If you are familiar with my story, then you probably know that I lost 70 lbs after my second baby, gained it back while pregnant with my third, and am on a mission to lose the weight again. **Update! I am only about 10 lbs from my goal weight. Woo!**
My TRUE motivation is to get healthier overall, which just also happens to have this amazing side effect of getting the weight off. Let’s face it, the modern world is no place for wellness. We work ourselves into a tizzy, we are chronically tired and the food choices available to us as modern humans are absolutely horrendous. We have incredibly high rates of illness, especially in the Western world where crap food is cheap and readily available.
My approach to this is eating healthier, trying to move more (which at this point is predominantly walking) and trying to form some healthier habits (learn more about the Big Tiny Steps Approach) Additionally, I am trying to reduce meat and dairy consumption, and to support local organic farming efforts. If you want to know more about why this is important, read this article.
My ultimate goal is to do this in a manner that doesn’t break the bank. After spending years buying pills and supplements and all sort of gimmicky garbage, I ended up finding successful weight loss isn’t at all dependent on spending money. That being said, the following items helped me when I lost weight before, and are helping me again this time around.
If you are looking to put money towards your weight loss journey (which isn’t necessary) put it towards the following things rather than any pills, powders or gimmicks. Learn from my failure!
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Essential Tools for Weight Loss Success
A Decent Scale
Although weighing daily isn’t for everyone, I absolutely did. It really helped to keep me on track. I had a scale that was starting to kick it, so I found this scale by Eat Smart on Amazon. It had really fantastic reviews, and mine even came with a cool little measuring tape. I have had this scale for a couple of years now and I sill use it all the time, as well as the measuring tape that came with it. I can absolutely see why this was so highly rated, plus it’s also really cool looking. The glow of the screen is blue while it is in use, and there is no light emitted when it isn’t in use. It has a glass and metal design so it is very sleek looking, which is nice if you keep your scale out in the open. I also have to give it bonus points for withstanding the abuse from my toddler pulling it around!
I bought a Fitbit One tracker because 80-90 % of my walking is done with a stroller. I did a lot of research and saw feedback that bracelet trackers could be inaccurate with stroller pushing. For this reason, I went with the clip on trackers instead of the bracelets. I started off with a FitBit Zip . After putting it in the washing machine multiple times (yep that’s me) I finally ended up in the market for a new one (I’m now convinced they are practically indestructible!). Because I was doing so well with my steps, I decided to upgrade to a Fitbit One. I liked the stair counter feature, but the sleep tracker I don’t use. I know I’m tired and don’t need some little device to rub it in!
A Kitchen Scale
As you get closer and closer to your goal it gets harder to lose weight. For that reason, counting calories and weighing/measuring your food is really important to making the most out of tracking your food intake. This Ozeri scale had great reviews and I was lucky to have gotten it as a Christmas gift. I have also used it for weighing my newborn (you should see what I rigged up), weighing parcels for mailing and crafts. I highly recommend this scale.
Measuring Cups and Spoons
Similar to the kitchen scale, measuring cups and spoons are an essential way of making sure that you are accurately tracking what you are actually consuming. The difference in calories between a tablespoon measured and tablespoon eyeballed can be mind boggling. For that reason, its important to have a good set of cups and spoons on hand. However if you’re wanting accuracy that is completely spot on, the food scale is still your best bet.
Apart from the items listed above, there were a few other main resources that I used to lose weight.
Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred
I am not really one to follow workouts because I have the grace and dignity of a drunken elephant. Doing workouts are just not for me. That being said I did the 30 Day Shred and saw pretty fantastic results in a short time period. If you are short on time, bang for your buck this has got to be the greatest workout program. On day one I did feel like I was going to die, but it was all worthwhile and exhilarating! Because of this experience I am definitely a believer in Jillian Michaels’ workouts, and am thinking of giving her app a try soon.
The main thing I noticed from doing these workouts was a change in inches. So my thighs and waist were getting slimmer and toning up even when the scale wasn’t reflecting a weight change. That was a pretty awesome result!
My Fitness Pal
My Fitness Pal is a fantastic free resource that you can use on your desktop computer, or as an app on your phone. With this, you can track your food intake and nutrients using their massive database. Additionally, there are community forums and some social functions (making “friends”) for additional support and motivation. One of the best things about My Fitness Pal is that it is compatible with other apps and devices, such as Fitbit, Jawbone, etc.
My Fitness Pal is one of the essential free tools available out there for people looking to lose weight and get in shape, especially if using the calories in calories out method. Although I am not currently counting calories (I have some specific reasons for this I am planning to cover in another post) I still log into My Fitness Pal everyday for motivation and support, to track my weight and measurements, to check out the calories in specific foods (wise even if you are not counting calories in a structured way), and to read the articles and recipes they have posted on their blog.
Couch to 5k App
Although I lost most of my weight from walking, I got into such good shape that I was able to try jogging. I never in my life thought that this would happen. I used to be a diehard smoker who could barely hoof it to my fridge without getting winded! When I decided to give jogging a try I downloaded the Couch to 5K app. This app gives prompts of when to jog at intervals with walking so that you start off slowly and work up to jogging for the full time. The best part is that it lets you play the music you have downloaded on your phone so that you can listen to your own music while also listening for the prompts.
Being able to jog at all was probably one of my biggest non-scale victories, so I will always love the Couch to 5 K app. I am going to start the program again now that I feel like I have enough stamina from all the walking and energy from eating well.
So although I am a huge advocate that weight loss doesn’t cost a thing, these were definitely some items that majorly contributed to my weight loss success. If you are going invest into your weight loss journey, your money is better spent on the tools to help YOU take control of changing your lifestyle than on any so-called “quick fixes”.
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