Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mary Lou's Weigh

When the folks at Mary Lou's Weigh asked me to check out their weight loss platform, I clicked on over to their site and was instantly struck by how Seinfeldesque it seemed. Initially, I thought a scale that doesn't weigh you is a lot like a show about nothing, but I'm always up for something new, so I was glad to give it a try. Here's the low down.

What it is and how it works

Mary Lou's Weigh is a weight loss product endorsed by 80's Olympic gymnast, Mary Lou Retton. The program centers around a weight loss platform which is meant to forever replace the bathroom scale in your life. The platform won't tell you what you weigh. Rather, it records a starting weight in its memory and then reports how much you've lost or gained from that starting weight. It's meant to be used daily and in conjunction with a tips booklet and the Mary Lou's Weigh website. The platform reports progress and celebrates and encourages in the bubbly voice of Mary Lou Retton herself.

The Positive

  • I wasn't sure how I felt about the concept of never knowing exactly how much I weigh. It's not as if I feel entirely consumed with the numbers on the scale, but I find the awful truth to be the best motivator. However, I've know a lot of people who really wanted to lose weight but never had the courage to step on the scale. Those numbers can be daunting, especially if it's been a while. Without a way to quantify progress, it can be difficult to know if you're efforts are producing good results. You can certainly use the fit of your clothes or improved fitness as benchmarks, but knowing exactly how well you've done can be very reaffirming. Also, I've noticed that it can sometimes take a pretty significant gain before I notice it in my clothes. I'd rather not chance it. This product provides an opportunity to measure success even if you're not quite ready to know your weight.

  • I found the product to be very user friendly. It can store information for two users. I tapped the left button and waited to be prompted to step on. In a few moments some fairly cheesy music played and informed me that my starting weight had been recorded. Easy. All I had to do was tap that button, weight to be prompted and get on every morning. As a plus, the volume is adjustable so if you'd rather Mary Lou didn't announce your progress to the entire house, you can turn it down.

  • The literature that comes with the platform provides a quick read with good solid tips and motivation which can help people get ramped up to start making healthy changes. It also comes with a DVD to provide additional help.

  • I believe that some people may feel inspired by Mary Lou Retton and may find her messages motivating and helpful. I was too young when she won gold to remember much about her now, but I understand that she was a symbol of perseverance and achievement for many. Even if you don't know who she is or identify with her past, her tone is positive and upbeat. Therefore, this gets slotted under the positives.

The Negative

  • On the flip side of the to know or not to know debate, you might argue that if you're not ready to face that number on the scale, you're not ready to change your life. I talked to women in my office and a number of them said that it would be too easy to deny their weight issues if they didn't have to know precisely how much they weighed. Others thought this would be freeing and wonderful. I'm interested in hearing what other people think, so weigh in (pun intended) in the comments if you'd like.

  • The platform automatically sets losing ten pounds as the same first goal for everyone. I feel like that's a mistake. People who lose weight slowly and require gratification to stay on track may get discouraged and give up because even ten pounds seems unattainable. Others may not actually need to lose ten pounds. This is a minor issue, though, since most people would probably set independent goals.

  • Only two people can use the platform. That's not an issue for me, but it's a negative nonetheless. Additionally, because it only reports results audibly, it won't be useful for the hearing impaired.

  • While I placed the fact that the scale reports progress in Mary Lou Retton's voice as a positive, I also need to be fair and balanced and place it in the negative. Some people that I talked to said that they'd take the bridge if they had to listen to Mary Lou's perkiness every morning and they were irritated by the prospect of someone as petite as she is overseeing their weight loss, even if it is only virtually. So if your kind of grouchy or if perkiness makes you want to drive a fork into your eye, then this product isn't for you.

  • While the website offers recipes, the platform doesn't really come with any nutrition plan. Therefore, it's only one tool in a weight loss toolbox. It could be a much more comprehensive product if it provided nutritional information on weight loss and not just a way to measure it after the fact.

Overall, this seems like an interesting approach to weight loss. I can see that it could be very helpful and I appreciate that it doesn't pretend to be for everyone. In the end, I went back to my scale. I felt the need to know the number, not just to measure my success but also because I post specific relevant stats here on my blog. Don't let my experience be your final word, though. If you're interested you can click on over to the Mary Lou's Weigh website and check out a complete product description as well as some success stories and videos featuring the product.


new*me said...

I think it's a pretty cool concept especially those who are hooked on a number :)

butterfly said...

They approached me some months ago to try out the scale as well and I never got back to them.

I don't know if not knowing is the way for me to go. Those numbers on the scale are necessary for me, hence my Weight Watchers membership.

Let me know how it goes!

Karyn said...

I've watched a promo video on this product...I think it would be good for those who obsess about what the numbers on the scale say.

Personally, I want to know the ugly truth....it keeps me motivated. I am as much motivated by watching the middle number change (a new 'decade') as I am by how much I've lost in a week.