Using a smartphone app to help your diet? Try these other weight-loss tracker methods instead

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Smartphones, Twitter snaps and good old fashioned food diaries could help you shed the pounds...

woman walking with mobile phone
As many as one third of Britons are now turning to their smartphones when dieting in a bid to help them reach their weight goals and 'beat the bulge', according to a new study by mobile phone comparison site Mobile Phone Checker.

We're not surprised. We've known for years how great a food diary can be. Not only does it increase your awareness of what, how much, and why you are eating, but it can also help you identify areas where you can make changes to help you lose weight - like cutting out snacks and calorific drinks.

And food diaries have a proven success record. Studies show that people who keep diaries are more likely to be successful in losing weight and keeping it off. One report showed that people who kept a food diary six days a week lost twice as much weight as those who kept food records one day a week or less.

Of course a smartphone app isn't the only way to track your diet. If you're looking for an alternative, we've picked some of our favourite methods.

1. Good old-fashioned food diary

Before there were iPhones, there were notebooks. And while they won't automatically calculate the amount of protein or carbs you're ingesting each day, there's something satisfying about physically writing out what you had to eat. The physical labour of picking up your pen and digging out your notebook will make you think hard about whether you really want that second doughnut.

2. Tweet What You Eat

We're back to technology with this one, but we like it! Using your twitter account, you can create your personal food diary and send updates through tweets during the day using the hashtag #twye. You can enter the calories for the foods you know, or have the blanks filled in by the sites calorie calculator.

3. Snap it

Chances are you're already taking pictures of your food when you eat out (come on, we all do it). All this method asks is that you take photos of everything you put in your mouth. Studies have shown that people who take photographs of their meals stick more carefully to their diet than others. Having visual evidence of what you've had makes you think more carefully about the quality and quantity of your diet. It also acts as a reminder of any snacking binges you may otherwise whitewash from your memory.

4. Lose it or lose it

Need an extra reason to stick to your diet? Put your money where your mouth is and give yourself a financial incentive. We like Stikk which was developed by Yale Economists and works on the premise that a healtheir lifestyle can be more easily achieved if you're committed to the cause. The idea is very simple – you set a weight loss goal for yourself, choose how many pounds you're willing to lose if you don't meet your weekly weigh-ins, and pay up front. Over your chosen period of time, you check in (you also choose a referee to validate what you're doing) and any money you lose is donated to charity. Create 'penalties' for every time you eat a chocolate bar and we promise it'll make you think twice before bingeing.

5. Get a weight loss buddy

Many studies have shown that people who team up to lose weight or get fit together are more successful than individuals who do it alone. The key is to choose a buddy carefully - it should be someone who has a common goal. Your best friend is (probably) too nice to tell you not to have that extra piece of pizza, whereas your weight loss buddy should have no such qualms – you need someone to tell you like it is. If you can't find a buddy IRL, MyFitnessPal is a good place to look.

Will you be giving these diet tricks a try?

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