5 Keys To Ignite Lifestyle Change
Lifestyle Edutainment Media That Works
Growing Brands That Change Lives
By Mikhaila Stettler- Creative Director, Creatrix Interactive
5 Keys To Ignite Lifestyle Change
Lifestyle Edutainment Media That Works
The ultimate objective of any *LOHAS brand (Lifestyles Of Health And Sustainability)
must be transformation; inspiring and supporting the positive change of daily behaviors
and attitudes. Yet, getting people to make enduring lifestyle changes, whether it’s diet
and exercise habits or green living choices in their routine consumption, is one of the
most difficult challenges to meet.
* LOHAS is an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, a
market segment focused on health and fitness, the environment, personal
development, sustainable living, and social justice.
What drives transformation? How can a lifestyle product or service company grow
their business while supporting their community to make lifestyle changes? We’ve
identified 5 key factors that consistently lead to sustainable lifestyle transformation.
Chief among them is emotional engagement, without it people will not make the
personal investment of time, money and attention to change their habit patterns.
Education drives sales in the LOHAS market.
Whatever service or product you’re selling, whether nutritional supplements, natural
foods, exercise equipment or non-toxic cleaning products, an educated consumer buys
more products and services. Any LOHAS brand must include lifestyle education in its
overall marketing and business-building strategic plan.
Edutainment = Education + Entertainment
This reports outlines a 5-point system for designing digital edutainment media that spurs
and supports enduring lifestyle changes. This system was generated by reverse
engineering 20 years of lifestyle education success, working on the front lines of lifestyle
medicine educating other clinicians and thousands of patients and their families. We’ve
identified what works and what people need to make sustainable changes, and then
redesigned it and applied it to the online/mobile world.
Although the specific focus of this report is on diet and lifestyle habits, the 5-Star
System applies equally to green living and other types of LOHAS brands.
Our Lifestyle Is Making Us Sick: The Growing Epidemic Of Chronic
As any health care practitioner or weight loss coach will attest, it is notoriously difficult
for people to make healthy diet and lifestyle changes and stick with them. Yet lifestyle
habits are the single greatest causal factor in our growing epidemic of chronic
diseases and accelerated age-related degeneration.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), chronic diseases
account for over 78% of all health care expenditures and are the leading causes of
death and disability in the U.S. Hypertension alone affects up to half of all adults over
the age of 55 and over 43% of the population over age 60 has developed metabolic
syndrome (insulin resistance and dysglycemia). Conditions of obesity, child-hood
obesity and Type 2 Diabetes are soaring.
What is truly tragic about these statistics is that by and large, this epidemic is easily
preventable with diet and lifestyle changes! And as our Baby Boomer population
enters their senior years, we’re about to be faced with the age-related health care
problems of the largest population of people between ages of 65-85 then ever before.
What is important to know is that conditions commonly seen as signs of ageing- like
low energy, poor memory, low libido, chronic pain, and weight gain—are actually signs
of chronic disease.
The 5 Keys To Lifestyle Education:
How to support people to change their diet and lifestyle habits
to transform their health.
First and foremost people need to be inspired, to feel inspired, to make changes.
Give your audience/customers/patients an inspiring vision that focuses on positive
outcomes and results.
Describe how they will look and feel when they make healthy diet and lifestyle
changes, how their quality of life will improve. For example, paint the picture of the
activities they’ll be able to enjoy again, of fitting into their clothes, looking good, having
more energy, playing with kids/grandchildren, doing sports and recreation activities,
seeing their skin clear up, enjoying a revived sex drive, have clean-smelling breath,
feeling attractive and desirable, able enjoy themselves.
Speak to their aspirational desires. Images of enticing, visually appealing healthy food
and fun activities, rich with sensual pleasure, are so much more motivating than
warnings and rules.
2. Connect The Dots And Make The Links
Very clearly connecting the dots and making direct links
between how a person is living/eating and how they feel,
look and function empowers choice and change. Time
and again, we have seen that when people clearly
understand how their diet and lifestyle choices actually
change body function and subjective feeling states, they are
more connected with what’s actually going on and more motivated to change.
By using metaphors, humor and rich media, we can explain core principles in simple,
easy-to-understand terms. Clarity, simplicity and analogies help folks visualize what is
going on at a system, organ and cell level.
For example, describing the gastrointestinal system as a wetlands ecosystem makes it
easy for people to understand how certain foods can affect balance and function. Just
as in a wetlands, if you change one thing in the system, like the pH, it changes the
population of the lowest living beings on the food chain. The negative effects can
quickly travel up the food chain resulting in the entire eco-system being thrown out-ofbalance.
3. Empower Choice
Positive gene expression is a choice, not an accident of birth!
When people clearly see the connection between their diet and
lifestyle habits and their gene expression, it empowers them to
make healthy changes. Once people understand that positive
gene expression is a choice and not an accident of birth, it
empowers them. Once they understand the difference between
genotype and phenotype, and that they have power and control
over their phenotype, their entire attitude and mindset changes.
4. Add In, Switch Out
Most people have a general impression that changing their diet and lifestyle habits is all
about restriction, sacrifice, deprivation, austerity and discipline. Instead, we take the
approach of inclusion, expansion and replacement. Instead of focusing on lists of
do’s and don’ts, what you can’t have, we focus on expanding what’s included.
In prioritized, tiered steps, we ask people to add things into their diet, add activities to
their routine. The next step it to switch out unhealthy versions of favorite foods and
replace them with healthy versions or alternatives. The strategy is to occupy the space
with healthy choices and options, healthy ingredients and products.
5. Support Network & Accountability
One of the reasons diet and lifestyle changes are so hard
to make is that people bond over food and lifestyle
choices, and we all have a history of family imprinting
around these patterns. In fact, the latest social science
research shows that social contagion is more a factor in
obesity and other lifestyle-related illnesses than genetics!
To successfully change lifestyle patterns, people need community, need to be
connected with others going through the same process, need to receive support
from others who care about one’s process and progress.
We’re social creatures who need to feel support and connection, like we’re doing it
together. To change lifestyle patterns, people also need a way to be held
accountable, a way to see, track and share progress. People need recognition and
approval and that basic emotional need can be leveraged to support healthy lifestyle
What Doesn’t Work In Lifestyle Education
1. Preaching or proselytizing
2. Deprivation, restriction, austerity and discipline
3. Dictatorial “Because it’s good for you.”
“Because I said so.”
These 3 approaches lead to sabotage by setting up an internal conflict with a tyrantrebel polarity. An inner rebel will have to emerge to preserve the rights of free will
4. Not giving a strong enough why, no direct links made between diet and
lifestyle habits and personal body experience. No foundation laid of basic
fundamentals and principles that are clear, easy-to-understand and make
immediate intuitive sense.
5. Making it too complicated, rigid or extreme. People can get overwhelmed with
too much too soon. Not enough simple basics, no priority ranking of importance.
6. No support network, doing on their own, often in face of family resistance.
7. No accountability or way to see, track and keep connected with their progress.
The 5 Keys To Designing Lifestyle Media That Changes Lives
It’s a new dawn for lifestyle education. With advent of Web 2.0, SaaS (Service As
Software), smart phones and tablets, and the growing prevalence of social media, it is
at last possible to create a mobile, virtual digital learning experience that is truly
sensory-rich, dynamic, interactive and user-centric.
The end user’s experience is paramount, what is the interface like for the user? The
entire experience must be designed to be easy, pleasurable, interesting, fun, engaging,
interactive and responsive.
1. Intuitive User-Friendly Interface
The key to designing lifestyle media that changes lives is
making the all-important user interface super user-friendly
and intuitive. It must be easy to use and understand,
immediately without any difficulty.
Confusion and frustration with the interface quickly leads to
disengagement and disconnection. A confused, frustrated
user doesn’t take the actions we want (make healthy lifestyle changes), he or she
leaves! An intuitive design would include things like bold audio/visual cues to take the
next action and/or clearly show the user where to navigate next. It must be easy for the
new user to get exactly where she/he needs to go to get the content she/he wants.
Clean, visually coherent design prevents visual overload and confusion. Too
much content on a page, too many visuals, are confusing. The user doesn’t know what
to focus on.
2. Fun, Entertaining & Dynamic
Engagement is king! Boring, long content quickly leads to disengagement and
disconnection. A bored user leaves! The short form prevails! Small-bite sized
pieces, small action steps, and short videos are better than long. A short video is no
more than 2-3 minutes long, but a video message or animation under 30 seconds is
Edutainment: blending education with entertainment keeps users engaged! A
media-rich experience that is tactile and sensual, full of visual and audio content, with
video and animations, keeps users engaged and coming back for more. Using actionoriented learning games is a prime example of edutainment that works.
Instead of a one-way stream of information, make it interactive! Make it fun, entertaining
and personal to your user/consumer. People learn best by doing, through active
engagement. Take an innovative approach to translating lifestyle content into
interactive learning tools, self-assessments, games, and other programming.
Engagement is the key. When the user takes action, the portal/system should
respond. Then the user’s experience becomes personalized.
4. Emotional Connection
For lifestyle media to lead to lifestyle change, people
have to emotionally connect. The emotional brain
trumps the logical brain when it comes to behavior and
Recent advances in the neuro-sciences can help
understand how to create and design media that speaks
directly to the limbic brain. The limbic system is the area of the brain responsible for
emotions and behavior.
5. Social Media
Social media is here to stay. A social media component is crucial to lifestyle brands that
want to create positive change. A carefully crafted strategy, based on a deep
understanding of the drivers of behavior, can leverage the power of social media to help
users feel connected and supported. People want to share their experiences, compare
notes, and interact with others who are interested in making healthy lifestyle changes.
Through social media, lifestyle brands can reinforce commitment, give
acknowledgment and feedback, foster emotional connection, and create
We grow lifestyle brands that change lives.
Creatrix Interactive provides strategic advising and creative concept, design and
production of innovative interactive edutainment media for healthy lifestyle, green living
and personal development brands.
Our mission is to help LOHAS* brands grow loud n’ proud tribes with emotionally
compelling online content and media that ignite positive lifestyle change. We make it
simple, easy and attractive for your audience to adopt your brand’s lifestyle values.
We specialize in speaking to the emotional brain to create engagement and spur action.
(* LOHAS: lifestyles of health and sustainability, the market segment focused on health and fitness, the
environment, personal development, sustainable living, and social justice.)
Call or email for an assessment of your lifestyle education and media content.
Mikhaila Stettler, Creative Director
As Creative Director of Creatrix Interactive, Mikhaila Stettler brings her considerable
creative and intuitive gifts to the joyous challenge of dreaming up ways to make the
digital media interface engaging, interactive, imaginative and transformational.