This Friday I’m changing it up a little! I am not posting delicious food or recipes, instead I wanted to share my five favorite tools for helping you reach your weight loss goals, or helping to maintain a healthy weight. These are things I recommend to my clients, my friends and family, and use myself on an almost daily basis!
I’ve come to realize that my years of eat-whatever-I-want-and-still-look-like-a-twig are over, and now the old metabolism has stopped sprinting and gone to more of a running pace. So I need to stay mindful of what I eat, and how much I eat, to keep fit and healthy. Don’t get me wrong, I do indulge too, but only once in a while!
1. My Fitness Pal App
Ok, so I know you are wondering… what the heck is My Fitness Pal?! Well, it’s probably the best website turned app EVER!
If you have a smartphone, you can get the My Fitness Pal app, and if you don’t, you can still get access to My Fitness Pal with the website. Basically, you can track your daily food intake and exercise – it helps you figure out how many calories are in certain foods, restaurant foods, brand name foods, you name it, there is an incredible database… AND let’s say you can’t find something, and you want to track it – as long as the package or container the food comes in has a barcode, you can scan it with your phone and My Fitness Pal will upload the nutritional information!! So neat!
I use this app on my phone ALL the time – it’s the easiest way to track my food intake for the day, and know that I’m not going completely over in calories! I can also log my water intake and exercise for the day. My Fitness Pal is so great for accountability and mindfulness two VERY IMPORTANT aspects of successful weight loss and weight maintenance.
Oh, and did I mention.. My Fitness Pal is FREE!!! Who doesn’t love free stuff!?
2. A Kitchen/Food Scale
If you do not have a Kitchen/Food Scale… go get one! You will not regret the purchase! Not only is a kitchen scale incredibly helpful when following recipes that have quantities listed in ounces or grams, it is also helpful for when you are deciphering nutrition labels!
Take for example a bag of chips… not that we eat chips.. right… So, on the bag it says x amount of calories for 50g… well, how do you know how much 50g is?? In comes Mr. Scale, who can help you make sure you are getting the right amounts of food (no matter how well you think you can eye-it-out, Mr. Scale does it better!). It will keep you on track and keep your snacks, meals, and recipe portions correct!
3. Snack Size Baggies
Love these little guys! Snacks are important, YES, they are hugely important in your day! To keep your metabolism up, those blood sugars level, and hunger at bay, it is important to snack throughout the day in between (smaller) meals.
Eating three honkin’ meals in the day with no snacks can be rough on your metabolism, hard on your digestive system, and make you feel like a slug! It’s important to eat every few hours, and in between meal times, have a snack…
BUT! Yes, there is a but. These snacks should be healthy (fruits, nuts, seeds, veggies, etc.), and enjoyed in moderation – they are called snacks after all (snack, as defined in the dictionary “a small amount of food eaten between meals”, “a share or portion”).. see, small, share, portion – just a little somethin’ somethin’ to tide you over and give your metabolism a little “what’s up!”.
So that’s why these little baggies are so great, you can pre-portion out your small snacks, and have them in your bag, desk drawer, car, wherever you may be when snack time arrives – then because they are pre-portioned out, you know how many calories you are taking in, you don’t over do it, and you have just enough to keep you going. Typically snacks can be in the 100-200 calorie range, but that is all dependent on your size, your activity level, and your weight loss goals of course.
4. My Little Rice Cooker
Seriously, thank-you Mom. Thank you. My wonderful mother bought be this little rice cooker a few years back when I was single, living on my own, and really delving into the world of cooking – and I still have that little rice cooker, and use it on a weekly basis.
So, why the Rice Cooker as part of my Fave Five? Well, rice isn’t fun to cook, nor is it easy – it burns, boils over, makes a mess, is time consuming, and just no fun to cook. ESPECIALLY brown rice! Brown rice takes a lot longer than white rice because it is unrefined – and, if you remember the little carb talk on Monday’s Post, you’d recall how much better for you it is than white rice!
It’s so easy with the rice cooker to make healthy grain choices, you just put in the correct ratios of grain to water, “Set it, and Forget it!” (yes, I stole that phrase from some corny infomercial from the 90’s, you all remember it.) I say “grain” because rice cookers don’t just cook rice, you can make batches of quinoa, millet, steel cut oats, polenta, kamut, amaranth… the list goes on! With a rice cooker, you have no excuses, and you can have healthy grains without the guesswork.
5. A Portable Water Bottle (that never leaves your side!!)
I will tell you a little something right now to get that hamster going… if you are not a big water drinker, and rely on coffee, tea, juices, sodas, shakes even, and have some extra weight you’d like to lose.. if you change ONE thing in your daily routine, JUST ONE, and that is cutting out a few of those other drinks and upping your water intake by say 1 liter per day, you WILL lose weight. You will. I cross my heart.
Water, is seriously the nectar of life. It is so vital to the health and wellness of your body, and SO SO SO very important in healthy weight loss and weight maintenance.
Why? Well, first of all, the process of ‘calorie burning’ requires an adequate amount of water in order to function correctly, and dehydration slows down the body’s ability to burn fat. Secondly, burning calories also creates toxins in the body and water is needed to help flush those toxins out! Third, a hunger cue is actually the same as a thirst cue, oftentimes, when you are feeling hungry it’s your body telling you “Heyyyy, I need some water, I’m dyin’ out here man, stop giving me coffeeeee”, but then you grab a donut. Boo. If you had drank your water instead you could have avoided Donut-Disaster-Land. Also, water keeps you energized by keeping blood volume up, and in turn, your oxygen supply up, which then helps you get through the day with some swing in your step!
Keeping a water bottle with you, or several; one at work, one at home, one in the car, etc. You will always be reminded to drink-up! So go buy one, name it (I call mine Josephine), and have that little bottle with you all the time and don’t finish the day until it’s empty!
There you have it – my Fave Five awesome tools to help you lose weight and keep it off!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Nutritionist in the Kitch