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When it comes to losing weight, many who've battled the bulge say motivation and accountability are key.

Now a growing number of dieters, like Kelsey Lamb, are finding both, through Internet sites and mobile apps like MyFitnessPal.

I weighed 309 pounds, had a really big stomach, love handles and three chins, said Lamb.

She recalled her physique of two years ago, as she walked her dog through a Vancouver park, which is part of her daily fitness regimen.

I feel like a totally different person now, said Lamb, and physically, she is.

I have lost a total of 115 pounds in two years and one of my biggest aids has been MyFitnessPal.com, she testified.

The website is free. Users log on and enter their meals and workouts and the program calculates a dietary plan to help them meet weight-loss goals.

It kind of shows you a balance of what you have and haven't done and what you can and can't eat, Lamb said.

There's also a forum for users to share stories, pictures and encouragement with others.

That's huge! said Lamb. Because you know that there are other people going through the same exact thing you are.

Other people like Ken Gordon, chef and owner of Kenny and Zuke's Delicatessen. Six weeks ago, Gordon's love for eating rich foods caught up with him when he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Instead of taking drugs, I worked out a program with my naturopath, and signed up with MyFitnessPal.com to track calories and fitness, said Gordon.

Gordon cut out refined sugar and refined carbohydrates. He also stocked his pantry with nutritious food, like avocados, nuts and salsa.

One of the worst things you can do is be hungry and go out, get some fast food and eat something that's really not good for you, said Gordon.

Health experts also frown upon not eating enough.

I sometimes find the calorie goals (recommended on websites) are too low, said Kimra Hawk, a dietitian at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

Hawk recommended that dieters always consult their doctors before starting on a major weight loss plan. She also said online diet websites can provide good motivation, but warns patients to not obsess over calories.

If you aim for filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, that will get you so far, said Hawk. You won't even have to be counting calories.

Hawk also recommended recording what you eat. She said it doesn't matter if dieters do so on-line or on paper.

Research has shown that people who keep food records lose twice as much weight as those who don't, she said. You might think, 'Do I really want to choose another cookie when I've already had three, if I'm going to have to write it down?'

In his first six weeks on the program, Gordon lost 14 pounds and lowered his blood pressure by 30 points. He also started writing a weekly column called Diary of a Diabetic Chef, which appears every Wednesday in The Oregonian.

I'm actually planning to buy some new pants or jeans this weekend, he said with a smile.

Lamb said she has 50 more pounds to lose before reaching her fitness goal. In the meantime, she offered advice for those just getting started on their weight loss journey.

Don't wait until tomorrow, don't wait until Monday, start right now, she said. Every meal is a choice that you make.

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