January's traditionally the month where we tighten our belts and try to trim our waistlines. But that doesn't mean that January is all about counting calories and swapping your computer for some cardio, as there are loads of resources online that can help you to lose weight. Just read on for our guide to slimming online and make the battle of the bulge easier by using your Plusnet broadband. Most people looking to slim down will join a gym, exercise more and eat healthier foods. And you can find all the help you need online ...
1. Use your broadband … to slim with support
Last year, a study published in The Lancet and endorsed by the UK Medical Research Council showed that people who join a slimming group lose, on average, twice as much weight as slimmers going it alone. Even if there isn't a slimming club in your local area or you don't have the time to go to slimming meetings, you can always join a club online. Most well-known slimming clubs - including Weight Watchers, Slimming World and Rosemary Conley Diet & Fitness - allow web-savvy slimmers to sign up to online versions of their programmes, where they can input their measurements and access low calorie recipes, tips and weight management tools. If you don't want to join a slimming club, you could use the web to chat to and swap tips with other slimmers. Forums like Minimins.com have threads on slimming, dieting for your wedding, reducing pregnancy weight-gain and more, as well as weekly weigh-in conversations that you can add to.
2. Surf your way to healthier eating
Eating in … Improving your diet can be the key to losing weight, so it's good to know that you can find lots of healthy eating advice online. The BBC Good Food Guide, for example, is a great place to go for healthy recipes. It's free to sign up and you can find low calorie recipes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as recipes that suit your diet plan - whether you're cutting out carbs, following a low GI plan or going on a soup diet. The calorie, fat and saturated fat content of each recipe is on display, so you can be mindful of what you're eating. And you can print off shopping lists for each recipe or planned menu, making grocery shopping simple. You can also add your favourite recipes to a binder, and stream cookery tutorials and helpful videos. And you can download free audio cookery podcasts from BBC4 using iTunes too. The Weightwatchers and Tesco websites are also excellent resources for health-conscious cooks looking for recipe ideas and cookery videos online.
Eating out … Even if you're careful with the food you prepare at home, it can be easy to slip off the wagon when you eat out. But you can check the calorie count of meals from Nando's, Burger King, EAT, Pret, Starbucks and more using an online calorie checker. Or, if you don't know what you're going to be ordering in advance, you can check sites like WeightLossResources.co.uk to find low calorie menu options, organised by cuisine.
3. Skip the gym and stream some exercise videos at home
Gym memberships can be expensive. And with everyone rushing to join a gym and kick-start their New Year resolutions in January, it can be difficult to get a slot on the equipment you want. But you can avoid the crowds and get fit at home, using your broadband. Just surf YouTube for exercise videos, Pilates clips and Yoga tutorials. You don't need specialist equipment - you can use a towel instead of a yoga mat or tins of soup or fruit in place of dumbbells. As well as helping you to slim down, getting fit with YouTube videos could help you get your finances in better shape too by cutting back on pricey gym memberships and workout DVDs either. If you don't fancy using YouTube videos, you can always stream podcasts straight from iTunes. There are more than 100 channels in the fitness and nutrition category, most of which offer free podcasts as well as premium pay-to-view workouts. And you can also stream web workouts for free if you sign up with Fitnessmagazine.com or Workoutsondemand.com. Workoutsondemand.com features pay-to-view and free content, and although you can only view five - ten minute long workouts for free, that could be the perfect solution if you're just looking to start gently and squeeze some exercise into a packed day. Are you slimming online? Have you got any tips or found any other helpful resources? Please let us know by leaving a comment below …