» Quantifying yourself: the apps I use to measure myself

Quantifying yourself: the apps I use to measure myself

I have always been intrigued by the Quantified Self space and even more now as my conference LeWeb‘s theme is the Internet of Things, so here is what I’m measuring today:

My weight: withings

I have been using a wifi scale for nearly 3 years since they launched on stage at LeWeb and my weight graph is public it’s pretty interesting to me to see patterns as I get fat during the summer (too much Iberico de para negra ham) and christmas (too much foie gras) and then desperately work on losing it to run the NY marathon in November, and then get fatter again. Maybe one day I will manage to stay low. I need to try the Withings blood pressure device too. Huge fan of withings.

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My DNA: 23andme

Took the test a few years ago and I have to admit I’m not looking at it much, they have added lots of information recently so I will dig in again. Their data is pretty difficult to digest though… I would need someone to go through it with me.

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My detailed health: Inside Tracker 
(use LOICL1012 to get 10% off, not getting a commission, just asked them for my friends :-)

I have just taken the test yesterday, that’s the most difficult part: you need to go to a lab and get a blood test. Most of your health data is in your blood though so I decided to do it every 3-6 months and see, Inside Tracker is run by a bunch of doctors and scientists I have met and I am very impressed by the idea. Based on the findings of your blood sample they give you recommendations on what to eat and lifestyle changes you should make. I can’t wait to get my results, especially curious on anything related to that red wine habit of mine at every dinner, how French. I stopped all alcohol and most meat until the NY marathon though as I need to lose weight. 

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My running: Runkeeper, Garmin Connect and Strava

I have almost always measured my runs and logged nearly 2,000 miles on Runkeeper. Recently though I started using just a Garmin GPS to just run light (no iPhone) so there is a lot of data in Garmin Connect sadly not syncing (yet) with Runkeeper. 

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My biking: Strava

The fashionable site for tracking biking as I just started in Silicon Valley is Strava, founded I hear by former Apple employees and you can tell, the UI is beautiful. What I like about Strava is that it beautifully imports your Garmin data and then gives you your personal best times on your own segments, then compares you to other people riding the same segments, very cool. A very large number of my Silicon Valley friends use it.

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My TODO list: Remember The Milk

If you want to sleep well and generally feel good even though you have tons of things to absolutely do and things you’d like to do you should store all your tasks somewhere. It helps your brain relax because it knows it’s stored so it worries less about them. I have been using Remember The Milk for years, it syncs on web, iPhone, Android, iPad etc beautifully and is super simple to use. Highly recommend it. Sorry my to do list isn’t public. It keeps track of how many tasks you “closed” and definitely measures your activity with what you have todo. Could present your activity history in graphs a little better. 

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Experimenting with Beeminder

I love the idea of giving yourself goals and trying to follow them. On Beeminder you can add as many goals as you like and you (can) pay if you don’t accomplish your goals. I love how those guys are providing an incredible service, try to email support and you will get an answer in no time, you can feel the passion behind the adventure. I also love how they write their blog, they even point you to their competitors and comment on them and wish them best success. It’s a little geeky though, not to sure sometimes how to do what I want to do on the site and it definitely lacks good mobile apps as I’m spending more and more time on my iPhone and iPad. What’s cool is you can interface your withings or Runkeeper data with it, here is my weight graph on Beeminder. I had set many more goals but deleted them as I forgot to take the time (or was lazy) to update Beeminder. 

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Experimenting with Lift

So it’s through the Beeminder blog that I discovered Lift (not sure it’s a good ideas Beeminder team to point so much to competitors but it’s definitely showing how cool you are) and love it so far. It’s a very different approach to Beeminder, you don’t pay if you miss a goal (negative incentive) you just see your progress by “checking in” to your goals (positive incentive). Not sure which approach is better for now but the first impression I have with Lift is excellent as their iPhone app is beautiful and simple. You simply go, add your goals and then check-in to them, for example one of my goals is to read 30-60 minutes a day minimum, I just tick the box when I do it. I also like that it shows you a stream of your Facebook friends also checking in to your goals and the most popular goals which is pretty cool. You can feel Lift is mobile first with great iPhone app and that is very important to me. Let’s see how long I use this but I really like the idea.

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My movement: Nike Band and Fitbit

I have tried the Nike Fuel Band and I have to admit I have been disappointed that it only gives you a very rough estimate and always wrong in distance if you run for example, it’s really a rough estimate of your wrist movement nothing more. I think they should add a GPS in it so it’s much more precise… I use mine as a watch. 

I have ordered the latest Fitbit, the One and will try it soon

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My Sleep: MyZeo

I tried MyZeo about a year ago and yes, you’re going to look ridiculous in your bed with it, but it’s pretty interesting data. I started using their new mobile one, it syncs with your iPhone and sends the data to it no more big device standing by your bed and easy for traveling. You can see my latest night, I woke up around 2:30am for some reason then got back to light sleep very fast, got 37 minutes of deep sleep and 3hours 

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My Food: I don’t know yet

So, I have tried Calorie Count by Mynetdiary and it’s super, it’s web, iPhone, IPad, Android and all synced beautifully. It helps you keep track of what you’re eating and how the calories add up, very very nice. The only problem? It’s a pain to enter the weight of your tomatoes and the pepper sauce of your steak (that you should not be eating anyway). The way MyNetDiary helps solving this is by crowdsourcing the most popular dishes including by brand, helping you select fast a meal, but it’s still a pain to enter. 

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The ideal for me would be an app that just takes a pic of my plate and assesses the calories, I have tried MealSnap but it’s always completely off. I guess it’s a very difficult problem to solve. Here are a few other apps trying to measure food: eatery, a japan one and thryveco. I hear great things about MyfitnessPal too.

What are the other apps or connected objects I should try to measure myself?

update: I’m told I should try Foodzy



  • Jeannnnot

    you should try Android 4.0 (and over) to have your amount of data used per month and per app on your smartphone. Always interessting to know which app your are using the most and the one which consumes a lot, to adapt your 3G plan

  • Anonymous

    Amazing list of apps! Some of the quantified self stuff gets a bit too in-depth for me (I love data and all, but it does get pretty extreme). This is a good balance of info to practicality. Would love to try Lift if they made an Android app!