More than 42 percent of adults in the United States qualify as obese, according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and levels are continuing to rise. However, health experts say even losing just 10 percent of one’s body weight can help reign in the risks associated with obesity. But traditional diet and exercise regimens are hard, especially when one’s unhealthy behavior is engrained.
Calibrate, a new online weight loss program that focuses on “resetting” metabolic health, has a different solution. After raising a $5.1 million seed round led by Kirsten Green at Forerunner Ventures in December, the company announced that it has launched across New York, California, Texas and Pennsylvania, meaning it is available to about a third of the U.S. population as of Wednesday. The platform has been launched with Redesign Health.
Metabolic health is much bigger than just metabolism, which is one’s ability to convert food into energy. While metabolic health does involve things like eating habits and cravings, it also includes energy levels, stress levels, anxiety levels and one’s ability to fall and stay asleep.
“Those four pillars — food, sleeping, exercise and managing emotional health — are the four pieces that we walk you through,” founder and CEO Isabelle Kenyon told Built In. “Over the course of one year, there are big goals that you’ll work toward in each of those categories and then there are small goals that you’ll work toward along the way.”
Calibrate’s year-long program looks at weight loss as a biological hurdle, not a matter of willpower. The idea is for users to use the year to identify and take control over these triggers. During that time, they “reset” their metabolic health so they can go forth and lead a healthier life once the program is done, all without having to revert to crash diets.
“There’s a concept called set point, which is the highest weight your body’s ever been. When you’re not at that point, your body is defending that point, which is why we yo-yo diet when we diet. The idea is that your metabolism, your metabolic system is working against you when you’re trying to lose weight,” Kenyon said. “We built the Calibrate program around the idea of resetting the metabolic system, resetting that set point, which you can do with a combination of prescription medication and behavioral therapy or coaching.”
To qualify for Calibrate, you must be between the ages of 18 and 56 and have a body mass index of 27 or higher.
The program is done entirely remote with both a doctor and a coach, which Kenyon says has related closely to the COVID-19 pandemic. For one, telemedicine is thriving in this time. The virus has also prompted a renewed interest in metabolic health in general.
“We now know that the underlying risk factors that make us most at risk for COVID are all related to our metabolic health — obesity, heart disease, underlying conditions,” Kenyon said. “There’s no better time than now to get those things under control.”