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It's your trainer's favorite bit of on-the-go advice: "Keep a food diary." But despite the obvious benefits, the reality of schlepping around an extra notebook dedicated to everything you ingest has never quite made it into your daily routine.

Enter MyFitnessPal, the simplest tool we've found for tracking nutrition and fitness. (Now available as a free app for multiple platforms, including iPhone, Android and BlackBerry.) The golden rule of weight loss is to burn more than you consume, and MyFitnessPal's goal is to keep you on the right side of that equation.

The layout is clear and pretty, and the food database is more than a million strong--tap "add to diary," then go to "breakfast," start typing "yogurt" and watch a grocery store's worth of options materialize. (If your brand's not already there, scan the bar code to look it up.) There are handy options for tracking calories burned through exercise, and you can personalize your diary by entering your age, current weight, goal weight, height and other details. Add workouts every day (moderate canoeing burns 571 calories an hour-who knew?) and connect with fellow fitness fans to up the motivation factor.

Having our new friend in our pocket helped us say no to cupcakes and champagne one afternoon, and knowing we still had a few calories in the bank come bedtime led to sweet dreams of an indulgent weekend breakfast.

Obsessive phone checking never felt so virtuous.

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