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The Business of Taking on the ‘Pandemic Pounds’

A virtual weight loss app on a tablet, which is on a table full of food

When it comes to COVID-19, each of us has had to face setbacks, inconveniences, and in some cases, major challenges. Quarantine, lockdown, and social isolation has created their own set of pressures as well. One of those pressures for many people has involved managing their weight effectively. Gyms have been closed, schedules disrupted, and a large percentage of people have been working at home. Together, these changes combine to make weight loss more difficult. If ever there was a need for a virtual weight loss app, the time would be now!

Before the pandemic, roughly 40 percent of all adults were obese. It’s unlikely that these figures have declined in the past few months. In fact, these rates have probably increased. The “Quarantine Fifteen,” “Pandemic Pounds,” or “Lockdown Load.” Weight gain during the pandemic goes by many names. But fortunately, several businesses now offer weight loss apps that go beyond traditional weight loss approaches. These virtual weight loss programs are more comprehensive in their strategies. And the benefits might be more profound as a result.

“Obesity is a chronic disease and there are factors at play, such as biology, genetics, hormones and environmental consequences. We are focused on understanding what the root cause is and helping people learn how their brain and gut are connected.” – Isabelle Kenyon, Founder and CEO, Calibrate

Virtual Weight Loss Considerations

Traditional weight loss programs assess your health, discuss weight loss goals, and then structure a plan accordingly. In essence, newer weight loss apps do the same. However, many of these virtual weight loss programs embrace a more holistic and comprehensive approach. Certainly, traditional programs considered exercise, caloric intake, and dietary health. But newer programs are including additional measures like proper sleep hygiene, social support, and personalized coaching and education. These are actually things that have become more feasible in virtual weight loss platforms.

A person about to eat, but first they must consult an app
For consumers fighting the ‘pandemic pounds’, virtual weight loss apps might do the trick.

Consumers have become more accustomed to videoconferencing, contactless menu scanning, and other digital techniques over the past few months. These skills actually reduce the barriers for many in using weight loss apps. In the “before,” these apps might have been viewed as a nice complement to traditional weight loss programs. But combined with more comprehensive tools, virtual weight loss tools are increasing rapidly in popularity. Depending on which tools best suit a customer, they may download one or several.

“Free tools allow you to track your food intake, which is a form of self-monitoring that’s been found helpful for reaching or maintaining a comfortable weight. They can also expose when you might be grazing or over-snacking, which happens when you’re spending more time working at home with a stocked kitchen.” – Samantha Cassetty, Principal at Samantha Cassetty Nutrition & Wellness, LLC

Businesses Offering Weight Loss Apps

Some weight loss apps are relatively new to the market while others have been around a while. But in each case, these virtual weight loss platforms keep expanding their offerings and tools. As a result, users can choose from a variety of these apps depending on their unique situation. And with personalized medicine becoming the norm, these apps fall in line with current trends. The following are some that are noteworthy in their personalized and holistic approach.

  • Lose It! – This weight loss app is liked by thousands because it is extremely user-friendly. Its virtual weight loss approach is to calculate your daily calorie needs based on your weight, age, and goals. It then creates a personalized weight loss plan for you to follow. Key features of Lose It! include a bar-code scanner capable of logging over 33 million foods’ nutritional information. It also has a “Snap It!” feature that determines portion sizes from a photo you take of your plate. And it also has a community sharing feature that boosts accountability and provides a forum for questions.
  • Calibrate – This New York-based startup recently received an additional $5.1 million in venture capital funding. And for good reason. Calibrate’s new weight loss app combined prescribed medication with personalized coaching to help people achieve their goals. Their holistic approach involves an initial screening survey, a doctor’s analysis, followed by a personal coach. The virtual weight loss program strives to achieve a 10 percent reduction in body weight over a full year. Though only available in 4 states currently, its funding will help it scale and expand in the near future.
  • Noom – This virtual weight loss program also begins by collecting a comprehensive health and lifestyle survey from users. Height, weight, gender, and weight loss goals are combined with this to tailor a specific plan for each individual. Noom’s weight loss app records your daily weight, physical activity, foods eaten, and even glucose levels. Plus, a virtual coach is available during working hours to users along with motivational readings and quizzes. Noom has increased significantly in popularity and now boasts over 3.5 million foods in its recording database.
  • WW – Previously Weight Watchers, WW is a commonly used weight loss app by millions. However, the company has greatly expanded its virtual weight loss programs recently. Completely digital programs now exist that records weight, diet and activity. WW also has weekly workshops, social networking supports, and 24/7 personalized coaching. Using a Smart Points system, individuals are assigned daily point totals they are allowed. Not only does WW have a proven record of success, but it also offers more than 8,000 recipes for users.

Choose One, Choose Many

Virtual weight loss programs are convenient, easily accessible, and mobile. Additionally, modern weight loss apps are more comprehensive in their approach and offer an array of tools for users. For this reason, customers are often using more than one of these health-focused apps. Depending on specific needs, more than one may help individuals attain their weight loss goals. While no one was planning on adding weight during lockdown, at least there’s a silver lining. Several innovative companies now offer much-improved virtual weight loss options. There’s little doubt these advances will change the weight loss industry for good.

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