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December 28. 2013 12:55AM

Hollis-based company's app aims to curb unhealthy eating


Primitive Response Technology's CraveMate app was designed to help people resist unhealthy eating and junk food cravings. (COURTESY)

HOLLIS - Tom DiGiacinto doesn't believe in diets or New Year's resolutions.

DiGiacinto, who founded his Hollis-based app company, Primitive Response Technology LLC, just about a year ago with business partner Lorraine Bauman, said he's learned along the way that the key to a healthy life is simply mindfulness.

Let's face it, however: The path to mindfulness is anything but simple for most of us.

The company's CraveMate app, which was released in December 2012, was designed to help people resist unhealthy eating and junk food cravings.

Using a simple format, users are able to set their own health goals, such as exercising and eating well.

In the app, reminders alert users to habits they want to change, while connections to social medial allow them to reach out to friends and family for encouragement.

Users are also allowed to use their own personal photos and videos to communicate their feelings and thoughts as they inch closer to their goals and document each milestone to share with others.

CraveMate has received positive reviews by app critics: the Tapscape.com website recently gave the app a 9/10 rating.

"If you have unstoppable junk food cravings when you diet, CraveMate is well worth the price you pay," the Tapscape review read. "The tone of the writing is wonderfully supportive, without being weak. If you need an app that will give you the strength to resist the temporary joy of a candy bar in the middle of the night, CraveMate has got your back."

During the development of CraveMate, the company's first mobile app, DiGiacinto's own weight dropped from 190 to 165 pounds.

"While researching the topic, I learned that we all have an emotional part of the brain," he said. "At a primitive level, most of us aren't wired to eat mindfully. So our app focuses on bringing people to a more practical and mindful state."

DiGiacinto and Bauman founded their initial company, MII, in Bedford more than two decades ago. MII worked towards capitalizing the so-called "big data gap" that impacted medical device and pharmaceutical companies.

By creating the MII Health Industry database, the pair were able to link a network of 500,000 health care facilities in the United States. DiGiacinto and Bauman sold the company to IMS Health in 2002, though remained involved in the company's management until about three years ago.

DiGiacinto and Bauman are Primitive Response Technology's sole employees, as the production portion of the apps is currently outsourced.

The 99-cent CraveMate iPhone app has been used by thousands of clients, with many other new users discovering the app with the launch of CraveMateLight, a free app that was released in late September.

The two apps are basically the same, though the free version has a two-goal, two-reminder limit.

"We wanted to make a fully functional free version available so everyone can gain access to CraveMate and discover how mindfulness, when practically applied, can improve health and wellness. Now, anyone with an iPhone can benefit from a mindfulness assistant like CraveMate," DiGiacinto said.

User goals can be as simple as "avoiding potato chips," he noted.

"Eventually, it becomes a second nature and you may even find yourself no longer craving junk foods," DiGiacinto said.

Baumann added, "CraveMate helps you change bad habits into good ones. Rather than making a resolution to lose weight (the number one resolution of all time) use CraveMate to guide and remind you to achieve a healthy weight through clean eating, regular exercise and becoming more mindful of your life choices."

For more information, visit www.cravemate.com.

aguilmet@newstote.com


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