Keeping Track

My iPhone, with HealthKit and a few apps, is central to my weight loss effort. I track everything I eat in MyFitnessPal, and I use Cyclometer to track my cycling distance and active calories. The phone automatically counts my steps and stairs climbed, and I aim to average over 10k steps every day, which I factored in to my calorie allowance calculations.

MyFitnessPal has a great database of food, so a quick search or barcode scan brings up the food I’m about to eat. We don’t eat a lot of processed food, so most of the time I add recipes within the app, so that I can quickly add the same group of ingredients next time we make it. That’s easy with the automatic recipe importer; it’s one of the best features of the app, it’s never failed to parse a recipe for me, but occasionally it won’t do a perfect job of matching the ingredients. A quick replacement sorts that out, and then I have the recipe stored for the next time we cook it.

I eat the same food for breakfast (porridge for slow release carbs) and lunch (spinach with spicy chicken) every weekday. Both meals are quick and easy to make and eat, but healthy, filling, and leave me about 1000 calories for dinner where I can get more variety.

I use Cyclometer to track my cycling speed, distance, and active calories. I go the long way home from work, using an off-road cycle path, which gives me about 8km of flat track to pin my ears back and try to beat my best time. Unfortunately, the step counter on the iPhone isn’t great at distinguishing between cycling and walking, so I aim for 13k on cycling days, which compensates for the increase in steps.

Climbing stairs is roughly equivalent to jogging, but much easier to do in an office. In between tasks, when I might otherwise be grabbing a coffee, I try to go up and down the twelve stories in our building a couple of times. I’ve started working on a simple app to track this a little better than the Health app does already, but it’s better than nothing. I try to keep the average around 40 floors a day, but we have no stairs at home, so that’s dependent on beating that on work days or going for a walk up through the New Town!