Quantifying Myself

I have taken the plunge into the world of the quantified self


So I have finally succumbed. I am now quantifying myself.

This is my current setup

My Quantified Self (1)

I decided to start with measuring my fitness, weight and blood pressure as I wanted to lose weight and my blood pressure is bit too high.

I bought a Fitbit One wireless activity tracker, an Omron MIT Elite Plus upper arm blood pressure monitor with download facility and I already had an unconnected set of Salter bathroom scales

The Fitbit tracker communicates wirelessly with a USB dongle on my PC and the Omron connects via a USB cable.  At the moment I have to manually enter my weight readings into Fitbit.com

I wanted all the data to end up in Microsoft’s HealthVault  along with my main health records. The Omron does this quite successfully via the HealthVault Connect software running on my PC. But the Fitbit tracker doesn’t yet talk to HealthVault. It does in the US but not yet in the UK (it is coming we are told). At the moment I have to manual enter my weight readings into Fitbit.com

To help with losing weight I needed to measure the calories I was consuming against the calories I was burning.  I chose MyFitnessPal to keep a record of the food I was consuming (and hence calories I was consuming) as it had a really excellent database of UK foods and would interoperate with Fitbit.com. Thus I could see the calories burned compared with the calories consumed in both Fitbit and MyFitnessPal. Fitbit does have this facility to record foods consumed but it is based on a US database of foods.

Could I have chosen better connected devices?

Well yes!  For a start I could have bought a Fitbit Aria bathroom scales and auto fed my weight to Fitbit.com over wifi.

An example of a more comprehensive connected set up would be the NFC enabled devices from A&D.  With an NFC enabled mobile phone you can just touch your device with your phone and transfer all the data to Microsoft HealthVault. A&D have NFC enabled Activity Monitor, Bathroom Scales and Blood pressure Monitor.

Microsoft have a good HealthVault Blog item ‘Making Self Monitoring Easier’ about this interconnected system.

Closing thought

Could I have done all this – lose weight, lower my blood pressure and get fitter without any of these devices? But of course – but it wouldn’t have been anywhere near as much fun. There is nothing more motivating than seeing all those readouts.