iChange – Real Hope for Weight, Lifestyle, and Nutritional Change?

Image representing iChange
Image via CrunchBase

[iChange has been discontinued.]

I’m not a health nut. My mom and one of my sisters are pretty big into health – nutritional, weight, etc. – but I’ve always been too busy to spend the time to plan out meals, think about nutritional value, or even cook. For the last eight months or so my life has been moving at breakneck speed as I’ve devoted my energies to three major projects and I realized that if I wanted to squeeze more time and productivity out of my day the best way to start was to focus on my health. That is when I discovered iChange. This is only my third or fourth day using iChange, but I’m already sold.

iChange, like so many other sites, offers guidance on losing weight and eating well…but it goes so far beyond what other sites are currently offering with a number of unique features. Let me just highlight a few:

  • When you register with iChange you can choose a personal nutritionist to assist you. Right now this is either Diana Young (registered dietitian, specializes in ADA methods, served as Chief Clinical Dietitian at two major hospitals) and Linda Miner (registered nutritional counselor, specializes in metabolic typing, holistic and alternative medicine approach). These folks are really available to you – ready to answer questions and give you counsel on how to progress towards better health.
  • iChange takes a really holistic approach. Many sites focus on weight loss, mood monitoring, nutritional diets, and so on – but very few talk a full-fledged and well-rounded approach. iChange offers nutritional/meals modeling, weight loss / exercise, fluids, calorie, mood, energy, sleep and stress monitoring.
  • They offer a simple checklist that only has three items on it at a time that encourage you to take small steps towards increasing your health. As you finish a step you are given another task. You can bang these out or take your time.
  • There is an incentive system – its minor (e.g. web-based “awards”) – but still pretty cool. We all like “earning” awards or achieving accomplishments (why else do so many people play farmville)?
  • The community is proactive in reaching out. Within hours of registering I received a contact from another member (a SuperCharger) who asked how I was, introduced herself, let me know how she’d successfully used iChange, and generally provided encouragement to continue on. This is unlike other communities for health I’ve been involved in, where there isn’t that sort of proactive effort to reach out to new members.

You might think a site like this would cost something – many other health sites with more limited functionality do – or have a freemium model. But iChange is entirely free.

So, my advice – go register. Give it a try. It takes ten minutes to get yourself through the initial setup and its very intuitive. I think you’ll find it well worth your time.

In closing, I’d like to make a list of some enhancements I’d like to see in iChange. While these are enhancements that should be implemented – I’ll reiterate again that iChange is far ahead of any competitors I’ve seen thus far.

  • The ability to monitor medication intake.
  • Eventually, the site will need a profit model – they have a few links to Amazon associate products tucked away, but this really should be tightly integrated into the system.
  • There is a nice row of boxes along the top with checkboxes that show you your progress in various areas, unfortunately they aren’t clickable!
  • The iChange site is a bit slow sometimes. Need to ramp up the server power. 🙂
  • Links in emails to attached documents take you to the main iChange page – not very helpful. 🙁
  • When you download a document, its name is just a string of random letters and numbers, it’d be nice if the PDFs had names reflecting their purpose. Of course, I can rename them, but still…
  • Create a Facebook app. – this will be a huge marketing item. It will provide individuals who view an iChange profile with a quick and convincing advertisement to use the program – e.g. when they see we’ve lost ten lbs using the service and so on.
  • Eventually, it’d be pretty cool to see it allow us to “schedule” things we should be doing on a semi-regular basis – e.g. do we need to make an appointment with the dentist, doctor, or ophthalmologist? I’d like to see this expanded to include more general task management – I used to use a service (whose name I can’t remember and has since closed) that reminded me of things I needed to do around the house and with my automobile – allowing me to take better care of my house and belonging – things like changing furnace filters, checking batteries in smoke alarms, and taking the car in for inspection/maintenance.
  • I’ll add more as I think of them.

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