Sometimes we all need a little help from our friends. If you are committed to being as healthy as possible by losing excess weight, there are many resources available to help you. Even just a few years ago you would have had to join a club or go to weekly support groups to get these tools. But today a whole toolbox full of weight loss guidance is as close as your laptop or smartphone.
Before exploring these sites and apps, it is helpful to understand the body mass index (BMI). BMI is the standard formula used by most health care and fitness professionals to determine healthy weight. It uses a ratio of height to weight to determine whether a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese. It is helpful for getting a basic idea of where you fall in the spectrum, but it is not a fool-proof method.
Bodybuilders, athletes, and other people with a lot of lean muscle mass or dense bone structures may show up as “overweight,” even though they are very healthy, because muscle weighs more than fat. Health care professionals usually take other factors into account when measuring fitness and degree of obesity, including hip to waist ratio, wrist circumference, body fat percentage, diet, and activity level. Some fitness tools measure those factors in addition to BMI, but some only use BMI as an indicator of health.
WebMD BMI Plus Calculator
WebMD provides a free, easy to use weight loss support tool. It gathers your basic physical data, including height, weight, age, pant size, activity level, and weight loss goals. Based on that those numbers, the calculator will give you a lot of useful information about your current fitness level, including healthy weight range, daily calorie use, and body mass index (BMI).
The Weight Loss and Diet Plan section of WebMD is full of useful articles to help you reach your goals. There are diet plans, weight loss strategies, exercise tips, and recipes. It even offers emailed support articles, and a tracking tool to help you manage daily calorie intake and weight loss.
My Fitness Pal
My Fitness Pal provides a user-friendly app and website designed to help you get into shape. It includes a comprehensive calorie counter and diet tracker. You can enter the food you eat throughout the day into your iPhone or Android to help you manage your caloric intake. If you do not have a smartphone or just prefer a larger interface, you can use the website portal – or use the same profile on both!
My Fitness Pal has a customizable database of the calorie count and nutritional information of over 1.5 million foods. There is even a free barcode scanner to help you decide if a packaged food is going to help or sabotage your weight loss efforts before you even buy the food product.
The exercise portion of My Fitness Pal includes over 350 exercises and the ability to track the calories you have burned each day. But the best part is the social media sharing function. You and your friends on Facebook or Twitter can support each other – and hold each other accountable – through this state-of-the-art feature.
Diet Assistant – Weight Loss App
Diet Assistant Weight Loss App is like a carrying a personal chef and fitness trainer in your pocket or purse. The app provides personalized diet plans with shopping lists so you do not get overwhelmed at the grocery store. You can adapt the lists to fit your dietary preferences and food allergies. There is also a BMI calculator, weight loss tracker, and many diet and weight loss tips.
BMI Calculator – Ideal Weight App
BMI Calculator – Ideal Weight App is a simple tool that computes your BMI so you can set clear, achievable fitness goals. It tells you your ideal weight based on your height, age, and gender, and lets you know how much you will need to burn each day to reach that weight.
Lose It! App
Lose It! is another streamlined app that helps you reach your goals. Lose It! inspires you to enter your food and exercise information every day, and then tells you how much of each major nutrient you are getting and how many calories you are burning.
You can use Lose It! like other social media apps by adding friends and sharing stories. You can share the exercises, foods, and recipes that are working for you, as well as inspirational success stories.
If you are ready to let go of excess weight, you do not have to do it alone. There are countless resources online, and available through your smartphone, that can help you reach your goals. If you can work directly with a health care professional, like one of the team members here at MHLC, give yourself that one-on-one support. But even one of these comprehensive websites or apps can help you “do healthy everyday.”