If you’ve long feared you’ve a slim chance of losing weight and staying fit, a few hints from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may help:

Make a commitment. Many people find it helpful to sign a written contract with themselves committing to the process.

Take stock of where you are. Your doctor can evaluate your health and weight and suggest lifestyle changes.

Set goals. “Exercise More” is not a specific goal. “I’ll walk 15 minutes, three days a week” is.

Identify resources for information and support. Join a weight loss group.

Continually monitor your progress. Studies have shown that the more consistently a person tracks food intake and exercise, the more likely he or she is to lose weight and gain fitness.

To help, there’s now a health and fitness community with easy-to-use tools for tracking nutritional intake and exercise levels. It’s a social network for people interested in diet and fitness, with more than a million active members.

Each member gets a personalized calorie counter and exercise tracker based on his or her profile and determines a daily calorie budget. Custom tools measure BMI (body mass index) and BMR (basal metabolic rate; the number of calories you burn doing nothing). You can customize foods and exercises to help you meet goals based on your profile. The system lets you track food intake and exercise, with a fast and simple interface.

There are more than 600,000 food items in the database and it’s growing daily due to user contributions, so most people find the majority of what they eat is already online. You can track your intake wherever you go because the MyFitnessPal.com site can be reached through a free app on both the iPhone and the Android platforms, giving members full mobile access to their account, including the entire food and exercise database. Phone and computer input sync automatically.

The network remembers what you eat most often and makes it easy to add those foods again to your log. The more you track your meals, the easier it becomes. You can track calories as well as all major nutrients including, fat, protein, carbs, fiber, cholesterol and more. Graphs and reports monitor your progress.

Because the community actively uses social media channels, you get a steady stream of motivation, communication and support. Discussion forums let users learn from each other, share tips and recipes, give and get encouragement and make friends.
Learn more online at www.myfitnesspal.com. (NAPSI)