At the end of 2021 the FSHS released a new nutrition app. It’s already being used by thousands of students, including Marja, Heidi, Jenny and Jyri who recommend the app for all students to promote their wellbeing in busy student life. Read more about their experience of using the app’s four coaching programmes.
Marja was pleasantly surprised by the weight control programme
Marja, who’s studying for her Master’s Degree in business management and development, started to use the FSHS Nutrition app this spring.
“The app was advertised on the FSHS website, and I thought this would be a good time to reflect on my food choices. It’s easy to fool oneself, so I wanted to get a more realistic idea of what I actually eat,” Marja says.
Marja opted for the four-week weight control programme. It helps you to reflect on weight control in your daily life and learn to control weight in your own way. Marja was particularly interested in the app’s photo food journal.
“I was already familiar with other weight loss diaries and apps. Compared to them, the FSHS Nutrition app’s weight control programme was a pleasant surprise. It’s not about counting calories, and the approach is easy and modern because you take photos instead of writing things down. Programmes that rely on written entries easily get forgotten when you’re pressed for time, but taking photos is fast and you can easily see the portion sizes and realise what you actually eat”, Marja says.
Marja has mainly used the app’s food diary and watched webinars but appreciates its wide range of content, including podcasts and food recipes. She also has ideas on how to improve the app.
“It’s easy to record your eating in the app by just ticking the options, but the list could be a little longer. I’d also like to get some kind of feedback, such as a weekly summary that might push me forward. The services provided by dietitians could be promoted more in the app. And if dietitians organised live online sessions, I’d definitely take part in them”, she says.
The coaching programme helps you to practise important lifestyle skills and assess your actions in an objective and encouraging manner. Marja has achieved great results during the programme.
“I now pay much more attention to meal times and the foods I eat. I’ve made improvements, especially with breakfast, which I now eat regularly. I took a break from the weight control programme in the summer but I’ll continue with it this autumn.”
Heidi realised something important about her relationship with food
Heidi, who’ll soon graduate in social services, started using FSHS Nutrition to improve her relationship with food. The relationship had previously been complicated and resulted in considerable weight gain. Even though the situation had stabilised, she wanted to adopt a healthier attitude to food.
The Relationship with food coaching programme helps you to review your food-related thoughts and emotions. You’ll also be given practical ideas on flexible eating. The coaching programme contains a podcast, a lecture, texts and exercises. Heidi says that the programme really makes you reflect on your emotions and actions and that’s what makes it so great yet at the same time so challenging.
”There was plenty of material available. Even though you don’t have to go through everything within a certain time frame, I didn’t always have enough time for the exercises and my own reflections – being a student and a working mom. I also found the emotional tasks quite difficult and at times would’ve needed someone to go through things with me.”
The coaching programme is designed to help you recognise thoughts and emotions related to your body and eating habits and to provide tools for reviewing your relationship with food. Heidi realised something important during the programme that has made her daily life easier.
”I used to eat goodies to relieve stress and bad mood. If I now start craving for them, I stop to think about my emotions.”
Jenny found help for her sensitive stomach
Healthy nutrition is an important part of life when you’re an active athlete playing ice hockey. That’s why Jenny, a future midwife, was familiar with many nutrition apps before she started using FSHS Nutrition, which she spotted on the FSHS website. At first, she used it for her studies but soon realised that the app made life easier for her too.
”Stress always affects my stomach. Exams and other stressful events make my stomach churn, making it hard to eat,” Jenny explains.
The app’s Calming an Upset Stomach coaching programme is designed to give you information about functional bowel disorders and the effect of nutrition on them, and to give you tools to support self-care. The programme covers topics such as living a regular life, eating fibre and vegetables and avoiding certain foods. There are also weekly mindfulness exercises to calm the body.
”The coaching covered plenty of topics in different forms, from podcasts to relaxation exercises. I was really looking forward to getting tips on what to eat and how during times of stress, and the programme delivered that. If you’re hungry but eating is challenging, you easily make bad food choices and reach for chocolate or pastries. Quick and easy tips for healthy snacks help you make better choices.”
Jenny recommends the coaching programme to anyone whose stomach is quick to react to stress. She’s determined to continue keeping a food diary to support her day-to-day life.
“The food diary reminds me to eat despite protests from my stomach. It also acts as a wake-up call if I only see photos of chocolate in the diary.”
The Everyday coping programme helped Jyri during the pandemic
Jyri began his studies in Jyväskylä during the coronavirus pandemic. Daily life was frustrating, as social contacts were scarce and studying took place remotely from home. During the second coronavirus spring, Jyri decided to accept any help available for everyday coping.
“I was actively looking for help with coping during the pandemic, and when I read about the FSHS Nutrition app, I decided to give it a go,” Jyri recalls.
The app’s Everyday Coping programme helps to create new eating routines to boost energy levels and wellbeing. The four-week programme deals with topics such as colourful foods, targeted eating, sleep and rest, as well as emotional eating.
”The coaching programme showed me a path to follow. I received exercises or information on different topics three times a week. I missed some parts because I didn’t receive a notification about all new content or didn’t have enough time to go through it. All in all, the pace was about right for me. There’s plenty of content to choose from. I liked the informative texts but found taking meal photos awkward.”
Jyri is studying computer sciences, so he’s no stranger to apps. He found the FSHS Nutrition app really useful and had no trouble using it even on an older smart phone.
”Using the different metrics and reminders was a bit clumsy, but everything was mainly ok. I really liked the fact that the app was in Finnish, as most apps are in English.”
Daily life is returning to normal and Jyri has now attended his first live lectures at the university. FSHS Nutrition was one of the mainstays during the pandemic and Jyri is going to continue using it.
”The app was and still is helpful. I admit I could’ve been more active, but every time I opened the app, it guided my thoughts in the right direction.”