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Using an online calorie tracker

Online calorie-counting tools are usually free; some may offer paid upgrades with additional features. They make it easy for you to keep track of exactly what you are eating and modify your diet as necessary. These websites also provide helpful tools that allow you to determine your ideal caloric intake, view your vitamin and mineral levels, track your workouts, and set goals.

Some features offered by online diet-tracking systems include:

  • Custom recipes that allow you to easily enter the foods you eat most often. Don't forget to add your vitamin supplements as well!
  • Network building: Many weight-loss surgery patients use calorie-tracking programs that allow them to add friends and view each other's food journals. This allows you to get food ideas from other people and receive feedback on your food choices.
  • Reports for calories, macronutrients, or specific vitamins and minerals.
  • Water-tracking components that make it easy to make sure you are drinking enough fluids.

Although it may take some time to become familiar with the way different calorie-counting programs work, entering your foods will become easier over time as you build a library of the foods you eat most often. Changing old habits is difficult but rewarding, and an online food journal can be one of your best tools in losing weight and gaining better health.

Try some of these tools to see which one works best for you:

  • MyFitnessPal: Easy to add foods and custom recipes, and offers a variety of reports for tracking essential nutrients. Mobiles apps available for iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Windows phones so you can track your calories on the go.
  • FitDay: Allows you to add fitness buddies and share your food journal. Mobile app available for iPhone. A desktop version offers additional features, or you can upgrade to a Premium online version for an annual fee.
  • My Lap Band Journey: The Lap-Band's own online support system offers a food diary powered by FitDay, as well as features that allow you to track your body measurements, daily mood, doctor appointments, and band adjustments. You can also create an online support team by inviting friends and family to view your page.
  • Spark People: A popular web site that offers a variety of goal-setting tools and resources for healthy living.
  • Calorie Count Plus: Offers a large database of foods and tracking meters that make it easy to monitor your daily activity.
  • Livestrong Daily Plate: Easy to enter foods and create custom recipes. You can also set goals for calories, weight, and nutrients, and view other members' recipes. Free and paid versions available with different features.
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