The Tinkerers’ Weight-Loss Program

Last week, Governor Chris Christie, perennial punch line for his Michelin Man figure, announced he’d secretly undergone lap-band surgery, a “safe,” “minimally invasive” procedure that curbs eating by wrapping a silicon belt around the stomach. Sounds like medieval torture, but in this $60 billion weight-loss industry, barbarism comes standard. Innovators hoping to achieve the lap band’s popularity have rolled out a flurry of imaginative products.


Illustrations by Remie Geoffroi

Slow Bite: A “restraining” device, similar to the rubber bands used by orthodontists, cinches the jaws to limit oral mobility, forcing users to take smaller, slower bites.

Mandometer: Originally intended to make sure bulimia and anorexia sufferers got enough food, a two-in-one plate scale analyzes both portion size and eating speed.

HAPIfork: Due out in September, this clunky utensil tracks meal pace and vibrates when eating gets too speedy, though it can’t tell lentils from lard.


Diet goggles: Tokyo researchers created eyewear that magnifies food and gives it a chocolaty scent, tricking you into seeing that tiny snack as a tasty indulgence.

AspireAssist: Segway creator Dean Kamen’s contraption tube sucks dinner from your stomach through a tube. Pro: Food can drain “directly into the toilet.”

Planet Beach’s SlimCapsule: A cellulite cream, plastic suit, and sauna regimen burns 500 calories in half an hour, though experts say the system mostly dehydrates.


Sprinta: The labor of a Kiwi dad who wanted his kid off the couch, this anti-remote-control car requires children to run alongside it.

Hula Chair: A comfy chair whose seat swivels in vigorous circles, ridding you of that belly fat—and maybe the contents of your stomach.

Gamercize: Portmanteau of game and exercise; to play video games, a user must be in constant motion on a tiny stationary bike or elliptical machine.

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The Tinkerers’ Weight-Loss Program