High-Tech Weight Loss
Do electronic devices and services designed to help you drop pounds actually work? The experts weigh in
Online Diet Programs
Online dieting programs are the electronic incarnation of the group approach
to losing weight. While their offerings vary widely -- from meal plans and
cooking tips to counseling, group support, and more -- what they all have in
common is the power of a virtual community to support your weight loss
How it works: For a set fee, members get a password to a
members-only web site. Here you'll find an eating plan (some but not all are
planned by nutritionists and/or medical experts) as well as recipes, and
cooking and dieting tips. Depending on which program you choose, extras include
everything from email counseling by nutritionists, psychologists, and other
weight specialists; to message boards, group chats, and motivational tools; to
articles addressing weight loss concerns, and fashion and beauty advice to help
you look great while you're losing weight. Some programs also feature meal
plans and nutrition information that's downloadable to your PDA or cell
The cost: Most plans charge around $5 a week, billed in
monthly installments. If you're not satisfied, most also offer a refund on any
unused portion of your membership.
What the experts say: "There are several studies
suggesting that Internet weight loss programs can be quite beneficial,"
says Heller. One study, she says, found that adding personalized counseling via
email significantly improved weight loss in adults at risk for diabetes.
"While I don't think that an online program will ever replace in-person
counseling with a nutritionist or physician, the anonymity of online dieting,
along with the low cost and convenience, do appear to increase compliance and
motivation," says Heller. And that, she notes, increases dieting
Bottom line: If you can't afford in-person counseling -- or
it's not convenient for you -- the online weight loss community could be your
new best friend. If you're spending time at your computer anyway, these web
sites are bound to prove more productive than games, shopping, or even surfing.
And who knows? You might make some great friends, too.
New Age Pedometers
These New Age pedometers measure how many steps you take -- and a lot