Essential Weight-Loss Tools

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
1/9/2014 6:00 AM   :  17 comments   :  19,022 Views

While it's true that all you really need to lose weight are good information and determination, there are plenty of helpful tools that will make the path to health and fitness a little easier and a lot more fun. I've gathered a list of the kinds of things that have helped me in my own weight-loss journey. You'll need different tools at different stages, but these are great when you're just getting started.
 
The EatSmart Precision Pro Digital Kitchen Scale is precise (down to the gram) and easy to use. The tare function allows you to delete the weight of the plate or bowl you're using and accurately measure just the food. No one wants to weigh everything they eat but it's essential when you're relearning what a normal portion actually looks like.
 


If you're planning to cook more as part of your weight loss journey, you'll also want to pick up an inexpensive set of measuring cups and spoons. This set includes 10 cups and 9 spoons in measurements from 1/32 teaspoon all the way to 2 cups! Is your serving of breakfast cereal really only 3/4 of a cup? Now you'll know for sure! 

You probably already have more than one water bottle laying around your house. Great, start using it! To make sure I always have plenty of water handy, I like to use a ChicoBag Bottle Sling Bag. It lets you carry a large bottle easily without worrying about having your hands full. I always use the sling on long walks and even long shopping trips to make sure I stay hydrated.
 










Speaking of long walks, I've been using my Spark Activity Tracker for the last few months and it makes it super easy to keep track of steps and workout minutes whether I'm walking outside or on the treadmill (or using an elliptical machine or stationary bike). And I'm so much more motivated to get steps whenever I can. I love when all the lights glow in a complete circle to show me that I've met my 10,000 steps-a-day goal!
 

For food tracking on-the-go, there's nothing simpler than the $3.99 SparkPeople Diet and Fitness Tracker App (for both iPhone and Android devices). With over 2,000,000 foods in the database, it’s easy to track exactly what--and how much-you're eating. 
 






If you have a smart phone, there are literally thousands of health and fitness apps that you might find helpful depending on your goals and activities. The ones that I've used the most include Map My Walk (free), RunKeeper (free), C25K ($1.99) and Simple Interval Timer (free).
 



Finally, if walking or running are going to be part of your weight-loss strategy, you owe it to yourself to get the best shoes you can afford. After dealing with foot pain, hip pain and knee pain, I finally took a trip to my local running store to get fitted by a professional. The shoes I ended up with, New Balance 860v3, weren't any more expensive than what I might have bought at the mall, but they're the most comfortable pair I've ever owned!
 
What tools have you found to be the most essential to achieving your weight-loss goals?


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Comments

  • 17
    Nice article. Some see it as an ad, I see it as informative. Some people may not be up to speed on tools for healthy living. But like one of the replies, these are not essential, but they are helpful. For me, I like my SPAT, sneakers, spark app (although I've been more diligent in writing it on paper for visual recall). - 7/23/2014   6:37:28 PM
  • 16
    These items are nice to have, but I don't feel they are essential to weight loss. You can learn portion sizes by using the relatable size method and common sense. I do have a scale like the one pictured (but mine is orange) and it does come in handy, but I haven't always had it and I lost weight without a scale, and to be honest, I don't use it all that often, still. Measuring cups are cheap. You can get a whole set at Dollar Tree for... a dollar. I use these frequently. :) A nice water bottle is a luxury... however, I also have glasses at home and sometimes you can get a free BPA free water bottle for free at some events. :) An activity tracker is also a luxury. I have had a Fitbit One for over a year, and I like it, but I still have to track specific exercises if I want to keep track of them, it's a fun gadget, tho, I won't deny that, and it can be motivating to get your numbers up and your flower to grow. :) The apps are cool, but a little notebook tracks well too. I don't have the option of an app. I'm sure if I did, I'd enjoy that little bit of fun. Good shoes. This is where I wouldn't skimp, get good shoes that fit your feet and are comfortable when you walk/run/dance/workout, the best you can afford. So when it's all said and done... you can still lose weight without most of these things... but, spend money on good foods and good shoes if money is tight. - 4/9/2014   3:19:34 PM
  • SAMCRL
    15
    I think all of things are important but really boils done portion control & better food choices. - 1/14/2014   5:30:58 PM
  • 14
    I have 2 scales; 1 at home and 1 at work. I get funny looks when I'm at work, but it allows me to grab stuff for a salad at the supermarket before coming to work as opposed to a pre-made salad that I have no control over. My at work scale and measuring cups also allow me to participate in the many pot lucks we have. A lot of the food is not necessarily "bad", it is just the uncontrolled portions. - 1/14/2014   2:24:35 PM
  • FLEXIBLEGUY
    13
    Has anyone heard anyting about a supplement called Garcinia Cambogia? Afriend of mine has been taking it and claims to have lost 55lbs.in 3 mos. Just wondering if anyone else has seen or heard of this stuff. Thanks, steve r. - 1/14/2014   7:12:57 AM
  • DELLMEL
    12
    Like the blog. Have to grab a couple of these. - 1/10/2014   6:01:17 AM
  • 11
    I love this blog. I owe most of these tools or one that is similar and I agree they are keys to my success. - 1/9/2014   6:19:04 PM
  • DOLPHINKARIN
    10
    I enjoyed this blog. This is a list of things I have or figured out I should get to make this journey a lifestyle change. Thanks for the links. - 1/9/2014   4:20:29 PM
  • 9
    I believe that I need tools to keep me motivated. I use my Lose It app to track things for me while I am on the go. It's a free app so I can use where ever and I like that. My media player is also helpful as my music keeps me motivated. - 1/9/2014   3:49:03 PM
  • 8
    Ehh on the highly commercialized nature of this post, but I guess the money has to come from somewhere seeing as SP is free. That being said these are very handy things to have depending on your needs/desires.

    My food scale and measuring cups and spoons have changed my life and now that I've gotten used to them serving myself food is soo quick and easy. I pack myself 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds every day and make delicious yogurt in the morning with yummy things like wheat germ and cocoa powder.

    I desperately want to get a good pair of running shoes, but I just got a wii fit off someone for cheap so those will have to wait. Also it's winter in Montreal, so I won't be stepping outside without my rain boots and thick socks on my feet for months.

    I have a water bottle that's about 1/3 of the size of the one shown here. It's a lot smaller so I need to refill it often, but I'm at school or work most of the day where there are plenty of fountains, faucets, or water coolers handy so it doesn't bother me. Plus it's a good reason to get up and move if only for a little bit.

    I'll definitely be looking into the Apps that are mentioned too! - 1/9/2014   3:38:04 PM
  • 7
    Hmm, I like this SparkBlog today.

    A few years ago, I paid a little more than I would have normally for a beautiful glass-topped food scale (between $50-$75, can't remember exactly), and I have to say, it's my favorite weight loss tool. I had a cheapie spring-loaded scale prior to buying it, so that terrible experience helped me appreciate the easiness of the electric scale. Not only does it help me lose weight, but it helps me BAKE more accurately too - as in, no more guessing (rounded or flat in a cup?) how much flour or sugar to put into a recipe. :)

    That ChicoBag bottle sling bag looks awesome. I currently have some waterbottles that are handy as they come, but with that sling, it would make life so much easier to lug around. I will look into that!

    I have the SP Diet and Fitness Tracker - BEST $3.99 I ever spent. And yes, I had the free version before, but this paid version runs so much smoother. Plus, I can spin the wheel and get points for reading articles while away from my computer! - 1/9/2014   11:34:34 AM
  • 6
    I've found using smaller plates and bowls to be a useful tool for weight loss. I think we've all read the studies that showed that the bigger the plate, the more likely we are to heap it with food. So, if you want to down size your body, down size your plates and bowls. - 1/9/2014   10:36:14 AM
  • 5
    I happen to like this article, for beginners its a great way to get started and keep motivated. - 1/9/2014   10:12:02 AM
  • 4
    No gadgets needed! just eat whole foods and watch your portions and for me: eliminate wheat. The biggest tool is your MIND! - 1/9/2014   10:10:17 AM
  • 3
    I have the same shoes! I got a second pair the same actually because I like them so much more than the other shoes I've had! - 1/9/2014   9:37:16 AM
  • WITCHLINGMOG
    2
    I'm a little disappointed that this article seems more like an ad than an informative article. These are helpful tips, though. - 1/9/2014   9:17:26 AM
  • 1
    I have a form of each of these that I use. When I use them all, plan and track what I eat as well as exercise I lose weight. When I'm missing one of these I'm not as successful. I'm more of a tortoise when it comes to losing weight, but I've kept it off for a little over a year so I'm doing something right ;) - 1/9/2014   8:46:24 AM

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