At the Uppsala Health Summit in Uppsala, Sweden, Michael Quarshie from MealLogger and public health researcher Dr. Pilvikki Absetz helped in hosting a workshop called “Empowering Healthy Behaviors.” The workshop covered strategies and partnerships to help people change or maintain healthy behaviors and looked at how technology can aid behavior change.
Most often, when trying to change behavior, we focus on why the change needs to be made rather than on how to do it. While knowing the why is important, research evidence clearly shows it is not enough to create lasting change. Helping people figure out how to change is perhaps even more important.
To motivate and sustain change, we need to empower people to make the changes in a way that fits their everyday lives. Helping people think critically and make informed decisions gives them the power to be in charge of their own behavior change, rather than being directed to do so by someone else.
Fundamentally, MealLogger is a supportive technology to assist users in changing their dietary behaviors. It was developed in collaboration with end-users to ensure that it is both motivating and empowering to use. MealLogger itself is quite simple, but it can be adapted for specific needs, especially with the support of a professional, and the social media element makes it possible for users to get support at any time of day.
By supporting mindfulness, competence building and autonomy, MealLogger helps users with the how and sets them up for successful long-term change. When integrated with face-to-face counseling, the combination of the application and in-person interaction may boost adherence to and impact of both. Therefore, by enabling approaches that can be flexibly adapted to suit individual needs, MealLogger makes it possible to find a “best fit” for practical, day-to-day application of behavior change techniques.