We've written about how technology can be a powerful tool to help you accomplish your wellness goals. From wearable workout tech to fitness apps to smart scales to nutritional-information web tools, it's clear that technology can be a positive force in promoting healthy habits. Of course, the power of tech can also be used for evil purposes. Case in point: a very popular new app that's making us feel all kinds of icky.
Called My Diet Coach, the app is available for iOS and Android and has over 900 ratings on the iTunes Store — with an average rating of over 4.5 stars. It's marketed as a way to help "resist food cravings, temptations, emotional eating, exercise laziness, and other challenges." "Easily win the mental game of dieting," the developer claims. "Keep your motivation alive, stay committed, and lose weight fast!"
And, folks, it gets worse. The app offers "motivational" statements that range from slightly silly ("Imagine being the best-looking girl in your class") to very silly ("Ask a friend or relative to pay you for every pound you lose") to downright body-shaming and offensive ("Do your thighs bother you? Control yourself — it'll be worth it!" and "Imagine what it would be like to have a flat belly. Do you want one? Control yourself"). Of course, the science of appetite and satiety tells us that "controlling yourself" is nowhere near as simple as it sounds.
Honestly, it's not surprising to see an app play into users' body-image issues. Still, the blatant, unapologetic way the developers of My Diet Coach reinforce this destructive idea of fitness is so ridiculous that it almost seems like a parody. If only. (Blisstree)