iDiet was created by Susan Roberts, PhD, of Tufts University. After more than 200 clinical studies on nutrition and weight loss she decided to become a “diet doctor”. She started with her groundbreaking book, The “I” Diet with meal plans that offered delicious food but met strict dietary rules and literally changed the dieters' relationship with food. She formed a team, put together a marketing site and appeared on TV shows generating interest for the book, but needed a platform to form a sustainable company.
Losing weight is hard, but forming habits can transform someone's journey from a chore to second nature. The iDiet program consists of a live online weekly group meeting and it's important for dieters to log their weight and maintain a log of what they ate each day. This data and diary is shared and monitored with their certified group leader and the dieter can selectively share individual items with their group for discussion.
In order for users to form those habits we knew we needed to make them easy to do and readily available. We started with the iPhone Watch and worked up the information chain ensuring each touchpoint (wrist, phone and desktop) built on the other.
Dieters lose (or gain) only a pound or two each day, so instead of having them enter their weight numerically we gave them simple arrows with the previous weight as the starting point. With a click or two on their watch or phone they can meet their daily weight entry requirement.
The phone app, with camera and larger screen, allows users to take a photo of their meal and add it to their daily diary with pre-defined tags making entering meals not only easy, but categorized and searchable.
For the group leaders, we created interactive charts that shows the whole group or individual users with either total weight or just their differences since the last meeting. Group leaders can quickly see who's doing well or falling behind and adjust their class in real-time. The group diary is reviewed and the peer group setting reinforces the need to make their daily updates.
To complete the platform we also built an online payment system, class scheduler and group management tools to fully automate the system.
With the new system, it was a small leap to offer self-managed classes with prepackaged videos for users that didn't want to commit to the weekly meeting. However, to prevent users from advancing without forming the habits they must complete a session and take a quiz before moving on to the next. In addition, they also need to wait at least a week to form that week's habit before moving on.
This new revenue stream along with advanced reporting for new research and studies has put iDiet on a path for success.