Creative Diet and Fitness Websites

by Charles Platkin, PhD

Creative and Websites


Yes, that’s right. The latest motivational technique for weight control is betting on whether you can actually lose weight, exercise and get in shape. Just log on to, register, choose your goal (weight loss, exercise more, etc.), pick what’s at stake (e.g., money), get a referee and you’re done.

Some sites, such as, allow bettors to challenge one another. You can set up an office weight-loss challenge and bet that you’ll beat someone else at achieving your goal weight. These sites help you track everyone’s progress and create excitement, bragging rights and rewards for hitting your goals.

Using Twitter to Count Calories

Several sites are springing up that use Twitter — a free mico-blogging and social-networking site where messages (called tweets) are limited to 140 characters — to help the nutrition-conscious keep track of what they’re eating. Some help with charts, calorie information and more. offers a simple food diary that allows you to track your food and weight on the Web or your mobile phone using Twitter. To get started, just enter your Twitter login on (if you don’t have a Twitter login, you’ll have to create one first). Once registered, you can send direct messages through Twitter to “twye” listing the foods you eat. You can either include calories as part of the tweet, or the site can fill them in for you using its food calorie database. It also provides daily reminders if you forget to update your diary.

Cooking Advice: A Chat or Call Away

Have you ever been in the middle of preparing a recipe or at the supermarket or trying to cook something healthier and wished you had someone to call for advice or chat with online? Well, has a great solution. You can call their Culinary Hotline at 1-800-977-1224 for assistance or have a live chat online with one of their chefs. You do, however, have to become a member. The cost is $4.95 on demand for a single call or chat, $12.95 for five consultations per month and $34.95 per month for unlimited chats. The chefs can help you turn your unhealthy recipes into healthy ones.

Odd and Interesting

Two sites, Gluttonyisabliss.comand, allow visitors to post photographs of foods that are extremely high in calories. For instance, chocolate-covered bacon, a deep-fried cupcake with chocolate syrup and sprinkles, etc. The idea is to show you how ridiculous these foods look, on the theory that the photos will remind you not to indulge. The pictures are easy to view and, at least to me, the food looks unappetizing — which is, of course, the point. helps you to visualize what you would look like at your target weight. You simply upload a photo of yourself, specify how much weight you’d like to lose, and sends you back an image of yourself at that weight. You can then print the photo and post it on your fridge for a bit of motivation.

Ever wonder what 200 calories looks like? Check out this link and see for yourself.

Exercise Demonstrations and Fitness Videos

There are several fitness sites online, but if you’re looking for information on how to actually do specific exercise there are a few standouts. The first is, which has more than 100 exercise videos in seven categories, and it’s all free of charge. The site is the brainchild of Justin Leonard, a Nevada-based fitness consultant.

Another site that has several great workouts (not just specific exercise demonstrations) is, whose offerings include “New You Bootcamp,” “10-Minute Cardio Kickboxing Workout” and “10-Minute Crunchless Core Workout” routines. The site does a good job, and it’s all free.

Interested in a daily yoga routine with top instructors? Try to watch a different free yoga class every day. The site describes the level of each class, and there are typically two students following along: one a beginner and the other experienced. And all the classes are filmed with wonderful backdrops, such as Wyoming’s Jackson Hole.

Healthy Restaurant Finders

There are some new sites that actually help you to find restaurants and make healthier choices while dining out. Since eating out typically means eating higher-calorie foods than you would at home, these tools can be very helpful in the quest for a healthy body. is very simple to use. You simply put in your ZIP code and, presto, GoodFoodNearYou finds the best choices available at restaurants nearby. In one simple, location-based search you get the lowest-calorie item at 20 restaurants near you. Then click on a search result to see full nutrition information for that menu item, a map to the location of the restaurant, the menu of that restaurant, and the nutrition information for all items on the menu. You can also sort your search results by closest distance, lowest calories, lowest carbs or lowest fat.

Right now GoodFoodNearYou delivers menu nutrition information for more than 220,000 U.S. restaurant locations. And there is also a mobile phone application for the iPhone and BlackBerry.

Another site,, features dietitian-approved healthy menu items served at 60,000 mostly fast-food and family-style chain restaurants. The site also provides detailed nutrition information (e.g., calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, fiber and fruit/vegetable servings) for each dish that is approved.

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