Throughout my 235-pound weight loss, many tools contributed to my success. Tools that directly impacted my weight loss are starting an exercise routine, eliminating soda and sleeping better. The unsung heroes of my success are the tools that indirectly impacted my weight loss. These are tools like support from family and friends, meditating and the Living Well Planner. The Living Well Planner was created by Ruth Soukup of Living Well, Spending Less. I’ve been a Living Well Planner user for two years, and it’s honestly the best planner I’ve ever had. Not only does it organize my schedule, but also my finances, goals, meals and to-do list. I thought I should do a Living Well Planner review because it’s so vital to my life and weight loss success. The Living Well Planner can help your bariatric surgery journey by organizing your appointments, setting goals and managing your stress.
The Need for a Planner
If you’re not a planner person like I am, then you may be wondering why you need a planner. Tell me if any of these situations sound familiar to you:
- You come home from the grocery store and forgot that one thing you really needed
- You get a call from your son’s dentist because you missed their appointment
- It’s 4 p.m. on a Wednesday, and you still don’t have anything planned for dinner
- You forgot to schedule the payment for the electric bill, and you received a shut-off notice in the mail
- You are too busy taking care of other people that you don’t have time to focus on your own goals and dreams
If you can resonate with at least one of these situations (or if you’re anything like I was, all of them!), then you definitely need a planner.
You see, a planner is more than just organizing your schedule and writing down appointments. It’s writing down reminders to look at each day. I know that if I don’t write down my due dates for bills or schedule time for myself, that I will easily forget about them and never get a chance to work on my big goals and dreams.
Life gets so busy. Between work, kids, a home to run, family and taking care of yourself, it’s hard to make time for the things that matter. Having a planner, and specifically, the Living Well Planner, allows you to manage all of those schedules, reminders and goals. You can live each day with purpose. In this Living Well Planner review, I’ll explain how to use the planner to help your weight loss. If you’re also going through the bariatric surgery process, you have a lot of doctor appointments, clearances and tests to complete. It’s hard to remember them all. Having a planner allows you to write them down so you don’t forget.
Experience the Difference
When deciding what to write in my Living Well Planner review, I decided I wanted to tell you about what makes the Living Well Planner different than every other planner I’ve ever used. These key differences are the secrets that make this planner the best one I’ve ever had. For example, the Living Well planner doesn’t just organize my schedule, but it also organizes my goals. At the beginning of the year, I get to set yearly goals. There is something really exciting about shaping the structure of your year by setting goals. There is a page at the beginning of the book for you to set these goals. They are broken down into different sections, too:
- Top Three Yearly Goals
- Personal Growth
- Fun and Recreation
- Health and Fitness
- Home Improvement
On this page, you also get to set your yearly motto statement. There is something magical that happens when you write down your goals and set a tone for your year with a motto statement. It gives you motivation and encouragement to take the steps to achieve those goals. I use these sections to set both personal goals and professional goals for my business. I love being able to organize my life all in one place.
The Living Well Planner doesn’t just stop at yearly goals. Each month you get to set monthly goals using the same format. So you take your big yearly goal and break it into smaller, manageable goals. Each month then, you work towards those smaller goals. You can continue to break it down into weekly and daily goals too, by using Ruth’s Weekly Wizard Sheets and Daily Do It Sheets. These sheets allow you to take the small steps necessary to achieve your big, scary goals.
Also, each month has two pages that allow you to crush your goals even further. You can pick one of your goals to do a CRUSH IT breakdown. The CRUSH IT formula is one that Ruth created to take the steps necessary to crush your goals and achieve what you thought was impossible. There’s also a monthly project planning sheet to help you write down the details of any projects that month. I use both sheets monthly to keep track of my goals and accomplish any projects I have due that month. It’s helped me stay focused on my weight loss and fitness goals by making plans each month to tackle a certain area of my health.
In addition to the yearly and monthly goal-setting sheets, there are also monthly budget sheets. To be honest, I only started using these budget sheets in the last two months before writing this Living Well Planner review. I thought I had a good system for tracking my budget, and these pages seemed daunting to me for some reason. However, at the end of August 2019, I was praying about my finances, and I asked God to direct them. That night I was writing in my planner and came to the budget pages. I felt like God was telling me to utilize them to help better track my budget. I am so glad I did! In the last two months, not only have I been able to stick to my budget, but I also tithed to my church and paid off a chunk of debt.
These budgeting sheets allow you to account for different aspects of your life, from charitable giving and tithing to savings for gifts, education and medical expenses. I love the flexibility and being able to customize the different budget categories. Somehow, each month my expenses have been projected to be more than my income. Yet, all of my bills have been paid, I’ve been able to put money into my sinking funds and pay off some debt. I know that God is working to direct my finances, but I can’t help but be appreciative to Ruth for having these budget pages to help organize my money better.
There’s also a page to track expenses and money goals. Instead, I use that section to track my income from different sources, and then my expenses are tracked on the budget page. Being able to organize my money with God’s guidance has relieved so much stress from my shoulders. It’s been life-changing these past two months.
I am a big proponent of meal prep, especially if you’re a bariatric patient. Since we can only eat a small amount, it’s hard to cook in small quantities. Instead, if you make a big batch of something over the weekend, you can divide it into individual servings for the week. There is space in the Living Well Planner for you to plan your meal prep. I eat the same breakfast and lunch each day during the week, so I don’t need to plan that out. However, sometimes my dinner plans vary. I love writing that at the bottom of my weekly pages.
You could also use this square to track your water intake or steps for the day. Sometimes if I’m eating the same thing all week, I will use this space for that purpose. I’ve also used this square to write down my gratitude for the day, or extra spaces for my to-do list. You can use this planner however you’d like and for whatever purposes. It’s one of the great things I love about it!
The Pros of the Living Well Planner
What’s a good Living Well Planner review without a complete list of pros and cons? There are so many aspects of this planner that I love beyond what I mentioned above. For example, this planner is bright and cheerful, which makes it motivating to use. If you have trouble using a planner consistently, then the bright colors and cheerful theme may be just the thing to keep you motivated to use one.
I love that it’s completely customized. It’s undated, so you can start in January as I do, or in August if you’re a teacher and need a school planner. Or be a rebel and start in April. Whatever works best for you. The planner has a Monday start, which took me some time to get used to it. Now, the monthly calendars can either have a Monday or Sunday start, but the weekly planners start on a Monday. It took me a few weeks to get used to the Monday start, but I love it now. I love having the two weekend days next to each other.
There is a page at the end of each month for Thoughts and Thanks. I like to use these pages as my gratitude journal. This way, each month when I go to set my new goals and review the past month’s goals, I can see all the exciting things that have happened. It’s great to appreciate how much you’ve accomplished and the positive things that happen to you. When life is crazy and you feel buried in hard times, it’s easy to get lost in negativity. The Living Well Planner allows you to focus on the positive so that you can appreciate where you are.
So maybe I’m still a little kid at heart, and I just love stickers. The Living Well Planner comes with stickers that fit into the planner perfectly. There’s motivating quotes, icons for scheduling and common tasks like cleaning, doctor’s appointments, anniversaries and birthdays. It just adds extra cheerfulness and brightness to the planner.
Crushing it Boot Camp
When you purchase the Living Well Planner, you also get FREE access to Ruth’s exclusive Crushing it Boot Camp, which is a 10-day email series to show you how to set up and use your planner properly. She has a whole host of resources for her planner users, making the price tag well worth it! This boot camp will not only show you how to set up the logistics of the planner but also will help encourage you to go after your big dreams. This email series is a great bonus, and I felt obliged to tell you about it in this Living Well Planner review.
Other Pros to the Living Well Planner
Some other items I really love about the Living Well Planner are:
- Yearly and monthly goal setting
- Yearly and monthly goal planning
- Meal planning
- Monthly budgeting
- Hourly time slots for scheduling my days
- Encouraging quotes throughout
- A blank slate full of possibilities
- Cleaning schedule
- Monthly calendars
In case you can’t tell, I’m a Ruth Soukup superfan, and I love this planner. It’s made a huge difference in my life and weight loss, and I will continue to buy these planners as long as she sells them. This difference is one of the reasons I’m writing a Living Well Planner review. This planner is that powerful.
Cons to the Living Well Planner
A Living Well Planner review, or any review for that matter, wouldn’t be complete without telling you about the things I would change. While I love this planner and would shout it from the mountain-tops, there are some little changes I wish it would have.
Quarterly Goal Setting
Something I recently started doing was quarterly goal setting. I have such big dreams and goals, that breaking it down from yearly goals to monthly goals seemed like a bit of a stretch. Now, I started quarterly goal setting as well, so that I know what areas I’m focusing on for the next three months. It allows me to have another step in my goal setting progress and to see the bigger picture a little better. I wish the planner had a page for quarterly goal-setting. It doesn’t, so for now, I just type up my quarterly goals and hang them on the wall above my desk.
I’m a list maker by default. I make lists for just about everything I do. I love the satisfaction of crossing items off my to-do list. Each day only has room for three to-do items, and it’s pretty small. I always find I need more space to write my to-do list and more bullet points. As I mentioned earlier, sometimes I use the meal prep space to continue my to-do list. I also like to write my grocery list in the column on the right side of the spread. It’s a convenient spot for it.
As we continue to make improvements in our lives, many times we want to start to develop habits. A great way to do this is to write down the habit and then check-mark a box on the days you did it. I wish the Living Well Planner had a place for habit checklists. You could re-purpose some of the pages in there for this task, but it would be nice if each month had a habit tracker. P.S. I’ll send you a free habit tracker when you sign up for my mailing list! Click here to get it! It’s your free gift in two days! I wanted to include this information in my Living Well Planner review because I can provide you with help creating and sticking to habits, but to get it, you have to join my email list!
This planner is so comprehensive, it’s easy to get lost in it. I would love a bookmark that I could place into the current week and remove it when I move onto the next week. Currently, I’m using a bookmark I made out of cardboard, computer paper and a laminator. I had to measure and cut each spot for a ring. After nearly a year of use, it’s getting worn out. I would love it if Ruth would sell a plastic bookmark to use instead of my homemade one.
Using the Living Well Planner for Weight Loss
I’ve explained all of the things I love about this planner in my Living Well Planner review, as well as the changes I’d like to see. This planner organizes your whole life, and I mean your WHOLE life, including your bariatric journey. Let’s take a quick look at how you can use it to help with your bariatric surgery journey.
The Living Well Planner is great for meal planning. As I mentioned earlier, there are spaces for you to write your meal plan each day. Also, you can use the side space on the weekly planning pages for your grocery list. This way, when you run out of something, you can write it down on this list right away and not forget it when you go to the grocery store. You could also use these spaces to track your protein totals or cups of water throughout the day. Also, schedule an hour or two each week for meal prep to get you ready for the week ahead. It will make your life so much easier!
The best way for you to fit exercise into your busy schedule is to schedule it like you would a doctor’s appointment. When I do my weekly planning, I first fill in any appointments I may have – doctor, dentist, chiropractor, hair cut, etc… Next, I fill in my work schedule, which is luckily the same every day. Then I look to see which days I don’t have appointments and can hit the gym. I aim for a minimum of three days and a maximum of five days. It depends on what I have going on that week. Then I schedule two hours for the gym on the days I am going to work out. I now treat those gym hours as I would a doctor appointment, and don’t miss them unless there’s an extraordinary circumstance. It’s a great way to start and stick to an exercise routine.
I find the Living Well Planner helps me manage my stress better. When I can have everything listed in one place for me to see at a glance, it’s easier for me to understand what all needs to be done. I can write down my bill reminders and check them off when the bill is paid. Writing down my gratitude each day allows me to reflect on the positive things happening in my life. I also get to plan my food and exercise, which eliminates some of the guesswork in the middle of the week. I also schedule times for self-care, like meditation, or sometimes whole nights of just taking care of myself. You need this time to cope with all the changes in your life. The Living Well Planner helps me manage my stress by giving me the space to record the information I need.
Sleep plays a vital role in weight loss. When we are well-rested, our bodies work more efficiently. Being well-rested also keeps our motivation muscle strong. The Living Well Planner helps with sleep in two ways. First, I can schedule my bedtime and wake up time in the planner. This may seem silly at first, but trust me, when you’re schedule is hectic, it makes a huge difference. Second, anytime I have something racing in my head that I need to do, I write down in my planner. Writing down this information allows me to sleep and not focus on that one thing and keep me awake.
Final Thoughts on the Living Well Planner
In my Living Well Planner review, I told you why a planner is so important. It’s easy to forget something when you’re juggling a job, home, kids and bariatric surgery. You need a life organizer, and the Living Well Planner does just that. It brings together your finances, meal prep and goal setting in a bright, cheery place. While there are a few changes I’d like to see, the Living Well Planner organizes my food, exercise, stress and sleep schedule. These are the four keys to success with bariatric surgery. It’s definitely worth the price. By having a plan and writing it down in the Living Well Planner, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Don’t forget – the Living Well Planner is on sale, but only until November 10, 2019! Click here to get $10 off your planner. Quantities are limited, so act fast!
If this article gave you some great ideas to incorporate into your life, just imagine what other amazing strategies I have for you! Share this post on social media by clicking one of the sharing buttons, and don’t forget to join my email list! You’ll be the first to get updates, access to my new products and lots of tips, inspiration and motivation to help in your bariatric surgery journey. Just for joining, I’ll send you a free eBook with the 10 Habits to Change Before Bariatric Surgery, as well as some other pretty awesome goodies to keep you motivated. Join today!
The Living Well Planner can help your weight loss by giving you a place to meal plan, scheduling time in your week for exercise appointments and meal prep, helping you manage your stress with budget pages, goal-setting and goal-planning pages and a place to write your daily gratitude. It also allows you to schedule time for sleep, self-care and write down any reminders to yourself. By taking care of these four key areas of your life – food, exercise, stress and sleep, the Living Well Planner can be a powerful tool to help you lose weight.