To hit his New Year’s weight loss resolution, this ex-Apple employee and journalist became a tech CEO. On January 1, 1995 I went to the store and bought a kitchen scale and one of those 800-page nutrition bibles. And it was in 2006 in Caffe Macs, eating all this good food, working for my dream company, that I had never felt worse about myself. Biting into an amazing piece of Cupertino-made spinach artichoke pizza I remember thinking, "If only I knew the calorie content of this I could manage my intake.
The only problem with my revelation for a smart food nutrition scale was though the next five years would see the advent of the iPhone, followed by the iPad, and then the explosion of personal health tech like wireless body scales and fitness trackers (none of which worked for me), no one was making my smart food nutrition scale. So in mid-2012 when I tipped the scales at 280 pounds again at the age of 35 I knew that if anyone was ever going to make the tech I needed to lose weight it was going to have to be me. In all honesty all I had to begin with was an idea, some sketches of the app, and a burning desire to lose weight. And now that Jose and I have created SITU a number of people have confided in me that they have their own thoughts of bringing an invention to market.
I only created SITU because it’s what I needed to achieve my own personal health goals. After the prototype helped me accomplish my weight loss, Jose and I decided to go to Kickstarter, raising over $60,000 in a month. Any time your promote change, no matter if its losing 100 pounds or starting your own company and brining your invention to market, know that there will be unintended revelations along the way, most of them unpleasant.
When I (that is, Fat Michael—see #3 above) first described SITU to people hardly anyone besides Jose got it.
My point is, everyone becomes an expert on why something can’t be done when you tell them your idea. So the next time someone tells you you can’t achieve your personal or professional goals?
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And as a journalist who until then mainly covered technology, I was a big believer in the ability of health tech to empower personal change.
This goal, of course, seemed insurmountable, especially since I had tried every kind of diet before, most recently sticking to pre-packaged meals with clearly labeled calorie content.
For the next eight months I cooked and ate every meal at home and weighed and recorded every single ingredient of every meal.
I had come so far professionally, even personally, but health-wise my life was in a downward spiral. I knew in order to bring SITU from an idea in my mind to a physical product on my countertop I was going to need a lot of help. Sometimes it was exciting, sometimes it was a hell of a lot of fun, but it was also very stressful and at some points, when we got too far ahead of ourselves, it was overwhelming. Once we started getting a lot of press, it was astonishing how many emails, messages, and phone calls we received from not only other people who wanted to lose weight like me, but from diabetics and athletes, from health organization leaders and obesity researchers. While it was obvious to me that my physical attraction would increase to others, what I didn't expect was the change in how professional contacts treated me. Most couldn’t grasp the concept of why SITU was a better solution than manually entering the things you ate in random food logging apps. In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page.
The problem, I found, is no one diet app or fitness tracker works for everyone—none did for me. But what may surprise you, especially if you’ve never been fat, is that extra weight sucks for different reasons depending on your age.
I then took that ingredient’s weight and manually calculated its nutrition content according to what was listed in the nutrition bible.
My new six-pack-self had four years of attention from more girls than my fat-teenage-self could have every imagined. I had gained a majority of my weight back and my body suffered: my joints hurt, I had stomach pains, headaches. I enjoy writing about entrepreneurship and technology leaders, but starting my own tech company? But the entire process has changed my life and enabled me to get healthy again and I wouldn’t change it for the world.


And SITU is extremely simple: launch the iPad app, put food on the scale, see its nutrition content.
Everyone who contacted us made us see our product in a new light and had suggestions on how to tailor it to fit their specific needs.
Without calling anyone out, I’ll just say I was shocked to learn of how much people judge your abilities based on your body size.
I knew the product I needed that would help me lose weight and get healthy, but no one made it. I remember crying, not because of the shockingly high number, but because when you are a teenager the reason being fat sucks is that you aren’t attractive to the opposite sex. But the problem with the pre-packaged meals was that the lack of variety often got boring, so I couldn’t stick with the diet. Okay, they don’t shove the food down your throat, but the moment you step into Caffe Macs, their on-campus employee cafeteria, you want to EAT.
Using the prototype SITU hardware and beta software I was able to lose 80 pounds—and it feels as wonderful as you would think. Getting to the first working SITU prototype cost over $50,000 and at the end of the day, if it had caught on with no one and all I had to show for my work in creating SITU was one $50,000 kitchen scale I would have been content because it allowed me to lose weight again. Suddenly the exact same ideas Thin Michael had were better and more valid than when Fat Michael had them. Someone from the press asked the director if he thought his film, which departed radically from most Hollywood narratives and techniques, could be a viable commercial success given some people just didn't understand it.
I was going off to college in just nine months and so wanted my first girlfriend by the time I got there. But when I tried to cook my own meals using fresh, natural ingredients I was quick to find out that the human eye naturally misjudges the true calorie content of foods, so I ended up overeating.
Besides being a creative person who greatly helped me refine my ideas, Jose is great at ops, so having a person like him really strengthened areas I was lacking in. Before the director could answer the film’s lead stood up from his table at the opposite end of the room.



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Comments

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