As the biggest kid in the class, I grew up struggling with my weight.
When I started to secretly go to meetings that rhyme with Schweight Schwatchers, they never resonated. They just weren’t speaking my language.
I didn't want to schwatch my schweight. I wanted to live my life!
When I was the most unhealthy, it felt like every magazine I opened, TV show I turned on, product I purchased, or program I signed up for made me feel worse about myself instead of better. And I became obsessed with the idea that there needed to be a brand that didn't make me feel like I’d never be enough.
I started Greatist to change the way the world thinks about health, to help everyone think of it in a healthier, healthyish way (the only way I believe works long-term). I wanted a brand to empower millennials like me to improve and celebrate us when we got a little better. And this isn't just the company's mission—it's my life's too.
Today Greatist is a media business with over 10 million readers each month. We're by far the leading media brand for healthy-minded millennials. But I always intended to build more than a media company.
It’s time to get Greater.
Ultimately, I wanted to build the thing that truly helps millennials get healthier—the “Weight Watchers of the future.” And as of today, that thing is live!
Our app, called Greater, is a mobile support group platform that lets you tackle the 30-day diet you've been most wanting to do with seven other people just like you.
Download the app, build your profile, pick a track, pay $29.99 ($19.99 for a limited time), and we'll match you with the perfect team. (We're only on iOS to start, but Android will be next!)
We're launching with Paleo, low-sugar, and vegan tracks... and many more are on the way.
Eventually, we'll move beyond diets to any kind of program you want to try. Snap your fingers, and we'll pair you with new friends who want to start meditating, run their first 5K, or do StrongLifts too.
Eventually, we'll move to a subscription offering that has both the multiplayer mode you can play today and a single-player mode to keep your momentum and progress going tomorrow.
Eventually, we'll let you create your own groups with friends or even match with users nearby to meet offline.
It's an ambitious vision for a future where you never have to start any program to get better alone.
In the meantime, we're just getting started, and there's a lot to learn.
I couldn't be more excited to share Greater with you.
Download it from the App Store now, and you can get started with a team as soon as tomorrow.
To know what to build in the first place and then be able to reach enough people with a new solution, I knew I needed to start building trust with other millennials like me who are just trying to get better. I needed to ask, listen, try things, and learn from a big audience.
To start, we've learned millennials want to lose weight too.
That's almost always our No. 1 health goal.
But the reasons we want to lose weight are very different from those of prior generations.
Millennials don't want to lose weight to fit into society's expectation for what we should look like.
We want to lose weight to feel better, more confident, more comfortable, more in control.
What’s holding us back then?
At Greatist, we’ve been asking our audience that question for years, and we’ve learned it’s not about a lack of time or money, but actually about feeling alone.
We'd go for a run if there were somebody, anybody to go on a run with.
We'd eat healthily, but our partner isn’t on board.
We’d stick to that diet, but our coworkers always bring in delicious, fresh-baked cookies.
This makes sense to me. All the successful health changes I've made in my life have been with other people.
And I know how lonely my friends can be. In a world where many millennials have turned away from civic and religious communities, we've moved online to find a connection... and yet feel more disconnected than ever.
I think loneliness may be the real health issue, and that explains the meteoric rise of Zumba, CrossFit, November Project, and more. Health and wellness is the new religion, and fitness brands are the new church.
But what if you don't have a Flywheel near you?
What if you don't feel comfortable getting up and going to the next Daybreaker?
The vast majority of people who try a diet start it alone (!). That’s why Greater is here to help fix that.
Some of the things you might be wondering about Greater:
What do I get on each track?
Everything you need to succeed for 30 days, including:
- A comprehensive step-by-step diet guide with lots of recipes
- Complete and searchable list of food dos, don'ts, and maybes
- Daily ideas, tips, tricks, and reminders
- Daily tracking of your progress and mood
- Constant support, motivation, celebration, and accountability from your perfect team!
Why eight people per team?
In our testing, eight engaged people are about the most you can keep up with. (And even in the unlikely case half aren't very engaged, there's still enough value for the people who are.)
Why is each track 30 days?
We believe the future of dieting isn't about sticking to one program but actually about more extreme short-term experiences for long-term learnings. Most millennials refuse to stick to one eating regime—we enjoy food and social experiences too much. No one really sticks to their diet forever, so we're more realistic. Committing to 30 days of something hard, however, is exciting. We can sign up for it, Instagram the heck out of it, and learn a couple things along the way that we can stick with. And that's real health success anyway.
What's with the avatars and usernames?
Health is more personal and private than you probably think. Maybe you're cool with tweeting your health struggles. Most of us aren't. Most of us don't want to share our challenges, even with our friends and family. We’re starting with avatars and usernames to create a safe, trusting environment. You don't have to share your identity if you don’t want to. You won't be judged based on your appearance. You can just be yourself.