Site Helps People Attain Weight-Loss Goals - NBC Bay Area

Site Helps People Attain Weight-Loss Goals

SF-based website lets social networks encourage people to lose weight.



    12 Ways to Effortlessly Surprise Your Friends and Co-Workers helps people stay motivated toward achieving their health goals.

    Sometimes it takes a village to successfully lose weight. That’s what Leah Nichols of Los Altos learned when she tried to shed 10 pounds after the birth of her daughter, Clara.

    She was one of the first people to test the new, free website developed in San Francisco -- and launched this month -- called Health Rally.

    Leah just logged on and announced her goal to her friends and relatives: Lose 10 pounds in three months. Then her team of supporters cheered her on.

    They offered her advice, exercise tips and low-fat recipes. They also put some skin in the game, pledging money to Leah if she achieved her goal.

    “Psychologically I didn’t want to let them down. It is confidence building , and I had much more confidence trying to lose weight with their help than I would have had going solo” said Nichols.

    Because Leah announced her goal, her friends started making some changes too. They offered to meet her for a walk instead of getting together for lattes.

    Zack Lynch, the CEO of Health Rally says after just two weeks 1,500 people have already used the website.

    “It’s not just for losing weight you can use it to help with any health goal from running a marathon, to quitting smoking to remembering to take your diabetes medication,” Lynch said.

    You also have the option of selecting your own reward such as a spa treatment, high end shoes or giving money to charity. Your friends then have the option of donating money to help you get your reward, but at the end of your rally they also get to vote on whether you deserve to get that reward.

    Leah found the accountability to be a great motivator.

    “Just the fact so many people were so invested in me made me want to work hard. I didn’t want to let everyone down.”

    At the end of three months Leah stepped on the scale and saw she had lost eleven pounds. When she reached her goal, her supporters deemed her worthy of her reward and she received a $150 dollar check for a wine country getaway with her husband.

    By the way, he is now using Health Rally to get more fit.