How technology can help cure eating disorders
This year kicked off with the launch of Kylie Jenner’s new Lipgloss line and Victoria Secret models flaunting their physique and magazines showcasing photo-fixed models. Those usually shown in front of magazine covers are supposed to be the symbols of “perfection.” This unrealistic view of beauty fills our world with judgments and self-doubt.
This seems to hit women the hardest. Women from their teens until their early adulthood, struggle with self-acceptance. They are made to feel ashamed and undermined at a young age, which then evolves into a lack of self-love.
This pressure of perfection leads to many psychological disorders — one of them being eating disorders. Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia and Binge Eating has become a common issue. Some individuals have reached the point of being mummified, and even death.
While many blame social media and technology for being the catalyst of these false images, people tend to miss the benefits of technology. There is technology that can actually help change people’s mentality towards these beauty misconceptions as well as bring awareness to help cure eating disorders.
Mandometers are devices used to measure eating habits. It was started in Sweden by two nutritionist named Bergh and Soderstan, as a way to help people adjust their eating habits. In a report from Natural Medicine they stated that “eating Disorders shouldn’t be classified mental illness in 1996.”
As the world is now focusing more on health and sustainability, Mando meter hopes to make the world a better place. These small device work by being attached to a weighing plate. As most eating disorder victims are incapable of understanding the need to eat, the Mandometer acts as a “teacher” to ease them into the process of eating.
The Mandometer is a scale that measures the amount of food one has to take for their body to function normally. This scale is based on the user’s body weight and height. Before starting any meal, the device requires the user to state their level of hunger and as the meal progresses, it continues to measure the speed of eating to the amount of food. At the end of each meal, the user is then required to record their level of fullness. This simple method trains the user’s brain to enjoy the process of eating and accept an ideal amount of weight stated by the device. NOTE: The method has also been criticized.
Smart phone apps for binge eaters
Binge Eating Disorder (BED) has become one of the most common eating disorder in this century. Usually, BED patients are emotional eaters; they eat when they’re happy, sad, angry or even bored. Often times, binge eaters become prone to various illnesses.
Drexel University, took it upon themselves to create an app to handle this issue. As quoted by the Independent, this app uses a form of CBT to help users control of their urges. “Take Control” measures one’s binge eating habits and observes their behavioral pattern.
The app helps BED patients by alerting them during triggers. It also alerts them when they forget their medications. It records their meal times and mood swings, allowing them to use customized interventions. These customized interventions give one the opportunity to decide on what and when to act upon their decisions, hence catering their thought process to overcome their binge eating habit.
As community factor becomes the key to one’s recovery, Take Control allows participants to engage in social networks and set goals for public view. Each accomplishment boosts participants to aim higher and to be better.
THE KISSY PROJECT
The Kissy Project is an app created by Kirsten Hertog, who used struggle with anorexia. Through her experiences, she had an idea to create an app to helps others like herself. This app intends to help everyone who’s going through any form of eating disorder to simply say “YES” to life.
With weekly blog updates as well as the activities and motivational quotes, the Kissy App is intended to help create a positive and body accepting mindset for teenagers. With the help of Aim for The Stars, a Layne Beachely Foundation, Kirsten managed to launch this app for free for both Android and iPhone users.
Currently, the Kissy App is heavily involved with the Butterfly Foundation, which is an Australian foundation that functions as an institution that helps those who are going through a severe form of eating disorders, recover.
In 2011 a group of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs decided to create an app that helps patients during and post recovery. Their plan became the first app that’s used clinically.
Instead of only engaging with the patients and leaving all the responsibilities of post recovery to them, this app incorporates both patients and doctors to work together. While most apps focus deeply towards the patients, Recovery Record allows both doctors and patients to use the platform as a form of self-help.
Jenna Tregarthen, the CEO of Recovery records, is currently emphasizing relapse prevention and behavior change.
Recovery Record is similar to the Take Control app — it allows medical help in various clinics to help with eating disorders. The ability to customize the app according to different people helps manage unique situations in an efficient way.
Communication, direct and easy
Humans seek communication. The internet has made it possible for the world to communicate despite physical distance. Having an eating disorder has become a stigma of embarrassment and shame in our modern world. By choosing online consultation, the fear of being stigmatized and judged may be alleviated — there is a sense of privacy.
Many therapists now have the option to choose to treat their patients online, to give them the confidence to communicate with them. As many people today find it easier to express themselves via social media compared to in person, therapist find it as a positive alternative.
Online communication will always be under scrutiny because the most used options (Facebook, Skype) are simply not secured for private and sensitive matters, especially regarding health. Find a solution that gives you SSL protection throughout the app and peer-to-peer connection so the data doesn’t go through any unknown servers.
Technology has made many huge leaps in innovation to help people lead a healthier lifestyle and matters such as eating disorders will continue to find help with the aid of technology.
This article was brought to you by Telebond, where we believe technology can bring people closer in an easy and secure way.