Online dieting: Is the Daily Plate the free lunch you've been looking for?

That New Year's resolution you made to lose weight is looming over you. You've tried to put it off, but each day, you feel guilty for not "starting" on that diet yet. You've got plenty of clever excuses. You need to sign up for the gym. You haven't gone to the grocery store to stock up on healthy food yet. You don't want to do "points" so you need something else to help you track your calories.

Well here's an online calorie counter that is easy and free. I know... you've tried these before. And they were horrible. The free ones are hard to use or offer almost no menu items or have some other fatal flaw.

The Daily Plate, however, is a different meal altogether. It offers a huge library of food items, helps you calculate your ideal daily calories depending upon your desired weight loss, and also lets you track your exercise. All of this is free. You can upgrade to a "gold" account for $45 a year. I don't really see a need to upgrade -- all you really get is the ability to track your body measurements, a cute little weight loss graphic that you can use on social networking sites, and some technical support.

This is a great free tool... much better than any of the other free tools I've seen out there. And it's no longer necessary to pay a site to track your meals and weight loss progress. So skip eDiets.com. Skip weightwatchers.com. Save yourself some money and try The Daily Plate.

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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