Recommended books and tools
Book #1 – The Fitness Chef: Eat What You Like and Lose Weight for Life
If you follow ‘The Fitness Chef’ on instagram (well worth doing), you’ll know his page is all about infographics. Quick and genuinely interesting visuals about nutrition, that stop you in your tracks and make you think ‘No, really?!
The book is full of similar infographics, along with more useful info, which makes it an easy and enjoyable flick through. It’s brilliantly curated help you understand nutrition and weight loss, and improve your relationship with food.
If you’ve been confused by all the information and numerous diets out there, this will help you cut through the noise to understand what really works and why.
You can’t help but gain knowledge and a sense of empowerment from reading this book. I’d also highly recommend following the author on Instagram – @thefitnesschef_
Book #2 – Not a Diet Book (James Smith)
This is an entertaining and no-nonsense guide to the actually useful information you need, to achieve your health and fitness goals.
James Smith teaches you about nutrition, calories, what matters for successful weight loss, and how to keep it simple.
If you’ve ever wondered about fad diets – if they work, how they work, whether you should try them – you’ll find out why they don’t work (and why you probably shouldn’t try them) here.
He also dives into about two other crucial pillars to success – habits and mindset.
Book #3 – Chasing Cupcakes (Elizabeth Benton)
I am yet to find a better book than this one when it comes to weight loss and the power of your thoughts.
Author Elizabeth Benton describes how she used to think, feel and act when she was over 150lbs heavier, and how she has since transformed her body and life by changing her mindset.
It’s filled with observations and relatable stories that will make you say ‘that’s me!’.
And better still, it will help you change those patterns in simple doable ways.
If you know what to do, but find it really hard to keep doing it and are prone to self sabotage, you need to get this book.
Be prepared to do the work and answer the questions at the end of each chapter, and you could find the key that finally ends your weight loss struggle.
Book #4 – Everything is Figureoutable (Marie Forleo)
This book will empower you to face your fears, bust through challenges and achieve your goals in life.
Marie Forleo teaches highly impactful tools to help you develop an ‘I can figure this out’ mindset, and stop holding yourself back.
There are chapters on belief, fear, defining your dream, progress not perfection, refusing to be refused, the secret to lasting success, and more.
And every single one provides wisdom and powerful questions to help shift your mindset.
It’s noticeably helped a number of my clients, and it could really help you too.
Book #5 – Atomic Habits (James Clear)
If you want to be successful with your health, fitness or weight loss goals, you need to establish good habits. And you wont find a better book to teach you how to build them than this one.
Author James Clear breaks things down in a straightforward and actionable way. He also includes plenty of stories, anecdotes and examples to help you apply the principles to whatever you want to achieve.
Understanding current habits, and knowing how to create better ones, is the missing ingredient for so many people on their weight loss journey.
Willpower might get you started. But as you probably know, it quickly fades. And if you don’t have sustainable habits to keep you going, you’re likely to keep returning to square one.
Atomic Habits will change that for you. It’s a practical and easy-to-use guide to improving your life.
Book #6 – The Joy of Half a Cookie (Jean Kristeller)
Do you struggle with seeing foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’, and feeling guilty when you eat the ‘bad’ ones?
If so, this book is for you.
The Joy of Half a Cookie teaches you how to lose weight while ditching willpower, guilt, restriction and cravings, and loving every bite.
There are exercises throughout the book teaching you the powerful practice of mindful eating.
Included in this is giving yourself permission to eat anything you want, understanding your body’s hunger signals, and stopping at a point where you feel satisfied and in control.
The ultimate goal is to gain freedom around food. Losing weight in a healthy sustainable way, and fully enjoying what you eat.
Book #7 – Menopocalypse (Amanda Thebe)
Whether or not weight loss is your goal, if you’re going through menopause (or know someone who is), I highly recommend this book.
Author Amanda Thebe covers everything you can think of, and in an entertaining, occasionally sweary kind of way.
Topics discussed include: symptoms, what to focus on, hormone therapy, up to date research, weight loss, food, mindfulness, stress, sleep, movement and more.
It also has 12 weeks of strength training plans, which is brilliant. There are so many benefits to keeping your body strong through menopause and beyond.
Having read a fair amount of books on menopause, I can safely say this one is the best I’ve read.
Resistance bands set
This is a great bit of kit for doing resistance training in the comfort of your own home.
Good value (around £16 – £28 depending on offers), takes up minimal space, and gives a wide variety of exercises you can do.
If you go for a set containing a door anchor (like the one in the image), it means you can do pulldowns and other exercises with the band attached high up. This gives you a lot more options, along with the ability to work muscles that are otherwise hard to reach.
And because the set provides different level resistance bands, it allow you to build strength over time.
Mindfulness stress balls
A (literally) handy tool for relieving stress.
When it comes to weight loss, emotional eating is common problem. Often, we respond to stress or anxiety by using our hands to mindlessly graze on snacks.
Because the ball gives your hands something to do, it can enable you to relieve tension without reaching for food.
A few minutes squeezing the ball gives you the time to become present and process your thoughts. And that can help you find calm and improve your mood.
If you’re working from home, a ball on your desk could be the visual prompt you need to practise mindfulness, positivity or gratitude. The ones in the photo also release a pleasant aroma when squeezed.
Inspire Now Journal
This is a motivating journal to help you get things done.
In the first section you are encouraged to set goals in different areas of life. Then you refine them into short term actionable steps.
The rest of the journal is broken down into pages to plan each day. There are spaces to prioritise your most important tasks, and daily prompts to ensure you take time for your health, wellness and self-development.
At the end of each undated week is a check in to reflect on the progress you’ve made. And then you have space to create a plan for the next 7 days. Each page offers an inspirational quote to keep you motivated, and there are tracking pages for monitoring habits, fitness, finances and more.
I was given an Inspire Now Journal as a gift, and am now onto my third one. Highly recommend it.
Gym log book
For best results at the gym, you need to be keeping track of your workouts, and aiming to get stronger over time. This little log book helps you do that.
Each page is set out to record the session you do – each exercise, the sets and reps, and any cardio.
By using this book, you can refer back to your previous workout and aim to beat it by doing more reps or increasing the weight.
It’s a great tool to help you see improvements and keep making progress.
If you don’t have the time or inclination to go out and get your steps in during winter, this little home stepper is a very handy tool.
I personally have one of these myself, tucked away in a corner.
When it’s cold and wet outside, it’s wonderful to stay indoors and use the stepper in short bursts throughout the day. Or you could put something on TV, and merrily step away while watching.
Is there anything better than increasing your step count while watching TV?
I don’t think so.
Bento Box 3 compartment lunch box
Here is a list of reasons that make this lunch box a great buy:
It’s made of food-grade PP material, BPA-free, non-toxic. and corrosion resistant.
If you’re prone to dropping things (like me) it’s also drop-resistance.
The food containers are hermetically sealed to prevent food leakage. And there is a handy space for cutlery.
Finally – modern day convenience win – it’s suitable for the microwave and the dishwasher.
An excellent piece of home training kit.
Kettlebells are versatile, takes up minimal space, and there are lots of fun things you can do with them. They also work out cheaper than buying dumbbells of similar weight.
For ideas on what to do with them, check out my Instagram posts HERE and HERE.
The image link takes you to an 8kg kettlebell on amazon.
Generally, anything 6-10kg gives you a good variety of exercises you can do.
As you go heavier, into the 12-20kg range, your options are reduced. But the effect of the exercises you can do is powerful because the weight is heavy.
So really, there isn’t a perfect weight, and anything from 6kg is up is good to go for.
If you can get 2 or 3 different weights so you have a full spectrum of exercises you can do (say 8, 12 and 16kg) – amazing.
Foam rollers are a form of self massage (or self torture, some would say).
Basically, if you have stiff tight muscles, the foam roller will highlight this for you.
And while rolling on those muscles can be uncomfortable, it temporarily loosens them up. Then, to get the full benefit, do some mobility work after. This gives you the chance to improve flexibility while the muscles are able to stretch more.
As you can see from the little picture in the graphic, a roller is also great to lie on and open out your back, chest and shoulders after a day at your desk.
Grenade bar selection box
Grenade carb killas are right up there with the tastiest bars in protein bar world.
They are basically like a chocolate bar – similar calories and taste, but with around 20g of protein and a lot less sugar.
As a result, snacking on one of these boosts your protein intake and can help you stay fuller for longer.
There are many delicious flavours to choose from – my personal favourites are white chocolate cookie, chocolate chip salted caramel, and chocolate chip cookie dough. So good.
A selection box makes an excellent gift to yourself or any other fitness enthusiast.