Tag Archives: weight
The emergence of self-tracking tools that came with the advent of the smartphone was a boon for people like Shannon Conners, who have long been recording their personal data with pen and paper. Her workout and food journals date back to her high school years.
Not content to let her data be incomplete, she has used novel sources for filling out her data sets, like going through her baby books for weight check-ins. Having a picture of her data that is comprehensive gives her a unique view. By adding annotations of major life events, she can see the vicissitudes of life reflected in her data.
Looking at her data side by side in JMP, her tool of choice, she sees how one affects the other. She determined that her cholesterol levels moved in the same direction as her weight, demonstrating to her that managing weight can be a good “surrogate variable” for keeping other biomarkers in check.
Her story may inspire you to increase your self-tracking diligence (it has for me). It has already inspired people around her. Her mother and sisters, after seeing her results with managing her weight, asked for Shannon’s coaching on how they can use self-tracking to help themselves. This is the value of sharing one’s methods: it can inspire others to change their ways of living and being.
The charts in this talk are fantastic, but they go by so quickly that I wanted to share them here so you can take them in. It should be no surprise that Shannon was featured in our QS Visualization Gallery and interviewed for the QS Radio podcast. You can keep up with Shannon on her blog, where she writes about her methods and what she’s learning.
“The heartbeat is a treasure chest of information…”
Mark Leavitt has a unique perspective in that he is both an engineer and a physician. In his retirement, he is applying his wealth of knowledge to keeping himself healthy.
In this talk, Mark looks at how heart rate variability relates to his willpower. Does he lift more weight when his HRV is high? What happens to his eating habits when his HRV is low? And if the term “heart rate variability” is new to you, Mark gives a lucid explanation.
Also, you will get a glimpse of his amazing customized workstation with pedals to keep him active, a split keyboard on the armrests to keep his knees free and built-in copper strips for measuring HRV. Cue envy.
Historically, the most prevalent self-tracking tool in the home was the scale and the relationship between people and weight is complicated. Akhsar found healthy weight loss to be an emotionally difficult process. His breakthrough came with the Withings smart scale with which he lost 65 pounds in the first year and has kept it off for the last three. In this talk he discusses how the data helped him gain the self control to overcome temptations.
Weight has been a popular topic for Show&Tell talks:
Julie Price on the effect of running and family events.
Nan Shellabarger on seeing her life story in 26 years of weight data.
Kouris Kalligas on the relationship between his weight and sleep.
Jan Szelagiewicz on being motivated by family history.
Lisa Betts-LaCroix on using spreadsheets, forms and wireless scales changes the tracking experience.
Rob Portil on how he and his partner experience weight tracking differently.
Amelia Greenhall on using a 10-day moving average.
On with the links!
Get your electronic health record: It’s your right by Lisa Zamosky. Make sure to know your rights when you ask for your medical records. A good overview of the regulations and some good links to have in your arsenal.
Open Data Rockstar: Jennifer Pahlka by Maria Renninger. We’re big fans of what Code for America is doing to make open data useful for people in communities around the United States. Great to hear a bit from Executive Director.
Awash in Data, Thirsting for Truth by Margaret Sullivan. The public editor for the New York Times goes deep on how data can be used, and sometimes abused, in the new era of data-driven journalism.
Meet the Hackers Who Are Decrypting Your Brainwaves by Sean Captain. I’m fascinated by the growing presence of brain tracking devices out there. Great to see some grassroots groups looking to make sense of all that data.
When Discrimination Is Baked Into Algorithms by Lauren Kirchner. The code that governs our machines are written by people. Fallible people who have their own opinions and biases. Who make mistakes. But what kind of legal protections are needed when discrimination is the result of the computers that run that code?
Why your bathroom scales are lying to you and how to find your true weight by Martin Robbins. Brilliant and fascinating post by Martin Robbins, who weighed himself every hour over a three-day period.
Soylent: What Happened When I Went 30 Days Without Food by Josh Helton. Say what you will about the techno-utopian food replacement product, but this is a great write-up on a month-long experiment to live off the stuff even while running nearly 70 miles per week. (Don’t forget to check out the data!)
A Heatmap of Over 900 Days of Writing Data from My Google Docs Writing Tracker by Jamie Todd Rubin. Jamie shows us the data from the last two and a half years of tracking his writing.
This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
Announcing the 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference Program
Track HRV, Make a Dashboard, and Have Fun with Fitbit at QSEU15
On June 18-20 we’ll be hosting the QS15 Conference & Expo in San Francisco at the beautiful facilities at the Fort Mason Center. This will be a very special year with three days of inspiring talks, demos, and discussion with your fellow self-trackers and toolmakers. As we start to fill out our program we’ll be highlighting speakers, discussion leaders, sponsors, and attendees here.
Julie Price is a long time member of our Bay Area QS meetup group and will be attending the QS15 Conference & Activate Expo to share her self-tracking story. Julie has been using and experimenting with a wide range of self-tracking tools and behavioral techniques to understand herself. Previously she’s shared her experiences using commercial tools and self-designed methods to understand and improve her marathon training.
Over the past 4 years, Julie has tracked her weight as it moved within a 30 pound range, varying wildly within each year. In December, Julie shared the factors that influenced her weight the most: family visits, distance road races, and a variety of weight loss tactics. As part of our show&tell program, Julie will share an update that includes her newest insights into her weight fluctuations as well as what interventions have made the greatest impact on her weight.
We’re excited to have Julie joining us and asked her a few questions about herself and what she’s looking forward to at the conference.
QS: What is your favorite self-tracking tool (device, service, app, etc)?
Julie: Hands-down, I love the Whistle to measure my dog’s activity. I use Basis Peak and my husband uses Jawbone Up. Both seem well-designed for certain scenarios and not for others. Between all the wearables we’ve tried, the Whistle has been the most successful in influencing our behavior.
QS: What are you most looking forward to at the conference?
Julie: I’m looking forward to meeting interesting people, learning from their stories, and learning from their creative experiments and observations. But, I’m most looking forward to exploring new ideas that impact the behavior of people who don’t necessarily enjoy data.
QS: What should people come talk to you about at the conference?
Julie: I’m an expert in UX, interaction design, usability, health behavior change, and fitness. I’d love to talk about creative tactics for eliciting behavior change and a process for ensuring the right product and experience is designed for the right person. I also love to talk about health gaming and the complexities of the space.
QS: What tools, devices, or apps do you want to see at the conference?
Julie: Any product in health and fitness that is truly different or thought through from the perspective of the user. I’d love to see any product built with a process that continually validates their direction with target users.
QS: What topic do you think that Quantified Self community is not talking enough about?
Julie: We should explore more innovative ways to meet people where they are and creatively influence them gradually in a way that is meaningful and lasting. It would be great to talk more about what progressive techniques could be applied in order to create impact over both short and long periods of time.
Julie’s session is just one of the many hands-on, up-to-date, expertly moderated sessions we’re planning for the QS15 Global Conference and Exposition. Register here!
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.
David Joerg is a software developer in New York City and had some interest in personal data. Inspired by attending his first QS meetup in late 2013, he decided to take a deeper dive into the data he was collecting, add some new systems, and see if he could build something to help him better understand himself. What he ended up building was his own data dashboard, a personal operating system, that allowed him to see how he was doing across the various metrics he was interested in including, sleep, exercise, weight, unread emails, and more. In this talk, presented at the New York QS meetup group, David explains his process and what he learned from developing and using this system.
“When I look at this, this is the story of my life in these years.”
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!
We’re back after missing last week (sorry!) with a bit longer list than usual. Enjoy!
Thoughts on Quantified Self for Modifying Long Term Life Goals by Mark Krynsky. Mark, a member of our QS Los Angeles meetup group, is consistently putting together interesting ideas in the QS space. In this short post he explore how QS tools might be used to understand long-term life goals.
Open Data for Open Lands by Alyssa Ravasio. The value of data isn’t confined to what we can understand about ourselves. There is so much beneficial information out there, especially when it comes to public data. In this post, Alyssa makes the case for protecting and promoting open data ideas and concepts regarding out most precious public spaces – the national parks system.
Art at the Edge of Tomorrow: Lillian Schwartz at Bell Labs by Jer Thorpe. A wonderful biographical piece about Lillian Schwartz, a pioneer in the field of computational art and exploration.
Terms of Service by Michael Kelller and Josh Neufeld. A reporter and nonfiction cartoonist team up to use a comic to tell us about the new world of data and privacy we currently inhabit. Interesting format and compelling content!
Narrative Camera by Morris Villarroel. Morris has been wearing a Narrative personal camera for six months. In this short post he explains what he’s learned and experienced over that time.
Where my 90 Hours of Mobile Screen Time in September Went by Bob Stanke. Bob used an app (Trackify) on his Android phone to track how much time he was spending on his phone and what apps he used the most.
Quitting Caffeine by Andrei-Adnan Ismail. Andrei wasn’t happy with his relationship with coffee and caffeine so he he decide to try and quit. Using tracking and really interesting use of “sprints” to gradually reduce his consumption, Andrei was able to quit. Great post here describing his process and the data he gathered along the way (including how his change affected his sleep).
Twitter Pop-up Analytics by Myles Harrison. Myles takes us through the process of downloading, visualizing, and analyzing personal data from Twitter.
Seven Months of Sleep by Eric Boam. A bit of an old one here, but beautiful and informative nonetheless. Make sure to read the accompanying piece by Eric. (I’m also looking forward to seeing more about this dataviz of his Reporter app data soon.)
My latest effort to visualize my calorie intake and weight loss by reddit user bozackDK. Using data collected from MyFitness pal, bozackDK has created this great visualization of his data. I asked what was learned from making this graph and received this wonderful response:
“I make graphs like these to keep myself going. I need some kind of proof that I’m doing alright, in order to keep myself wanting to go on – and a graph showing that I can (somewhat) stay within my set limits, and at the same time showing that it actually works on my weight, is just perfect.”
Shawn Dimantha is always looking for easier ways to track his health. He uses a variety of self-tracking tools, but a few months ago he became interested in exploring what he could do given his engineering and health IT background. He was inspired by immersion, an MIT-developed email analysis tool, which helped him understand who he was communicating with, and by Wolfram Alpha’s Facebook analysis tool. Focusing on Facebook and the wealth of image-based data in his profile he asked himself if images could be a window into his health. After reading a research paper on the use of images to predict body mass index he decided to see what he could learn my implementing a similar procedure on his own images.
What Did Shawn Do?
I used photos from my Facebook account to track my health, the reason I did this because I wanted to see how a simple heuristic I used for tracking my health daily could be implemented in the online world given the huge amount of photos that are and have been shared on a daily basis. I notice when I gain or lose weight, am stressed or relaxed from my seeing my face in my mirror. I was partly inspired by the self-photo collages presented on YouTube.
How Did He Do it?
I selected photos of my face from my Facebook account, cropped out my face and used some software and manual tagging to measure the ratio of different fiducial points on my face (eye-eye length, and cheek to cheek length) over time to help serve as a proxy for my health.
What Did He Learn
Facial image data needs to be cleaned and carefully selected. Face shapes are unique and need to be treated as such. Data that is not present is often more telling than what is present. Life events effect my weight and should be put into context; however causation is harder to determine than correlation. By being more conscious of my score and I can change my behavior before things get off track.
Right now I’m turning this into a product at Enfluence.io where I’m focused on using it to help with preventive health.
Facebook (my own images)
Python / OpenCV
Slides from Shawn’s talk are available here.