Navigating the Diet Web - MetroFamily Magazine
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Navigating the Diet Web

by Shannon Fields

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Like many women, I have struggled with the same 15 (and by that, I mean 18) extra pounds since becoming a mom. I have lost them and regained them a dozen times over, and have tried as many weight loss plans along the way. I don’t even want to think about how much money I’ve spent over the years losing and regaining my 15 (18) problem pounds. You name it, I’ve probably tried it. I’ve counted calories and points and had prepackaged meals—all of which tasted strangely alike—delivered to my home.

I can honestly report that all of these measures worked—in the short-term. I would reach my goal, or get tired of paying for cardboard food, or just get tired altogether… and inevitably, my 15 (18) problem pounds would come creeping back to their comfortable home base, also known as my hips and thighs. The money question got me wondering what kind of free resources were available for people like me, people who want to be healthier and feel better permanently, and wouldn’t mind looking good along the way. What online options are there for working class Americans in a perpetual time crunch? I did a little investigating, and was pleasantly surprised by my findings, and just had to pass them along

Ever considered writing about your weight loss experience on a web log? Recording your story on a blog may help keep you on track. You’ll have a written record of both your mistakes and your successes, so you can look back easily and see what’s working. There is also the added benefit that your success may inspire others. Sites such as and have diet journal templates where you can write about your experiences and read about others’ successes.

Free Weight Loss Sites
First, I should note that several of my Google hits were not actually free plans at all. I found a number of cleverly (and some not-so-cleverly) disguised free trials, all of which required a credit card number before I could see anything worthwhile. But there were also a few standouts, sites that were free and included recipes, meal plans, nutrition and fitness trackers, and community message boards, among other features.

Among the best I found: includes recipes and full-meal plans based on a balanced diet of lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. There is a calorie calculator included, and dozens of articles addressing topics such as motivation, heart health, and nutrition. It also includes a dieting journal. I would recommend this site for its articles and recipes, and I bookmarked it for that reason. It was a little difficult to navigate, however, for other tools
such as charting nutrition and exercise. is a little more comprehensive, and was easily navigated with a tab menu. It provides a diet journal, nutrition and fitness trackers. I loved that on your profile page, it gives you all of your information in chart formats: weight change, BMI change, fitness and nutrition information, and even a mood tracker! Missing from this site: recipes and articles. If you’re not a cook, and are just looking for a journal and calorie counter, this is an excellent choice, as the format is accessible and concise. has a lot to offer. In addition to nutrition and fitness trackers, there are hundreds of articles on health topics, nutrition, and motivation. The fitness section recommends specific exercises for targeted areas, and even provides a video demonstration of how to properly complete new exercises. The site offers both meal plans and recipes to work with, and message boards to network with people worldwide who share the same goals. The site features a points system, in which you can earn points for certain activities and for fitness minutes.

Local Help
For a fantastic local site, also check out The site is the result of a challenge from mayor Mick Cornett to the citizens of Oklahoma City to lose one million pounds. Cornett last year sought to bring the obesity epidemic into the forefront in Oklahoma City, which ranks among the top ten most obese cities in the USA. The site features healthy recipes, as well as links to other internet resources, such as those mentioned above. It also includes a schedule of local events, such as organized walks, bike rides, cooking demonstrations, and public health fairs. Visitors can set up an account and log their weight loss against the one million pound challenge.

I am currently four pounds into my online dieting adventure, and have had good days and bad. I find it comforting to know that even when I get off track, I haven’t lost any money. Free sites and blogging make it easier to get back on the horse and keep going. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get rid of those 15 (18) pounds once and for all!

Shannon Fields is a freelance writer and a Certified Pharmacy Technician at Innovative Pharmacy Solutions.

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