These days there are some amazing sites on the Internet that can help you in your personal pursuit of a healthier life. Here are a few of my latest finds.
Weight Loss Betting: Yes, that’s right. The latest motivational technique for weight control is betting on whether you can actually lose weight, exercise and get in shape. Just log on to Stickk.com, register, choose your goal (weight loss, exercise more, etc.), pick what’s at stake (e.g., money), get a referee and you’re done.
Some sites, such as fatbet.net and makemoneylosingweight.com, allow bettors to challenge one another. These sites help you track everyone’s progress and create excitement, bragging rights and rewards for hitting your goals.
Using Twitter to Count Calories: Several sites are springing up that use Twitter — a free micro-blogging and social-networking site where messages (called tweets) are limited to 140 characters — to help the nutrition-conscious keep track of what they’re eating. Some help with charts, calorie information and more. Tweetwhatyoueat.com offers a simple food diary that allows you to track your food and weight on the Web or your mobile phone using Twitter. To get started, just enter your Twitter login on Tweetwhatyoueat.com (if you don’t have a Twitter login, you’ll have to create one first). Once registered, you can send direct messages through Twitter to “twye” listing the foods you eat. You can either include calories as part of the tweet, or the site can fill them in for you using its food calorie database.
Nutritter.com is somewhat similar. After you join, you simply tweet your foods, separated by commas, add a code word, and presto — Nutritter posts your foods with caloric information to your food diary.
Cooking Advice: Have you ever been in the middle of preparing a recipe or at the supermarket or trying to cook something healthier and wished you had someone to call for advice or chat with online? Well, ChefsLine.com has a great solution. You can call their Culinary Hotline at 1-800-977-1224 for assistance or have a live chat online with one of their chefs. You do, however, have to become a member. The cost is $4.95 on demand for a single call or chat, $12.95 for five consultations per month and $34.95 per month for unlimited chats.
Odd, Interesting: In the strange, but true — and helpful — category, there are several sites. The first, FitFatFeed.com, allows you to vote on which famous bodies are fit — and which ones need a little help. It’s a bit silly, but all in good fun. Right now Andre Agassi tops the list as the fittest celebrity.
Two sites, Gluttonyisabliss.comand ThisIsWhyYoureFat.com, allow visitors to post photographs of foods that are extremely high in calories.
WeightView.com helps you to visualize what you would look like at your target weight. You simply upload a photo of yourself, specify how much weight you’d like to lose, and WeightView.com sends you back an image of yourself at that weight.
Exercise Demonstrations and Fitness Videos :
There are several fitness sites online, but if you’re looking for information on how to actually do specific exercise there are a few standouts. The first is Workoutz.com, which has more than 100 exercise videos in seven categories, and it’s all free of charge.
Another site that has several great workouts (not just specific exercise demonstrations) is Sparkpeople.com, whose offerings include “New You Bootcamp,” “10-Minute Cardio Kickboxing Workout” and “10-Minute Crunchless Core Workout” routines. The site is all free.
Interested in a daily yoga routine with top instructors? Try YogaToday.com to watch a different free yoga class every day. The site describes the level of each class, and there are typically two students following along: one a beginner and the other experienced.
Healthy Restaurant Finders: There are some new sites that actually help you to find restaurants and make healthier choices while dining out. Since eating out typically means eating higher-calorie foods than you would at home, these tools can be very helpful in the quest for a healthy body.
Goodfoodnearyou.com is very simple to use. You simply put in your ZIP code and, presto, GoodFoodNearYou finds the best choices available at restaurants nearby.
Another site, HealthyDiningFinder.com, features dietitian-approved healthy menu items served at 60,000 mostly fast-food and family-style chain restaurants. The site also provides detailed nutrition information (e.g., calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, fiber and fruit/vegetable servings) for each dish that is approved.
Charles Stuart Platkin is a nutrition and public-health advocate, founder of DietDetective.com, and host of the new WE television series, I Want To Save Your Life . Copyright 2008-2009 by Charles Stuart Platkin. All rights reserved. Sign up for the free Diet Detective newsletter and iTunes podcast at www.DietDetective.com.