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Weight loss programs force the industry to embrace digital options: NPR

Jessica Holloway-Haytcher uses an app to help her track meals, train and keep in touch with an online trainer.

Mark Rogers Photography

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Mark Rogers Photography

Jessica Holloway-Haytcher uses an app to help her track meals, train and keep in touch with an online trainer.

Mark Rogers Photography

As with so many other industries, apps call up the weight loss business, including big-name companies like Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers. And that's basically because more consumers feel the way Jessica Holloway-Haytcher does.

A few years ago she tried dietary shots and supplements. She hated them. She also hired a former NFL player beaten personal trainer – but his schedule never suited her.

She spent $ 600 a month on unsustainable programs. She says she couldn't keep up with the "astronomical" costs.

Now Holloway-Haytcher is using an app called Noom. (Noom is an NPR sponsor.) She has shed over 30 pounds so far by changing her habits. She is now preparing healthy meals in the morning, so she is not furious at night; She focuses on the conversation to reduce eating.

The app also helps her track meals, train and keep in touch with an online trainer. It is always with her and works on her busy schedule as owner of a staffing firm in Kennewick, Wash. Sometimes it feels as if the app knows what she thinks.

"It's a little fun how to open the app one day, and that's exactly what I'm struggling with is what they're talking about," says Holloway-Haytcher. As when she stopped losing weight and became discouraged. "How it can affect you and how to work through it, and how to work through the negative self-talk you have," she says.

When it comes to weight loss, 80 percent of people try to do it themselves, John says. LaRosa, president of Market Data, which tracks the US $ 4 billion weight loss industry. (The parent market – including diet food and soda, health clubs, weight loss surgery and dietary medicine – a total of about $ 72 billion.) He says apps like MyFitnessPal, Fitbit and Fooducate appeal to consumers

LaRosa says apps have a disadvantage: Users often get tired of them, just as they do gym members But the programs are also cheaper than most commercial programs, and they appeal to the younger demographic that traditional chains have struggled to attract.

"The average age of a customer of Jenny Craig, or Nutrisystem or Weight Watchers is about 48, and that goes up well," LaRosa says. "It's going to be a shrinking market if they only accommodate baby boomers." 19659008] It explains why Nutrisystem, which was acquired by Tivity Health last year, renewed its digital strategy. Tivity President Dawn Zier says included advertising more on social media and reworking his NuMi app.

"The younger generation is about to be in demand," she says. "[They will say] I want food when I want what I want to talk to an advisor when I actually have a problem, which can be at 10am on Saturday night. & # 39; "

Vectors also overwhelmed their brand last year and changed the name of WW, which stands for Wellness that works." for the WW.

The 56-year-old company shifts, it still masters support groups at its outlets, a concept that made it and Jenny Craig popular in the 1980s. Having physical stores is still WW's biggest difference from startup which is exclusively

Benovitz says WW's own app serves to keep customers in contact, or instead of, the personal meetings.

"It used to be that we hesitated to even show the app in our commercials and it has changed, "she says." I think the future is a really strong science-based technology partner in health and wellness. "

This trend may have started with the younger generation, but has spread beyond that. Favin Gebremariam, 34, from Boston uses WW's app, which makes her mother. They talk daily about their weight and exchange pictures with other members.

The interaction happens all day, which helps keep Gebremariam on track, she says.

"You get feedback and you're congratulated, or you get support", which everyone keeps her motivated to hold onto the program, she says. Gebremariam also still considers the personal workshops that are crucial.

But the app fills in the holes. "We want to track our food and we will track our activity and check in on our friends and it happens on the phone," says Gebremariam.

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