January is here – the month of resolutions, diets, new workout routines, and motivated mindsets. I’m no different, though I don’t set resolutions, but goals. I’ve outlined personal goals as well as for my blog and career and even put together a vision board to help me visualize them.
I use some different tools for health and wellness (both mental and physical), and I’m excited to share some of my favorite resources and tips with you. Hopefully these can also help make it easier for you to reach your goals and train some new habits.
Insight Timer Meditation App
Insight Timer is the top-rated free meditation app in the app store, and I can speak personally to it. They have over 3.2 million meditators, and they offer over 7,600 guided meditations, music tracks, talks and courses. What I love about this app is that meditations are uploaded by over 1,600 teachers (meaning that not only does the content vary, but it’s not the same voice over and over). You can browse through tons of different categories to choose something that fits your mood or the benefits you are looking for that day (de-stress, motivation, help with sleeping, clarity, focus, gratitude, etc…). If guided meditation isn’t your thing, you can choose to just use your choice of ambient sound and timer bells, rather than a guided meditation session. You can also “favorite” different meditations and tracks, so that you can refer back to them, or use it to build a little library of tracks you would like to listen to in the future.
Law of Attraction Life Planner
If you love a good planner to keep your schedule and thoughts organized, this is the planner for you. Not only does The Law of Attraction Planner have great calendar features, but it is truly a motivational tool to help create habits and set goals. It starts with pages that give you ways to increase your emotional vibrations, questions to empower your day, an area to write out 50 goals for all areas of your life, and to create a mind map for those goals. It also allows you to break down your goals, action steps, and rewards.
The planner includes an overview of the month and breakdowns of each day/week, complete with areas to fill out daily goals, priorities, errands, and to-do lists. It even has a check box with a “Positive Habit Maker”, where you can check off items like Gratitude/Love, Meditation, and Exercise, and blank spaces where you can input other habits you are trying to enforce. There are different sizes, colors and versions, and this one seems like the updated version that I have.
MyFitnessPal + My Story
About a year and a half ago, I started using MyFitnessPal religiously. If you’re not familiar, it’s an app where you can input your food items and the quantities/measurements, and keep track of your calories and macros each day. When I started my journey with the app, I was eating super healthy, exercising at least 4 times a week with consistent bootcamps and barre classes, and was still struggling to lose some mysterious weight that I put on. Something must have been up with my hormones (I also kept random breakouts on my chin and cheeks), and I just could not lose weight. I went to a dermatologist for my skin, as well as an endocrinologist to have my thyroid checked (note: she literally told me to restrict myself to eating 900 calories a day until I lost the weight I wanted. Um, what?!).
Frustrated, I decided to change my strategy. I randomly used MyFitnessPal in the past, and decided to start incorporating it as a daily habit. Although I was eating healthy (lots of veggies and protein, always very aware of nutrition facts, sugar and carbs, ingredients), maybe I was eating too much of it, as I wasn’t really measuring anything out. To this day, I am not sure if that was the case (as I was still exercising so much, that I feel like I should have been in a calorie deficit), but the combination of My Fitness Pal and the other app I will discuss below, completely changed me. Simultaneously, I also eliminated a lot of dairy from my diet to see if those hormones were effecting my body and skin. I had already been drinking only nut milks for years, but non-fat greek yogurt was a part of my *daily* diet. With consistent use of MFP and a new workout regimen, I lost the 15lbs that I had put on, over the course of a few months.
That Summer, I moved to Barcelona, and decided to abandon counting calories and dietary restrictions, to fully enjoy what the country had to offer. I didn’t have a workout routine, however, between walking everywhere on a daily basis and my travels to other parts of Spain where I was walking and climbing miles upon miles, I figured it would be a good balance. It worked out pretty well, as I think for the most part I stayed pretty stagnant with my weight, but didn’t deprive myself of delicious tapas, bread, cheese, or gelato. The other great thing was, my body seemed to have made some changes on it’s own. Even now, since returning to Florida, I have not been restricting dairy as much as I used to. I’ll always use nut milk as opposed to dairy milk, but haven’t been avoiding cheese or dishes with dairy (and I totally lost my taste for greek yogurt once I eliminated it…funny how that happens). I have not been religiously using MyFitnessPal since moving back to the States (over a year ago), but my boyfriend and I are moving into our new apartment in two weeks, and I am excited to get settled with “old” and improved habits!
In parallel with my diet changes above, I had quit the current fitness membership I was using, and started a new regimen in my apartment building’s gym. I downloaded the BodySpace app (created by bodybuilding.com), where they offer a huge variety of workout and fitness programs. The app is also a community, though I didn’t really utilize that feature at this time (it’s great, as members are constantly posting improvement photos and motivational messages!). The app itself allows you to browse different training programs by their professional trainers, and select one to commit to.
Each day you click on the respective day, and not only does it show you the workouts to do that day (taking the guess work out of it), but there are videos that you can easily click on, where the trainer actually does the move for you. This is so helpful if you are not familiar with the name of the exercise, or have questions about your form. It even has a written explanation and instructions for the exercise. I personally chose Jamie Eason’s Livefit Trainer program, but there are TONS of programs (even options without machines, if you don’t have access to a gym).
In addition, BodySpace has nutrition resources, meal plans and recipes (all for free), and I believe most trainers suggest certain meal plans with each of their workout programs on the app. Their website is also an even deeper resource into exercise and nutrition resources, full of articles, more exercise guides, a shop for supplements, and access to their online community.
Have you used any of these health and wellness resources or tools? What are your thoughts and what others are you loving?