There have been many studies conducted over the past few years to find out if the internet can be a useful tool to aid in dieting. And the results are in: The answer is a resounding, “yes”! There are many types of programs on the world wide web that assist dieters in reaching their goal. Here are a few examples:
1) Online Diet Diaries: There are many sites that allow you to record your daily intake online, or even on an app if you have an iphone. Keeping a diet diary online is as useful as writing one down on paper, and if you’ve ever seen my top suggestion for weight loss, it’s to track what you eat. These sites let you enter the calories you eat during the day, one food at a time–most break it down into calories from fat, carbohydrate and protein–and also to enter the physical activity you’ve done to see how many calories you burn as the day goes on. Whatever way works best for you is the one that will keep you logging more consistently. Research shows the more consistent one logs their intake and the more days per week, the more weight is lost and kept off.
2) Online Support Groups: A lot of sites that let you diary your food intake also offer chat rooms, groups, and inter-site emails. You can join a group similar to yourself, such as “women over 40” or “women with newborns” or “20-somethings” so you’ll have the most in common with your cohorts. People exchange notes and postings, support and encourage each other. Most people are helped out by having an online community of others who are also trying to lose weight. When you have someone you’re accountable to, or perhaps someone who can nudge you a bit when you’re having a relapse, it can go a long way in keeping you on your diet.
3) Online Diet Coaches: The research shows it is as helpful to have a diet coach online or over the phone as it is to have someone in person who guides you along in your progress. Accountability and support from your diet coach can help you get through the rough spots, special occasions, and questions you have when following any diet program. Most of all, they can help you sort through all the options when you’re too confused to know where to start!
For any of these options, just google “diet coach” or “food diary online” and you’ll see probably hundreds to choose from. If you haven’t started your diet yet (or if you start a new one every Monday) it’s time to seek out the support that will get you started and see you through to your goal!
photo credit: alanclarkdesign