Mr. Scale and I are still not on speaking terms. I was planning on another meeting with him this weekend, but I think it’s better to let him stew about it for another couple of days. In fact, since it’s my goal to hit 359 by Valentine’s Day, I think I’ll just leave him alone until then. God help him if he hasn’t changed his tune. 🙂
I’ve received quite a few comments and direct emails asking about what tools I use to motivate myself and track my progress – not to mention the tools that have been suggested to me that I find ab-fab, so let’s talk about those today. Making meaningful changes is hard work and I love tools that help make the transition easier.
My Fitness Pal
My Fitness Pal is an online food, exercise, and weight loss tracker. Gone are the days of looking up the nutritional content of any food. Just type the food in the search window and click…I’ve never found anything that wasn’t already listed. In fact, thanks to a widget from My Fitness Pal, you can see how much weight I’ve lost right there on the upper right side of my web site. Soon, that number will be anything 22 or higher…and we will all do the happy dance when I’m in the 350’s.
There’s even a mobile app you can use when you’re out and about so that you don’t forget to log. And if you’re at a restaurant and you need to know the nutritional value of something, just type the restaurant’s name in the search window and click. Chances are you’ll find what you’re looking for.
What I love most about it is it’s simplicity. When I first started logging my food & exercise online, I used the tracker at livestrong.com – however, it soon proved to be too cumbersome and glitchy for me. The ads bog down the page too much and loading time can be annoying. There were times when I would log in to add my dinner selections only to find that my entire day’s worth of calories was missing…and I would have to re-log the entire day. Many times my daily caloric intake goal would magically re-set to something higher.
I also tried Sparkpeople.com but I find their site to be way too busy. This is the hardest change I’ve ever had to make in my life and I naturally gravitate towards simplicity. I don’t want to log into a site and get bogged down with too many buttons, tabs, and links. There are thousands of groups to join and points to earn for this and that…and badges to be awarded and…good Lord. No, thanks. I want simple.
By the way, if you decide My Fitness Pal is for you, look me up. I keep my food log private, as everyone & their brother tends to think they’re a nutritionist when eating healthy, and nothing annoys me like a friend asking me if I really needed to eat that dinner roll. I share my exercise and weight loss info. I’m listed as HotMessPrincess (of course). I happily accept all friend requests and will gladly cheer you on as you cheer me on. Let’s do this!
Donna shared this with me and I think it’s just about the most awesome app I’ve come across. For those of you with smart phones, go download the free app called “Fooducate” and arm yourself with a very powerful weapon the next time you’re in a grocery store. Check their website out here: Fooducate.
Last year, I was such a huge fan of Nature’s Own brand bread products. I had no idea how they made such tasty breads without the calories and fat of other brands, but I was sold. That is, until I read an article about a chemical they use in their breads that causes asthma or allergic reactions. It’s a dough conditioner and, although their bread products still get a better report card than many brands, I’m left with a bad taste in my mouth.
I decided to test Fooducate with Nature’s Own products, then, on my first trip to the grocery store. I wheeled my cart dangerously close to the Little Debbies in order to get my hands on some Nature’s Own hamburger buns. One scan of the bar code with my smart phone and Fooducate showed me the food facts on these babies. Their overall grade was an A-…however, I was interested to see whether the app told me about that chemical…and it did. I tapped on the warning and got tons of information about the chemical and what it does. I was even able to read comments by other Fooducate users.
I decided to scan all the other whole grain hamburger buns and ended up choosing another brand that had a solid A grade and no warnings on it. The calories were a tad higher, but I’d rather eat 20 more calories and no chemicals.
I used the app several times during my shopping trip and it really helped me to make better decisions. There were quite a few items I exchanged for other items once I read the info on Fooducate. Check out their website for more info: www.fooducate.com
Also, I just posted this tip on my Facebook Fan Page: the Fooducate blog has a pretty ingenious portion control tip for us mega eaters. I still feel like I need to keep the leash pretty tight on myself right now, but I will try this in the future: portion control tip.
Pampered Chef Chip Maker
When I started eating healthier, I made a list of my vices: all the yummy foods I love that have helped me pack on 219 extra pounds. From that list, I made two more lists: foods I could give up and foods I could not give up.
I simply quit eating the foods I could give up. I had to ween myself off some of them (like Diet Dr Pepper). I stopped eating ice cream completely. I still can’t believe it. I deserve some kind of medal for that one.
As for the foods I can’t give up (or don’t want to), there were a few – and one of them was potato chips. I tried to find healthier options for all my favorites and I was successful with chips. In fact, I rocked it. I love my salty, crunchy chips. The “healthy” chip varieties out there just aren’t the same. I like the crispy, salty, potato-y goodness of the classic potato chip and I don’t want to have to live without it. I’m putting my chubby foot down on this one, damn it.
You can find my recipe for crispy potato chips (no oil necessary) in the recipes section here on my website. No special chip maker is needed if you have parchment paper. Frankly, I don’t use parchment paper for anything else and I’d rather not have to keep buying it. So now I use the Pampered Chef Chip Maker. I make chips, throw the chip maker in the dishwasher, and throw it back in the drawer.
S2H STEP Pedometer by S2H
This is a damn awesome idea. The people at S2H have come up with a way to get us moving again: by wearing the S2H Step or the S2H Replay wrist band, you earn points when you get your body moving. Points can be redeemed for various prizes (including gift cards from major retailers) – and they’ve just announced a spring contest where you can win a Kindle, Wii, or iPod.
The Replay is a wristband, but my skin doesn’t like the latex band so much. It gets annoying after a couple days – so I was super happy when the Step was released.
The Step gives a reward code for every 10,000 steps you take. If you have a fairly sedentary job like me, that can be a challenge – but it’s fun. I can’t explain why, but knowing I’m racking up points makes me park a little farther from the front doors at Target. It makes me want to get on the treadmill a little more at the end of a rough day. It’s a little more motivation – and I’ll take all the motivation I can get.
Lastly, there a new tab in the house!
I’ve added a tab to the site called “Linky Links”. Sorry, but “Useful Links” seemed too boring for me! I’ve put all these links there and hope to put up many more as we all go through this together.
If you’d like to suggest a cool tool to me, please feel free to use the “Contact Me” tab to get in touch with me and give me the scoop. I can’t promise that I’ll pass the info along here on my site, but I can promise that I’ll look at it! If it works for me or if I’m sure it’s imaginative & awesome, I will post it.
I’m looking for tools with real value – things that are creative & unique. I won’t be putting up links to special diets, supplements, or specific work out programs because I truly believe that we all need to do what works for us as individuals…and we all know how to get our Google on if we’re looking for that kind of stuff.
In other news, I’m still working on my next motivational craft project. 🙂 It’s not nearly as fabulous as the marbles, but it means a hell of a lot to me. You’ll see what I mean...tomorrow!
In the meantime, tell me what y’all have been up to. Whether it’s weight loss or bitch’in about the car pool lane or some awesome new tool…lemme have it, peeps – I’m all ears. 🙂
Hope you’re all doing well. 🙂