6 Products I’m Using to Keep Myself on Track

First of all, we are SO excited about the HUGE response to yesterday’s post. Sara and I are going to work all weekend to figure out how to make this fit club thing work and we’ll be announcing how it’s all going to work on Monday, so be sure to check in then!

So both Sara and I are focusing right now on being healthy. I started and stopped another post about 5 times about what I’m eating right now, but it kept winding up way too long, so once I find a Reader’s Digest version without all the emotional baggage (I’ll just leave some of the emotional baggage…), I’ll share that, too. But for now, I wanted to share 5 things I’m using right now to help keep me on track.

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fitbit flex

I started using the Fitbit Flex and it’s my favorite of the activity trackers (I’ve tried quite a few of them). I wanted one that would track all my movements, not just exercise, I wanted one that was easy to use and easy to sync with my phone, I didn’t want to pay a monthly subscription fee, I wanted it to sync easily with My Fitness Pal, and I wanted one that didn’t look like a medical device. Yes, it has its shortcomings–it doesn’t automatically record your sleep (you have to tell it you’re going to sleep), I wish it recorded heart rate, and it’s not great at recording stationary exercises or stairs climbed (but you can enter that information manually). I’m considering upgrading to the Fitbit Charge HR, but for the last year, the Fitbit Flex has been a great tool to keep me motivated to stay active.

jillian

I have a confession: I don’t love the gym. I’m not a social exerciser. I think it stems back to me being a VERY athletically uncoordinated child (okay, let’s face it, adult) and the thought of failing in a room full of people gives me hives. After I got married, I lost 30 pounds and I did all of it working out at home in my living room (I’m sure much to the delight of the people who lived underneath our student housing apartment.)

I really, really love Jillian Michaels 90 Day Body Revolution. It’s hard enough that I feel like I’m getting a good workout but not so hard that I want to die the rest of the day (although I will say that moving on before I feel totally comfortable with each level has led to incredible soreness, like not being able to move for a week, first-day-of-spinning-class kind of soreness–I don’t move on every two weeks like she recommends; I just keep going on the same level until it all kind of feels easy.) Plus, I can do it at home and the workouts are short–about 30 minutes each. I don’t do the cardio workouts that come with this program–I just don’t really like them. But on Tuesdays and Saturdays, I’ll just do a cardio workout that I do enjoy (I really like kickboxing and dance-type workouts…but not when people can see me.)

 

coconutsyrupI’m not usually into sugar-free stuff. I hate artificial sweeteners and I can always taste them; I’d rather just have a little bit of the real thing. But. I do love Torani’s Sugar-Free Coconut Syrup. I add it whenever I feel like I need a little flavor boost–oatmeal, sparkling water with a squeeze of lime, even plain Greek yogurt with berries. Don’t buy it on Amazon–it’s super overpriced. If you don’t have a store that sells it locally like World Market, buying it from Torani is a great option–they are super quick and very professional with reasonable prices.

water bottle text

If I don’t carry water with me everywhere I go, I’m terrible about drinking it. And I’m picky about my water bottles–I like them tall and skinny, but I also like to be able to get ice into them. This glass water bottle is a great size, comes in adorable colors, fits in the dishwasher, your car cup holder, AND your purse/diaper bag.

supplements

I know. Supplements is a loaded word. I’m kind of using it on purpose just to be scandalous. But I’m not talking weight loss supplements or Dr. Oz stuff–just vitamins and minerals that help keep you healthy and strong.

In the morning, I take two probiotic Pearls, Calcium Citrate, additional Vitamin D3, and a Vitamin B Complex. Then at night, I take 100% of the daily recommended value of Magnesium Citrate and sometimes zinc (but it upsets my stomach, so it’s usually only once a week, and I take the zinc with dinner.) Aside from the Pearls (the only probiotics I’ve ever taken where I can definitely tell a difference when I’ve taken it), I don’t have any really strong feelings about what brands to use (and I know some people do), but I do recommend magnesium citrate and calcium citrate–other forms of those minerals are very difficult for your body to absorb, but the magnesium and calcium citrate are bioavailable, meaning your body can easily absorb and use them (thank you, college nutrition classes!)

healthy snacks

When I’m making conscious decision to eat better, snacks are absolutely key to keeping me on track. I try to make it a fruit or vegetable combined with fat and protein so it will have staying power, so these are some of my favorites that I keep stocked:

  • 1 cup strawberries or raspberries with 1/2 cup 2% or whole milk
  • Apple slices and cheddar cheese
  • An orange and a cheese stick (not together…that’s just usually what I grab…) or about 15 almonds
  • Sugar snap peas, broccoli, or flash-steamed green beans with Greek yogurt dip or hummus
  • Apples and peanut butter
  • 1 slice of whole wheat toast with 1/4 of a mashed avocado, a squeeze of lime juice, salt, and pepper
  • Cottage cheese sprinkled with sunflower seeds and some grape tomatoes

I try to listen to my body and eat what sounds good–if the thought of broccoli is making me gag, I don’t eat the broccoli. If I’m craving something sweet, I go for the fruit and that usually does the trick, but if it doesn’t, a square or two of really good dark chocolate usually does.

I hope that gives you some ideas about what’s helping me! Keep thinking of ideas for the OBB Fit Club and be sure to check back on Monday to see what we have planned!

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52 comments

  1. Yay! I’m so looking forward to this. Just reading about your experiences will help me greatly. This is a lifestyle thing, right? I joined another group for a second but left when I realized the commitment was for 30 days only. I’m a fairly healthy eater, but I’ve gotten lax with the carb consumption, so that’s actually my dual goal…lose some weight and get into the habit of eating more protein/veggies and less pasta/bread. Thanks so much for doing this.

    1. I have to be so careful with my carbs. That’s a whole post of its own, hahaha. I’ve never had detectible blood sugar issues, even when I’m pregnant, but I think *my* safe zone is not the doctor’s safe zone, you know? With both of my boy pregnancies, I felt like I really, really had to watch what I was eating to not feel terrible, both of them were on the big side, and both of them had blood sugar problems after they were born. And I can’t just count calories and lose weight, I have to pretty much cut out refined carbs (with occasional splurges) or nothing happens.

      1. (There’s no way for me to “Like” your reply so that you know I saw it, so you get more dialogue from me. 😉 I had gestational diabetes but didn’t find out until AFTER the Valentine’s Day chocolate party at my office. My youngest son was born in April and immediately had to be taken away for extra care because his blood sugar dropped so low after he “left” me. I felt SO guilty about that moment. I probably had it for my first child, too, but it wasn’t caught. He pretty much made his debut to the world as a toddler…

      2. What you’ve just said here about never having “detectable” blood sugar issues is SO ME!! But I am really struggling to figure it out. I would love to hear more about this in your food post!

  2. Yay!!! I am loving this idea. It combines my two favorite topics…eating and losing weight. (Yes, in that order!) Thanks for the fun ideas. I always want new snack ideas. I hope you guys will have some fun, new, healthy recipes with the nutritional info to keep us going. You both rock!! I love that you are so real!!

  3. Hi! Have you ever checked out mytailoredfitness.com? (Or app.mytailoredfitness.com…they are transitioning.) It’s an affordable online workout program complete with classes, motivation, and prizes! And you do it all from your living room! You choose muscle group, intensity, length, etc. They are doing a free challenge right now if you’re interested!
    (I promise I am not getting anything from this post…it’s just such as easy way to fit workouts in while kids are napping, etc.!)

  4. Interested. I’ve been struggling with having a healthy lifestyle since becoming a wife and a mother six years ago. This will be encouraging for me. Thank you!

  5. Do you only do cardio 2 times a week?

    What changes have you noticed when taking the probiotics?

    This sounds soooo awesome! Can’t wait for the club!

    1. The Jillian workouts have some cardio, but they’re largely weights-based. Doing straight cardio those two days and then weights with a little cardio the other four is a good combo, at least for me. Sometimes the weight loss slows down a little, but it’s because you’re building noticeable muscle and slimming down.

      The probiotics help keep my digestive system on track (I have IBS and acid reflux and it helps with both of those) as well as keeping, um, womanly infections at bay. 🙂

  6. I love this post. The number of water bottles we have drives my husband crazy, but I’m pretty sure I need one more. We just moved to a city with no school buses and I spend about 2-3 hours every day in the car getting my kids to and from school. Somehow that one thing has made it really hard for me to drink as much water as I should, but I think a cute water bottle that fits in the car and doesn’t feel like I’m drinking plastic will help me get back on track with that.

    At some point can you give a little more info about the supplements for those of us who never took any nutrition classes in college? I know you need calcium for strong bones, but what else? Why do you need magnesium and zinc? When you say you can tell the difference from taking probiotics, what difference should we be looking for?

    Thanks for the snack list. I’m always looking for new ideas.

    1. Magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D all help support your metabolism, bone strength, and muscle recovery. Magnesium can also help with anxiety, sleeplessness, and constipation, calcium can help with PMS symptoms, and Vitamin D can stave off the winter blues! 🙂 A good vitamin B complex is important for women, especially of childbearing age, and it can boost energy and your immune system.

  7. we are a huge probiotic fan cub family – everyone takes them and everyone poops. come on – we have kids this is an every day topic!!! 🙂

    I love this to pieces and actually I’ve just ventured into the whole don’t eat what you think is a ‘good’ food – eat what sounds good and I’m finding I’m eating a whole lot less these days because I feel satisfied. I’m also eating more fat – I think the whole low fat deal has really hurt us as a society as a whole. Healthy fats are GOOD! 🙂

    can’t wait to see more!

    1. YES! I completely agree! I was taught growing up that to lose weight, you should eat 10 grams of fat or less a day. I tried it right after I got married to less-than-impressive results and I looked/felt like death. Now, about 45% of my calories come from healthy fats, but I end up eating less overall and feel so much better!

  8. I am interested in losing weight…I have started Jazzercize and looking forward to following your blog and lose weight with you!!!

  9. Thank you for your suggestions Kate! Our family takes probiotics daily. We have 3 boys so poop is a frequent topic of conversation in our home.

  10. I was just looking into the fitbit HR yesterday! If you get it, I want your opinion. I loved my fitbit zip until I lost it (thanks pregnancy brain). It’s time to get a new one.

    I’m so excited for this series! It’s silly, but I feel like I know you two after years of reading Our Best Bites.

    (And I think we should invent a Gilmore Girls “drinking” game…like do a pushup anytime they talk about coffee..or hold a plank every time Rory bites her lip and looks doe-eyed.)

  11. Thank you for the tips, especially about the fitbit, I am looking for a fitness tracker, but I just don’t know how to choose!

  12. Your post just hit on a whole lot of things I’ve been thinking about! Thanks for the tip about the Jillian Michaels program. I’ve never been able to get into a gym habit because I don’t like exercising around people either! I’ll have to check that out.

    I just got a FitBit for Christmas and I’m finding that I’m not quite as active as I thought I was! Do you find that the sleep recording is accurate? Mine will record times as “restless” when I know I was actually awake.

    You’ve also given me a kick in the pants to get some supplements – I’m dairy-free so I should really be taking calcium and vitamin D, but I can’t seem to make it a habit.

  13. Thank you so much for this! I actually got a little bit giddy reading this post and now I am ready for a fitbit, an awesome glass water bottle, and good workout! This is huge, in my world. 🙂 Thanks!

  14. Best place I’ve found to buy the Torani Syrups is at Cash and Carry – they have every flavor you can imagine both regular and sugar free – under $4 a bottle. Cash and Carry are in Oregon and Idaho…may be a national chain…not sure. Love your ideas!

    1. Also at Smart and Final, if you have those near you. Also under $4/bottle. I LOVE my SF Torani Syrups, and have them in probably 15 flavors. We also gift them as neighbor gifts every Christmas. Love the coconut!!

  15. Thanks for sharing what works for you! I am SO not a gym person either. Thinking back to P.E. days just makes me sick. I walk my two kids around in the stroller often—in regular clothes thanks :), but other than that everything else is done at home. I would love to see at home stuff without tons of equipment in upcoming posts.

  16. This is a great post!!! I am a pharmacist and you are spot on about the supplements that you take–everyone should take those daily. The only other thing I would add is a coated baby aspirin–so exceptional for prevention of many diseases! We are twins about public workouts!!

  17. Kind of surprised that you use magnesium citrate. Magnesium citrate is a heavy duty laxative. My daughter has problems with constipation and it is one of the few things that actually work. I would be careful with it.

    1. It can act as a laxative in very large doses (like the magnesium citrate you have to drink before a medical procedure). but in smaller doses, it just provides an essential mineral. If you have negative side effects from using it, you can always scale back to a smaller dose. 🙂

  18. Thank you so much for sharing today. I am super excited for what you’ will be sharing later this month. I confess I did not know about supplements. It was also helpful to see what to have as a healthy snacks. I never thought of combining certain foods together. I attended a workshop on children and their brains and discovered a whole new world. I found out that we eat way too many processed foods and not enough healthy fats. Also, that boys actually need more fats. I am always up to more learning on eating healthy. Love your blog and all the time you put into it.

  19. I got the fitbit one for Christmas and love it. It seems pretty accurate, even with stairs. I find myself going upstairs more because I know it’s tracking me.
    So glad you ladies are doing this! My job is helping people lose weight and even though I’m at a healthy weight I’m still a work in progress and it’s so helpful to have someone to motivate me for a change!

  20. Does your glass water bottle condensate/sweat? If so, does the sweat not bother you because of the outside layer thing? Yours is way cuter than mine!! I’d be interested in switching if I knew about its sweat level.

    Like I said, yours is way cuter… but I carry a water bottle every day and I really like the one I carry. You can find it here if you’re interested: http://www.amazon.com/Camelbak-Podium-Chill-Bottle-slate/dp/B00LFRU5OI/ref=sr_1_18?s=sporting-goods&ie=UTF8&qid=1420768083&sr=1-18&keywords=camelbak+water+bottle

    Great post. Thanks for sharing!!

  21. I got the fitbit one for Christmas and love it. It seems pretty accurate, even with stairs. I find myself going upstairs more because I know it’s tracking me.
    So glad you ladies are doing this! My job is helping people lose weight and even though I’m at a healthy weight now, after 30 years of being overweight I’m still a work in progress and it’s so helpful to have someone to motivate me for a change!
    And PS, I need to get me some sf torani syrup for a dirty diet coke! I can’t find it anywhere near me so I’m headed to their website. Thanks!

  22. I just have to put in a plug for an awesome website I found that’s been keeping me going. It’s fitnessblender.com and it’s loaded with tons of free workout videos. You can put in the amt of time you want to exercise and what area of your body you want to work and it pulls up several different workouts to meet your needs. I love it because with little ones at home I am not good at getting to the gym. This has been a perfect fit for me and it’s 100% free.

  23. HI! Love your blog!! I too am a die hard Fitbit Flex user but I upgraded to the Charge HR for Christmas—LOVE It!! It tracks steps, stairs/floors and heart rate well. It also has the read out-steps, distance, floors, heart rate etc on the device-you choose what info it displays. It tracks sleep by heart rate so you don’t have to remember to “put it to sleep.” It tells you how many minutes you are in fat burning mode, cardio mode, or peak mode. I love the new watch style band(I lost one once, when it unhooked and I didn’t notice) I am a little sad that I can’t switch to different colored bands, but it’s a small price to pay for the security. It Syncs just as easily to my iPhone. My only negative is the battery life. It only seems to last 4 days, but charges in about 45 min. Overall I am very happy I upgraded. Good luck with all your goals!

  24. Yeaaaa!! I’m excited, great post. My new fitbit HR Charge is coming I think on Monday (I got the shipping notice yesterday.) Thanks for the head’s up on the DVDs, I might try that out.

  25. I’m excited you are doing this! I was super motivated by your story last year and need another push after the holidays! 🙂
    I was really interested to read about supplements. Its is something that I haven’t really considered. I’d love to read more about them. Where can I find reliable info? (not just fads or companies trying to sell me their products)

  26. Glad you mentioned the My Fitness Pal app! It was the only thing that really helps me keep track of what I am eating. I forgot to mention in my comment on the other post, but I was wondering about putting recipes into the app. That is probably the one thing I really hated about it. (Let’s face it. I am lazy.) Anyway, your recipes are my go-to recipes. Pretty much the whole family is happy with them, so it makes life easy. Anyways, I am assuming that you have put some of your recipes into the app. So I am curious how you label them, so others using the app can search them. I have put a couple in, but if I knew either which ones or if you use “Our Best Bites” along with the name of the recipe, I feel like I may be more successful. -Hopefully this all makes sense, I am running on very little sleep here (have a 7 week old baby that keeps me up at night…which probably adds to my laziness). Also, is there a post about all the suggested recipes to use your flavored oils in? I got some for Christmas and would love to find the best applications for the oils.

  27. I want to join in. You guys are awesome! I’m not trying to lose weight right now, just staying as fit as I can be during this pregnancy, but I need motivation for that :0)

  28. I just recently upgraded from the Fitbit Flex to the Charge (non-HR). With the help of my flex last year, I lost 48 lbs! I’m hoping to continue to maintain or lose the stubborn 15 lbs that keep hanging on. It’s been a week since I upgraded & I love it! One word of caution- I was on the small band with the Flex, but the Charge is more rigid & sized a tad differently so I needed the large. Be sure to try the size before you buy. Oh, and mine tracks sleep automatically too!

  29. I waited for the Charge HR to come out (I got lucky and snagged one when they had a few available right before Christmas). I have only used an older Body Media arm band and a Zephyr monitor. The charge HR is great so far, the sleep tracking is decent, not completely accurate but it works well. I love the heart rate monitoring all day, + when I exercise which is so easy to track now without strapping on a chest belt! The charge HR is a little bigger around my wrist than is comfortable, so I wear it on the inside of my wrist and it seems to be working just fine!
    Thanks for the JM Revolution suggestion, I’m not a social exerciser either and I’m bored with her other DVDs that I already have.

  30. I’ve been using a Fitbit for 2.5 years now. I love it. I have the one though. I’m always looking for more friends to get me moving. Maybe you could set up an Our Best Bites Activity Group. I’d be super interested in that.

  31. I have been interest in the Fitbit. I like the idea of the HR one because I would like to know what it is when I’m working out and stuff. The only thing I don’t know about is wearing the HR monitor all the time. It even is supposed to be worn when you are sleeping. Wouldn’t that get annoying? Or what about the pulse? It has GPS….that would be nice when you go running or biking or walking. I Just don’t know what to get! Haha.

  32. It so nice to read about other non-gym people. I love to work out at home ( Jillian Michaels rocks! ) but having to go to a gym and work out in front of people would make me think up excuses.

  33. I purchased the exact magnesium supplements you mention in your post, and they arrived today from Amazon. Oh my heck! They are the biggest pills I have ever seen! I’ve never been worried about swallowing any kind of pill before—-but this magnesium is kind of freaking me out. 🙂 If I decide to actually attempt to take the pill, I think I’ll do it with my husband present so that he can perform the Heimlich maneuver in case I choke. Yikes!

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