A month with Rise app, a nutrition & weight loss coach

Lately I have been dealing with skin issues that might be related to food intolerances. When I had a severe outbreak a month ago, I decided to see whether a personal nutritionist could help me out. After some recommendations from my coworkers, I tried out Rise app, a nutrition and weight loss coach.

Rise app is a mobile app that brings you in touch with a personal nutritionist for $50 per month. Upon sign-up, you get three nutrition coach choices, and you pick the coach that best suits you. You provide them with some history about yourself and your goal, and you’re all set to start your nutrition journey. After taking a picture of each meal, you upload it to the app, and your nutritionist labels the meal green, orange or red, depending on whether you did well or not. They also come comment on your meal and let you know if you can improve something. Through a messaging system you can get in touch with your coach to explain things or ask for information.

Here is my month with Rise app:

  • PRO: Easy  set-up & onboarding

Onboarding with Rise is a breath of fresh air compared to competitor Vida. When you set a goal, it’s not possible to specify if you have another goal than what you have listed, but at least there is a blank box where you can specify your history and the reason why you’re using Rise, especially if it’s not for weight loss or to get in shape.

  • NEUTRAL: Choice in coaches

I picked coach A, who seemed to be a young, excited coach. I like the fact that the coaches all have different specialties and styles. However, I don’t get why I cannot pick male coaches. Even when I check later and change coaches, I never get the spontaneous choice of a male coach. Now that’s odd…

  • CON: Standardized welcome message from the coaches

My coach A sent me the first message the night I subscribed. I was excited. However I noticed a standard message that she probably sends to all her other clients, too. On the bottom of the message she included a line that shows she actually read my history. “Have you ever tried a gluten free diet? It was the first thing that jumped out to me when reading your history.”  I liked the personal note, but I kept having the disappointing feeling of the standard message she opened up with.

  • PRO: Guidance

I started logging my meals. My coach pointed out how much sugar a bagel contains, together with other interesting facts I didn’t know. At the end of the week she makes me clear that I eat more carbs than I probably assume. It’s my first AHA moment and probably my last one. She recommends to start following an elimination diet and cut out gluten. By that time she gained my trust and I followed her advice.

  • PRO: Accountability by taking pictures

Rise app promise

It’s amazing how having someone watching you what you eat (without even having to label the meals) holds you accountable. My stomach shrimps when I grab that extra piece of dark chocolate, knowing that it’s too much and my coach will make a comment on it.

  • CON: Coach suddenly disappears

After a week and a half of conversation, I went for three days without hearing my coach. My meals didn’t get rated and my messages didn’t get a reply. Rise app promised daily communication but was not living up to it. I decided to switch coaches.

  • PRO: Possibility to switching coaches

I got in touch with Rise’s support team, and they recommended three new coaches to me. Again, all women. I decided I needed to try something new and picked coach M, who seemed completely different than me. If I want to get better,  I thought, I don’t need a friend. I needed someone who is going to push me. And in order to be pushed, I needed to get out of my comfort zone. Exit personal preferences. Enter uncertainty.

  • CON: No understanding of different problems, persistent focus on weight loss

I went over my whole history again with coach M and stressed once again that I am not here to lose weight.
However coach M kept rating my meals based on the calories. I asked her several times why she rates my meals negative, because I kept sticking perfectly to my elimination diet.  At one point she asked me, “Are you not interested then in balancing a healthy diet?” We get into a heavy discussion. She clearly doesn’t get that my focus is on finding out about my food intolerances and not on losing weight or optimizing my diet to a healthy one.

I get it. Rise app is a “weight loss app”. But I imagined that the nutritionists you get in touch with would also be able to help with different food problems. I guess that was my mistake.

  • CON: Inflexible nutritionists

To the previous point: I am surprised by how inflexible the nutritionists are. I went from eating gluten to a complete gluten-free diet in one day. But still I got blamed for that piece of dark chocolate. Clearly my nutrition philosophy is: a daily treat is ok. However they don’t agree with that.
In my third week it gets really easy to predict what they are going to comment on my meals. However they never asked me what my take is on nutrition. If they did, they would have known that I would never in a million years give up dark chocolate.

  • CON: Quick recipe advice

I decided should use Rise app to find out which elimination diets to try and thought I should discard the other feedback. However that’s not really worth $50 a month. So I decided to check their “instant help line”. I asked for different recipes with some leftover veggies in my fridge and every time I get sent to the Rise blog. But with one blog post each week (not always recipes), I was not helped much.  I started to feel like I am getting ripped off. I told the nutritionist I don’t find a good dinner recipe. Her second recommendation was, “to throw everything in a oven dish with some olive oil”. I might not be a Comme chez Soi chef, but I well know that throwing all the ingredients in the oven is a healthy and easy thing to do. I expected more from a nutritionist.

 

Would I recommend Rise?

Would I recommend Rise if you’re looking for an app or nutritionist that can help with non weight loss related issues?
No, I wouldn’t recommend Rise. Nutritionists don’t have enough knowledge and seem to Google the information. On top of that, they don’t take the time to find out your individual situation and will apply very generic nutrition advice on you.

Would I recommend Rise if you want to lose weight?
Yes. I can imagine that if you have limited knowledge of nutrition and lack recipe inspiration, Rise is a good companion app. The accountability by uploading pictures really helps to be aware of what you eat. When you want to lose weight, you can also set a goal with your coach and you see the progress towards that goal. Do choose a coach that suits you and feels like a good fit.

 

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Community manager @Addapp. Fascinated by sleep tracking, healthy nutrition, technology, social media, sunny days and Addapp users.
Training to run the Half Marathon of San Francisco.

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1 Comment

  1. Sounds like you’re looking for a registered dietitian, not a nutritionist, but a knowledgeable dietician might charge closer to $50 per *hour* :-)

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