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 Review of DietMate
  —The Behavior Therapist


I love food. I enjoy preparing it, serving it, and, of course, eating it. Of course, I pay a price for my gluttony. I have always been tempted to order those preparations advertised in the late night "Infomercials." You know the ones, "Eat all you want of whatever you want. This small pill taken before bedtime allows your body to burn off three pounds of fat per night." Would they lie to us?

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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.

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