Drop The Weight With Your Fingertips

Twitter has a new way to help you lose weight through a Web site geared to helping you keep track of what you eat.
Dropping the weight may literally be at your fingertips on your cell phone.

Nutritionists recommend keeping a food diary. But it isn't always easy carting a pen and notebook around everywhere with you, especially if you have a busy lifestyle.

However, there are now new advances in cell phone technology that could help you drop the weight by making these diaries a bit more functional for everyday life.

Natali Del Conte, CNET-TV senior editor, showed three new options to help you lose weight with your cell phone on Monday's The Early Show.

Twitter is one of the free newcomers that are pioneering cell phone weight loss. You can go to TweetWhatYouEat.com, and set up a Twitter-based food diary.

"When you eat something, you simply text what you ate and how many calories it was. If you don't know the calories, TweetWhatYouEat can help you figure this out. All of your tweets are saved in a diary format that you can access either on your computer or on your phone," she said. "Your diary keeps a running tally of the calories you've consumed each day."

Another free option is to create a photo diary. The idea behind this approach is that instead of simply writing down what you eat, you take a photo of the food. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied a group of volunteers that did this, and said that the results were eye-opening for all participants.

The photos allowed dieters to see that their portions were too big. When a week's worth of photos are lined up you can see that you've only had two pieces of fruit, or that you ate nothing green all week, or that you had ice cream three times.

Rather than continue to photograph their bad choices, many participants instead changed what they were eating. Plus, having to stop and take a picture before you put anything into your mouth makes "mindless eating" more difficult.

"You are forced to pay attention to the fact that you are reaching for another piece of candy or can of soda," Del Conte said.

Weight loss applications, similar to Twitter, for the iPhone are also catching on. "Lose It!" is one of the most popular.

"You set a daily calorie 'budget,' and then enter what you eat and your physical activity directly into your phone," Del Conte said. "The app does the appropriate math and allows you to see how much you've eaten, and how many calories you can still consume in order to meet your weight goals."

Users and tech experts consistently say that the "Lose It!" program is very easy to use.