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Create healthier habits with these 8 trackers, according to a weight-loss coach

From meal planners to gratitude journals, here are some helpful ways to reach your goals.
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One of the products included is from the author's own line.

A weight-loss coach for almost 15 years, I’ve helped thousands of women lose thousands of pounds. Because as a coach, I focus on the mental side of losing weight — the emotional and spiritual sides of weight loss and reaching goals. More specifically, I focus on teaching the importance of celebrating big and small wins, building a healthier relationship with ourselves and tracking progress.

It starts with identifying the healthy habits that my clients need to create in their lives. That's step one to set-up for success. From there, I coach them on how to make these habits a daily reality. It’s one thing to say, “I want to eat more vegetables or less take out for dinner,” but it’s another thing to actually follow through on that. Same thing with making time for workouts or focusing on creating a gratitude practice.

But starting from scratch can sometimes be overwhelming when building new, healthy habits. So I have rounded up some of my favorite ways to track progress. These inexpensive yet transformative products help my clients (and also myself) stay focused, committed, excited, and successful in reaching our goals and maintaining habits. Whether you're ready to commit to a weight-loss journey, or just want to be more conscientious about your eating habits and healthy, there are easy ways to start and hold yourself accountable.

From a simple calendar to plan out your day to meal-prep organizers to a journal to help you build gratitude, below are my top habit trackers that I use with my weight-loss clients.

Best habit trackers for weight loss

Dry Erase Calendar Kit

One client — an executive working mother of three with a husband who travels half of the week for work — struggled with the daily “what do I make for dinner?" To alleviate this nightly problem, we created a weekly meal plan and I recommended this whiteboard. It sticks to the fridge, so she and her kids always knew what was for dinner and could get excited by it – looking at it each time they opened the fridge. This took the guesswork out of dinners, and kept my client on track. The menu was in her face daily, and her kids didn’t push-back because they knew the program, too.

Clever Fox Weekly Meal Planner

Planning your meals and your meal prep in advance are quick and easy ways to maintain healthy eating habits. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, as the saying goes. I personally love this meal planner because you can list out all of the ingredients you need for each meal, and then create your grocery list. (And when at the store, if it’s not on the list for your week’s meals, don’t buy it!)

This is perfect for someone who’s visual and likes things organized because the layout allows you to see the entire week and each day’s meals. As a bonus, you can also track other habits in here, like sleep or how many glasses of water you have a day.

Ez Prepa 3 Compartment Meal Prep Containers (Set of 20)

When I help clients with meal prep, I recommend that they get these washable containers and fill the slots with a protein plus a vegetable and a carb or a second vegetable. These are great to stack in the fridge to keep your meals organized and to look visually enticing - like a takeout meal! Plus, they're easy to just grab and take to work.

Intelligent Change: The Five Minute Journal

With over 10,000 reviews on Amazon, I first bought this journal four years ago. Committing to a five-minute journaling practice was a feat for me as a non-journaler, but this one has prompts, which kept me coming back each day. I dated each entry, so I could clearly track when I skipped a day (or a week). But I kept it on my bedside table and used it to cultivate more gratitude in my life — which is a necessity when working toward losing weight, I think.

This is something I work with my private weight loss clients on because what we focus on grows. When we focus on being thankful for our bodies, for being able to move, for having food readily available, and for our lives in general, that positivity radiates into other areas of our lives. When we thank ourselves for doing a workout or making a healthy salad, that gratitude for ourselves keeps us coming back for more.

Apple Watch Series 7

Many of my clients have Apple Watches and love the tracking ability and how the watch is synced perfectly with their phone. I think the Apple Watch is a great fitness tracker because not only can you track your workouts, heart rate, sleep, and get reminders, but also you can answer calls or decline calls during your workout — you don't have to stop and check your phone.

Mark-My-Time Digital Bookmark

I know you may be asking, “What does reading have to do with weight loss?!” But stick with me here. Reading has to do with sleep, which of course has to do with weight loss. If you are constantly tired, struggle with thyroid or autoimmune issues, or have elevated cortisol levels and stress, ensuring that you get at least 7 hours of sleep a night is critical to your body’s ability to release fat. One of the biggest culprits prohibiting my clients from going to sleep at a reasonable hour is being on their email and phones instead of winding down in bed at night. So I encourage my clients to get into the habit of reading – just 5 minutes a night – so they train their brains to unwind and detach from work.

This reading tracker doubles as a bookmark, so you can track your time and your pages. After a week one of my clients could not stop raving about this bookmark and bought one for all of her friends!

In The Moment Mindful Eating App

One of my clients actually quit smoking by identifying and tracking her emotions. This app is designed to help with emotional eating, but I used it with my smoking client to help her stop and assess what she was feeling and why she felt compelled to smoke. Similar to smoking, emotional eating can be an addiction. When we feel a certain way, we turn to food. Creating positive habits to help with weight loss, like being in tune with our feelings and when we are acting out of emotion instead of hunger or other needs, is key to making sustainable and long-term healthy habits.

Step It Up with Steph Positive Mindset App

This item is from the author's own product line.

Thanks to those who are part of the Today Show workout group on Facebook (Start Today) I was inspired to create an app focused on short workouts, positive affirmations, and mindset challenges to help women create better habits.

My daily 60-120 second challenges include breathing exercises, motivational talks, workouts, and positive self-talk that can be done with me each day within the app. And the app tracks your streaks, which just leads to more motivation to get moving toward your goals every day.

Stephanie Mansour is a health & fitness expert and weight-loss coach for women. Stephanie is a certified personal trainer, Yoga instructor, Pilates instructor, professional life coach, and has her BA in Communications with an emphasis on Women's Studies and Psychology from the University of Michigan.

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