When we ran across an e-mail about a new weight loss product, we thought it had to be a joke -- a knife and fork that weigh 1½ pounds each, the better to make you eat more slowly? Seriously?
This is quite serious, according to the Knife and Fork Lift's inventor, Tom Madden. "Everybody approaches it as a joke," he said, "but when you think about it, it does require you to eat more slowly." Eating more slowly, say health experts, allows the brain time to register feelings of satiety, resulting in eating less.
The idea sprung from Madden's own frustrating attempts, and those of his friends, at sticking with diets. "I'm always trying to lose a few pounds, and all the diets everyone has tried to my knowledge have failed. I thought, maybe I could make it more difficult to eat, and slow the process down." Madden is the founder and chief executive of TransMedia Group, a Boca Raton, La.-based public relations firm.
He came up with a knife and fork encased in a dumbbell-shaped handle, several times the weight of most knives and forks. But he didn't think this could be the next big thing since the Snuggie when he sent an early version to a friend -- who loved it. "He said it was the most unique, creative, imaginative present someone had sent him," Madden said. "And I thought, let's make some more of these."
While it does seem like a parody of weight loss gear, far be it for us to say the bulky silverware (which retails for $19.95, plus shipping) won't work. Some recent dental surgery slowed our food consumption speed considerably, causing us to eat far less than usual. But dental surgery as a weight loss tool doesn't have a ton of potential.
Madden says he's lost weight since using the Knife and Fork Lift, although he doesn't have a bathroom scale because "I don't like to deal with numbers." He’s more of a looser-fitting-clothing kind of guy. He suggests those who want to shed a few pounds try the utensils for a month or so and see if that helps them establish more discipline at meals (in addition to watching what you eat and exercising, of course). And if you don't mind people staring at you with slack-jawed wonder, by all means take them out to a restaurant.
But some people, finding the process annoying, might not last a month, deciding instead to pick up food caveman-style. Or they might wait for what Madden's thinking of coming up with next: a spoon with a hole in it.
-- Jeannine Stein
Photo: TransMedia Group