Google Docs

The author in early 2010 and mid 2011

I’ve been thinking about how to write this story for a long time. Should it be a book? A blog? A self-help guide? Ever since I realized I’d lost 60 pounds over the course of a year and a half, I knew I wanted to find a way to talk about it, and maybe help others. This is my first public attempt.

A note about the rounding of my roundness: My peak weight, shortly after I began weighing myself in 2010, was 242 lbs. My lowest weight since I started weighing myself has been 183.2 lbs — right in line with where I should be, at 6’3″ tall. I’m sure that I weighed more than 242 lbs. at peak, but frankly, I don’t care that I don’t have the data to account for those last 1.2 lbs.

Adam Davidson’s New York Times Magazine story, “How Economics Can Help You Lose Weight,” helped organize my thinking about how to finally write this. In his story, Adam explains that the rigid protocol his doctor puts him through acts as a kind of economic incentive for him to stay on the diet. I’m highly skeptical that the special liquid meals he can only buy directly through his dietician will help him keep off the weight. I tried all sorts of diets in the many years that I was overweight and though I never tried the Adam’s solution, it doesn’t sound like a recipe for long term success. At least twice, I lost weight and then gained it all, and more, back. (Meta note: I feel terrible writing that. Adam, I wish you the best. Maybe something you read here will help you keep off the weight you have already lost, and congratulations on that difficult achievement.)

Now that I’ve managed to make weight loss sound simple, and sound smug about my success (I’ve stayed within the 183-192-pound range for more than two years now), what’s my big secret? It’s data. Just like I said in the headline, I keep a Google Doc spreadsheet in which I’ve religiously logged my weight every morning for the last three-plus years, starting on January 1, 2010, when I knew I had to do something about my borderline obesity.

Continue reading “The Data Diet: How I Lost 60 Pounds Using A Google Docs Spreadsheet”

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I was furious. I went to the office on Sunday to see what work the electrician had done (and to discuss decor issues with my wife), and my office was deserted. The inspection was supposed to happen on Monday, allowing me to get furniture in the office and see patients on Tuesday.  A text message back from my contractor said that the electrician would be in on Monday and the inspection would happen on Tuesday.  Apparently he didn’t realize I was so ambitious (read: crazy) to see patients so soon after construction was completed.  Apparently my panic wasn’t obvious to him.

On Sunday I broke with my usually placid demeanor (read: codependent) and expressed my emotions on the issue quite clearly.  Many panicked calls from supervisors and electricians later (read: effusive apologies and promises to fix things), and the reality had not changed: inspectors would not be coming until Tuesday, and so my opening, already a month after I planned, would wait one more day.  What a terrible way to start my new practice: canceling appointments on my first day.

Then I realized something: I don’t need an office to do my job.  One of the things I am trying to overturn is the practice of requiring all care to be conducted in the exam room.  Why can’t people talk to their doctor on the phone?  Why can’t they email questions?  Why not videoconferencing for visits?  Why not texting me a picture of the rash (depending on the location, of course)?  Why hold my expertise hostage to the ransom of an office visit?  So then what’s the big deal of not having an office?

Continue reading “Day One: Not So Grand Opening”

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