The Age - Health - Weight Connection: My Favorite Tools for Weight Management (+ free printables!)

A couple of weeks ago, I opened up about my struggle with the rollercoaster of weight gain/loss complicated by the effects of aging and health issues. It seems like it resonated with a lot of you and I hope it helped you know you're not alone! Today I want to talk about my favorite tools for tracking my progress and keeping me motivated. Some of them may surprise you!

Infographic that says "Age-Health-Weight Connection: My Favorite Tools for Weight Management"

(Disclaimer: This blog post is not intended as medical advice. If you are experiencing symptoms, you should seek a professional opinion from a medical doctor. If you have medical conditions, you should consult your doctor before beginning any new diet/exercise program.)

(This post may contain affiliate links which were added to make it easier for you to find the items. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you). You are free to use the links or not - if you do, I thank you!)

iphone showing health apps like My Fitness Pal

1) My Fitness Pal app

I've used the My Fitness Pal app off and on for many years, and it's the "off" times that I've strayed from healthy eating. I believe it's extremely important to record your food intake - especially when you're just starting out. I find it easier to stay on track when I'm recording my food. It's a little nudge - a reminder - and it keeps me honest. And let's face it, if you're not recording your food, it's sometimes easy to forget something we ate. While that may not be a big deal that day, if it happens every day it can sabotage your progress. If you're not into My Fitness Pal, there are many other similar apps available. The important thing is that you record what you eat.

TIP: I use the free version and ignore the ads. You can record recipes, specific foods/meals, scan bar codes, and search the food database. You can record your goals, daily weight, and even measurements. It does everything I need it to do, so I don't feel I need the paid version (which is $9.99/month or $49.99/year).

Renpho digital scale and app

2) Daily weights - but with a weekly weight average

Scales are a controversial topic. Some people say don't weigh yourself. I say it's another tool in your healthy lifestyle arsenal and you just need to know how to use it correctly. If you're someone with insulin resistance like me, then you know how easy it is for your weight to fluctuate on a daily basis. I've actually gained as much as five pounds overnight! Consider this: If you weigh yourself every Friday and that happens to be a day when your weight has fluctuated to the "+" side, you're disappointed, discouraged, and can't figure out where you went wrong.

So here's what I do: I weigh myself daily, write it down, and then I let it go. Then at the end of the week, I add all seven weights together and divide by seven to get my average weight for that week. Once I have that number, I can subtract it from the average weight from the previous week (assuming I have lost weight), to get the number of pounds I've lost in the current week.

For example:
If my weights for the week are 155, 155, 156, 154.5, 154, 155, 154, I would add them together to get 1083.5. Then I divide 1083.5 by 7 to get 154.8 (rounding up). Next, I look at my average weight from the previous week, which is 156.1, and subtract this week's average weight (154.8) to get my weight loss for this week: 1.3 lbs. I use a minus (-) sign in front of the number when I record it on my chart to indicate a weight loss and a plus (+) sign to indicate weight gain.

If I miss weighing myself a day or two, it's no biggie. Say I only weighed myself on five days - I just add those days and divide by five for my average weight for that week.

Would you like to use my weight chart? Free printable copies of my weight chart AND my measurement chart are available in the members-only area - click here to get yours! 

TIP: You don't need a fancy scale (although you can certainly use one if you like). I think I paid about $20 for my digital scale - and I've had it for 10 years! The important thing is that you use the same scale every time so that you're getting an accurate comparison of weights. Some I like: Etekcity Digital Body Weight Bathroom ScaleInnotech® Digital Bathroom Scale, and if you want something fancier, here's one that has a rechargable battery: RENPHO Bluetooth Body Fat Smart Digital USB Rechargeable Scale (and it syncs with the FitBit app as well as Apple Fit and Google Fit). I'm actually liking the look of that last scale - it's on my "to buy" list!

yellow cloth measuring tape

3) Measuring tape

Even though I just listed the scale as one of my favorite weight management tools, weight alone isn't always the best indicator of progress. But a measuring tape (and the fit of your clothing) never lies. Do yourself a favor and grab your measurements every 2-4 weeks. If you're sticking to a healthy diet and exercise program, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at those numbers even if the numbers on the scale are so-so. At the end of my third week/beginning of my fourth week, I've lost a total of 3.5 lbs. as well as 6.75 inches.

TIP: Keep a chart so you can see your results at a glance! (I'm sharing my easy-to-use chart further down in the post!)

iphone with the FitBit app open

4) Activity tracker + app

I've had a FitBit for several years. I use it to monitor my heart rate during exercise, my steps for the day, and my sleep patterns. I have it paired with the My Fitness Pal app and my Walgreens Balance Rewards account* (which I will talk about in a minute). I started out with the FitBit Flex, then switched to the Alta HR a few years ago. I'm liking the looks of the new Inspire HR (I think it's replacing the Alta?) so I might put that on my wish list. The main reason I like these particular styles is that they're slim. I really only track my heart rate, steps, and sleep, so I don't need a fancy-schmancy one.

And yes, sleep is important, too! I have had insomnia for about a year now (thanks, menopause!), and there are occasionally nights when I can't sleep at all. I have noticed that if I have several days where I get less than seven hours of sleep, my weight loss will stall and sometimes I will even gain. So tracking my sleep gives me another indication of what might be going on with my weight. I tried NatureMade melatonin tablets but they upset my stomach. Then I took this melatonin supplement nightly (this is another one I like - it has a little less melatonin in it) and it helped tremendously. I just switched to these time-released tablets because the chewables contain carbs. So far, it's working well and I've only had to take one 1mg tablet per night.

TIP: When you pair the FitBit with My Fitness Pal, it doesn't always accurately track exercise - especially if you're using a treadmill as opposed to walking outside. It tends to track outdoor activity better because you're actually moving to a different location. When you're on the treadmill, you're walking in place, so it doesn't always think you're exercising (even though it will record your steps). So when I walk outside, I open the FitBit app on my phone, and tap on "track exercise". When I walk on the treadmill, I jot down my start time, and when I'm finished the treadmill will give me the distance and calories burned, so I open the My Fitness Pal app and tap on "exercise", then "cardio", then add my workout manually.

*Walgreens Balance® Rewards: Like many stores, Walgreens (and Duane Reade) has a reward program where you earn points for purchases (there are some exclusions). These points can be redeemed for different cash amounts off purchases (there are some exclusions). There is a section on the app that is called "Balance Rewards for healthy choices®" where you can earn more points by making healthy choices. I have my FitBit connected so it gives me points for steps/walking. You can also earn points for recording your weight, blood glucose levels, and more. For instance, I always get the max number of exercise points allowed per month (1,000), and 1,000 points is equal to $1 in rewards. We get all of our prescriptions at Walgreens, so we accumulate a good number of points. If you shop at Walgreens, this might be something you want to consider!

The Metabolism Miracle book, a notepad, weight chart, and measurement chart lying on a wooden table

5) Lists, blogs, books, and charts

Yes, this is more than one thing, but they kinda go together. I believe that one of the most important things you can do when you're implementing a healthy lifestyle is plan, plan, plan. Plan ahead for meals. Plan ahead for snacks. Plan your exercise. Make back-up plans, too! Another important thing to do is read. Read other people's stories, recipes, blogs, books - knowledge really is power!

Lists: Since Gus and I only have to meal-plan for the two of us, it's pretty easy. We usually eat the same main protein and vegetable, and then he will also have a starch (potatoes, rice, or pasta). So we sit down and make a grocery list and then shop together. I like to use a magnetic shopping pad on my fridge so we can jot down items as we think of them and then we always know where to find the list when it's time to shop. I usually pick up several when I'm at IKEA, and I've also seen them at Michael's and on Amazon.

Blogs: I like to read other blogs and several of my favorites are about low-carb, keto, or paleo recipes. I subscribe to my absolute favorites so that I don't miss anything, and then I add others to my Feedly app so they're all in one place. In the app, I can save the post, email it, or even open it in my browser if I want to print something. Some of my favorite blogs: Peace, Love and Low Carb, Joy Filled Eats, All Day I Dream About Food.

Books: I love "real" books. But we're trying to "downsize" in preparation for retirement, and I have promised to only buy books that I truly love. That means I am always taking advantage of the huge selection of digital books available from our local library. I use Libby for digital library books and Kindle for iPad for other e-books. I also have a Kindle but it's just easier to use the Kindle app on my iPad.

Most of my healthy lifestyle reading is done from that local digital library. The books are free to borrow for 3 weeks, and then if I decide I want to own a print copy, I can go to Amazon and order it. Some of my favorite books: The Metabolism Miracle, The Metabolism Miracle Cookbook, Craveable Keto. I'm thinking about purchasing Southern Keto - the recipes sound amazing!

Charts: I used to just use a notebook to record my weight and measurements, but I wanted something more specific. So I made a couple of simple Excel charts to record my daily weights and weekly averages as well as my monthly measurements. I could fill them out on my laptop, but I prefer to print them out. I do my weights and measurements in the master bathroom, so I keep the sheets up there where I can easily write the numbers on them - and I can keep them handy for motivation.

Click here to join the "Viewers" and get (free) access to the members-only free printables! I just added the charts I use to track my weekly average weight and measurements because I want you to be able to easily track your progress, too! 

pinnable image for The Age-Health-Weight Connection & My Favorite Tools for Weight Management


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