The new year is just a few months old, but how many of us have kept our New Year’s resolutions to lose weight? For many people, that promise went into the dumpster with the Christmas fruitcake.
PICS, Inc. is testing the DietMate, a portable computer that could be a great motivater for people who want to lose extra pounds. In a study funded by the National Institutes of Health, volunteers are using the DietMate to control cholesterol and weight.
The DietMate reminds users to weigh themselves in the morning and gives menu suggestions. Users enter their food consumption into the computer, and it subtracts the amount of fat, calories, and cholesterol from the daily allotment. If the user has overeaten, the DietMate suggests smaller meals throughout the day and the next day offers more suggestions.
Dr. Albert Jerome, one of the product’s developers, says, “DietMate is effective because it helps structure appropriate food choices and provides a simple means for tracking progress.”
One participant in the study, federal employee Jim Frater, lost 31 pounds in twelve weeks by using the DietMate. He subsequently dropped 81 points from his total cholesterol level.
Jim Frater’s computer tells him on the morning after a day of overeating, “Watch your calorie intake more carefully today, Jim!” or “Choose foods that are lower in cholesterol today, Jim!”
Frater said it took about a week to get used to the computer, and then it became a part of his lifestyle. When he reached his goal weight, the DietMate played fanfare. Since then, Frater has maintained his weight loss.
PICS, Inc., the DietMate’s developer, is best known for the LifeSign Stop Smoking Product which helps people quit lighting up with the help of a credit card-size computer. One million people have used the LifeSign to stop smoking. Future studies will use computers to help people to control hypertension and diabetes. For more information, call PICS at (800) 543-3744.