With A Little Help From Your Friends

Mobi Health News reported on December 16 that mobile app Rise has raised an additional $1 million for their service, which pairs app users with nutritionists for $10 per week to provide them personalized virtual coaching, specifically based on photos of the food they eat. The company’s example user was a mother of two with diabetes, looking for help with weight loss who achieved her goals using the service after previous failed attempts.

I think it’s an interesting idea to give people access to professional advice through a mobile app. On the one hand, it takes away the requirement for proximity to access qualified professionals — anyone reachable by a mobile data plan can be your adviser. And no doubt it leverages mobile users’ recent love for foodie photo sharing.

But it also shows that it can be challenging to make healthy changes to your diet and lifestyle on your own and that support can play a huge role toward personal success in health and fitness, even over the Internet.

I wonder how many of the users of an app like this are trying to reach out to professionals to make up for the absence of a personal community that supports their healthier life choices: be they coworkers, family, or friends. If those around you weren’t giving healthier eating the same priority, it would be difficult to know whether you were making significant enough ingredient substitutions in your home cooking or choosing appropriate portion sizes for your meals to stay on track toward your personal goals. You wouldn’t have a healthy point of reference.

I would like to think that one of the contributors to our success in implementing healthier choices for our family over the past six months is the fact that we chose to do it together.

Trying to make changes to diet and exercise regimens is made much easier by having partners there with you along the way, as an app like Rise demonstrates. But I think to stay on track beyond the initial weeks and months of change requires a close group of family and friends who share your outlook, more than an a professional coach. I’m not convinced there’s an app for that.

Tell us what you think. Would you subscribe to an app like Rise?

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