“Take Control” is a weight control app under development that aims to track users patterns of eating and binge eating. Once the app learns the persons habits it will alert them when they enter that window of time they tend to binge eat.
Binge eating disorder, characterized by periods of eating objectively large amounts of food, is “associated with a great deal of clinical distress,” said Dr. Evan Forman, an associate professor of psychology in Drexel’s College of Arts and Sciences.
I know this world all too well myself. Having binge eaten many times in the past contributed to my extreme weight gain and caused me to become obese to the point of having a hard time tying my shoes. Thankfully I am at a healthy weight now and no longer binge eat. I can see the benefits of an app like this if the developers can truly make it a smart app, smart enough to learn your eating habits.
Among binge eaters, “there is a cycle of sorts – mounting pressure toward a binge episode, with certain triggers that make it more likely that a binge episode will occur,” Forman said. With cognitive behavioral therapy, a clinician helps patients recognize their personal triggers and learn to interrupt them.
Forman’s lab is developing the “TakeControl” mobile phone app to provide a similar help right in the patient’s pocket – and in real time, at the moment the trigger occurs.
In the app, users can record their binge-eating activity and urges, multiple mood states and whether or not they’ve eaten regular meals and taken their prescription medications. As the app learns about an individual’s patterns of binge-eating behavior and their individual triggers, it can prompt the person with a warning alert when their personal risk is high.
“It could be an emotion like rejection, loneliness, sadness or anxiety, or something external such as passing a certain convenience store, or a time of day or night,” said Forman, who is the principal investigator of the project.
When warned that they are at risk for a binge, or at any time of their own choosing, users can follow the app’s customized interventions to help them in the moment when they need it.
All the luck in the world to Dr. Forman I really hope this sees the light of day and helps a lot of people. Hit the link below for more information about the project.
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