By Andrew Eisner

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This is the worst time of year for dieting. Now that the holiday feasts are all behind you (haha), it's time to get serious about those extra pounds you may have accumulated.  To make matters worse, you’re probably spending a lot of time indoors watching HDTV, playing with your Wii, or maybe, perish the thought, reading a book on your Kindle. To help fight the battle of the bulge we offer these gadgets that, along with a little will power, could help keep away those extra pounds.
Wii Fit
It’s almost like having a personal trainer in your living room reminding you how much you weigh and how out of shape you are. The Nintendo Wii Fit costs around $90 (if you can find one to buy) and comes with a balance board that you use in various exercise games running on your Nintendo Wii. You can even choose a male or female trainer who demonstrates the correct way to do the exercises. Some overweight users have taken offense at blunt remarks coming from the Wii Fit that can be on the insulting and childish side but it is generally praised as a fun way to lose weight and get in shape.
High Tech Scale
This scale may be more than you need in a scale but the theory is the more aware you are of your body mass the more likely you’ll want to optimize it. The InnerScan Body Composition Monitor by Tanita calculates your body fat percentage along with a host of other measurements including “visceral fat.” It uses a low power electrical signal as part of a Bioelectric Impedence Analysis (BIA) to monitor and analyze body weight. They caution pregnant women and people with pacemakers against using this device. It costs about $100. If you really want to go high tech, they make a Bluetooth version that will transmit data to your PC. That one will cost you around $250.
Diet Dog
You’ll need to know someone at MIT’s Media Lab to get to use one of these gadgets but this electronic trainer in the form of a dog helps motivate you to watch your calories and get some exercise. This cyber pooch can also lay on a guilt trip if it detects you’ve been slouching on the diet and exercise. You can watch a video of one of its variants here.
Interactive Exercise Bike
Expresso Fitness makes exercise bikes that that offer a compelling alternative to watching CNN while you pedal. In fact, the interactive experience from a simulated ride or race can bring out that competitive streak and get you pedaling hard and fast. You can even compete with other Expresso users in real time through a web connection. Personally, I want one of these.
Nike +
Take a pair of Nike+ ready sneakers (or should we say “footwear”) that have a little pocket to hold a Nike+ sensor, add a SportBand or iPod adaptor and you’ve got a pretty neat system to track your distance, pace, time, and calories burned. The iPod version will report your data through the display and your earphones and after your run you can transfer the data from your iPod to your computer. The SportBand collects data from the sensor and then transfers it to your PC over a USB port. Once the data is in your computer there are lots of cool things you can do with it like create charts or compete with other Nike+ runners. Some users say you can just slip the sensor into the shoe laces and make do with the official footwear while other users caution about battery, reliability, and signal strength issues.
Wearable Monitoring Gadgets
Taking the scientific approach to exercising might be just the thing to help you shed some pounds. The Garmin Forerunner 405 is a combination GPS and heart rate monitor that will set you back around $350. The device collects data on how far you’ve gone, how fast you ran, and how strenuous your workout was. You can then send that data through a wireless connection to your computer for further analysis. The Polar FA20 is meant to be worn all day while it measures how active you are and how many calories you burn. It costs a little over $100. For a lot more money you can get one of Polar’s top-of-the-line models, the Polar S625X. For around $370, this monitor collects data and then sends it to your computer over an IR connection.
That New Year's Resolution...
Now is the time to make good on that New Year’s resolution to get in shape. Remember to use Retrevo to find product manuals and reviews for all popular products including HDTV, GPS, Laptops, Digital Cameras and more.
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Another "Gadget"

This isn't so much as a "gadget" as software to run on one...

The best health tool I've used in 20 years is "Lose It!" from FitNow. (http://www.loseit.com/)

This iPhone/iPod app is not only *free* (okay, you'll still have to buy the actual "gadget" to run it on), but it sets up the perfect "game" to lose weight, in an easy-to-use, professional-looking interface.

The keys are:
* Having a goal (it collects your starting weight, your goal weight, and how much you want to lose per week - then calculates your daily calorie budget and how long it will take to reach your goal; the "loss" can be 0 for weight maintenance, but it doesn't yet do weight gain)
* Letting you track your leading indicators: diet and exercise (it has a decent database to start from, but also very good custom database and reuse functions that make it easy for "creatures of habit" to enter a whole meal in just a few taps w/o entering any text)
* Showing you the "score" (it graphs your measured weight versus the goal, as well as giving you daily indicators of how much under or over you were on your daily calorie budget, and this is net - i.e. it subtracts exercise calories from the "used" calories when you track a meal)
* Holding you accountable (it is so quick to enter food, and if you already always have your iPhone or iPod touch with you, it actually "beckons" to be updated, usually as you are actually consuming your food! Unlike online sites that require you to retreat to your computer to log a meal, or planner books that require you to lug around binders and cards and diaries, this thing is always with you and super-convenient!)

It's not perfect, but it is only version 1.1 as of today - I'm sure it will only get better. But even with its imperfection, I've lost about 10 lbs in 3 weeks, just by minding my diet. I haven't added in consistent exercise yet, and I'm not starving or denying myself the foods I love (e.g. pastas, quick-serve restaurants, desserts). I did make some changes (e.g. no more sugar sodas, more raw fruits and vegetables), but they weren't like super-restrictive diets that you know you can't sustain - just good common sense changes. I can even track the amount of water/fluids I'm consuming (calorie-free) just to make sure I get my 8 servings per day!

Anyway, sorry for the long comment, but since this app is free, and I believe so much in it as both a tool and supporting a healthy process, I just have to "get the word out" since I can't pay them for it!

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