Unless just emerging from a long coma or an extended stay in solitary confinement, there will be some awareness that getting one for a third of humanity was (or still is) under ‘lockdown’ due to the measures taken by governments around the world in an attempt to limit the transmission of COVID-19 . Some countries did not even allowing exercise as a reason to leave the house. Factor in the unprecedented general level of worry and the temptation to comfort eat was very real and hard to resist.

It’s safe to say that most of us would be more likely to turn to chocolate rather than apples for some enjoyment and now is proving no different. Take a look at supermarkets and so many of the snack food shelves ran almost bare. Many of the comfort foods we know and love were in short supply, due simply to the consistent, unprecedented demand.

Most food retailers reported that they were busier than they have ever been with sales levels considerably higher than even the traditionally stellar Christmas sales period. The world appears literally to have turned to chocolate, candy and fried potatoes in one form or other to get us through this. Healthy eating and regular exercise have proven to be a couple of the first things so many have thrown out of the window completely. What’s salad? And vegetables?

Various reports have all pointed to the fact that by doing less or even none of the physical activity we would normally do, a typical adult is likely to burn off up to 400 fewer calories a day. Logically we should all be reducing our portions and moving as much as we can – as long as it is not to the fridge or cookie jar and back! There is something else compounding this though as well.

Many people panic-bought cupboards, fridges AND freezers full of food and felt duty-bound to eat their way through it. Not everybody has unlimited freezer space. Or the will power to hold back from overindulging. Chocolate ice cream please. The darker the better…

Anything that can help keep us on track with our diet and exercise – or nudge us gently back on it – would be particularly well received right now and so many businesses guiding our diet have made strong moves online. Many had been implementing their online presence but plans have been accelerated at an unbelievable rate. It is after all big business.

A report came out from MarketWatch showing that the global weight loss and obesity management market is worth more than $200 billion today, expected to exceed more than US $250 billion by 2024. Big names in the industry include Weight Watchers International and Slimming World.

Where nutrition is concerned, there is a mountain of (often conflicting) information out there (e.g. red wine is good for you – no, you shouldn’t drink any alcohol!) and a host of organisations fighting for our precious time and attention. There is beauty in simplicity though and this often secures the best results.

The majority of us are likely to pay attention and respond better to short easy to digest nuggets of guidance and sound information delivered using a truly ubiquitous attention grabbing channel – thing SMS and text messaging in general! Over 5 billion people have a mobile phone and SMS is a basic service all support. You don’t need internet access to receive or send SMS. You don’t need a smartphone. And 98% of SMS are read, the majority within 3 minutes.

Use cases are practically limitless and can include:

  • Delivering daily nutrition tips.
  • Sending tasty (but healthy!) recipes using ingredients which are easy to secure.
  • Providing exercise tips and links to workouts of all types that can be carried out at home with little or no equipment.
  • Confirmations and follow-up reminders of live online sessions with support group leaders or nutritionists.
  • Targeted special offers from partner brands.

Now we are seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, we all surely deserve a treat in one shape or form. Have we mentioned chocolate? More of that please – and now!