Lifelong Nail Biter Finally Kicks The Habit Thanks To An Inexpensive App ????

A lifelong nail biter who made a pact with her husband to stop if he quit smoking has finally kicked the habit more than 20 years later —thanks to a £4.99 ($6.50) hypnosis app.

As many people begin to struggle with the New Year’s resolutions they set for themselves for 2019, one person who will not be falling off the bandwagon is Lou Everard, 42, from Swindon, England.

Following decades of gnawing on her nails—sometimes biting them so far down she would pull skin out of the nail bed—she has finally turned over a new leaf.

Lou (PA Real Life/Collect)

Now, after just three months of listening to a hypnosis app every night as she fell asleep, Lou, a communications officer for a research council, has enviably long and strong talons—and has finally made good on a pact she made 22 years ago with her husband James, 44, who works in software.

She laughed:

“We said when we first met in 1996 that James would stop smoking if I stopped biting my nails.”

“We made our pact pretty much on the first date, as I hated smoking from the outset. He said if he stopped, I had to quit biting my nails, as that was my disgusting habit.”

Lou’s nails before (PA Real Life/Collect)

But Lou confessed:

“He managed right away, but it’s taken me 20 years. I tried everything, but as I did it so absent-mindedly, it was hard to stop.”

“On our wedding day in 2007, I even had to wear false nail tips to make mine look longer.”

“Now, though, I can’t believe how much better they look. I can’t stop showing them off.”

Lou’s nails now (PA Real Life/Collect)

Ever since she was a child, Lou, mum to twin girls, Lydia and Grace, 10, has bitten her nails.

Over the years, she tried everything from nail-biting solution, which leaves a harmless but bitter taste in the mouth when swallowed, to splashing out on expensive manicures in the hope she would be motivated to leave them alone.

She explained:

“I figured if I had them done nicely, I wouldn’t want to chip or tear them. But I’d bite them without even really realizing.”

Lou continued:

“I would also try to use fake nails, to give my real ones a chance to grow, but one would always end up pinging off, then I’d pick away at the glue and leave more damage.”

On a couple of occasions, Lou would have a little success and manage to refrain from biting her nails but—where they had been weakened by years of her having them in her mouth—they would then break of their own accord.

She added:

“They’d snag, and I’d be back to square one.”

Lou, pictured here wearing false nails, with her husband and daughters (PA Real Life/Collect)

As she gave up hope of ever being able to kick her habit, Lou would look enviously at the long, elegant nails of her friends.

At times, she even found herself self-consciously scrunching up her hands to hide her own.

She said:

“I resigned myself to the fact I would never have nice nails.”

“I would notice myself hiding my hands, especially in things like job interviews, when you are meant to look smart.”

Lou with her husband and daughters (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added:

“Or, I’d go the other way and make a point of bringing up my nails and the state of them. It came from being embarrassed, so wanting to put it out there myself before other people did.”

With her nails—and the skin around them—chewed away, Lou would find that simple tasks, like picking something up off the floor, became difficult.

She said:

“Opening something like a can of fizzy drink would hurt, as the skin was so raw.”

“It was also little things you take for granted, like being able to find the end of a roll of Sellotape, or pick a needle up off the floor, that became hard with no nails.”

Lou’s nails now (PA Real Life/Collect)

Then, towards the end of 2018, Lou had a light-bulb moment when she read about Stop Nail Biting Hypnosis, a £4.99 ($6.50) app by Sue Peckham and James Holmes.

Based on hypnotherapy and mindfulness, it also has audio sessions, a photo diary to track progress, reminder alerts and a top tips section—and works by helping users relieve the stress and anxiety that triggers nail biting, re-programming their minds.

Lou said:

“I have a very busy life, and always like to be on the go, so the app was perfect as I can just put it on for 10 minutes before I go to sleep.”

“I have listened to it religiously every night since October, and almost always fall asleep before the end.”

Lou (PA Real Life/Collect)

She added: 

“I did worry that meant it wouldn’t work, but the messages must still go into my subconscious, as I haven’t bitten my nails since the first time I used it.”

Insisting she is sure that she will never return to her old habit, Lou continued:

“I feel different now, like the urge simply isn’t there. Now, I make a conscious decision not to put my nails anywhere near my mouth. They are so much stronger, I’ve never had nails like this.”

“I’m really proud of them, and James is happy I’m finally upholding my end of the pact we made 22 years ago.”