Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Tools I’m Using for Better Health

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I’ve written here and elsewhere about the major life changes I’m making, and I thought I’d put together a list of resources that others might find beneficial, too.  Here now are the Top 10 Tools I’m Using for Better Health.

  1. – I track everything I eat, using their huge database of food and nutritional content and their easy options to add whatever might not be in the database (which isn’t much!).  I also record my exercise, and like to keep an eye on the running totals for my day.  They also have a really easy iPhone app, so I can record totals on the go.

    my fitness pal screen shot

    A screenshot of my Monday nutrition from

  2. iPhone app C25K.  I have NEVER been an athlete, never run for exercise in my ENTIRE life.  But…I’m putting all my faith into this “Couch to 5K” program and just doing what this iPhone app tells me to do.  I love that the app works with my own playlist, and that it keeps track of when I need to switch between walking/running intervals.  It also has a place for me to keep notes on my run, and the option to share my progress on Facebook & Twitter.  First week and three training runs done, and I’m still alive!  c25k
  3. My local YMCA.  I checked out two different popular gyms, and was disappointed in their expensive prices and limited activities and poor environment in the child watch.  Our YMCA is very reasonably-priced for our entire family, and my 3yo son LOVES the child watch.  He does arts & crafts, plays on the playground, gets to go in the gym for free play, watches movies, and has free play.  Lots of variety, and really nice care providers.  ymca of greater houston
  4. My truly awesome, killer workout playlist.  I could NOT do any exercise whatsoever without it!  Go check it out and see if there are any tunes you could use!
  5. The support of family.  My husband has actually lost 36 pounds since October, simply from better eating.  He has now integrated exercise, and together we’re keeping each other motivated on our goals.  My mom and sisters are all cheering me on, and my kids are either asking if I’ve done my workout, or asking if we can go to the gym as a family.  It’s awesome.
  6. The support of friends.  I’m getting all kind of great ideas for health and nutrition from friends in my Facebook feed.  They are a wealth of information, and I know I need only ask if I’m wanting advice on anything.
  7. Social Media.  I am using social media to the max in order to keep myself encouraged and accountable for my fitness goals.  MyFitnessPal and C25K both have options to update Facebook & Twitter when I make updates.  I get lots of “likes” and fabulous comments on those updates alone, and it feels like I have a whole squad of people cheering for me.  I’m also able to use social media to encourage and support others, which is why I started my new blog, Fat Woman at the Gym.  The emails I’ve been getting from people are so humbling and inspiring, it makes the sharing of everything SO worth it for me.  Fat Woman header
  8. Turkey products.  Turkey what? you ask.  🙂  Seriously, I have found in paying close attention to my nutrition that I can replace most red meat with turkey and get far fewer calories and much less fat without sacrificing taste.  We now use browned ground turkey for our tacos, I eat turkey sausage in my breakfast burritos, and I often devour a yummy Jennie-O turkey burger for lunch (with a splash of Hot & Spicky Hickory Farms mustard…yum!).
  9. Water.  I cannot emphasize this enough:  water is helping me stay hydrated for my workouts and less hungry during the day as I’m consuming fewer calories.  I couldn’t do any of this without the nearly 100oz of water I’m drinking a day now.  The trick for me?  I bought a great stainless steel water bottle – with a straw (don’t ask me why, but I love drinking from water bottles with a straw) – that holds 32oz at a time.  I easily drink two of those every morning before working out, one while exercising, and at least two more during the day.  It’s handy, it’s portable.  And sometimes if I throw a low-calorie vitamin-enriched flavor packet in there, it’s tasty, too.
  10. Prayer.  You probably don’t see this on a lot of “how to get healthy” lists, but I’ve been using the power of prayer to help keep me motivated and energized during this huge transition in my life.  I continually pray for patience, endurance, encouragement, and discipline, and I have to say, God has definitely been with me on this journey.

And because this has been an enormous learning experience for me, I’m constantly on the look-out for tips from others.  So tell me:  what are some tools you’re using for better health?