There are thousands of weight-loss plans available online — many of which promise more than they can actually deliver. Fad diets offer quick results, but the real key to long-term weight-loss is the right combination of healthy eating and exercise. Making permanent lifestyle changes might not be a quick or easy way solution, but it’s the best way to lose weight and keep it off.
There’s a saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Fortunately, you don’t have to take that journey on your own when it comes to weight-loss. There are helpful online resources that provide information and inspiration to get you started on the right foot.
Here are five weight-management websites that offer some of the best resources available online:
In 2011, the U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced the “Choose My Plate” initiative as a replacement for its Food Pyramid. Instead of illustrating a balanced daily diet in pyramid form, My Plate shows a plate divided into four sections: proteins, grains, fruits and vegetables, with dairy represented as a glass to the side. The Choose My Plate website explains the My Plate concept and provides interactive tools for assessing your nutrition, counting calories consumed and determining how many calories are burned by different types of physical activity. In addition, the website provides links to a variety of other health-related resources.
The Weight Control Information Network website provides science-based information on nutrition, weight control, obesity and physical activity. Sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the website is a clearinghouse for current information related to weight management. Publications are categorized according to their target audience (the public, healthcare professionals, legislators or the media) and can be viewed online or downloaded. Print copies can also be ordered, with up to 10 copies of each publication provided free of charge.
Keep the Beat – Deliciously Health Eating
You can read articles, watch videos, find healthy recipes and download cookbooks on this website, which is sponsored by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services). Links to publications related to the prevention and treatment of heart and vascular diseases are also provided. In addition, the website features tools for community organizers who want to plan a healthy eating event.
USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, this website provides links to dozens of healthy lifestyle resources. A wealth of food-related information for both the general public and health care professionals is provided. An “Interactive Tools” section of the website provides access to tools that help you assess your knowledge, check your health risks and design a healthy diet. Links to calculators for counting calories, tracking exercise, determining body mass index and other health indicators are also provided.
The President’s Challenge
This is the official website for the President’s Challenge Program, a national physical activity and nutrition initiative sponsored by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. The goal of the program is to help Americans increase their physical activity and improve their fitness. Founded in the 1960s to help children and teenagers become physically fit, the program has been expanded to include all ages. In addition to providing information about fitness, the website features tests for measuring physical fitness in children and adults, tools for setting and tracking exercise goals, and the opportunity to win awards for completing different challenge programs. Resources for schools and teachers who want to implement a Presidential Youth Fitness Program are also available.
Sarah Fudin works in community relations for the George Washington University’s online public health Masters program which provides students the opportunity to earn their MPH degree online. In her free time, Sarah enjoys running, reading, and connecting with people passionate about making positive change to the world.