Lose It! CEO Charles Teague on Nutrition, the New ‘Snap It’ feature and HBO’s ‘Silicon Valley’
Lose It! is arguably the world’s most comprehensive, personal weight loss program. Thanks to its food logging, Lose It! has helped more than 30 million members shed more than 55 million pounds. The company recently launched its Snap It feature to make food tracking as easy as taking a picture. Users upload a photo to the app, and Snap It will suggest foods it identifies in the photo, along with the calorie count and nutritional information. That new Snap It feature resembles the “SeeFood” app referenced on the HBO hit Silicon Valley.
Prior to founding Lose It!, CEO Charles Teague was the Technologist in Residence at General Catalyst, where he worked to identify new investment opportunities in mobile and cloud computing. Before his work with General Catalyst, Teague had co-founded Onfolio, which Microsoft acquired in 2005.
Lose It! is available on both iOS and Android devices. More information on the app — which also includes coaching and exercise tracking — can be found at www.loseit.com.
The Daily Meal: What inspired you to pursue a career related to health? Have you always tried to eat healthy?
Charles Teague: I never really had a goal aimed specifically at health. It is really important to me, however, that the work I do has real and meaningful impact on the world. The problem of obesity is a problem that has been around for a while, has been getting worse not better, and has very significant economic, health, and psychological costs to people and the world. It’s an amazing problem to work on because progress on it is hard but possible. The results are visible in the overall health and well-being of a population of people, but also in the one-on-one interactions with our users. I love it, because the impact is clear in the 50 million pounds lost and in the emails, reviews, and tweets from our users as they meet and exceed in their goals. I'm really happy that Lose It! gets to play a part in that.
While we obviously encourage people to eat well, a great thing about Lose It! is that you can enjoy foods you love and still lose weight!
What’s the best way for a person to get their eating on-track while still enjoying themselves?
We have the data to show it: Track your food intake and weigh-in frequently. Those two behaviors are enough to completely transform a person. Exercise, drinking water, and planning ahead are often anecdotal advice we hear, but the basic acts of logging food and weight in Lose It! have proven time and time again, over millions of members, to show weight loss results. We see members lose weight in as little as three to four days with consistent tracking.
Do you watch the show Silicon Valley? How did you feel when you heard about their SeeFood app?
Our entire team has been chuckling at this. Honestly, we thought “been there, done that!” Our Snap It feature is the first-ever food photo analysis feature in the health and fitness app space. You simply take a picture, and it identifies the foods in the photo to help you track faster and be more mindful. And yes, it knows the difference between a cupcake and a hot dog.
What else is coming up for Lose It! in 2017?
Every year, we make improvements to the app’s look and feel, and we streamline the logging experience to make it even easier for our members. We went international in 2015. New foods are being added and verified every day, and we’re constantly monitoring feedback to be sure we’re providing the best new features, like water tracking, multiple meals and snacks, and custom macronutrient goals. In 2017, we’re highly invested in optimizing our Android app experience, and I look forward to seeing those improvements roll out.
We’ve got a big feature coming this summer to make Lose It! an even more personalized experience, but we can’t reveal any evidence of that just yet!
When not busy with the company, how do you like to spend your free time? Do you have a favorite restaurant in New York?
My team and I are big fans of Fogo de Chão, the Brazilian steakhouse, in any city. I'm not a huge foodie, but had a wonderful dinner at Colicchio & Sons in Chelsea before it closed.
I’ve got a rock star wife and two awesome kids, so when I’m not at work I’m cheering on hockey matches and swim meets. Being a dad is the coolest experience.