It has always been known, since way back when the internet came into existence, that man’s very own special IQ has been conveniently replaced by the so called technology of salvation. You won’t be wrong if you said that man has granted the internet and technology generally the grace to help rule lives. I don’t expect you to be surprised at the fact that we surrender virtually every being of our existence to the internet, which has in turn gladly helped us solve our problems; problems we would have solved if we had no alternative. Online weight loss exercise programs provide support for dieters. Free online services offer the necessary tools to lose weight or maintain healthy lifestyles without a monthly fee. Dieters also find support groups, regardless of geography, as well as journals to record progress.
While paid programs like Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers are extremely popular, not everybody can afford the weekly fees and the high prices for packaged food. For those on a tight budget, finding free and reliable sources of information regarding weight loss exercise programs can be a challenge. The truth, however, is that there is plenty available, both online and off, to help you lose weight without spending a penny.
Software: If you want to lose weight on your own, with complete privacy, the best option is to look for free programs (freeware) that can be downloaded to your computer and will help you track calories, design an eating plan, pick a healthy meal and modify recipes. Weight loss trackers are especially popular and will help you account for the calories consumed and burned (through exercise) on a specific day. Other programs help with setting up a fitness plan or teach you about nutrition, so you can start making more informed decisions about your diet.
Online Programs and Sites: The most popular options are sites that allow you to track your weight loss program through charts and databases available on their own server. That means there’s nothing to download and all the information is stored by the website. Your information is kept private. Sites are especially useful for people who need help in losing weight, as many feature forums where users can interact and exchange tips, or where questions can be posted to be answered later by professionals who frequent the site.
An excellent free online program is Spark People (which we will treat later). The program allows you to track your goals, calorie intake, exercise and weight loss. You can see the information as charts, pie charts or comparison tables, so you always work the way that’s best for you. The weight loss journal included allows you to track daily calorie counts (goals and consumed), while a large database offers nutritional information for thousands of common foods, including restaurant dishes. There are also meal planning, diet calendars, expert coaching and the chance to find a diet buddy for private interaction, all for free.
Direct Human Interactive Programs: Sometimes, the Internet just won’t cut it. If you need more direct interaction to ensure you’re meeting your goals and keeping up your end of the bargain, real-life meetings may be the best thing for you. Local groups are formed through community centers, hospital information offices or even churches. Start your local search by visiting those places and asking whether they have a free program available. If not, Overeaters Anonymous has more than 6,500 organized groups in the U.S. and around the world. They can direct you to a local group give you information on attending an inter-city group or help you set up your own. If you can’t find a group near your home, try logging in to Weight Circles, where people come together to create groups (both online and off) to help each other lose weight. You may be able to find locals who are on the same path and organize your own group.
SparkPeople offers health resources, meal plans, goal-setting tools and online dietitians. Business Week voted SparkPeople the Best of the program for online health sites in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The Nutrition Tracker & Meal Plans record meals and calculate caloric intake. Fitness Tracker motivates by showing how many minutes you worked out in a day and allows you to put in the amount of workout minutes you want to log for the month. The Your Health section operates like an online encyclopedia of health and wellness conditions.
In SparkTeams support groups, you’ll find people grouped by age, location and fitness routine. SparkPeople members in the same city sometimes get together for runs or other fitness activities. Other groups use the same exercise DVD programs, such as The Firm, Beachbody and Tai Bo. SparkPeople provides daily emails with topics such as an exercise of the day.
Shape magazine offers the MyShape online weight-loss community that allows you to create a customized profile. Your profile includes pictures, personal information, starting and desired weight, and fitness goals. You get a personal blog to record your successes, as well as the challenges, setbacks and frustrations with losing weight. It offers community groups if you want to lose 20 pounds or more than 100 pounds; want to prepare for swimsuit season; or want meal suggestions, beauty tips or fashion ideas. Devotees of particular exercises, such as Pilates and walking, and people training for marathons also have their own groups.
It also operates as a social network in which you make individual friends, and get and make fans. As a member, you get free workout routines from Shape magazine that can be saved in your account. You receive email articles, recipes and exercises. Shape.com also provides exercise DVDs for purchase.
StartYourDiet.com offers a free basic membership that includes numerous tracking devices including diet calendar, daily weight, water servings and reward page. Other diet tools include a food and activity journal, diet profile and plan, automatic goal planning, and diet charts and graphs.
You can assign colored dots to assess your daily activity. A green dot represents a weight-loss day, meaning you stayed on your diet and exercise plan, and avoided temptation and food triggers. A yellow dot means you maintained your weight loss although you could have exercised or could have eaten slightly better. A red-dot day signifies that you had a hard day maintaining your program. You must pay a membership fee, though, to access dot charts that illustrate your weekly, monthly and three-month progress. At the end of each month, members who earned up to 50 points automatically enter a drawing for prizes. Memberships are required for additional activities.
Of course, momentarily, you might be thinking that if I am against the reality that technology has taken over humanity, why then am I endorsing these programs to you? Well, what other choice is there? You could as well say the damage has already been done; all that’s left is for the situation to be salvaged and for us to utilize it to our best advantage. With these online weight loss exercise programs, that feat can be guaranteed. Who knows, perhaps the tide can still be turned in our favor!