The Skinny on Free Online Weight Loss Programs

As the Internet is helping us to do all things we could only dream about – work from home, create our own business, do all of our holiday shopping – it is also giving an opportunity to those who want to lose weight, to adopt an online program and drop those pesky 10, 20 or 50 pounds.

There are a host of online weight loss programs out there, but in these tough economic times, spending monthly membership dues on a diet program may be a luxury we can no longer afford. So here is a look at some great online weight loss programs that are, best of all, free!

The Programs

With their over-arching feature being that they are free, these online weight loss programs often feature an entire community of support as you make your way along your weight-loss journey.

Here is a list of some of the more popular free online weight loss programs:

  • iVillage Total Health – One of the original online diet programs, they provide personalized meal and exercise plans from credentialed fitness and nutrition professionals.
  • FitDay Its primary tool is journaling, an exercise widely supported as an effective means of weight loss. Also provides charts and graphs to show progress over time and toward your goal. Available online or as a desktop application.
  • SparkPeople – Offers group support and a four-phase diet plan to help you lose weight and keep it off.
  • Diet BugSimilar support as large fee-based online diet sites, like an online community, weight loss tools and custom menu plans, but it’s all free. They cater exclusively to women.
  • Calorie Count – Managed by, this site has more than a half million members, all networking through free accounts. Access free tools, community support and lose weight through different diet plans.

Who are They For?

While a few of them primarily appeal to women, (iVillage Health and Diet Bug), all of these programs were created to meet the weight loss goals of men and women alike.

Obviously, spending a good deal of time at your computer is a likely prerequisite, they are also applicable for those who need a structured plan but don’t like the one-to-one interface that many offline programs mandate through their incorporation of support groups, mentors, team members and mentees.

Holding You Accountable

One common feature across many of these free online plans is to hold you accountable for what you eat and how much you exercise. The computer makes it so easy for us to input what we eat, how much we eat and analyze how this data becomes incorporated into our daily energy input-output equation. At the end of the day, or at the end of a meal, it’s plain as day to see how what we eat stacks up to what we should be eating in order to lose weight.

It’s like having your own personal dietitian with you at all times – for free!

What do you get?

Each program is fully equipped with tools and resources like BMI calculators, BMR calculators, calorie listings, food journals, exercise logs, and a sharing forum where you can communicate with fellow dieters.

Diet Bug and iVillage Health feature customized plans while others offer non-customized suggestions for how you should eat and exercise, and some only offer you the tools for inputting your daily data of what you eat and how much you exercised.

One of the drawbacks of online programs is the responsibility you have to daily input what you eat and how much you exercised. But if you spend hours on the computer each day, what is a few minutes more?

In addition, many of them were created by medical professionals. iVillage Health is one such program that offers sound medical advice and customized plans that will help you to safely and effectively lose weight.

If you’ve been suspect about getting anything good for free, think again. These online weight loss programs have helped many take responsibility of their own health in these technology-savvy and financially-tight times.

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