Screenshot of The Google 15
The Google 15 encourages you to get on the scale every day by calculating a moving average from your daily weight. We then plot this average alongside your daily scale weight and a goal weight that you set--this gives you a better idea of your weight trend by masking most of the day to day noise that variances in water weight introduce.
If you've ever tried to lose weight, you've undoubtedly experienced the excitement of getting on the scale to see that you "lost" two pounds since yesterday. Unfortunately, that tends to be followed by the depression that you "gained" three pounds the next day. It's impossible to "lose weight" every day according to your scale weight, so as a result, most people cultivate an irrational (but very real) fear of their scale and only climb on to get feedback on their weight loss efforts every week or two.
Your exact scale weight isn't really important as long as it's "ahead" of the trend you're aiming for. If you're trying to lose weight, you want your day-to-day scale weight to be below your moving average--concentrate on your moving average weight, not your scale weight! In the example on the right, note that on 4/10 it looks like the user "gained" three pounds according to the scale weight, but the moving average merely leveled out. But this is no reason to panic--the next day's weight continued the downward trend.
Of course, the big secret that you never hear is that the hardest part about losing weight is keeping the weight off once you've lost it. The Google 15 generally considers you to be on goal as long as your moving average weight stays within 2.5 pounds of your goal weight. So don't stop using it once you've made your goal weight--enter your weight every day and it will give you an early warning if you start to pack on the pounds!
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why doesn't The Google 15 allow me to use kilograms?
- How do I install The Google 15?
- How do I use The Google 15?
- Why is this named "The Google 15"?
- Will this help me to lose 15 pounds for my dance/date/wedding next month?
- How much weight should I be able to lose in a day?
- Hang on a second, are you giving me medical advice?
- Where are you storing my information?
- I entered my weight and my graph is, um, unenlightening. What gives?
- Where did you come up with the idea for The Google 15?
- I have another question or comment. Where can I send feedback?
Because Fitz is a chowderhead and wasn't thinking about the vast majority of the world that uses kilograms. Look for kilo support in late November of 2006.
Just click the "Add to Google" button below and The Google 15 will be added to your Google homepage.
You should weigh yourself every day and log your weight in The Google 15. We recommend weighing yourself at roughly the same time everyday, wearing approximately the same clothing. It's usually easiest to do this in the morning.
A play on the dreaded "Freshman 15" that many college students gain, this homepage module is named in honor of the fifteen pounds that new Google employees supposedly gain in their first year at Google from gorging on the omnipresent free food.
Of course, legend and fact don't always agree, and The Google 15 is really a false urban legend, but it makes an intriguing name for a homepage module.
Probably not. Not only is it unhealthy to lose that much weight in such a short amount of time, but it's weight that you would almost certainly put back on after the event. Google is all about focusing on long-term wins, and such a short-term "win" comes at the cost of sacrificing your long term health.
If you want to lose weight and keep it off, it's not going to happen through gimmicks and shortcuts--it takes a lifestyle change. This usually entails changing some combination of your eating habits and exercise habits.
It really depends on how much you weigh. Experts advise that when losing weight through proper diet and exercise, you shouldn't expect to lose more than a quarter of a pound a day from your moving average. That probably doesn't sound like much, but if you keep that up, that's about 1 to 2 pounds a week--50 to 100 pounds a year! Not only is losing weight any faster than that dangerous, but the more slowly you lose your weight, the more likely you are to keep it off.
Also, it's usually a lot easier for men to lose weight than women--men typically lose weight at a faster rate than women do, so keep that in mind if you and your spouse are both using The Google 15.
Lastly, if you start any kind of weight loss, you'll typically lose somewhat quickly at the beginning, and, as your body adjusts to your new lifestyle (whether it's a change in diet, exercise, or both), you'll begin to see your weight loss plateau. But don't despair, this is normal--in fact, in the course of losing weight, you may see a series of losses and plateaus in your moving average. Just keep your eyes on your goal!
Goodness no! That's what doctors are for--specifically your doctor. Please consult your doctor for any specific questions and before starting any weight loss program. No, really we're not kidding.
You won't start to see your weight trend until you've been logging your weight every day for a week. Be patient, and make sure to log your weight every day!
The idea of tracking the moving average of your weight was inspired by The Hacker's Diet, a free book by John Walker that helped several co-workers of mine lose (and keep off!) weight and get healthy. The module itself was written by Fitz as a 20% project. The Flash graph came from the Google Analytics team (with some modifications), and the moving average code was written by Ben. Special thanks to Google's staff doctor, Dr. Razavi, for her sage advice on writing this FAQ.
Send comments and questions to Fitz.