The other week when I was researching smartphone apps that can help you lose weight, I found some amazing resources like MyFitnessPal. Unfortunately, I also found an application that was so strange it made my jaw drop. Naturally, I downloaded it so I could investigate it further. It’s called MyDietCoach and it’s a wildly popular diet app geared at women; based on the aesthetic of the interface, it’s geared toward young women in particular. Many aspects of the application reminded me of pro-anorexia sites and harmful thinspo.
Let’s look at some screenshots I took from inside MyDietCoach:
This is the home screen for MyDietCoach. This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of weirdness. You can customize the before and after avatar with different hair colors and skin tones to look like you. You can also customize the amount of weight you want to lose, the amount of time you want to lose it in and the reason why you’re losing it in the first place. You can seriously put that you want to lose 100 pounds in a month.
Though MyDietCoach has some typical diet app functions like food and weight tracking, it also has motivational tips. That’s where things start looking especially like thinspo. You can choose between a number of situations you’d be in when there would be temptation to break your diet. Positive quotes and tips can be rather encouraging, but many of these veer in a more ProAna direction. See for yourself:
The stock photo they paired this threatening quote with is in poor taste. Further, the urge to eat isn’t always a momentary temptation. You can’t regret everything you put in your mouth. We need food to live.
Another example of harmful focus on control and a particular body part.
This is the worst reason ever to lose weight and conflates attractiveness with thinness. It also makes the app seem pointed toward school age girls who maybe shouldn’t have these sorts of messages beamed into their smart phones. The stock photo of two boys fighting over a girl is a strange choice.
Ask someone else to bribe you to lose weight! Oy.
That was just a small sample of the hundreds of similar tips based on challenges like “food craving” and “hunger.”
There is one thing I do like about MyDietCoach. You can program it to send you reminders. There are preprogrammed options like “Grab a small healthy snack or meal” and “Find healthy options for eating in my area,” but you can also set your own personal reminders. I have mine tell me to drink water a few times a day, in case I forget.
Check out the MyDietCoach Facebook page for more harmful examples of thinspo quotes like this one:
Does anyone use MyDietApp? Has it helped you or did you notice its thinspo messages and turn away?
Images via MyDietApp and Facebook