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One of the more difficult aspects of being a writer is sitting on your backside for so many hours in a row, and being far too busy to search for ways to lose weight for free.  Poor writers like us can’t afford Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers!

The best way to lose abdominal weight, or even just to control your weight overall when you can’t seem to get much exercise, is through controlling your diet. However, keeping track of what you eat and the calories you consume can feel both overwhelming and annoying. Who wants to waste time jotting down the calories of every little snack or drink?

Being a geek who’s always interested in Internet resources that will do all of my work for me, naturally I decided to turn to the Internet for my weight loss needs. MakeUseOf has touched on weight loss solutions in the past, such as Tina’s article listing 6 cool sites to help you keep New Year’s resolutions in 2009 as well as a number of calorie and weight loss calculators.

Lose Weight for Free With the Daily Plate

If you perform a Google search for “how to lose weight,” you’ll get back an entire truckload of weight loss scams that will leave you as fat as ever. Why don’t diets work? Because, as any professional dietician will tell you, there’s no magic formula that’s going to make you magically lose weight. Physics still comes into play. As a biological creature, if you take in more energy (calories) than you expend, you’re gonna plump up like the Goodyear Blimp.

So what’s a body to do? It’s simple. The best way to lose abdominal weight is to find an easy way to keep track of the food you eat and the energy it holds. By doing so, you can control the way you eat in order to get to your ideal body weight. I’ve found that there are foods that can help me lose weight by suppressing appetite, but ultimately you need a tool that will help you lose weight for free by tracking and calculating the total calories in the food you eat. The DailyPlate does just that.

Keeping Track of Calories and Nutrition

Once you get through the one-page registration, you can immediately get started tracking your food intake, looking up nutritional information, taking part in the DailyPlate forum community, or, heaven forbid, calculate the calories you’ve burned by working out (in an alternate universe).


The food diary is fast and easy, and by using it you never have to count a single calorie again. After each meal, you simply click on “My Plate,” search for the food you’ve eaten and add it to your diary.

One of the things that surprised me was the accuracy and size of the DailyPlate food database. For example, when I searched for “multigrain bagel,” I not only found thousands of results, but I found the exact bagel from Dunkin Donuts that I’d purchased that morning. To my dismay, it turned out that a Dunkin Donuts multigrain bagel is one of the most calorie saturated bagels in existence.  Luckily, the website application also offers suggestions for foods that can help me lose weight.  I can use all of the advice I can get.

Once you click on the item you ate, all of the data gets loaded into your “daily plate,” including calories, fat, carbs and all other nutritional content. The website automatically tracks all of the nutrition that you eat during the day.  As you add the food, the items show up on your My Plate page.

Cool Features For Lazy People

You probably got to this point because you’re too lazy to get on a treadmill, let alone constantly keep a log of the food you eat. That’s why The DailyPlate is perfect. To make the process even easier, the folks at The DailyPlate created a few extra, cool features to the site. The first of these is a “meal” system, where you can pre-load specific meals that you eat often.

Now, when you click on your “Standard Work Lunch,” it automatically loads the ham and cheese sandwich, pickle, and chips that you eat almost every day.  Underneath this widget in the right menu, you’ll also find the “What I Eat Often” box, where the foods you recently entered are listed.

After a while, you’ll find you can simply log into the system, click on the foods you eat often, and then log out – in a matter of seconds.  There are a few calorie management systems out there that are as easy as this. The right menu bar also saves the exercise and activities that you add to your daily calorie log, also for easy point and click use.

As you add items to your log of food and activities, the system gets easier and easier to use, because all of those items get loaded into these right menu widgets.  As you add the food you eat, and the exercises that you’ve done (if any), the page lists your calorie and nutritional totals at the bottom.

As the day goes on, each time you log in you can see how much of your daily calories and nutrition that you’ve already consumed. As you can see above – I love salt.

Monitor Your Progress With Graphs & Charts

Everyone loves a good chart, especially when you’re not the one who has to put it together. The cool thing about the DailyPlate is that as you’re entering your food consumption and activity details, the website constantly keeps track of your progress. Just check out the charts, calorie goals or weight goals at the top of your My Plate page.  As an example, I’ve clicked on my weight history for a graph of my weight from the beginning of 2008 into 2009.

Okay, it’s obvious I’ve been on the wrong track.  But a guy has to start somewhere right?  The system also tracks the calories you’ve consumed versus your calorie goal (based on your weight and activity level).  This progress is displayed on a dot chart.

Best of all, from the main page, you can monitor a pie chart that instantly updates as you add the food you’ve consumed. Just above that, you can even monitor how much water you’ve had throughout the day, to make sure that you hit the daily recommended limit (about 1.9 liters a day).

All of the information on your My Plate page, and the charts and data in the background, are constantly updated and tracked as you quickly click on the foods you eat throughout the day.  Counting calories has never been this easy.

Do you have a favorite website or application that you use to keep track of your health and fitness goals? Share your insight in the comments section below.

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  1. Brett
    April 17, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    Thank you for this. I've hated every other web-based diet "help" site I've used.

  2. Mackenzie
    April 16, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    How much of a pain in the arse is it to enter non-packaged food? I've tried desktop apps for telling me if I'm getting enough of all the various nutrients but gave up because it takes over a half hour to enter a single recipe.

  3. Keino Ribka
    April 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    heuheue say yes to noodles

  4. Keino Ribka
    April 16, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Oh my GOD.

    Is it a way i can just slim without nothing to do LOL

  5. Gary Reichel
    April 16, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    This is a great resource for monitoring caloric intake -and the price is right too.