5 tools to help you lose weight

We’re past the fanfare of resolutions (phew!). But the ads for weight loss apps and hacks keep coming. They always will. The trick is to separate the promises from the actual tools for weight loss.

And not for the reason you think.

I have no scientific opinion to back me up. But I think most of the tools on the market probably “work.” 

You’ve got to assess what the tool actually does and decide how you’ll use it. Like with wearables, how you interpret the data is crucial. Simply tracking your steps or watching your Apple Watch circles close is only useful if you make it useful. 

Or joining a gym…exercise options abound, but how will you get yourself to go? And motivate yourself to be consistent? And continue to push yourself when it would be easier to just ride the same old recumbent bike while watching the in-gym TV?

Photo by Samuel Ramos on Unsplash

When you transform how you think, everything changes. Your body included. Use these 5 tools to help you lose weight and stay on track:

  1. Pen to paper: You must regularly look at what’s going through your mind. The “I’m never able to stick with it” or “I wish I could lose weight” thoughts are poison. And they’re running the show. Writing down your thoughts lets you see why you’re getting the results you are. I love this Journal. It’s lined with quality paper and comes in lots of colors. Of course you can use Google Docs, a Word document or any online tool. 
  2. Action Brainstorming Worksheet: This tool is unexpectedly simple. You’ll be surprised how it focuses your planning. Write your goal down. Then brainstorm all the things you need to stop and start doing, do less/more of, and continue doing. Get all your ideas on paper. Then decide which ones to implement first and plan for the others. (Email me for a copy if you don’t already have it.)
  3. Online workouts: Take 30 minutes to search YouTube for the variety of workouts you need. (Or “shop” your own current inventory of videos and workout plans.) I recommend three kinds – for ideal circumstances; for travel; for backup. The first is when your work schedule is “as expected” and everyone’s healthy. Travel is for business or pleasure, plane or automobile, hotel or home of a friend. Backup is for everything else (like the expected hiccups that we tell ourselves are unexpected). Have at least three in each category and you’ll always be able to stick with your exercise plan.
  4. Wearables: When used correctly, the data can help you lose weight. Decide what to track. You can go as simple as a pedometer or as sophisticated as Levels, a device for continuous glucose monitoring. The wearable I use is Whoop (this link gives both you and me a free month when you go with Whoop). I find the feedback on sleep, strain and recovery incredibly helpful. Another favorite is Polar (I used it for 20+ years and several of my clients use it, too). Of course there’s Fitbit, Apple Watch, Garmen, Lumen…choose one and have fun.
  5. Support/accountability: To stay on track with the habits to reach and maintain your body’s ideal weight requires that you create a lifestyle you actually enjoy. The key is, don’t do it alone. Find out how coaching together can have you following through consistently, feeling and looking better than you have in years. 

People ask me which is most important. It’s #1 and #5. When you get control of the thoughts that sabotage you, and learn to manage your mind, transformation happens. And all the other tools for weight loss are like fuel on the fire of your motivation, instead of a bucket of water dumped on what little spark you might have had.

Time travel…the helpful trade secret of women who know how to lose weight

I was bored. It was a Wednesday night. I could work more. Do laundry. Read a book. Clean the bathroom. Cook dinner. But none of that felt satisfying.

My brain thought a glass of Chardonnay and a slice of six grain bread with locally pressed olive oil from the farmers market would solve my boredom.

I could even imagine it. I could taste it. It tasted good. It felt good. So not boring.

Nice try, brain.

But I have both in my house. They’re not “off limits.” You might wonder, “what’s the big deal, Heather?”

The big deal is trusting myself in the small things. Like not eating food I don’t need an hour before dinner. And not drinking on a Wednesday night.

So, I travel in time to Thursday morning and I imagine having not given into the urge and how that would feel. Pleased and well rested came to mind. Empowered that I can keep my word to myself in ways that seem insignificant but add up to big results.

I also imagine how I would feel if I drank the wine and ate the bread, an hour before dinner. Thursday morning Heather felt foggy and a little off. She felt disappointed.

In that moment on a Wednesday night with the urge to drink wine and eat bread, I simply allowed myself to feel bored. I knew it would pass. It wasn’t a problem to solve. I went about the task of making dinner, occasionally noticing boredom and being okay with it.

The helpful trade secret of women who know how to lose weight. I was bored. It was a Wednesday night. I wanted wine & bread. Nice try, brain.
Photo by Anna Kumpan on Unsplash

Giving in to a momentary urge only makes it easier for us to give in the next time. And the next time.

You probably have goals and a picture of your future self having achieved them. Spend time imagining what it feels like to be her and how she would counsel you today, in a moment when you feel less than motivated. When you don’t feel like it. When you think “eff it.”

And here’s another thing – celebrate the small win. Later that Wednesday night after dinner, and the urge had long passed, I gave myself kudos for sticking to my plan and taking care of myself. That makes it more likely I’ll keep my word to myself next time, too.

What time travel allows you to do is to become the watcher of the present moment. You don’t get hooked into the primitive brain’s desire for instant gratification but can observe it as your future self. From a place of love and care, wanting the best for you, she gives you just the advice you need.

Losing weight in the moment often doesn’t feel good. Peeling away layers of unhelpful habits, sitting with urges and feeling crappy, making new decisions and trying new things…it can feel really hard. That’s why things like celebrating the daily wins and imagining “Tomorrow You” are so important. Each time your honor your commitment to yourself it gets easier the next time. And the next time.

And then you are the future you. And she gives you a big high five.

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