Today we start a series of articles about projects co-founded by Embria. At Embria, we bring together competitive teams and co-found startups with them to build long-lasting profitable businesses with a focus on Mobile, Games, Wellness and Social, AdTech and SaaS. We are now building 5 early-stage startups that we would like to tell you about.
In today's article, we will explore a startup that helps women fix their relationship with food based on the Mindful Eating approach, CBT, and nutrition psychology.
Meet MEAL (Mindful Eating And Living) — an app helping women recover from the consequences of the diet mentality, control their eating habits, and achieve a happy weight.
The diet culture disaster is well-known among nutritionists and HealthTech experts. It is a set of beliefs that worships thinness and equates it with health and moral virtue. Such a way of thinking is imposed solely from the outside by pop culture.
Diet culture harms almost every woman, particularly those who do not meet “modern standards of beauty”. To date, over 2 billion women all over the world are knocked out by it. They are shamed and stigmatized for being imperfect and start forming a negative body image about themselves. It all leads to people feeling that being thinner is worth pursuing at all costs.
They start choosing from hundreds of diet and restrictive food plans to find the one that will help them. However, the failure rate of diets is unbelievable: 95% of all dieters will either not lose weight at all or regain their lost weight in 1-5 years. Diets are actually known as the perfect way to gain weight long term, not to lose some.
Severe dieting leads to problems with health and causes depression and eating disorders. 20% of diets lead to bulimia and anorexia. What is more, women cease to feel their natural body signals, and don’t understand when they are really hungry anymore. It causes a lot of problems with emotional overeating and binge eating. Part of the problem is that "wellness" is often used as a euphemism for "dieting," which is not true.
That's why we see traditional diet apps are losing popularity: combined downloads of those apps dropped 19% YoY over the last 12 months. At the same time, mental wellness apps are gaining popularity as users' focus is shifting from "fixing their bodies" to "fixing their minds." For instance, downloads of habits and motivation apps jumped 25% over the same period.
A new “mindful eating” approach is what makes MEAL stand out from other apps.
MEAL is your source for the most sustainable approach to nutrition, weight loss, and healthy living. The app adapts to your needs: if you want to lose weight, you will lose it, if you want to understand yourself and your attitude to food better, MEAL will help here as well. We help make a woman's life not revolve around how, when and what they eat. Mindful eating is the key to living in the moment so you can enjoy the eating experience and, as a result, enjoy your life more.
We aim to stop the diet culture disaster and the dramatic growth of eating disorders that prevent women from living happy and healthy lives in their wonderful bodies. MEAL helps women sustainably and mindfully fix their relationship with food, respecting their health, needs, and wants.
MEAL doesn't offer workout plans or diets like most weight loss apps; we teach women to eat healthily and address the root causes of overeating, binge, and emotional eating.
We help our users create healthy eating habits and routines based on the recommendations of the World Health Organization, Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the British Nutrition Foundation, and Canada’s Food Guide (to name a few). The information we publish is accurate, evidence-based, current, person-centric, and trustworthy.
With our professional psychology & healthy nutrition coaches, you'll learn to:
eat when you're hungry and stop when you're satiated
enjoy all foods without guilt and overeating
understand how to build a balanced plate
address emotional eating and binge eating
stay body positive no matter what
practice intuitive eating and mindful living
lose weight sustainably
We firmly believe that all women deserve access to non-stigmatizing, body-affirming wellness services, and that's why the MEAL app appeared.
Inna Igontova, MEAL co-founder says,
At MEAL we firmly believe that no personality should be determined by how they look and what they eat. The only criteria should be health and happiness. While living our modern life filled with perfectly photoshopped images of insta-models, we lose ourselves, our identity. Every day we struggle to become the “better versions of ourselves”. But what is the criteria for “Better”? Who is the judge telling us that the current version is not enough? We hate our bodies, our lifestyle, our mindsets. Does it make us healthier or happier?
Nowadays the terms “health and wellbeing” are issue-hopped by “thin and slender”. Diet culture tells us to fight, change and “just stop eating”. But this is the worst advice ever. No one can just stop eating. Food is not only a source of energy, otherwise we’d be ok eating boiled chicken breasts with celery every day. Food is about emotions, pleasure; it's the primitive metaphor for love. The concept of mindful eating offers every woman food freedom, and the freedom to be happy. Curated by licensed dietitians and Cognitive Behavioral therapists (CBT), MEAL not only breaks down nutrition in a digestible way but also guides you to release any emotional blockages you have surrounding food, so you understand the what, where, how, and why of what you eat. While it’s a long-term solution that can’t be taught overnight, you’ll start building awareness and mindfulness skills from day one.