- Diet & Weight Loss
The Best Free Online Food or Dieting Journals and Planners
According to a recent study published on RealAge.com, writing in a food journal or diet diary can double your chances of losing weight. Keeping an exercise journal can triple your chances of sticking to your exercise plan. In fact, journaling can increase your chances of achieving any goal you may have. By keeping a journal or diary, you become aware of how quickly the calories can add up or where pitfalls exist in your dieting plan. Just the act of journaling every item consumed will assist you in sticking to your plan.
There is a variety of ways to keep a diet or exercise journal. Many retail stores, both online and walk in, sell books specifically labeled as diet or food journals. These books will often provide tips and information concerning dieting and nutrition. An inexpensive version of the physical diet journal is a generic notepad and pen. This works exceedingly well for a good number of dieters.
Electronic journals are another option. A dieter can choose between apps for their cell phone and hand-held devices, such as the CalorieSmart handheld calorie counter. An extremely convenient way to journal meals and exercise is online web sites. These can be accessed easily from home, work or even some cell phones. Many of them are free and offer a variety of options and frequently updated information that is not available with the other journaling opportunities.
For those who do not want to go online...
WebMD Food and Fitness Planner
WebMD Food and Fitness planner is an excellent online food and exercise journal. When signing up, the dieter will enter basic information, such as weight, height, and gender. The planner will provide you with the “normal” range for you. Based on the provided information, you then state how much weight you would like to lose and how quickly. The planner will then determine a daily caloric limit and a weekly calorie burn goal. From there, the dieter will log in any food consumed and any activities completed. The activities include your work and home activities, such as cooking, folding laundry, sitting at your desk. This provides a true look at calories burned during the day. The diet log will provide not only calories and fat grams consumed, but, also nutritional information on the food.
Although this program, overall, is great, it has a few annoying quirks. When looking for food or activities, the search engine is extremely specific. For example, it might take two or three different attempts at different versions of the word sit-ups, to log the number of sit-ups completed. Also, it does not allow for spelling errors. Another issue is the serving size on the food is not always clear. It may say 3oz of carrots, instead of a carrot; this can make it difficult to figure out how much is being eaten. Other than these few issues, this is one of the best planners online. Make sure you check it out.
Nutrimirror’s provides an easy-to-use food and exercise diary for anyone wanting to lose, gain or maintain their weight. The sign up process is similar to WebMD, but the layout is a bit different. In order to establish goals, the dieter needs to go to the food section and then the exercise section. Also, the main screen is more crowded with less information provided. WebMD has bar charts on the main screen graphing your progress in both diet and exercise. Nutrimirror’s has the same information but only for the food. On the flip side, Nutrimirror provides areas where you can track waist and hip size, blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol.
The great point for Nutrimirror is the search engines are easy to use. In order to search for an activity or food product, it is a three-step process that narrows your choice down till you reach the field in which you type the item. Another plus for Nutrimirror is the ability to find recently logged in food instead of just favorites. Overall, Nutrimirror is packed full of places to chart every area of your diet and exercise health. The only issue is accessing that information easily. It also seems more community oriented with featured posts from members and experts running down the right side of the site. This website is definitely recommended as a great place to journal your diet and exercise.
Exercise equipment to help hit those exercise goals
FitDay Free Calorie Counter and Diet Journal
FitDay is a web site that takes diet and exercise journaling to a whole new level. There are a variety of options available, which include free and paid levels. The free level is easy to sign up for. You enter the basic information about yourself and Fitday sets up an account. Once your account is established, you can proceed to different tabs to enter food intake, activities, and weight goals. There is, even, a place to write a true journal and track your moods with a smiley face. One tab allows you to track the changes in the measurements of different body areas such as waist, hips, calves, and biceps. The search engines are easy to use, but do not have as many items as the other websites, in my opinion. The overview page is easy to read and charts both diet and exercise.
The paid level, which is around $6.00 a month, has all the perks of the free level without the advertisements. It allows the user to create custom tracking, which will track any desired statistic. Also, the paid level can be used to sync the PC Fitday software and the app for cell phones with the online version. Personally, I am happy with the free level, but for those who need more, the paid level is available. Fitday is another great option for dieters looking for an excellent online journal service.
WebMD, Nutrimirror, and FitDay are excellent online journals for diet and exercise, but they must be used properly to have any benefit. When using any type of journal, please keep a few tips in mind.
- Be Consistent-Try to fill out the journal at least once a day at the same time each day.
- Be Honest-Do not waste your time keeping a journal if you are not going to be honest with yourself.
- Be Real-Journals are to help you achieve your goal. They are for learning and to help you stay on track, but do not beat yourself up if you miss a day. The same goes if you eat too much or miss an exercise time. Life will go on.
Whether you want to lose weight, gain weight or maintain your current weight, the end goal should be a healthy, happy you. Have fun and enjoy your journey toward that healthy, happy you.
Check out these links
- Real Age: Things about a diet? A journal could double your weight loss
The proof behind food journaling
- Food & Fitness Planner: Track Your Daily Calorie Intake and Calories Burned
WebMD's Food & Fitness Planner helps you manage your daily calorie intake and activity level.
- Food journal for weight loss and weight control
Achieve fitness and control weight with a nutritionally balanced diet and NutriMirror.
- FitDay - Free Weight Loss and Diet Journal
Track and analyze your nutrition, weight loss, diet and fitness over the web. Its free and private!
- Dusty's Dieting Diary
A real life diet journal blog tracking the weight loss of one woman.