.
Research suggests that short sleep duration can lead to weight gain, particularly in younger people. One study found that adults who had insufficient sleep for 5 consecutive days ate more in the evenings than those who had adequate sleep. This snacking caused an energy imbalance that led to weight gain.
Aiming for 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep could help promote fat burn and prevent weight gain.
Stress harms the body and increases the risk of several chronic health conditions.
Reducing stress may be another useful way to burn fat. Some examples of methods for reducing stress include:
- being aware of any signs of stress
- exercising regularly
- staying connected with friends and family
- doing relaxing activities, such as meditation
- seeing a doctor or mental health professional
It is best to avoid sugar in general to burn fat, but sugary drinks may be a particular problem.
Sugary drinks are high in calories. For example, one bottle of Coca-Cola contains 240 calories. Unlike many other sources of calories, most sugary drinks contain little to no nutritional value. They also do not satisfy hunger and are a poor source of energy. As a result, people may be more likely to consume them regularly.
Cutting down on sugary drinks will be helpful for burning fat. Swapping out these drinks for green tea may be particularly beneficial, as drinking green tea can potentially aid weight loss.
Intermittent fasting involves extended periods of not eating. There are many different forms of intermittent fasting, including the 5:2 diet, which requires a person to eat significantly fewer calories on 2 days of the week.
Although the research on intermittent fasting is still relatively new, the initial results are promising. One review of clinical trials found that intermittent fasting reduces body weight and appetite. The authors suggest that intermittent fasting could be as effective as traditional calorie restriction diets.
Some research has shown that people with obesity adjust to intermittent fasting in a couple of weeks and no longer feel very hungry when fasting. By managing hunger, intermittent fasting could be a weight loss tool that is sustainable in the long term.
Burning fat requires patience, and it can be frustrating. Fitting regular gym sessions into a busy schedule is not always possible for everyone.
However, a person can use other methods to help burn fat, such as avoiding sugary drinks and eating protein-rich meals.
Incorporating as many of these methods as possible into a daily routine will help most people lose body fat over time.