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The Best Free Online Food or Dieting Journals and Planners

Updated on April 10, 2012

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

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.

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.

In conclusion

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.

Comments

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    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      Minnetonka, I am using fitday at this time. I absolutely love the different things it can do but the search aspect of it is not the best. I will always be partial to Webmd because I like the website in general and it was my first. Thanks for stopping by and reading. I am glad you like it.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      Great information for the on-line journals. I tried fit day and liked it a lot. I'm gonna check out the other two you mentioned and see which is best for me. Great hub:)

    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      SeptemberGray, thanks for stopping by. I use the WebMD one myself. I have a personal blog for dieting and this is where I get my calories consumed and burned information. You would be amazed at how quickly the calories add up. Ever since I started using it I have greatly improved my eating habits.

    • SeptemberGray profile image

      SeptemberGray 

      7 years ago from Corpus Christi, TX

      This is a great idea for an article on losing weight the healthy way. I hate to see people pushing the fad diets. I think I might try this.

    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      dahoglund, thanks for reading. Record or journal keeping is important in many aspects of our lives. And please, keep that blood sugar under control. again thanks for stopping by.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      7 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Losing weight is not a problem that I have.Keeping journals or records is valuable for a number of pursuits. Keeping blood sugar records would be a case in point for me. Keeping financial records is also important.

    • Dusty Snoke profile imageAUTHOR

      Dusty Snoke 

      7 years ago from Chattanooga, TN

      Blair, thanks for reading my hub. The actual article I read that got me starting a diet diary suggested doing that. I am on a computer most of the day so the online ones work better for me. As long as you journal, it does not matter on what. Again thanks for stopping by.

    • Blair Rockefeller profile image

      Blair Rockefeller 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I carry a small note pad in my front pocket and write down what I eat and when. It's great for amny reasons.

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