What’s the best tool for losing weight? Shame

There are a ton of weight loss and diet-tracking apps on the market. There are the wearable accessory bands like FitBit Flex and Jawbone Up, as well as exercise-tracking apps like Strava, Runkeeper, and Pedometer ++. But do any of them employ a real weight loss consultant to scream at you via video chat and tell you to put down that cheesesteak, you fat fat fatty, or else you’ll die alone in your apartment with only a ring of blubber to keep you warm, you fat, disgusting pig? No, no they do not.

Enter Retrofit, a new fitness startup that provides users trying to lose weight with “face-to-face support from real live experts who can provide tips, moral support, and accountability.” Translation? They shame the ever-loving s**t out of you.

Launched by CEO Jeff Hyman two-and-a-half years ago, Retrofit tracks your meals and workouts like other fitness apps, but it also connects you to credentialed weight loss experts, who offer advice and motivation during regularly scheduled Skype meetings. The service is pretty pricy—between $150 and $300 per month—but it seems at least somewhat effective: Hyman says 90 percent of users shed pounds, with the average customer losing 20 pounds while using the app.

Inspired by Hyman’s own struggles with losing weight, and his experience with fitness experts at the high-end “health resort” Canyon Ranch, Retrofit seeks to differentiate itself from its competitors by putting a human face on the weight loss process. But let’s be honest: Do we really need a human face during the weight loss process? Most people I know who want to get in shape, myself included, pay good money to do so in the privacy of their own home, without having to interact with any humans whatsoever. That’s why at-home exercise DVDs like P90X and Crossfit are so popular.

Losing weight and getting in shape is an intense, arduous, highly emotional process. There’s a lot of sweat and blood and tears and oftentimes farts, if your exercise regimen is particularly heavy on the ab workouts. Having a thin, young, sexy yoga instructor-type or health and nutrition master’s student chirpily shame me into doing that extra pushup, or eating kale and steamed acorns instead of that delicious-looking cheesesteak, does not sound fun, or even particularly effective. This is one of those instances where I’d rather just save the $150-$300 and let an app or a robot or Tony Horton tell me what to do.

H/T Wired | Photo by Fit Approach/Flickr (CC BY – SA 2.0)

 

EJ Dickson

EJ Dickson

EJ Dickson is a writer and editor who primarily covers sex, dating, and relationships, with a special focus on the intersection of intimacy and technology. She served as the Daily Dot’s IRL editor from January 2014 to July 2015. Her work has since appeared in the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mic, Bustle, Romper, and Men’s Health.