What Is It?
Dan Ariely is a world-renowned behavioral economist and author of many popular books including Predictably Irrational and The Honest Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone--Especially Ourselves. In his own words, while he was recovering from serious burns resulting from an explosion early in life, “I became engrossed with the idea that we repeatedly and predictably make the wrong decisions in many aspects of our lives and that research could help change some of these patterns.”
Now Ariely is applying his insights from decades of behavioral research to a challenge we are all familiar with: losing weight and keeping it off. His solution: a scale without a display. it’s called Shapa.
How does it work?
Ariely is building upon the fact that our daily behavior around food and exercise does not immediately translate into changes in our weight. We might have a very indulgent weekend eating and drinking with friends and when we get on the scale on Monday, we are surprised to see our weight did not go up.
Conversely, we might spend the day eating healthy and exercising, only to be frustrated the next morning when our scale shows that we did not shed any pounds. These delayed reactions of our metabolism can be confusing and often discouraging.
So, instead of displaying your weight daily, Shapa separates things. You still use the scale every day. Behaviorally this reinforces your commitment to your weight goals. But rather than tracking your daily weight, Shapa looks at the longer trend and tells you how you are doing based on ranges.
It uses a five-point color-coded feedback system. Green means you are holding steady (within normal range fluctuations), gray means you are gaining or starting to gain weight and blue indicates you are losing weight. This helps to track meaningful patterns, while avoiding the anxiety-inducing raw data and random variations.
According to Shapa, its users achieve a 5% reduction in weight over 6 months. 95% achieve their health goals within one year. The key is that they appear to keep the weight off over time..