Meet Lifesum’s Health Advisory Board: Andrew Zimmermann

We recently announced our Health Advisory Board which is tasked with helping us remain innovative while providing additional expertise...

Man working out at home with a jump rope

We recently announced our Health Advisory Board which is tasked with helping us remain innovative while providing additional expertise in fields impacting nutritional success. 

We’re lucky to have Andrew Zimmermann, Behavior Change expert and Founder of the Behavior Design Collective, as an inaugural member. Andrew studied under leading Behavior Scientist Dr. BJ Fogg at Stanford University where he currently serves as a research advisor and lecturer. 

We spoke with Andrew to see how COVID has impacted our behaviors where food is concerned. 

How did COVID impact our behaviors with food and general health this year? How will it affect them moving forward?

The consensus among behavior scientists and those designing for behavioral change is that Covid-19 has created one of the most significant behavior change opportunities in the last century. It has uprooted the way we operate and the things we can or want to do.

The first thing we saw was disruption to how people live. The way we worked, the way we accessed food, the types of exercise open to us: all of it changed. Even access to healthcare has changed. With disruption, there is a lot of energy to find new solutions to solve persistent challenges. In the discovery phase, people learned how to work from home, exercise remotely, and adjust diet and nutrition. Technology has played a major role in all of these areas.

Research early in the pandemic showed that physical activity, diet, and sleep all took hits and saw declines during the disruption phase. While some groups have rebounded and found a new equilibrium, others still struggle to adapt to a new normal.

It is hard to say how Covid-19 will impact our food behaviors and health moving forward because behavior is unique to each person. As we transition back to a world after Covid, people will have an opportunity to keep the habits that have worked or switch back to behaviors they had before.

What role can tech play in changing behavior for the better as we emerge from a global pandemic?

The pandemic has pushed many people into greater reliance on technology to maintain or adapt their way of life to meet the new demands placed on them. Contactless grocery delivery, at-home workout equipment and classes, remote work tools, and telehealth have alleviated pain points during the pandemic. Technology will continue to play a role in reducing the burden of behavior change and sustainability. For example, at-home fitness technology has reduced the cost, time, and cognitive strain of exercise. We can now participate or join in live or recorded fitness classes directly from home. 

We have also seen a significant shift to remote work. While this trend won’t apply to everyone, the changes in how people work will likely continue after the pandemic and have wide-reaching implications on where people live, how they commute/travel, and how much time they gain by eliminating their commutes.

How can we help people learn to see nutrition as a vital part of their health and overall wellness?

In order to change behavior around diet and nutrition, we need to help people shift the balance of effort and value. Most people understand the role nutrition plays in their health, but for many, the motivation or perceived value of change is not enough to overcome the real or perceived effort that change requires. If we want to help people change their behavior around food, we can start by making it easier to eat a healthy diet.

Changing food behavior is not an easy task because individuals face many challenges along the way. The first is bringing attention to and gaining awareness of how the food you eat impacts how you feel and operate, requiring an understanding of what you eat, when you eat it, and how you feel after eating. Lifesum can support individuals in this phase of behavior change by helping track what they eat.

The second phase is learning what to do. Once someone realizes the food they are eating is not having an optimal effect on their health, they will need support discovering what would be ideal for them. Again, Lifesum supports this by providing validated nutrition programs and recommended meal plans.

Finally, people need help getting started and sustaining change long enough to see the benefits. With any validated nutrition program, consistency and sustainability are crucial, and success will require new, healthier habits and the elimination of some bad habits.

We need to help people navigate all three of these phases to help them see the value of nutrition on their wellbeing and, more importantly, make the sustained changes necessary to achieve better health and wellness through improved nutrition habits.

Find a Diet you love

Find a nutritious Diet that fits your lifestyle and food preferences. Take charge of your daily habits with one of the many ongoing Diets including Clean Eating and High Protein.

Start a simplified Meal Plan

Follow a 7-21 day Meal Plan and get four pre-planned recipes a day. Depending on your health goals, there are many Meal Plans to choose from including Keto Burn and Vegan for a week.

Enjoy hundreds of tasty and nutritious recipes

Enjoy hundreds of easy-to-cook recipes filled with nutritious and tasty food. All of the recipes include information about their nutritional value so you can keep track of your daily energy intake.

Use the helpful barcode scanner

Identify your food items with the super easy-to-use barcode scanner. Scan the item, log it and get the nutritional information you need to stay on track.

Track your way to success

Track your activities and what you eat with the help of our food-, exercise- and water trackers to maintain a balanced everyday life.

Create your own health journey

To help you reach your goals and customize your health journey you can add your favorite meals, food items, recipes and exercises to your Favorites.

All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.