A New Scale Promises to Help You Shed Pounds—without Revealing How Much You Weigh

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If there’s one thing just about everyone dreads when trying to lose weight, it’s stepping on the bathroom scale to see your progress. A flurry of questions immediately pop into your head: What if you stayed the same, or, worse, gained weight? Does it mean you’re doing something wrong? Did you just step on the scale during the wrong time of the day?

That’s why Dan Ariely, a Duke University behavioral scientist and TED Talk favorite, has developed the cure for the common bathroom scale: a new weight-loss system called Shapa. In a video announcing the app, Ariely points out that getting into a daily routine of checking the scale is a good thing, because it reinforces your commitment to fitness. The problem, though, is that a person’s (entirely normal) daily weight fluctuations can often be discouraging, even though a person might not be doing anything wrong.

Ariely’s solution? Get rid of the scale’s numbers entirely.

The Shapa scale doesn’t show you your exact weight. Instead, the scale uses a five-color system to signal if you’re staying the course, losing weight, or gaining weight. This way the scale can motivate the user without providing possibly misleading information.

Ariely also designed an app for Shapa, which provides personalized goals to help you live a healthier life. By motivating users to better organize things like their fridge and their shopping list, for example, they’re more likely to make healthier decisions overall.

Ariely’s novel system certainly makes sense from a psychological perspective. After all, it’s easy to be discouraged by a weight discrepancy without realizing it might not actually mean much.

As for the price, Shapa currently retails for $99, and the app requires a $7.95/monthly subscription. If you’re serious about adopting a healthier lifestyle in the new year, the Shapa system might just be worth a look.

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