Week 1: Self Tracking Projects Review

Project 1: Water Fasting; My 72-Hour (3-Day) Water Fasting Results

Summary:

Fasting methods of various lengths are sometimes used as a metabolic reset for your body.  In this project, Quantified Bob completed a three day water fasting project to see its effect on his general health.  For three days, Bob only consumed pure water and consistently measured his blood glucose, ketone, and blood pressure levels.  The results of this experiment (Figure 1) initially showed Bob’s glucose slowly decreasing and his ketone levels slowly increasing.  Around hour 36, the glucose levels evenly stabilized while the ketone levels sharply increased.  Over the fast Bob’s blood pressure lowered significantly.

Figure 1 : Results of the Fast (https://www.quantifiedbob.com/water-fast-72-hours/)

Figure 1: Results of the Fast (https://www.quantifiedbob.com/water-fast-72-hours/)

Broader Significance:

This project is one short example of how one can track their health.  Through Bob’s comments/experiments we can all learn how our bodies respond to fasting and how the food we consume can effect so much more. 

Why it is interesting to me:

While the concept of a three day fast appears to me unhealthy in itself, I do appreciate the ultimate goal of this project.   By making himself the test subject, Bob is experimenting as a way of building awareness.  In the past I have tracked my food.  The act of tracking your food intake in itself makes you more aware and careful about the food you consume.  In a similar way, Bob is using these periodic fasts as a check on his body.  One aspect that I like about this project is that it exemplifies that no one is perfect.  The very reason one might want to do a fast is because they may feel that their eating habits have gone off track.  Since Bob is fasting periodically, he is recognizing that his eating habits may get away from him (and this is okay) but eventually a fast will get him back on track.

Project 2: Quantified Homescreens

Summary:

A few years ago Betaworks collected information about the apps that appeared on 40,000 iPhone homescreens.  Ernesto Ramirez used this data to research information about the frequency and use of self tracking apps among these users.  Ultimately, this research found that iHealth and Day One had the most appearances among quantified self/self tracking applications.  The most popular dietary tracking application was MyFitnessPal while the most popular activity tracker was the Fitbit.  One surprise that Ramirez notes is the frequency of sleep tracking apps among these users. 

Broader Significance:

This research uses a huge dataset to determine trends in self tracking.  This project is a good example of a larger group contributing to a larger, more meaningful set of data.  From this data, Ramirez was able to observe trends in the quantified self community and identify where in our lives we decide to track and where we don’t.

Why it is interesting to me:

I appreciate the use of a collective data set for the benefit of the entire community.  I am also interested in how people organize their homescreens.  The way you organize your homescreen can facilitate or impede distraction and productivity.  I personally re-organize my homescreen periodically to made sure valuable space on my screen is not populated by unused or unwanted apps.  I try to keep social media apps off of my main homescreen and productivity apps at the forefront in order to guide my focus and how I use my phone.  


Project 3: Self-Care and Bullet Journaling

Summary:

In this article, Tracy Halliday talks about her experience with bullet journaling as a form of self tracking.  Originally, Halliday used her bullet journal to organize her to dos and her appointments.  She noticed that this journal quickly became about her kids and not about her.  Thus she decided to begin a new journal which focus on her only.  In this project, Halliday focused on eight aspects of her own self care: personal care, psychological care, physical care, emotional care, professional care, spiritual care, environmental care, social care.  She explains how this system helps her lead a more balanced life. 

Broader Significance:

This example shows that bullet journaling is an analog form of tracking that can have a huge effect on a persons life.  Bullet journals do not only have to be for the artistic or the organized. A bullet journal should be a place to collect data and instigate action in your life. 

Why it is interesting to me:

I briefly used a bullet journal in the past and am interested in this analog form of tracking.  Writing something down seems to make you accountable.  Writing something down in a bullet journal somehow makes someone more aware.  I find this idea fascinating.  The fact that someone can hold themselves accountable to performing an action as a result of writing that action down in notebook that is unrelated to that action is extremely interesting.