A Weight Management Journey

Well, hello everyone.  It’s good to get simpleweight back up and running.

First off, why the simpleweight hiatus?

Well, this project has been a labor of love for my brother and I.  We had an idea, we ran with it.  When we came up with simpleweight, at the time, there was not many web ways to manage your lifetime fitness goals.  There were quite a few Diets, but nothing that was diet agnostic.  Also, at the time, all the weight loss websites were a pain in the neck to use.  They just weren’t that simple.

Since the time we hatched the simpleweight idea, we have seen numerous new web tools, competitors if you want to call them, and other ways to maintain and track your fitness goals.  We have always had a decent amount of users, nothing that would put us in the A-list of websites, but enough to say we were attaining some of our goals.

Yet, we stumbled and lost focus.  Simpleweight started to see competitors, and we started adding features because we felt like we had to rather than because we should. We were not getting real as 37signals would say.

One of our original goals was to make this weight website so easy that you’ll actually use it.  Well, I used it, and used it, and used it.  Yet, at some point (August 17, 2008), I stopped.  In fact, I fell off the weight management wagon.  I not only stopped using simpleweight, I stopped recording any data.  Yeah, I weighed myself everyday, and still do.  I would weigh my food still, and track my exercise on my various fitness related gadgets, iphone apps, or my pedometer.  I just never recorded the data I kept.

Tracking data and not recording data doesn’t make the data very valuable.  In fact, it is almost worthless.

A Return to Roots

Why Simpleweight and what can we choose to do?  Because it is all a choice.

I have a couple of options with simpleweight:

  1. Keep it as is. This is not an option in my book.  The experience I can see from my usage and the aggregate patterns I can identify from users, that simpleweight needs to be easier and more useful.  During my hiatus, I tried competitors products, and I was just as dismayed at the lack of usefulness.  If I had found a sound competitor I could recommend, I think we’d close up shop, but I couldn’t find anything phone based, web based, or desktop based that was easy to use that provided the right amount of data to help with weight loss and weight management.
  2. Tweak it. We could do this, but I think there is just too much baggage.  Sometimes, we need a clean slate.
  3. Throw it out and Start over. This I think might simpleweight’s best path.  To Get Real about what exactly is the absolute necessity required in managing ones fitness and add to it the pin-point focus that’s necessary.  There is a big challenge here.  More to come on that.
  4. Just Throw it out and give up. I’m not ready for that.  I still think there is a value to tracking ones fitness, and I think we can do it in good fashion.

So, What’s our Challenge?

The big challenge is there are many parts to weight management and fitness.  There is food out (exercise), food in (eating), the physical factor (actually going throw the physical motions), the mental factor (behavioral psychology behind eating and motivation for fitness), and finally the out of our control genetic factor.

The question for Simpleweight is:  How can we best help you, our user, with your weight management?  What can we do to help?  What data can we help you collect?  How can we present that data to help you mange your fitness?

For example, there are social networks all over the place that will help you stay motivated.  Do we need to include that in our implementation since the psychology of eating is such a strong factor?

Other questions we ask, Who can we help?  How can we help?  Then finally, Is it possible for us to make a living helping you all or should we just chalk it up as giving back to the community?

How can we make a weight management website so simple you will actually use it?

These are decisions we are going to make over the next few weeks, months, days, however long it takes.