Online Tools for Losing Weight

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So, you want to lose weight. You're thinking about joining a gym and all the monthly fees, or the weekly meeting cost of Weight Watchers, and you think "I can do this without intervention," and maybe you're right. Or maybe you've been getting help in-person for weeks and you need a little extra help at an odd time of the day, the kind of help that comes from the 24/7 Internet community.

I've collected a bunch of resources in this hub to help you lose weight. Just remember that playing around with online tools, logging your food eaten, or planning a workout regimen from the computer-- none of these actively contributes to weight loss.

To lose weight, you must eat less and exercise more.

That's the only medically proven safe way to lose weight. It's worked in the past. It will work in the future. It will work for you.

See Your Doctor

Every one of these sites, and in fact, all reputable weight loss and exercise programs will tell you to see your doctor before changing your diet or exercise program, and I will, too.

If you have an eating disorder or psychological issues, you can trigger these when you undertake a new diet program. Any metabolic problems you might have can be exacerbated when you change your diet. You might go on a caffeine-free diet only to discover that caffeine was really suppressing an asthmatic condition. If you're diabetic or insulin resistant, you absolutely must talk to a doctor before changing your diet or exercise program, because changing what you eat, how much, and how much you burn has a massive impact on insulin. Do it wrong, and you could die.

If you are very overweight or have any medical conditions, these conditions can be made worse, or even life threatening, by a sudden increase in exercise. The danger of overexercise is usually limited to injuries, but sports injuries can be extremely painful (especially when you end up with two feet that hurt too much to walk, for example).

Any heart or organ condition can also be made worse by haphazard exercise. You don't want to be the guy who starts jogging on January 3rd and has a heart attack before Martin Luther King's birthday.

But with all that in mind, there's also something you should keep in mind. You probably didn't call your doctor and say "Hey, doc, I'm going to start sitting onmy butt every night, eat pizza 3 days a week, and stop flossing. You cool with that?" The main worry with changing your diet and exercise levels is that you'll make changes that are too drastic for your body to adapt. Go slow, ease into your program, and get a medical checkup when you start out (it's a good way to get a baseline)! 

Diet Plans

There are probably 1001 diet plans out there for weight loss. Most of them either adhere to the basics (Eat less, exercise more), or they try to sell you a supplement, system, miracle food, vitamin, or procedure that, ultimately, won't help you lose weight as healthfully as just eating less and exercising more.

Most online programs have to be flexible to accommodate lives outside the computer. People on the program may come from anywhere, but also people with odd work schedules need a program they can benefit from no matter what time their shift ends.

Here's a quick roundup of some of the diet plans that don't require anything "weird." You won't go under the knife or pop any pills to achieve these, and you can follow them no matter what time of day it is.

Eat Less: Log Your Food

One of the proven strategies for successful weight loss is to keep a food journal. Last year, a study came out showing that participants who logged their food were significantly more likely to lose more weight and keep it off. This is a well-known phenomenon in personal finance, too-- simply keeping track of something helps us change our behavior. 

Your diet log can be anything from a little notebook in your purse to a full-fledge PDA-enabled synchronizing database. You might simply track each food item, or you could break it down into a meal-by-meal nutritional analysis.

Online logging tools can not only help you track foods and trends, but many offer a database of foods already in their system so you don't have to look up the food you ate to figure out how many calories or points or kelvans you ate.

There are several tips to use with food loggers, and perhaps the most important one is this: don't let diet logging replace dieting.

Spending 3 hours a day writing down, looking up, and logging your foods eaten might keep you occupied, but it will also keep food on your mind-- you'll be thinking about food all day long.

Instead, start with a meal plan (another key component to improving your diet), and then take 5 minutes after each meal and an extra 5 minutes every night-- about 20 minutes a day-- to write down whether or not you stayed within your plan for the day and how you felt when you were eating, whether or not you were satiated by your meal, and so forth. 

Exercise More

These links should help you get up and moving ASAP. From exercise programs to workout logs to training support-- it's all here to help you get going.

Just remember that overexercise is the leading cause of sports injuries. Listen to your body carefully and if you have any concerns, see your doctor for a clean bill of health. 

Beginner Yoga

Better Running with tempo and technique

Get Going!

With all these tools at your fingertips, is there any reason not to get started on your New Year's Resolution to lose weight in 2009? The holidays are over, all the gyms have sign-up specials, and your yoga pants are languishing in the drawer! Get moving! 

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Talk Back! Do you have another resource to suggest? 4 comments

mizanchan 7 years ago

Great suggestions on weight loss! I'm planning to try and drop a few pounds myself, now that I've found motivation to try again.

On workouts, have you looked into Slimtree? They're a neat online gym that has a growing number of exercise videos. Best of all, viewing videos online is free. You only have to pay for downloading videos to your computer, and even that isn't very expensive. They're great for folks on the go, or who don't live near a good gym (like me...)

Best of luck!

Stacey 7 years ago

Thank you for the link collection - very timely!

Another site I've used and loved is the site - but it does require you to be a subscriber to SELF magazine. Not a bad thing in itself, as the mag can be good inspiration... but I cut out a lot of excess mag subs last year and that was one.

I'm hoping to do the couch-to-5k thing... :)

livelonger profile image

livelonger 7 years ago from San Francisco

These are all great resources. I've had a lot of luck over the past couple of years with personal trainers, and found this site that offers the same online:

Although it's not online, I've also been working up a sweat several times per week using my new Nintendo Wii Fit. Shows you technology can indeed be a great tool!

rich simpson 7 years ago

I am a "newbie" Hubber and was overwhelmed by your Hubs. Your content, sense or humor are so tres (French??)nteresting. Please take a look at one of my first 3 Hup pages. Your comments will be appreciated a lot.

Thanks you, Richard Simpson, St. Petersburg, Florida

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