Tag Archives: diet

What We Are Reading

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A short list this week. Enjoy!

Articles

How Networks Bring Down Experts by Max Borders. Max gets double points for this great piece on using networks and peer-to-peer learning for developing personal expertise. Loved the reference to the writing of Michael Polanyi.

Mark Cuban on Blood Testing- Drawing the Wrong Conclusion or a Step in the Right Direction? by Bruce Williams. A nice piece by Dr. Williams about the recent controversy over patient generated blood testing brought on by Mark Cuban.

Show&Tell
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Defining a New Indicator of Cardiovascular Endurance and Fitness by Marco Altini. Marco has been exploring fitness and heart rate variability detection using iOS applications. Recently he’s been using activity and HRV to examine a new method for determining fitness level. As per usual, Marco wrote an amazing and in-depth report using his own data to showcase what he’s learning from his new application.

Visualizations
QSDietActivity
Quantified Self: A Data Visualization by Joyce Chow, Kinan A, and Adam S. Three students explored data visualization and self-tracking through logging diet and activity.

Access Links

Americans’ Views on Open Government Data
Thank you for sharing

From the Forum

I wrote an open-source app to track everything. It draws nice charts
Continuing posts on visualizing my weight workout data

 

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QS Radio Episode #1

QSradio_iTunes

In our first episode of QS Radio we hit the ground running with a great pair of interviews and some super interesting news and discussion about exciting self-tracking projects.

In our show&tell segment, we hear from Shannon Conners, a self-tracking enthusiast who’s been learning amazing things from tracking her diet, exercise, and weight for over four years. Jessica Richman, CEO and co-founder of uBiome, joins us for a short Toolmaker Talk where we learn about the importance of the microbiome and citizen science. To wrap up, Ernesto and Steven share a few interesting tech and self-tracking stories in a segment we call “What We’re Reading.”

We hope you enjoy this inaugural episode. Make sure to check the show notes below for links to items we discussed.


Show&Tell
You can find out more about Shannon Conners and her self-tracking experience on the JMP blog. We spoke in particular about her excellent diet tree map visualization:
ShannonConnors_4yearsfood

Toolmaker Talk
You can find out more about Jessica Richman and uBiome on their website.

What We’re Reading

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What We Are Reading

We hope you enjoy this week’s What We’re Reading list!

Articles
The Wow of Wearables by Joseph Kvedar. An excellent post here in the wake of the “Smartphones vs. Wearables” hype in the past weeks. Favorite part:

“I’d have to say that reports of the death of wearables have been greatly exaggerated. The power of sensor-generated data in personal health and chronic illness management is simply too powerful to ignore.”

Survival of the Fittest: Health Care Accelerators Evolve Toward Specialization by Lisa Suennen. If you’re at all interested in the recent surge in health and healthcare focused accelerators this is for you. Excellent reporting. (Thanks for sharing Maarten!)

Your Brain Is Primed To Reach False Conclusions by Christie Aschwanden. Fascinating piece here about the nature of the “illusion of causality.”

A Few Throughs About Patient Health Data by Emil Chiauzzi. Emil, Research Director at PatientsLikeMe, lays out four point to consider when thinking about how to best use and grow self-collected patient data.

Having Parkinson’s since I was 13 has made me an expert in self-care by Sara Riggare.

I am the only person with the whole picture. To me, self-care is everything I do to stay as healthy as possible with a disease that is a difficult life companion. It entails everything from making sure I take my medication in the optimal way, to eating healthily, getting enough sleep, to making sure I stay physically active. I also make an effort to learn as much as I can about my condition; my neurologist says that I know more about Parkinson’s research than he does. I don’t find that odd, since he needs to try to stay on top of research in probably hundreds of neurological diseases, whereas I focus on just one.

From Bathroom to Healthroom: How Magical Technology will Revolutionize Human Health by Juhan Sonin. A beautifully written and illustrated essay on the design of our  personal healthcare future.

Show&Tell
Experimenting with sprints at the end of exercise routines by Gustavo M. Gustavo is a person with type 1 diabetes. After reading that post-exercise high intensity exertion might have an effect on blood glucose he put it to the test.

On Using RescueTime to Monitor Activity and Increase Productivity by Tamara Hala. Tamara walks us through the last three years of her RescueTime data and how she used that information to understand her work and productivity.

How Do You Find Time to Write? by Jamie Todd Rubin. Jamie has been writing for 576 consecutive days. How does he do it? A mixture of data and insight of course!

Visualizations
ILoveYouMaps Say “I Love You” With Mapping by Daniel Rosner. Wonderful to see CHI papers ending up on Medium. This seems like a fun self-tracking/art project.

ShannonConnors_4yearsfood Cleaning up and visualizing my food log data with JMP 12 by Shannon Conners. Once again, Shannon displays a wonderful ability to wow us with her data analysis and visualization. Above is four years of food tracking data!


Two Trains: Sonification of Income Inequality on the NYC Subway by Brian Foo. Brian created this data-driven musical composition based on income data from neighborhoods the border the 2 train. Beautiful work.

Access Links
Walgreens adds PatientsLikeMe data on medication side effects
How Open Data Can Reveal—And Correct—The Faults In Our Health System
Big Data is our Generation’s Civil Rights Issue, and We Don’t Know It.

From the Forum
Creating Scales for Quantifying Action
Sharing Anonymized Data

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QS Access: Self-Report & Quantified Self in Health Research

As part of our new Access channel we’re going to highlight interesting stories, ideas, and research related to self-tracking data and data access issues and the role they take in personal and public health. We recently found this expert report, published in the International Journal of Obesity, that tackles issues with the data researchers rely on for understanding diet and physical activity behaviors, and ultimately concludes that the data is fundamentally flawed.

Researchers has known for a long time that relying on individuals to understand, recall, and accurately report what they eat and how much they exercise isn’t the best way to understand the realities of everyday life. Unfortunately for many years, this was the only way to track this information – interviews, surveys, and research measures. Only recently have tools, devices, and methods matured to a point where objective information can be captured and analyzed.

The authors of this article make the case that obesity and weight management fundamentally relies on getting these numbers right, and unfortunately most research hasn’t. Reading the background on self-report data and the call to action the authors make for developing and using more objective measures we can’t help but wonder about the role of commercial personal self-tracking tools. How can we, as a community of users, toolmakers, and researchers work together to open up access pathways so that the millions of people tacking pictures of their meals and uploading their step data can have a positive impact on personal and public health? This is an open question, one that we’re excited to be working on.

If you’re interested in these type of questions, or working on projects related to data access we invite you to get in touch and keep following along here with us.

 

 

 

 

 

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How To Access & Export MyFitnessPal Data

MFP

MyFitnessPal is one of the leading dietary tracking tools, currently used by tens of millions of people all around the world to better track and understand the foods they consume every day. Their mobile apps and online tools allow individuals to enter foods and keep track of their micro- and macro-nutrient consumption, connect additional devices such as fitness trackers, and connect with their community – all in the name of weight management. However, there is no natively available method for easily accessing your dietary data for personal analysis, visualization, or storage.

With a bit of digging in the MyFitnessPal help section we can see that they have no official support for data export. However, they mention the ability to print reports and save PDF files that contain your historical data. While better than some services, a PDF document is far from easy to use when you’re trying to make your own charts or take a deeper look into your data.

We spent some time combing the web for examples of MyFitnessPal data export solutions over the last few days. We hope that some of these are useful to you in your ongoing self-tracking experiences.

Browser Extensions/Bookmarks

MyFitnessPal Data Downloader: This extension allows you to directly download a CSV report from your Food Report page. (Chrome only)

MyFitnessPal Data Export: This extension is tied to another website, FoodFastFit.com. If you install the extension, it will redirect you back to that site where your data is displayed and you can download the CSV file. (Chrome only)

ExportMFP: A simple bookmark that will open a text area with comma-separated values for weight and calories, which you can copy/paste into your data editor of choice.

MyFitnessPal Reports: A bookmarklet that allows you to generates more detailed graphs and reports.

 Web Apps/Tools

MyFitnessPal Analyser: Accesses your diet and weight data. It requires you to input your password so be careful.

Export MyFitnessPal Data to CSV: Simple web tool for exporting your data.

FreeMyDiary: A recently developed tool for exporting your food diary data.

Technical Solutions

MyFitnessPal Data Access via Python: If you’re comfortable working with the Python language, this might be for you. Developed by Adam Coddington, it allows access to your MyFitnessPal data programmatically

MFP Extractor and Trend Watcher: An Excel Macro, developed by a MyFitnessPal user, that exports your dietary and weight data into Excel. This will only work for Windows users.

Access MyFitnessPal Data in R: If you’re familiar with R, then this might work for you.

QS Access + Apple HealthKit

If you’re an iPhone user, you can connect MyFitnessPal to Apple’s HealthKit app to view your MyFitnessPal data alongside other data you’re collecting. You can also easily export the data from your Health app using our QS Access app. Data is available in hourly and daily breakdowns, and you should be able to export any data type MyFitnessPal is collecting to HealthKit.

As always, we’re interested to hear your stories and learn about your experiences with exploring your data. Feel free to leave comments here or get in touch via twitter or email.

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Julie Price: 30lbs of Family Visits, Races, and Games

Julie Price has been tracking her weight consistently for the last four years. Like many of us, she found that her weight goes up and down depending on various life events. In this talk, presented at the Bay Area QS meetup group, Julie discussed what she’s learned about her weight and what correlates with weight gain and weight loss. Specifically, she focuses on the role of family gatherings, exercise and running races, and how different food and dieting methods either helped of hindered her progress.

We’re excited to have Julie joining us at our 2015 QS Global Conference and Exposition on June 18-20th. Early bird tickets are now available, and we hope you can join us for a great three days of learning, sharing, and experiencing the latest in QS techniques and tools. Register now.

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Nan Shellabarger: 26 Years of Weight Tracking

“When I look at this, this is the story of my life in these years.”

NanS_26yrsweight

Nan Shellabarger has been tracking her weight for 26 years, including almost daily tracking since 1998. In the talk embedded below, presented at the Washington DC QS meetup group, Nan describes her experience with diving deep into how she’s making sense of her weight data. By looking over her complete history and layering in her personal contextual data she was able to find how different life events played a role in weight loss and gain. For example, she found that physical challenges and events were “tremendous motivation to get out there and doing things as well as helping me focusing on my eating.” Nan has also used a variety of activity trackers since 2010, starting with the Body Media Fit and now the Garmin Vivofit and Jawbone UP. These devices helped her explore calorie expenditure as it relates to her weight loss. On the other side of the equation, she also explored how diet tracking influenced her weight. Watch her great talk below to hear the whole story.

We hope to see an update of this great talk when Nan joins us at our QS15 Global Conference and Exposition next June in San Francisco. Early bird tickets are available for a limited time. Register now!

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Bryan Ausinheiler: Diet and Digestion

BryanA_stool2

Bryan Ausinheiler was experiencing gastrointestinal issues for years and decided it was time to figure out what was causing it. By precisely controlling his diet – eating exactly the same quantities at exactly the same time – for a month and then measuring the quality of his stool in a self-designed spreadsheet he was able to create a baseline dataset to better understand his issues. Bryan then developed an experimental protocol that included “elimination and diet variations to figure out the cause of my frequent (3-5x/day) loose stools.” It turns out that “eating too many sunflower seeds was the main culprit.” Watch Bryan’s fascinating talk, presented at the Bay Area QS meetup group, to learn more about his process, and how he tackled self-experimentation and data collection.

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Sue Lueder: Solving a Food Allergy Mystery

SueLueder_Allergy

 

Sue Lueder had a mystery stomach ailment that started after a vacation to Spain in 2011. When she returned from her trip she was beset by consistent and frequent burping attacks. After visiting her physician and receiving a diagnosis for heart burn, which she didn’t trust. she began to track her attacks and her diet. In this talk, presented at our 2013 Global Conference, Sue how she tracked he symptoms and used the data to make sense of this mystery food allergy.

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What Did She Do?
Sue tracked her diet and the frequency and severity of her attacks.

How Did She Do It?
Sue was able to explore the data she was entering in to her self-designed spreadsheet tracking system. She used a few of the analytical tools and visualizations built into Excel to explore her data.

What Did She Learn?
Her analysis was able to pinpoint that dairy was probably the main culprit responsible for her attacks. Sue found out that she was able to improve her “good” days from 32% to 51% of the days she was tracking when she reduce dairy in her diet. When she experimented with adding dairy her findings were confirmed.

Tools
Excel

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What We Are Reading

We’ve put together an nice list of articles for you to enjoy this weekend. As always, please get in touch if you have something you’d like us to share!

Articles
Finding Patterns in Personal Data by Kitty Ireland. Another great post from Kitty about using personal data to uncover interesting, and sometimes surprising, patterns. Some great examples in this post!

The Tale of a Fitness-Tracking Addict’s Struggles With Strava by Jeff Foss. Just because you can track, and you can get something out of it, might not mean you should. (I had a similar experience on a recent trip to Yosemite so this article was quite timely.)

Algorithmic skin: health-tracking technologies, personal analytics and the biopedagogies of digitized health and physical education by Ben Williamson. Quantified Self and self-tracking tools are not limited to only being used by conscious and willing adults. They’re also being developed for and used by a growing number of children and adolescents. What does this mean of health and fitness education, and how should we think about algorithms in the classroom and gym?

Seeing Ourselves Through Technology: How We Use Selfies, Blogs and Wearable Devices to See and Shape Ourselves by Jill Walker Rettberg. I just started this book and it appears offer some interesting perspectives on the current cultural shift toward technically mediated representation. The book includes a chapter on Quantified Self and is available for download in PDF and EPUB under a CC BY license.

Show&Tell
Why Log Your Food by Amit Jakhu. Amit started tracking his food in March (2014) and has since learned a few things about his preconceived notions about his diet, food, and what it takes to keep track of it all.

Even When I’m active, I’m sedentary by Gary Wolf. Gary and I used our recently released QS Access app to download his historical step data. Using some simple charting in Excel we found some interesting patterns related to his daily movement.

Visualizations
SleepJewel
When Do I Sleep Best by Jewel Loree. Jewel presented her sleep tracking project at a recent Seattle QS Meetup. The image above is just a small piece of a great set of visualizations of her data gathered with SleepCycle and Reporter apps.

20min
Lightbeam Visualization by Simone Roth. Interesting tool described here to track how your data and web activity is being tracked. You can check out the Firefox extension here.

Minard It’s About Time by Hunter Whitney. A nice post here about the different methods of visualizing temporal data.

Respiration Machine 0.3 (bellows) by Willem Besselink. A neat physical visualization and art project that represents breath using a Hoberman sphere.

From the Forum

There has been a lot of great discussion on the forum lately. Check out some of the newest and most interesting topics below.

QS Access App
Hypoxic – An App for Breathing Exercises with HRV Tracking
Sleep Tracking & Hacking Google Hangout
Personal Analytics Service for Software Developers
Using Facial Images to Determine BMI
The Right Tool? (tracking and plotting sleep)

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