Alexa Donley of EAST at Fountain Lake High School has designed and built an app called FULFILL to take the numbers out of battling eating disorders. Diagnosed two years ago with anorexia, she understands that numbers like calorie counts and weigh-ins, while a common part of the recovery process, can often be triggers that worsen the problem.
The app, developed in xCode and programmed in Swift, is designed so that users can, under the guidance of a nutritionist, create a meal plan based on required servings of different foods each day, such as proteins or dairy. Users then input the plan into the app. When they eat, they record each serving and the app tracks their progress toward the day’s nutrition on a gauge that slowly moves from empty to full.
The app, through positive reinforcement, lets users know when they’ve had enough (or, perhaps more importantly, too little) to eat in a comforting and nonthreatening way. This is important for helping start a conversation about eating disorders, which are often treated as taboo. However, it also helps individual users maintain privacy as they overcome their eating disorder.
Plans include releasing the app in an online, Web-based format first and then as a standalone, device-based version.