Key to losing weight could be as close as your phone

December 28, 2011 4:03:37 PM PST
If your New Year's resolution is to get on a diet, starting one is relatively easy. The hard part is sticking to it. Consumer Reports just polled more than 3,000 of its subscribers on losing weight to see just what they're doing to stay on target and found they're using free smart phone apps to shed the weight.

Sarah LaFleur says she's really changed her eating habits, and it's paid off. She's lost 65 pounds in the last three years. The key to her weight loss, she says, is using a free online app called "Lose It" to track her calories.

She said, "I wanted something that was easy, something that I could use on the go, something that I could do quickly."

The app lets Sarah count calories anywhere on her smart phone.

Sarah's not alone, according to the Consumer Reports National Research Center. A just-released survey of online subscribers found many people are using online tools to track their diet, including weight watchers online and free sites like MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople.

Elissa Schuler-Adair with Consumer Reports said, "Our surveys have shown that counting calories is linked to losing weight and keeping it off."

Like Sarah, respondents to this latest survey relied on tried-and-true strategies to meet their weight-loss goals, like eating more fruits and veggies.

"I think the biggest change was the portion size," Sarah said.

Also drinking more water and cutting back on sugar. And the poll shows many people used positive thinking to keep themselves on track.

"Thinking about how much progress you've made so far was one of the better techniques for sticking with your diet," Schuler-Adair said.

Of course exercise helps, too. When Sarah noticed her weight starting to plateau, she grabbed her running shoes.

"I'm a half-marathoner now," she said.

And she's determined to lose more weight.

Weight Watchers and Weight Watchers Online were the most popular commercial diet plans in Consumer Reports' poll, but you don't necessarily need to spend money on those plans. Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed followed their own diet and exercise regimen.

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