By the time you read this, the London Olympics would be on in full flow. If the athletes rippling their way across your TV screens give you an inferiority complex, don’t be too alarmed. I have heard that such feelings are quite normal. Any sporting event brings the fittest of human specimens in full public view. Then that paunch can’t even hide behind the TV remote. You just feel…unfit. But there’s another side to this health woe too.
The envy worthy fitness levels of these athletes comes from years of rigorous fitness regimens and healthy diets. If you aren’t a sportsperson, you won’t be able to duplicate it to that extent, but you can certainly do the small things. Get yourself off the couch…start exercising…and watch what you eat. All the help’s out there. From fitness websites and mobile apps, to online diet trackers.
Let’s look at a few web apps that help you track your diet and get leaner. And maybe, just maybe give Usain Bolt a run for his money.
The site says – SlimKicker is all about learning proper nutrition, portion control, and acquiring important habits.
Start your weight watching with the hope that Slimkicker and its mix of calorie counting and fitness tracking can keep you on your healthy toes. SlimKicker is a free to use weight loss monitoring application that turns your health goals into point-based challenges. The calorie counter, fitness tracker and other community resources are additional tools.
Key Features of Slimkicker
- Slimkicker sets up your personal fitness profile with an easy-to-fill wizard and recommends nutrition goals.
- Log your food and exercises and rack up points. Get more points for eating healthy, unprocessed foods such as vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and unprocessed proteins.
- Join fitness and nutrition challenges with other people. The harder the challenge, more the points. If you complete the challenges, you can even win things like a $100 Zappos gift card. An example of a challenge: No snacks after dinner.
- Join the community for shared dietary and health goals. Example of a group: Rhino Runners is for men and women who love to run but do not necessarily fit the profile of a “traditional” runner.
- Other resources: Food calorie calculator arranged in food groups; blog posts on nutrition and wellness; diet psychology; and healthy recipes arranged by type.
Mobile app: iPhone
The site says – MyPlate is the flagship tool, a comprehensive food and fitness tracker leveraging the largest online food and fitness database.
MyPlate is a part of the very well regard Livestrong fitness site. And why not, as it is attached to the name of Lance Armstrong. Nearly 4 million members made this a strong community of health watchers. MyPlate’s calorie counter starts by giving you an easy interface to set your weight loss goals, track your daily caloric intake and log your fitness activities. Livestrong is not completely free as Gold Members have more privileges on the site like custom nutrition goals and daily nutrition charts. But the basic free service is feature rich too. Livestrong gives you a database of 1,715,200 foods and 1,500 fitness activities
Key Features of MyPlate
- Set up a food diary and automatically log your daily intakes.
- Charts, graphs, and figures help you track your diet and water intake per day.
- Tap into meal plans from members or create your own.
- Create Loops: map your running, cycling, walking and hiking routes and share it with friends.
- MyPlate has a specialized diet tracking tool for diabetics and a quit smoking iOS application ($3.99).
Mobile apps: For iPhone, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. (Link)
The site says – We believe — and medical studies prove — that the best way to lose weight and keep it off forever is to simply keep track of the foods you eat.
You can sign-up for free and straightaway My Fitness Pal recommends your fitness and nutrition goals with your basic info. With that as a benchmark, you can start tracking your food in a personal food diary. The application also gives you an exercise diary to log your daily physical activity. Maintain your activity and use the Check-in tool to record your weight daily.
Key Features of My Fitness Pal:
- The Quick Tool allows you to speed up your recording by copying the same data from or to other dates.
- Recipe nutrition calculator gives you the nutritional breakdown of any food added to your food diary.
- Gauge your optimal weight range using the BMI (Body Mass Index) Calculator.
- Generate reports based on your nutrition, fitness levels, and overall progress.
- Get into the message boards advice, motivation, and support.
Mobile apps (free): For iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, and Windows Phone. (Link)
The site says – Lose It! uses proven principles of weight loss (tracking and peer support) to help people manage their weight and improve their health.
Lose It was originally created for the iPhone as a weight tracking app. The simplicity required of a mobile app is now reflected in the web version. You can sign-up for free and enter your current weight and goal weight and Lose It calculates a daily calorie ‘budget’ and a deadline. The interface is very neat and use-friendly.
Key Features of Lose It!
- Auto-suggestions help you to enter data very quickly.
- Match up your daily calorie intake with exercise to see the balance between both. Also, track your nutrients.
- You can add custom foods and custom exercises to your account.
- If you own the Wi-fi Withings body scale, you can connect it to your Lose It account.
- Share your progress reports with email, on Facebook and on Twitter.
Mobile apps (free): For iPhone (& iOS) and Android. (Link)
The site says – use Calorie Count to look up nutrition facts and view complete food labels for more than 220,000 foods.
The site surprisingly was created by two aerospace engineers. The site (now with About.com) is mostly free but also has a premium component where members can get professional guidance from registered dieticians. The free account lets you track food, do a diet analysis, and track your activity. Calorie Count gives you your Body Mass Index as soon as you fill-up your profile and gives you a few recommendations on weight target, calories target, and a deadline date. The service has quite a few tools like the Burn Meter that tells you how many calories you need daily.
Key Features of Calorie Count:
- Keep a food log and share notes with other members.
- You can build up a support group with social interactions on the site and stay motivated.
- Add your calorie intake from the food items and labels in the database or build your own recipes with the Recipe Analyzer.
- Activity Expenditure nicely matches an exercise (calorie lose) with an equivalent eating activity.
- The Analysis page is a snapshot of calorie changes, nutrient reports, and a summary of your fitness according to the food and exercises logged.
Mobile apps (free): For iPhone, iPad, and Android.
A few other good calorie watchers that can help you track your diet…
Health and fitness being a primary concern, there are quite a few web services helping you get leaner. Check them out for their free sides.
Diet and fitness depends a lot on the kind of lifestyle you have. As every country has a different food culture, these sites are more suitable for North Americans. Some of the sites on the list are overwhelming with their breadth of information, so I leave it up to you to pick the one you are comfortable with. A cautionary note: the right diet also depends on the current state of your health. Always consult a physician or a dietician before you start with one. Treat these sites as tracking tools and information resources and not absolute guides.
Which diet tracking website would you recommend? Is it on this list? Or do you prefer to go by your ‘gut instincts’ in your journey towards a leaner you?
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