Thursday, 9 March 2017

My life: tracking out of control

There are (tens of) thousands of mobile apps available to track your life, and recently, I've become slightly addicted... I use at least three of these EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I'm not sure how healthy it is to track everything this closely (which is ironic that I'm tracking my health, unhealthily...). Is it overkill? Let me know what you think.

Here are a few of my faves:

Strava - tracks running and cycling; user generated social feed; share to social.

At New Year's a friend planted an idea in my mind and I'm still trying to work out if it's achievable - to cycle 2017km in 2017. To save you the maths, that's 168km a month. Last summer, also using a Strava challenge, I cycled 250km in August (mostly between 6 & 7am around Fairlop Waters). So if I can manage 250k/month for the warmest/lightest summer months, that's only 127k a month for the remaining eight. I'm currently on 181km for the year, but I'm still optimistic that it's doable.

My Fitness Pal - calorie counter and nutrition; weight tracker; blog-style newsfeed (that I've never read)

I've been tracking my calories daily since 17th January - that's 53 days so far. I've been trying to stick to 1200 calories a day although some weeks have been better than others, and I've lost about 6lbs in total. My clothes feel a tiny bit looser and annoyingly, although my saggy tummy is still saggy, my hips might be a teeny tiny bit narrower. The main thing that I love about this app is that you can eat whatever you want (a bit like 'old' WeightWatchers). So if you only want your calories to come from wine and pizza, that's fine, but if you want to eat healthily, that's a good long term plan too. The app uses a bar code tool to find foods, and has literally every type of food saved, as well as most restaurant's menus and food types. I'm not being too fascist about this, so if I can only find a close equivalent, or I have to guess at how much my food weighs, it's not exactly the end of the world. The temptation, though, is to not include everything that I've eaten (I mean, no one saw me have a second slice of 7yo's birthday cake last night...), but if it's going to actually work, it's a good habit to get into.

Misfit Shine - wearable fitness tracker, tracks sports and sleep, links to app.

My lovely sister bought me this Swarovski Shine fitness tracker for my 40th birthday. IMO, it's by far the nicest looking wearable tracker, and although it's not quite as practical as some of the others, it has a few extra advantages once you get used to it. Firstly, it's waterproof so you can switch it onto a rubber strap, and it tracks swimming. Secondly, the crystal tracker pops out and tucks into your sock for cycling (which most wrist trackers struggle with, as you don't move your arms when cycling...). It also has pretty lights on it which show you how far you've gone, and tell the time. Pros: this tracker doesn't need recharging - it takes a swatch-like battery which is still on 3/4 after about two months. Cons: it could really do with a vibrating function seeing as it's linked to my phone anyway! This also tracks sleep, although I've never really found this useful...

*The six minutes awake were when the hamster woke up the furby who woke up the daughter who woke up the mother. FML

Clue - menstrual cycle tracker - can also be used to track fertility

I recently read that the Apple health tracker was designed to track every aspect of your life - except your menstrual cycle - which given that most women between about 14 and 50 menstruate regularly is proof if any was needed that it's still a man's world! This little app is absolutely brilliant for warning me when I'm due on, and I guess would also be great if I was thinking about fertility (I'm not)!!

Are there any other apps you would recommend? Let me know...

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