Zap your way to good health?

celebratingMy husband routinely opens his stories with “So, I was listening to a podcast…” and I like to tease him about it.

Now it’s his turn to rib me because ‘I was listening to a podcast’ about a new tech product designed to help you break bad habits and form good ones.

A lot of what I recommend on my blog and in my counseling sessions involves behavioral change (e.g. eat slower), and some people struggle with this more than others. An 84-year old recently told me that habits are tough to break, especially at 84.

Fortunately, there are all kinds of resources available to help you change a behavior, a topic that I plan to address further in future blog posts. But, for now I want to tell you about two particularly imaginative devices.

The podcast I’m referencing featured the founder of Pavlok, a wristband that uses “vibration, beep, tap, and zap sensations to train your brain to dislike bad habits and prefer good ones.”

Craving sugar? Zap.
Didn’t drink enough water? Zap.
Missed your workout? Zap.
Eating too fast? Zap.

Pavlok’s website assures readers that the zap is not painful by comparing it to walking across a carpet and touching a doorknob. Still, a mild electric jolt is unpleasant enough that you won’t be quick to repeat the behavior that triggered it.

The second gizmo I think you’ll find interesting is the HAPIfork, an electronic fork that vibrates when you’re eating too fast.

Most of us wolf down our food so quickly that we hardly remember eating at all. Eating too quickly can cause indigestion, bloating, heartburn, abdominal pain, and urgent bowel movements, among other unwanted gastrointestinal side effects. Plus, it might play a role in promoting undesirable weight gain.

Our use of technology is often responsible for our unhealthy habits, such as mindless eating or choosing to watch TV over going to the gym, so it’s nice to see technology being used to promote healthy behaivors rather than distract us from them.

What kinds of techniques or products do you use to make or break a habit?

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