The most challenging thing about writing this blog, for me, is trying to figure out where to begin. I have so much that I want to share but I don’t want to overwhelm any potential reader. I started this blog for two main reasons: a source of accountability for myself and also as a way to help others who want to improve their health through weight loss, eating healthy and exercise. 

I do not have a degree in nutrition but I can offer advice based on what has worked for me and also from information I have read. To get things rolling I am going to give you a list of pros and cons of some plans and tools that I have found useful over the years.

  • Weight Watchers: Pro – very popular, online version is user friendly, big support system through either making friends on their website via message boards or in meetings in person. Cons – expensive. You have to pay to go to meetings and/or pay to use the online version and it isn’t cheap. You CAN NOT use the plan without paying for at least one, even if you see points values listed on foods at the grocery store. Also, the plan is constantly changing and updating to new versions which can be very hard to keep up with and confusing. ~My Experience~ I have used Weight Watchers at least twice, once using meetings and then the online version later. I had pretty good results with both but ultimately could not afford the plan. It is definitely a great jumping off point for beginners.

  • MyFitnessPal: Pro – it’s a totally free online calorie counter and progress tracker, it is very easy to use, can be customized to how much weight you want to lose and how quickly, has a huge database of foods available to choose from, you can scan items into the database using your smartphone and you can have the program send reminders to your smartphone to log your meals. Cons – If you look up something basic such as “boneless, skinless chicken breast” you will probably come up with a list of 500 items and some can vary greatly in calories, you can’t always trust the calorie counts you see listed (it’s best to check behind sometimes), the list of workouts is pretty vague and can be confusing when tracking workouts. ~My Experience~ I use My Fitness Pal consistently and enjoy it. I have no excuse not to use it as the app is on my smartphone, iPad and can be accessed via computer. The program sees all calories as calories and doesn’t necessarily encourage you to make smarter/healthier choices, so that part is up to you. Overall I like it and know lots of people that use it.

  • Hungry Girl: Pro – her recipes are usually very quick and easy to make, she offers swaps for popular restaurant foods, sign up for her emails and they are delivered to you free daily, she offers some free recipes on her website, she alerts you to new healthy items being offered in stores so you can keep an eye out for them. Cons – she uses a LOT of pre-packaged, processed foods. ~My Experience~ As you can see I don’t have much bad to say about Hungry Girl. In general I enjoy her ideas, recipes and attitude. But, I don’t like using fat-free cheeses and sourcreams, etc. My family does not approve of the taste and usually I don’t either. When you sub with a low-fat cheese, for example, your nutritional stats in general do not look nearly as impressive as hers. Occasionally I come across recipes that I really don’t like, but have also found many that are excellent. I would use her recipes as fillers, but not use them for every meal. I have never been let down by any of her shakes or swappucino’s (as she calls them.)

  • SkinnyTaste: Pros – The website is pretty, informative and easy to navigate. All of her recipes are free and neatly categorized. She uses all whole food ingredients and serving sizes are generous. She provides very detailed cooking instructions and takes lots of pictures along the way. She also recommends items to pair with the recipe to create an entire meal. Cons – None. ~My Experience~ This website is pretty amazing, I just discovered it a few months ago and have easily made 20-30 recipes of hers. Every single recipe was delicious and definitely does not taste like typical “diet food”. The only problem here is the temptation to over-eat some of these recipes because they taste so good so make sure you put the extras away immediately! Another plus is that my husband has enjoyed all of these recipes as well. 🙂

 

My goals for this week are to use MyFitnessPal to keep track of calories daily, to eat mostly whole foods meals and less processed junk, to drink more water and to get 30 minutes of exercise daily. I will try to post updates throughout the week. Here’s to a healthier me and you!

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