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Here are the tools that help me maintain my 90-pound weight loss

From the kitchen to my closet, these items have made my journey more manageable and enjoyable.
Illustration of woman wearing a Fitbit and someone taking food out of an Instant Pot
Courtesy Fitbit / Instant Pot
/ Source: TODAY

Weight loss surgery changed my life. In 12 months, I've gone from 240 pounds to 150 pounds — and I'm never going back. It's not just because I love how I look in a pair of skinny jeans, it's because of how I feel. At 41 years old, I'm mentally and physically stronger and healthier then I've ever been. Here are the tools that have made my journey more manageable, and even enjoyable.

1. Hawthorne Athletic High-Waist Legging

The saying “dress for success” doesn’t just apply to the office. A 2018 survey of 2,000 gym goers showed that 69% felt more motivated to workout when they were excited about their outfit. I’ve found that to be true, too. A friend who teaches barre in San Francisco turned me on to Hawthorn high-waist yoga pants. “All the instructors are wearing them!” she told me. As soon as I put them on, I understood why. Made from a buttery soft, sweat-wicking fabric these tights have a barely-there feel and give the perfect amount of slimming compression. I'm 5-foot-3 and they hit right about the ankle.

Many Amazon reviewers swear they're the best Lululemon dupes on the market. As one customer wrote, "They are stretchy and comfortable, buttery soft, matte and not slick, 8/10 squat-proof, they fit exactly like the Align, offer a bit of compression, and the material blend is closest to the Aligns. This company is brilliant."

When I can splurge, I love textured, butt-sculpting leggings from Boston-based brand Booty by Brabants. The one-size-fits-most, high-waisted activewear squeezes in just the right areas, creating an hourglass shape.

2. Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer

Air fryers, despite their name, do not really fry anything. They are essentially little convection ovens. Super-hot air circulates, cooks and crisps up your food with little to no oil involved. I use my air fryer for everything from miso glazed salmon to Trader Joe's cauliflower gnocchi. I’ve also found that my daughters — ages 3 and 5 —are happy to gobble up vegetables that are tender in the middle and crunchy on the outside. If you're just getting started, check out "The Skinnytaste Air Fryer Cookbook" by food blogger Gina Homolka. She also regularly shares free recipes on her website.

3. Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

Believe the hype! The Instant Pot does the job of seven kitchen appliances in one device: pressure cooker, slow cooker, sauté pot, rice cooker, steamer, warmer and yogurt maker — and it slashes cooking time by 70%. Each week I try a new recipe by Brittany Williams, who used her IP to start eating healthier and lost a whopping 125 pounds!

4. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 Running Shoes

I love running because all you need are a pair of sneakers and the ground beneath your feet. Right now I'm obsessed with my pink "Pegs.” The cushioning isn’t too squishy or too firm and the laces stay laced. I have wide feet and haven't had any issues with rubbing.

5. ICEWATER 3-in-1 Smart Stainless Steel Water Bottle

To meet my H20 goals — 8 glasses a day — I rely on my 20-ounce stainless steel water bottle that glows every hour to alert me when it’s time to drink. It’s BPA-free and features a Bluetooth speaker that rivals a small stereo. My kids love blasting music when we go on family hikes.

6. Go Better Keto Cups

I don't follow a keto diet, but when I'm hankering for something sweet, Go Better Keto Cups are my go-to. The decadent dark chocolate almond butter cups are my favorite with only 1 net gram of carbs and 140 calories for three pieces! It also comes in hazelnut butter and coconut flavors. If you love a salty-sweet confection, try the brand's milk chocolate bark with salted almonds. All candies are naturally sweetened with allulose and monk fruit.

7. Wacoal Women's Underwire Sport Bra

I used to avoid running outside and taking group exercise classes because I was self-conscious about my D-cups bouncing around. Thanks to Wacoal's game-changer, the only thing I'm focused on is crushing fitness goals. It features a hook-and-eye back closure, thick adjustable shoulder straps and offers the support and separation of a regular bra. It's also available in sizes up to an H cup.

8. Fitbit Inspire 2

I wasn't sure I would like wearing an activity tracker so I started with Fitbit's budget-friendly model. It tabulates steps, distance and calories burned throughout the day and monitors your sleep cycle. There's no built-in GPS, so you have to take your phone with you to calculate outdoor runs. Turns out I love wearing an activity tracker — but I'm so happy with the Inspire 2, that I have no desire to upgrade.

9. Escali Primo Precision Kitchen Food Scale

My new stomach can only hold 4 ounces of food at at a time. The Escali Primo digital food scale takes the guesswork out of portion sizes and measurements so I never have to worry about accidentally overindulging. One Amazon reviewer described the gadget as “consistent and accurate,” while another raved, “It’s easy to read, which is a big deal.”

10. SimpleHouseware Reusable Meal Prep Container Boxes

When I don't prepare lunches in advance, I find myself in the kitchen with my hand in a bag of chips. So every Sunday, I prep a week's worth of nutritious meals and store them in colorful BPA-free containers. These are microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe and I've never had an issue with leaking.

11. Premier Protein Shakes

Each 160 calorie Premier Protein meal replacement shake contains 30g protein, 5g carbs and just 1g sugar in a single serving — and they're just 2 points on WW. I take a bottle with me everywhere so I never find myself at a fast food window and use it in my coffee in lieu of milk. Choose from 10 flavors including vanilla, chocolate, caramel and pumpkin spice.

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