Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Few Clicks to a New You

(The following is excerpted from Md.MD for Life 2010, available now.)

by Amy Novotney

It took a friend’s unhappy marriage for Lisa Cullen to stop making excuses for her high cholesterol and the excess weight she’d been carrying around for several years. While out powerwalking one morning last August, Cullen, who lives in Gaithersburg, Md., couldn’t help thinking that if she were having marital problems, she’d get revenge on her husband by losing weight and doing everything she could to look great.

“It hit me like a ton of bricks how ridiculous that sounded,” she recalls. “Why would I wait for an unfortunate circumstance to get healthy, fit and happy with myself?”

So Cullen took to the Web. That afternoon, she signed up for Weight Watchers Online and says the site's food and exercise tracker and recipe builder helped her lose nearly 30 pounds, without requiring attendance at the weekly weigh-ins and group meetings that are a key feature of the program's 46-year-old weight-loss plan.

“I am totally not a meetings person,” Cullen says. “I just didn't have the time to commit to being in a certain place at a certain time every week.”

For years, Internet-based weightloss sites such as Weight Watchers Online, SparkPeople and eDiets have touted dieter success from the comfort of home, and their numbers are
growing. SparkPeople, for instance, now has more than 5 million registered users.

The sites – which typically cost between $10 and $25 a month, though some are free – offer interactive Web tools such as food and exercise diaries, weight-loss trackers, online chats with dietitians and member message boards for posting your favorite low-cal recipes or requesting tips for sticking with your diet. There are even applications for your Blackberry, iPhone or other mobile devices to help you track eating on the go.

Sounds great, right? But do they work?

Research shows that they do.

To read more, click here.

No comments: