They even have satisfied customers with their
before and after pictures. "John M. of Sheboygan, WI, lost three hundred
pounds in the first year." I don't order them because I believe that
anything that sounds too good to be true usually is.
I recently had the opportunity to try something new. The DietMate
computer from Health Innovations of Reston, Virginia. The DietMate
comes with a program guide, a start-up guide (for those of us who are
chomping at the bit), a videotape of instructions, and a gourmet cookbook
filled with tasty low-calorie recipes. Maybe this was what I have been
waiting for all these years. After all, the thing I like second best to
food is gadgetry.
First, I really liked the computer and the premises upon which it has been
designed. It uses a behavioral approach to obtain baseline data and to
then monitor and guide the program participant through the various stages of
dieting. It is a small, compact and apparently very sophisticated machine.
Getting started is quite simple. The computer takes you through all of the
start-up steps with clear instructions. The LCD screen is easily read,
there are several warning messages programmed into memory. If you enter the
requested data during the day the DietMate will provide you with a daily
summary each evening. At the end of the week, the DietMate provides a weekly
summary that highlights your progress during the week. The summaries
include the targets for the day, the actual consumption, and exercise calories.
A number of exercise evaluations are offered by DietMate, (e.g., stationary
cycle, swimming, tennis [singles or doubles], or walking). You can also
add or delete exercises.
The computer helps schedule your menus. The food list is quite extensive.
(How do they get so much into so small a machine?) You have choices of
eating at home (complete with recipes) or eating out in restaurants
including American, Chinese, Fast Food, French, Greek, Italian, Japanese,
Mexican, or Seafood. That just about covers it. The DietMate will tell
you the calories in almost any food so that you can even take the DietMate
with you to the market and use it as you shop.
The DietMate cookbook is filled with excellent recipes. I've tried several
and found them to be quite tasty.
The only problem that I found with the DietMate was that it was not
easily carried, and was not convenient. To follow the program, the
Dietmate needs to be carried around all of the time. While it is small,
it still requires putting it in a case. I found that if I left it at home
for the day, or left it at the office, data may not have gotten entered.
The issue is, of course, one of maintaining a high level of motivation.
The computer is fun, interesting, and potentially valuable. If it were
more easily carried (as with a belt loop), I would have been happier and
possibly used it more often. As it was, I stopped carrying the DietMate
after about three weeks. During that time I lost five pounds. More,
I think, from the constant awareness that I had to carefully monitor my
food intake. The Dietmate could not, unfortunately force me to exercise.
If you like gadgets and want to pay the price for one of the more
interesting gadgets on the market, the DietMate may be helpful.