These days, John Porten is content eating his Subway sandwiches and keeping off the pounds. Most of his adult life, though, the 47-year-old Indianapolis resident struggled with his weight; he would lose a number of pounds, then gain them right back.

Around five years ago, Porten decided to take action by monitoring his food intake. He would use a spread sheet and a booklet to track his food and calories. Porten noticed that as long as he kept a written record, he would maintain or lose weight. After a bit of prodding from a neighbor on his cul-de-sac, Porten decided to develop a website for the frustrated dieter.

Porten hooked up with a developer in Indianapolis and put together a prototype application called “When we got the prototype app up and running, it was no time at all before we had 400 to 500 members…people who just found out about it through word of mouth,” says Porten. The feedback led Porten to create a more commercial version of the application, called Graphite, which was introduced to the public in November, 2009. Porten wanted to design the application with a color scheme and language that would appeal primarily to middle-aged guys. Porten says he learned through market research and talks with a lot of people that men were frustrated with forums and advertisements and wanted a simple tool.

According to the new web site, “Graphite is an easy-to-use web-based tool for tracking calorie intake (meals/food) and calorie expenditures (exercise and other activities). Based on the principle of energy balance, Graphite helps you manage the balance of calories you consume with the calories you burn, helping you to reach your weight management goals.”

When you visit,  click the “Tour” tab at the top of the main page and discover several ways you can monitor your calories and exercise, and have fun at the same time. The “Track Food” page will help you stay at your calorie intake target, even if you wind up going to the family picnic and eating way too many hot dogs. On the “Create Custom Foods, Recipes, & Meals” page, keep track of your favorite meals. If a combination of swimming, weight training and walking keeps your weight down, make note of it on the “Track Exercise Calories Burned” page. This page also has a nifty motivational tool. At Graphite, you can set personal goals and track your progress.

This attractive and easy-to-navigate website features an impressive number of resources, including several articles on how to eat healthy. Visit “The Graphite Blog” and read about the “power”of tracking.

Porten is excited about getting the word out about Graphite. Says Porten, what it boils down to is “managing what you put in your mouth and managing how many calories you burn.”