Healthy living, simplified
TEXT: MALIN NORMAN | PHOTOS © LIFESUM
Diet and activity tracking app Lifesum helps millions of users lose weight, get stronger and eat better. Regardless of diet, the app suggests healthy recipes and tracks progress – for a healthier, happier life.
Over two billion people in the world are classed as overweight, and we are living through a global health epidemic. When we eat poorly, a number of diseases follow, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, impacting not only our own health but also society. Food is key to good health and quality of life, and consumers are increasingly aware of how they eat; some may even say that having a certain food preference nowadays also shows a certain status.
To address this consumer-driven health revolution, the holistic health app Lifesum uses a combination of technology and psychology to create a tailored plan for users with personalised messages to help them live happier, more balanced lives. Whether the user’s goal is to get fitter, lose weight or just lead a healthier lifestyle, it shows how new habits can change your life. This pioneering app allows users to improve the way they eat, drink and exercise, every single day.
Stockholm-based Lifesum was co-founded by Tove Westlund, Martin Wählby, Marcus Gners and Henrik Torstensson in 2013. They wanted to create a tool to support and encourage people to improve every aspect of their wellbeing, something more than just a weight-loss app. The vision was to provide a platform where people anywhere in the world are encouraged to experiment and form new habits that contribute to healthier, happier lives. Today, Lifesum has more than 70 staff and some 35 million users around the world.
Praised, global app for many users
From the start, the team has done a great job at designing for and adapting to new technology across iPhone and Android. Impressively, Lifesum was one of only 40 global apps that were selected for the Apple Watch launch, which kicked off the brand’s success in the US, now its biggest market. The app was also promoted by Apple as one of three promising health apps, and it was the first nutritional app on Google Assistant, an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant.
Co-founders Torstensson and Gners had previously worked together at Stardoll, one of the world’s largest online fashion communities, and their experience has certainly paid off. “Working in digital entertainment, we learnt how to design products that appeal to users and which they want to use,” explains Torstensson, who has also worked with business development at the famous audio streaming service Spotify. Gners agrees and emphasises: “People need to eat better, but instead of shaming and stigmatising, we want to offer the world’s best product to inspire and help as many people as possible to lose weight and achieve better health. We are democratising access to food and lifestyle guidance using mainstream technology such as smartphones and smart watches.”
Adapted to local cuisine and culture
The business model for Lifesum’s mobile services is called freemium, which means that part of the service is free and easy to test for users and part is in the form of paid membership. As preferences differ between individuals, and depending on which diet plan they follow, Lifesum adapts to every user’s needs. Whether following, for instance, a low-carb diet or 5:2, the app guides the user through the experience and tracks progress. It also integrates with activity trackers, so that users can add their exercise.
User preference is at the heart of what Lifesum does, and a big part of its popularity is down to the app providing inspiration through tasty recipes and useful advice provided by nutritionists. It even has its own chef developing healthy meals that are easy and quick to make. “We all know that it’s important to keep an eye on nutrition, exercise, mental health and sleep,” elaborates Gners. “But there’s not only one way of living; we are unique individuals with different prerequisites. By utilising the benefits of modern technology, we believe we can give millions of people access to personalised lifestyle coaching centred around food, to show people how they can eat better based on their actual lifestyle. It’s our way of tackling the gigantic health problem in the world.”