When I started my weight loss journey last year, my first feeling was excitement. I was so darn excited to finally be doing this for myself. The second feeling was overwhelmed… like holy crap, how am I going to do this and actually stick with it this time? Beyond the pure willpower and hard work, there were some tools I needed that I could not have gotten healthy without.
So here we go… the tools for health I needed along the way:
1. Online workout programs
If you read my post about why I don’t go to the gym, you already know why working out from home is a big deal for me. (If you didn’t read it, click here to check it out and then come back! …did you read it? OK great, welcome back!) I was not going to let gym-timidation get in my way of being active every day. And I’m a person that already knows I love exercising, I just have to get up and do it. So having online workouts that I could do from the comfort of home was huge for me. I could set my own schedule and not worry about busy hours or sharing crowded equipment. The other great thing? These programs made it easy to start up right away so the stress was off for me to figure out what to do. The workouts were already laid out for me… I just had to hit play (which is of course where my own willpower comes in). The other great part about online workout programs is that I had no excuse not to hit play, even if I wasn’t at home. Traveling for work? No problem – stream the workout and get it done in the hotel gym (or even my room). Going on vacation? All good… my workout program is in tow as long as my phone is (and honestly, I’m not going anywhere without that!) The ease of access made it hard to make excuses and easy to make a habit.
2. An activity tracker
I’ve had Fitbits for a while now, but never really harnessed their amazing power before this journey began. I just wore it and hoped I reached 10,000 steps by the end of the day. But once I got serious about my overall health, I started poking around the app and realized there were so many settings I could customize to fit all of my goals. I could set alerts for each hour that I didn’t move enough. I could set a goal for how much sleep I would get, including alerts for bedtime and alarms to get up in the morning (super helpful when I switched to being an AM exerciser and the sun wasn’t up yet.) I could track my calorie deficit and weight loss progress. Not to mention it has female health tracking as well. Activity trackers, whether it is a Fitbit or another product, can be powerful tools in motivating yourself and staying on course along the way.
3. Resistance bands
The way I see it, anyone who tells you that working out from home means needing a home gym with cardio equipment and weights is probably just trying to sell you cardio equipment and weights. Because there is no need to have those things unless you really want to. You can get an amazing workout with just your body weight and a few resistance bands. And even better? This equipment is so easy to pack and travel with you, just like those streamable workouts you already saved on your phone! No excuses to get moving then right?
4. Tupperware (and lots of it)
Yes, seriously. Stupid plastic containers to put food in made a huge difference. One of the biggest parts of getting healthy was cooking my meals at home. That meant needing containers to put all of my prepped foods in and packing for meals on the go. You know what gets in the way of cooking at home for a lot of people? Not planning! Planning out meals and prepping them in advance keeps you on track. You don’t want to waste the food you worked hard to cook (or the money you shelled out for the ingredients.) Everyone gets cravings but meal prepping pushes you to make healthy choices much more consistently than trying to navigate a take-out menu. Things come up and we all have lives to live – so I’m not saying I didn’t go out to eat ever. I just knew I would do it less if I already had a tupperware of delicious brussels sprout hash at home.
5. A really great water bottle
I’m not kidding about this – I went out and bought a brand new, beautiful water bottle when I started my journey. A major goal of mine was to drink more water. I was vastly under-hydrated on a daily basis and I knew it. I would get headaches and feel sluggish and heavy because of it. So I got myself a stainless steel water bottle that was pretty to look at it specifically so I’d leave it on my desk and mindlessly drink from it all day. It made a huge difference and I’d be willing to bet it would help more people too if they just tried it (not to mention the good you are doing for the environment by going reusable!)
6. MyFitnessPal app
This was a late addition to the health game, but it was so transformative, I couldn’t leave it off. I already told you that I started using the power of the the Fitbit app during my journey. This included logging the foods I ate and calories in/out. It was a pretty basic process overall but there was a lot of error happening because the food list didn’t always match what I was really having. Enter MyFitnessPal. The library of foods in MyFitnessPal is impressive. So is the list of activities and calories burned. Being able to enter it right on my phone at any point during the day made tracking easier than ever. Then I discovered the recipes and meals section… and holy game-changer! You can create your own recipes for things you cook by importing the ingredients or entering them manually and the app will calculate what the calories and macros are for each serving! My whole world changed because now I could cook more elaborate meals and know that no ingredient was being missed. And the bonus is, now I have one convenient place for all of my recipes! No more forgetting how much of this or leaving out that! The fact that it synced with my Fitbit made the whole transition totally seamless too. And I can do this all for free right on my phone? It’s a no brainer!
7. Spa giftcard
Yep, the most generic of holiday gifts became an important tool on my health journey. In the beginning, I felt so much motivation. And with that motivation came hard work… which took a toll on my body and mind over time. I was constantly sore and that felt so draining after a long day. Going to the spa for a good massage though changed all of that. My muscles and mind were rejuvenated. And it reminded me of the importance of self-care (another post you should go back and read!) Self-care doesn’t have to mean spending money at a spa. It can be a drawing a bath at home. It can be a meditation session. Anything that helps get your mind and body reset. And it is so important to do that so you can go back to crushing it!
So there you have it. The 7 tools for health that I couldn’t have done it without! Everyone is different when it comes to their journey. Your motivations might be different. Your resources and environment might be different. But hopefully you took away a few good ideas from this list that can further your own progress to a healthier and happier you!