Resources


These are some helpful resources (items/media/apps/groups/etc) that I've used throughout my journey. Since I started losing weight in 2009, the list itself is outdated (meaning that I no longer use some of the resources--like Weight Watchers, for example). However, since these are all things that I used and I felt were helpful to me, I'm going to list them all... and hopefully someone else will find them helpful, too!



Weight Loss:

Brain Over Binge (book) - I highly recommend this book if you are struggling with binge eating.

How to Have Your Cake and Skinny Jeans Too (book) - A fantastic book for anyone with binge eating disorder. I recommend this book as well as Brain Over Binge.

SparkPeople (website) - When I first started losing weight, I discovered SparkPeople and I loved to browse through the success stories. Instead of snacking in front of the TV at night, I started reading the success stories to pass time. It was very motivating!

Weight Watchers (materials and/or meetings) - I used the Weight Watchers program when I started my weight loss journey. I didn't attend meetings, but I used the materials I had gotten from when I joined previously. That was the very old WW program. Here are my thoughts on the new Weight Watchers SmartPoints plan.

My Fitness Pal (app) - This is the calorie counting app I liked the most when I was counting calories. However, once they integrated ads into the middle of the app, it took forever to update my food log (the ads had to reload each time I added an item). So, I switched over to Fat Secret, which I liked a lot.

Fat Secret (app) - Another calorie counting app. Loved this one!

Happy Scale (app) - This is a great weight tracker! It is motivating to see the predicted weight loss based on your previous weigh-ins.

Momentum (app) - This app is a habit tracker that is a quick way to keep track of your goals.

Pinterest (website) - I browsed Pinterest frequently to look for new recipes. Pinterest can also be a dangerous app because it does trigger binge thoughts for me. If you can't handle seeing pictures of all sorts of good looking food, then I'd recommend not to browse Pinterest.

David's Tea - I got into drinking tea at night when I wanted to snack, and there is nothing better than David's! They have fantastic dessert teas (like Red Velvet Cake!) and they were very helpful when I had sweet cravings.

Half Size Me (podcast) - This is great for motivation! I love listening to the stories from people who have been successful at weight loss. (I've been interviewed for the podcast twice--once about my weight loss, and another about the From Fat to Finish Line documentary.)


Running:

Garmin Connect (app for those with a Garmin watch) - Garmin Connect is a great tool for those who are working to improve their running (or walking). The app gives you all the feedback that the watch does, but in a neat and organized way. You can view your data from ages ago, as well as connect with family/friends/strangers for support. Too many uses to list!

Footpath (app) - This is the best app I've found for creating routes to run/walk/bike/hike. It's not tedious (you can just swipe a quick, sloppy circle of your neighborhood, and it will snap your path to the roads or trails). Love this app!

Connect Stats (app) - Another app that shows your running stats (like Garmin Connect) but it also shows lots of extra data as well. I like having both!

McMillan Running Calculator (website) - This is a calculator that, when you enter your recent race data, will give you the paces that you should train at in order to meet your next goal.

McRun (app) - The same thing as the above website, only in app form.

Hal Higdon's running plans (website) - Hal Higdon has some great free running (and even walking) plans. I used his half-marathon plan to walk my first half when I was still 250+ pounds. I have since written one (for walkers) that I think is better--haha, don't tell Hal that!--which you can find here if you'd like to compare: Runs for Cookies "Walk Your First Half-Marathon" plan.

RunningAHEAD (website) - This is a site that is slightly outdated compared to the Garmin Connect app, and I used it more toward the beginning of my running journey. However, it does a great job of showing reports of your stats over a long period of time. You can also log other exercises into it.

Another Mother Runner (podcast) - A very fun podcast to listen to while you run! (I was also interviewed on it, which you can find here: Runs for Cookies on Another Mother Runner).

DC Rainmaker (website) - If I want to buy a sports-related tech item (like a new Garmin!) THIS is the guy who will help me make my decision. He buys and reviews just about every new gadget. His reviews are SO in depth that he answers any question I could possibly have.

Runner's World (magazine) - After I got hooked on running in 2010, I subscribed to Runner's World magazine. It is a GREAT resource, especially for beginners! I learned enough about running that it inspired me to become a certified running coach. Imagine how exciting it was for me, then, to actually be featured in my favorite magazine! (Runs for Cookies in Runner's World magazine.)


Other Fitness:

Fitbit (app) - I'm sure if you're reading this, you've heard of Fitbit. It's a very popular fitness tracker. I have the cheapest model (the Fitbit Zip) and I have no use for any of the more expensive ones. I like that it's not worn on the wrist, so it's more accurate at step counting; also, it's discreet. Anyway, the app for Fitbit is great in that you can connect with other users and even have challenges with people (co-workers, for example) to see who can rack up the most steps in a day.

Wii Fit (for the Wii console) - This is such a fun way to exercise! There are dozens of games and exercises you can do--from body weight exercises like push-ups to downhill "skiing" to hula hooping. If you want to exercise without feeling bored, this is perfect!

Wii Active (for the Wii console) - This is a more "serious" exercise game for the Wii, but it got me moving regularly. I did the 30-Day Challenge and my goal was to complete the whole thing. It's a great start for strength training if you'd like to get in the habit of doing that.

Aqua Jogger - A foam belt that allows you to "run" in the deep end of a pool. It's fantastic exercise for those who can't run on land or for those who are injured. Or even just to change things up! I wrote a post about it here: Deep Water Running (a.k.a. Aqua Jogging)


Mental Health/Illness:

Daylio (app) - This app was very useful when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and I wished I'd discovered it sooner. Daylio is a mood tracker/journal that allows you to keep track of your moods however often you'd like. I use is 3-4 times a day to check in and just write a quick sentence about what's going on. You select an emoji to represent how you're feeling, and over time, you can watch for patterns. When I first started my bipolar meds, I watched as my average mood climbed day by day until I was out of depression completely.

Round (app) - This is a medication reminder/tracker. Once I started on new, regular, medication, I knew I'd need to keep track of it. I didn't want to forget a dose (that can be a little dangerous with bipolar!) and I didn't want to accidentally take something twice. I tried several apps for this, but Round was my favorite by far.

Brain Over Binge (book) - I listed this in mental health, as well as the weight loss resources, because it describes quite a bit about how your brain works. In particular, I learned how to change/break/create habits with the power of my mind. Also, I think binge eating is as much mental as it is physical. Once I got the proper diagnosis (bipolar), and started taking the correct medication my mental illness, I stopped binge eating.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline (phone or text) - In my deepest depression, suicide crossed my mind more times than I'd like to admit. Depression is a monster, and I empathize with anyone who suffers with it. If you are having suicidal thoughts, this link will take you to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline site, where you can find lots of help.

Find a Psychiatrist (website) - Getting in to see the psychiatrist in 2017 was literally a life saver for me! It took forever to get an appointment; but once I did, I felt like someone would finally help me get out of the depression I was in.

Talk Therapy (find a therapist) - For my entire life, I'd wondered what it was that caused me to have mental illness. I wasn't abused or neglected as a kid, never had an abusive relationship, or anything that I felt was a trigger for binge eating disorder or depression (later discovering I have bipolar disorder, and not major depression as I'd thought). But, after months of talk therapy, I finally discovered what it was--and it changed my life completely! I adore my therapist, and it's important to find a therapist that you are comfortable with. If you're not comfortable with them, you won't make any progress. The first therapist I saw was nothing at all like what I needed, so I found a new one. It's like dating--you need to go on several first dates until you find someone you really like.

American Psychiatric Association - Lots on information about mental illness; a great resource for patients and their families. From the Q&A's to articles to patient stories, you will learn a ton about mental illnesses.

Reddit for Bipolar as well as Depression (website and app) - When I was diagnosed with bipolar, I felt very alone. I only knew one other person with bipolar disorder, and I was embarrassed about my diagnosis--I knew people would judge me for it. Reading from others with the disorder made me feel more "normal", because there were so many other people out there who understood me. It helped me tremendously!

Pinterest - This is such an odd resource for mental health/illness, but it was wonderful after my diagnosis. As I said above, I was embarrassed and felt like I was alone. I searched for bipolar memes on a whim one day, and I laughed so hard at some of them. It was like someone was inside my head, writing out random thoughts of mine and putting them on a meme. It was these bipolar memes and anxiety memes on Pinterest that got me to accept (and even embrace) my diagnosis.


Other:

1SecondEveryday (app) - I adore this app! The concept is basically like creating a calendar of one-second video clips of your life. I take a video every day and upload a 1-second clip (or 1.5 seconds). It is saved in what looks like a calendar. Then, all of the clips are stitched together in a video--a week, or a month, or even a year. I think a very cool idea for this app while losing weight would be to take a video of oneself every day and at the end of a year, you'll see a huge weight loss transformation in a short video!