Good Measures review

I spent a few months as a client of Good Measures, and wanted to share my experience.

The short version is that Good Measures is a great service, especially for bariatric surgery patients who do not have easy access to a Registered Dietitian (not a Nutritionist) where they live.

For those not familiar, Good Measures essentially provides dietitian services over the internet. You track your food in their diary setup, and your macro- and micro-nutrients will be evaluated. The tools are available through the website or a mobile app. You get immediate feedback in the form of the Good Measures Index (GMI), a number from 0 to 100 that evaluates the quality of your food intake for the day.

Each client is also paired with a Registered Dietitian (RD) for individual meetings over the phone, up to once a week included in the monthly fee. The RD can make adjustments to your individual nutrient goals to better reflect your needs. For instance, mine ramped up my protein goal and decreased my carb goals as I am a bariatric surgery patient. During the weekly meetings, the RD gives suggestions for foods to expand variety or better address nutritional needs/goals. The website/app also gives meal/food suggestions including recipies from several sources, and you can choose which of those sources to use as well.

I read about Good Measures in the Bariatric Foodie blog and she reports that Good Measures requested her input to make their platform more helpful for bariatric patients. Her blog entry has a MUCH more detailed review of Good Measures, I recommend checking it out. I also found them to be very responsive to input about their product and services.

One of the challenges for the bariatric surgery patient is finding really good dietary information. Physicians don't tend to get a lot of training in nutrition during their schooling. What a bariatric surgeon knows about diet typically comes from his perceptions of the experiences of his patients, plus information he gets from his peers. As a nurse, I got more training in nutrition than most physicians, but it's still not anywhere near the level of training a Registered Dietitian has.

A word here about nutritionists, those we refer to on WLS boards as 'NUTs'. In my state, and probably most others, there is no required training, certification, or degree in order to call yourself a nutritionist. Literally anyone can hang a shingle and call themselves one. I would imagine some NUTs are great, somewhere. However, I've never met one. What I have gotten from NUTs include information copied straight from the American Dietetic Association, exchange diet information that's outdated, or some wacko fad diet that's all the rage. Oh, and they usually want to do blood tests on the order of several hundred dollars to inform me what I should eat based on my blood, and identify food allergies that are "sub-clinical". I'll spare you my rant on this quackery, since my use of the word 'quackery' should make my opinion plain.

Bottom line, in my honest opinion NUTs are rarely worth your time or money. If they are employed by a surgeon's office, they'll be handing out the same information to everyone with little to no customization for individual needs and no real critical thinking if asked a question outside the box. If they're in an independent office, expect a lot of billing for information you can easily get from the internet and most of it is likely bunk. Often, NUTs are all a bariatric patient has access to, and that's a problem.

I loved that Good Measures provides access to a RD instead of NUTs, and that they've made a concerted effort to improve their offerings for bariatric surgery patients. I found my RD very easy to talk to, and she was very helpful.

My only complaint is that I found their food diary program to be not quite as robust as MyFitnessPal, and a little less intuitive. I don't mean to say that their database is bad, it's actually pretty good, it's just not quite as robust as MFP. I believe that they're working on expanding their food database, and help is always available through email or phone with a helpdesk technician. It was not annoying enough to drive me away from the service. On the plus side, the food diary looks at more micro-nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc.) than MFP does, and the GMI is a real benefit. Add that to the RD access, and the little gripes I have about their interface are minor.

In comparison to what consultations with an in-person run, it's an absolute steal. The costs when I was on the service were $39/month paid monthly or $29/month paid annually ($348/yr). While that's more than a Netflix subscription and might seem high, I found it absolutely worth it. Especially for bariatric surgery patients who don't have ready access to a RD, this service is indispensable.

There is one caveat I think I should mention. If you have not been released to a "full diet" by your surgeon, you need to continue with what he/she has prescribed. During that critical healing period, what your surgeon says should be what you follow, period. (I have an entire post dedicated to the subject here.)

I think Good Measures offers the most to bariatric surgery patients who are moving into maintenance and want to expand their diet while still focusing on quality nutrition and trying to avoid the weight "bounce" that's very typical for many patients. It might also be an excellent choice for those around a year out who may still be trying to lose weight, but are finding it harder and harder as the honeymoon period wanes.

I did drop my service after a few months, because all the stress of grad school and chronic illness flares during the winter left me without the energy or drive to spend the time and money on my dietary quality. I will probably pick it up again later when I'm actually ready to focus on the effort.

Conflict disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this review. I paid full price for my Good Measures service, and was not asked to make this post by anyone.

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