Tuesday, January 03, 2012

a scale that tweets

As I was flipping through this month's GQ magazine (looking for the cover story advertised as "our favourite sexy mormons") I came across a story called "How to Not Get Fat this Winter." In said story, there was a section about harnessing the power of shame.
Hello Mr. Damon. (if you read the story about him, you'll love him even more)
In order to lose weight, the author bought a tweeting scale. Yes, that's right...a scale that tweets. It connects to WiFi and any time you step on the scale, it sends your weight through the internets and your weight comes up on your twitter account. The writer felt that he needed to publicly embarrass himself in order to lose weight. And it worked.

In 3 months, he lost 12 pounds by making some diet and lifestyle changes. He hit the gym and cleaned up his eating because friends and co-workers could now follow his progress (or lack thereof) and even make snarky comments on the internet about it. He found the public broadcast to be the motivation he needed to make changes.

Back in the day, I lost about 15 pounds the old fashioned way: stress and poverty. I moved across the country, was planning a wedding, and was looking for a job all at the same time. So life was a little stressful. We were living on Jordan's grad school "salary" (definitely quotation mark worthy) and my savings until I found a job. So there was no money for extra snacks or dinners out. We didn't have a car- so I walked a lot. A few months later, my clothes were looser (probably too loose- I think I lost close to 20 at first) and I was definitely smaller. The challenge from that point on, was maintenance and finding a way to work healthy habits (such as exercise) into my life.

Although it was definitely a challenge, the maintenance and healthy lifestyle part has definitely gone well, but that initial weight loss part didn't really require too much "effort" on my part. It just sort of happened due to circumstance.
do you think it has a Facebook account too?
So I guess I'm curious- I wonder if the public shaming would work for me if I needed to lose weight. Would having my weight broadcast to the internet give me the motivation I needed to change my lifestyle? Would I go to order fries and think "oh wait, what will my twitter followers say if I gain weight or don't lose my 2 pounds this week" and then have a salad instead? Or would I just stop weighing myself at home or claim that my internet was broken?

Obviously it worked for this guy (good on you Jon Wilde) but I can't decide if I'd find it really motivating or if it would make me feel like crap. I kind of think it would work for me- at least for a little while.*

What about you- forgetting that it is $159- would you buy a tweeting scale? Would you fine it helpful or harmful?

*Edited to add:
I'm not thinking of buying said scale nor do I think I need to lose weight (on the contrary- I've lost some muscle mass as of late and would like to put some of it back on). I just wondered if I was in the position to need to lose weight, would I find it helpful or harmful to have my weight broadcast on the internet. It helped the author...who is a man. I kind of wonder if there is a gender divide here. Would more men be likely to find this helpful? In this case is the "shaming" more of a macho thing rather than the intense nastiness that can sometimes go along with body image and weight in the minds of women? Just something I was thinking about.


Leana said...

I actually have a scale that has the ability to tweet. Let's just say I haven't enabled that feature! Public shaming is really not what motivates me. Although, in case you are wondering why I actually bought a scale that can tweet, it is because I love that it transmits my info via wi-fi to Training Peaks and keeps the info in an online database. I am a numbers/geeky gadget girl after all!

Laura said...

Oofff...that's tough. I know I am 'better' when I have that kind of accountability but to me, in the end you aren't really making the necessary changes for life. I don't think I would care too much anyway if others did this...I don't really pay attention to the peeps who have their online fitness journal tweeted up.

Heather said...

I don't know if I would like it or find it motivating. I like the accountability part, but I'm not sure if I like the shame part.

kristen said...

Leana- I guess I'm not surprised that you love the numbers part of it! But yeah- the tweeting would be intense.

I guess the "shame" depends on your attitude and your friends. I think I'd frame it as "accountability" and hope that my twitter peeps would keep me a accountable but still remain kind. The author clearly felt the "shaming" was good for him. But Heather- I agree. I'm not sure I'd want to be "shamed."

Sandra Engstrom said...

Contrary to popular media belief and discourse...there is no need for anyone else to make you feel like you need to lose weight. (Especially you! because you are tiny...) I just wish more people would focus on overall health and happiness...the only person you should be accountable to is yourself. I am very good at shaming myself and I dont need anyone else to do it for me thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

I doubt tweeting would help since I really don't give a shit what people think. But I do think it's a good idea for people who need others to keep them accountable. I would need a scale that had a retractable hand that slapped me across the face if I gained :)

Nicole @ "Haute Runner" said...

No- I wouldn't purchase that scale. I think I would become obsessive about my weight, which can be affected by so many different factors on a day-to-day basis.

We actually didn't own a scale until about 1.5 years ago when we bought one to weight our suitcases on before travelling. We kept it in the basement and I never used it for myself. I prefer to gage my weight gain/loss by how I feel and how my clothes fit, not a number on a scale.

Now that I have to weight myself in pregnancy I have moved the scale upstairs and I still only weigh myself once a week at the same time every week (or close enough). I can feel myself becoming obsessive about the weight gain and it really isn't that much.

Once the baby is born I look forward to seeing those numbers go back down!

Michelle said...

While I would never want my weight broadcast on Twitter, I did find the accountability of someone else weighing me to be a good motivating factor when I was going to Weight Watchers meetings. Knowing someone else was going to look at the number and write it on my card was a little more incentive to get the number to go down.

You know me and my inability to push myself. Having others asking about the number on the scale has certainly been helpful for me in the past but everyone is different in their approach.

Derek said...

I'd probably go for it. I'm already putting my weight on my blog each day. My 2012 goal is to loose 30 pounds so any help is appreciated.

Marlene said...

Gah! I think it would probably work... but I would never voluntarily publicize my weight on a regular basis!