The skinny: If you’re looking to try out a diet, but want some advice before you invest in the book, Fatsecret is your place. Members of fatsecret track their dieting successes and failures, helping to give newbies a sense of what works and what doesn’t. Plus, a bar chart tracks the average weight loss of members on each diet. You can also get in touch with individual members and ask them about how they’re faring on their regimen. Membership is free and if you join you could track your own progress, log your food intake and connect with a dieting buddy – all proven methods in helping with weight loss.
The site: www.fatsecret.com.
Best for: Diet book aficionados.
The skinny: Imagine a calorie counter gone wild. This site contains the nutritional information for thousands of foods and lets you input recipes to calculate the calories of your own dishes (or foods not in the system). It’s especially helpful in listing the nutritional info for every major fast food chain (except, frustratingly, the Lebanese ones). It also has the stats on what exercises burn the most calories. You can either use the site as a reference to calculate your intake, or you can become a member and use the site as a food and exercises log.
The site: www.calorieking.com.
Best for: List makers.
The skinny: Having trouble keeping the weight off? What if every time you fail to meet your goal, you have to give money to a charity you despise? This is the premise of StickK. As an added incentive friends and family are notified when you fail, providing stigma that should keep you on track. Of course, you can choose money to go to any charity of your choice, but by linking your rate of success to somewhere you don’t want to receive money, the idea is you will be more likely to keep to your goals.
The site: www.stickk.com.
Best for: Gamblers.
The skinny: Perhaps the most user-friendly food and exercise journal on the web. They have a large database of foods and an even larger archive of workouts. You can join another member’s regimen or create your own. Either way, a click of the button calculates how much you burned. You can also find workout buddies or set challenges for yourself. Pretty much every type of motivator you can think of (except betting for money) is there.
The site: www.dailyburn.com.
Best for: Athletic types.
The skinny: This bare-bones site has a massive list of exercises (2,000 and counting) and a teeny though straightforward videos demonstrating how each move should be performed. Though the videos are rather grainy, they do give you the main idea. The site also has a page for each muscle that shows where it is and how to best work it. This is especially useful for those who don’t know their abs from their elbow.
The site: www.exrx.net.
Best for: Those bored with their workout.
The skinny: Lisa Lillien, a food-loving dieter, launched Hungry Girl to offer other gastronomes low-calorie versions of their favourite foods. No matter what your dieting demon this site has a recipe for a healthier version. So you no longer have to feel guilty snacking away on fish ’n’ chips (that is, if you don’t mind that the fish is dipped in Fibre One and the chips are actually baked squash). Some critics bemoan that Lillien’s recipes rely too heavily on processed foods, but they’re low in calories, so how bad can they be?
The site: www.hungry-girl.com.
Best for: Food lovers who hate dieting.
The skinny: Want to know what you’d look like five, 10, or 20kgs thinner? Upload a picture onto Weight Mirror and see what a slimmer you would look like. You can even send the doctored version of a thinner you to friends and family. A glimpse of what could be (if you only stopped stuffing your face with biscuits) might just be enough to jump start your diet.
The site: www.weightmirror.com.
Best for: Fantasists.