I swore I wasn’t going to make this blog all about weight loss. In truth, I don’t intend to. But this week, my focus seems to be on hand weights and skater’s squats and calorie intake. It’s stunting my creativity.
BUT, it’s also shrinking my arse. So that’s a good thing.
I had two thoughts while in the shower this morning. One–I really need to stop being a slacker and write a blog today. And Two–What my readers REALLY need is a LIST blog. So, I’m sharing with you my five favorite things that are keeping me on my toes on this weight loss journey.
Abby’s Top Five Weight Loss Tools
(Including a Few That Might Surprise You)
Number one: My Sportline Heart Rate Monitor
I normally put the most important item at the bottom of the list. But, in the event that you get bored with my weight loss blog, I wanted to get this one in first. This little beauty has made exercise fun again:
Ah, the magic of technology. You see, as I’m working out, the black band (which secures around your chest) keeps track of my heart rate. It sends the information to the adorable little watch on my wrist, so I can keep track of a whole slew of different bits of information. For instance: it will tell me how many calories I’m burning. It will tell me if I’m in the “zone” that I want to be with my heart rate. There’s even a handy-dandy stop watch feature that’s great for drills. (PS: The watch tells time, too. Ya know…it’s all “watch” like that way.)
Now, my particular HAM was purchased at our local Dick’s Sporting Goods
, and happened to be on sale for around $50. There’s a myriad of different products out there that do the same thing, varying in price range from $25 to $250. I say, look for the item that has the features you’ll use most. Mine is very simple, easy to use, and tells me everything I need to know without getting all….mathematical or scientifical.
And let me tell you, readers. There is nothing more satisfying than lying in a pool of your own sweat at the end of a workout, and seeing a HUGE number of calories burned. It makes the throbbing in your hamstrings so worth the pain and suffering.
Number two: Spark People–the awesomest website EVER (Except mine.)
If you haven’t heard about SparkPeople.com
yet, I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you. Spark is a website dedicated to fitness and healthy living. Here you’ll find countless tools to help you with your weight loss program. My favorite features? The Trackers.
Before I talk about the Nutrition Tracker, let me tell you a bit about the others first. With the Fitness Tracker, I can keep up with what workouts I do every day. My favorite part—I can create my OWN workouts and, using my handy dandy heart rate monitor, tell my tracker just how many calories I burned during that workout. The Weight Tracker is pretty self-explanatory–you keep track of your weight and measurements here. Each time you do, Spark generates a series of graphs to show you how much you’ve progressed since joining. (For those of us who are visual learners, this feature will make you dance in your computer chair.)
Now, the Nutrition Tracker. It. Is. Awesome. You can either allow Spark to create a meal plan for you, OR you can just track what you eat each day on your own. Spark will give you an “allowance” based on your height, weight, and activity level, but it’s up to you to keep track of what you eat in a day.
easy to use it’s practically idiot proof. Which is good for me. Because I suck at tracking calories. And here’s even MORE
good news—there’s an app for your phone, too! So now you can track your calories when you’re away from your computer, too! Praise Smart Phones!
Oh, and one more awesome thing about Spark….SparkRecipes.com. In a nutshell, here you’ll find a gazillion and one recipes–some entered by dieters, others by Spark’s dietitians–to keep your meal plan delicious. You can also upload your favorite recipes to find out the nutritional values. Yes. Yes, I say.
Number three: My Crockpot
Sound like a weird weight loss tool to you? It’s not. See, I workout with Dana at least three times in a week. Due to our work schedules, we usually don’t get done before seven p.m. And believe me when I say, the LAST thing I want to do after burning 750 calories running sprints on the elliptical is COOK. Enter my handy dandy crock pot.
These things are so versatile, people. Seriously. I can make a hearty beef stew, an easy Asian pork tenderloin, or a delicious chicken and black bean filling for tacos. And most of these recipes are simply mix, dump, set it and forget it. (And yes, all those recipes are from my SparkRecipes cookbook.)
It’s just another awesome thing to finish a workout and know that I’ll have a hot, yummy meal waiting for me when I get home. All without having to cook it, and clean up, when my muscles are screaming “MOMMY!”
Number four: My Cute And Very Pink Water Bottle
It may not be a struggle for you, but for me, remembering to drink enough water in a day is a challenge. I tend to only drink when I’m thirsty, and I’m learning quickly that not staying hydrated throughout the day makes staying hydrated during a workout that much harder. So, I picked up a few different water bottles at my local sports store, and it seems to be helping.
Especially since it’s Rainbow Brite pink.
I mean…that’s kind of hard to miss sitting on your desk. Am I right?
Number five: Multicolored Tabbies
I can hear you saying, “WHAAAA??” How can an organizational tool found at Staples make losing weight any easier? I’ll tell you how, readers. It allows me to keep reading all my favorite foodie magazines AND keep track of the recipes I want to keep. Behold.
Now, I can drool over Rachael Ray’s slightly scandalous stuffed cheeseburgers, but only mark her super-light minestrone stoup. That way, when I’m flipping back through after that initial read, I’m reminded of the healthy recipes I want to try, while avoiding those full fat pitfalls that await me hidden in the pages of the magazine. I don’t have to cancel my subscription to Food Network Magazine–I just have to put a cute orange tabbie on the pages I want to peruse later.
Never underestimate the power of color coordinating, people. Seriously.