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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-iReach/ --

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This post was written by Heather Hildreth . She is a a third year physics major at the University of Virginia. While she does enjoy physics very much, she has also learned after writing numerous twenty plus page lab reports, a life in the lab is not for her. She would much rather pursue a career relating to patents and IP law. Last summer, she interned at Cooper, White, & Cooper, LLP in San Francisco, California, and was able to get her feet wet in the legal environment and practice her analytical writing skills. Originally from Northern Virginia, it would be ideal for her to get a job at the PTO or a firm close to Washington, D.C., but she will take whatever opportunities she can find! Thankfully, she has another year and a half until she graduates in 2013, leaving her enough time to start looking for jobs and enjoying her last moments in the physics library (aka the exclusive nerd library) at her school. Feel free to connect with her through LinkedIn or Google+, where she often share articles she finds about new research and inventions relating to physics.


WebMD has always been the go-to site for those trying to stay healthy, especially with its famous "symptom checker" feature. Founded in 1996, WebMD became the leading health news website in the United States in 2007. However, I personally think the most valuable section of the WebMD site is the Food & Fitness planner, which has helped me lose some of the weight I gained over the holiday season.

The Food & Fitness planner has been around for a while, but it was revamped last year for a cleaner look and an easier navigation. Personally, I don't think it could be easier. Users can log what and how much they eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; either by searching for common foods in its database or by entering in their own information for certain foods. Users can save their "frequent foods" so that they are easier to find. Users can also log exercise to track fitness calories in addition to food calories.

Logging everything helps users to find patterns in their eating habits, like late-night snacking. Users can also see their macronutrients percentages (carbs, protein, and fat) so that they can actually see how many carbs they're eating. Having this information available to me drastically improved my diet, as I had no idea just how many "healthy" things still contained a lot of carbs. Logging exercise helps keep up motivation, as physically seeing the amount of calories burned on a colorful chart makes users more aware of what they are doing than if they were to just mentally keep track.

If a user so desires, he can customize a weight-loss plan based on how much he weighs, how much weight he wants to lose, his age, his gender, how active his lifestyle is, how fast he wants to lose the weight, and whether he wants to lose that weight by mostly restricting calories, by mostly increasing exercise, or a combination of both. Then, the planner estimates how much calories he normally burns in a day, and then figures out how many calories he should eat per day and how many calories he should burn per day. The numbers appear on the log, and if calories consumed exceeds the limit or if calories burned does not exceed the limit, the number of calories so far that day appears in red.

Counting calories by hand is hard, but WebMD makes it extremely easy. I've been using the Fitness & Food planner since the first week of January, and don't intend to stop anytime soon. I would highly recommend creating a fitness plan through this feature, even if it's just to maintain weight.

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