On a course in April we were discussing self monitoring as a tool to help people manage their drinking. Someone told me there were apps for this sort of thing now. I investigated on my new smartphone and found some for weight loss.

In 2 months of reporting in daily on my activity levels and eating I lost 10 lbs and have settled into doing 3-4 sessions of organised exercise every week as well as walking more. I’ve also learned I was not eating enough protein and have altered my diet accordingly.

I found the process of telling my phone what I was doing, coupled of course with the personalised information that triggered, was enough to get me doing what it took to lose the weight I’d wanted to lose for months.

Where does that fit with what we say about motivation being a mixture of it being important to change and feeling confident you can do it? I think;

  • The action of setting up the app reinforced the importance I was already attaching to the issue. I had to answer questions like ‘What’s your target weight?’ which elicited ‘change talk’ as we call it in motivational interviewing.
  • The ease of adding foods and activity to the diary which were then translated for me into calories etc increased my confidence that I could keep tabs on my behaviour. It suddenly felt clear cut not a woolly concept.

Has anyone used any of the apps for monitoring alcohol intake, or smoking? Have any agencies developed their own?

There is a facility on my app for sharing all your behavioural monitoring via Facebook/Twitter etc. Do people do this? What impact does it have on motivation? Is it more important when someone else witnesses it? Does it increase confidence to show off about how well you’ve done?