The beginning of any new journey is always the most unsure. When it comes to losing body fat, anyone seeking trustworthy tools and guidance must first make it through the army of distractions.
Countless YouTube videos, fitness magazines, and crash and burn juice cleanses all wait with bated breath to snipe out the unassuming consumer with the right pain-points.
Like a beacon of truth fostered through technology, there is a burgeoning force that can help shield us from this commercial onslaught while mirroring the best actions for optimal health success.
It's our data.
The Rise of Quantified Self
The Quantified Self movement, known on Twitter as “QS,” was started in early 2008 when WIRED Magazine’s Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf held the first meeting in San Francisco. They represented an educated bunch of collective souls who simply loved learning about their own life from its data.
Currently in 2015, where technology is driving humanity faster than our biological evolution can compete with, savvy technologists are admitting that the intersection of the two is far behind us.
A new flood of fitness wearables, digital health apps, and even electronic t-shirts that deliver bio-data snapshots have surfaced; some made by companies ready only to capitalize, some to be successful while truly serving the better health of the public.
This is where it gets exciting.
Using wearable technology feels like playing Tetris on Nintendo for the first time as a kid.
But how will wearing a fitness tracking watch or using a smart phone app really create positive behavior change?
The impact of any QS solution can be found by taking an honest look at the root cause(s) and then reversed engineered.
Barriers To Entry & Success
Globally, among the 1.9 billion overweight adults above the age of 18, the largest roadblocks to good health are typically 3 things:
Ultimately, poor dietary choices are a direct result of our habits. They're built and reinforced by social pressures, economic factors, and genetic predispositions. For many, food can be almost a completely mindless act; a grazing behavior to calm nerves with almost nothing to do with nourishment.
Digital health applications are leading the charge towards better health by making it easier to be mindful of what we eat and how it affects our sleep, mood, and motivation to exercise.
The reality is that when we eat properly and exercise a snowball effect begins.
Awareness increases. We gain momentum.
On the contrary, when eating poorly, our physiology and psychology team up together to send signals of sloth and inactivity around our CNS.
This is when the little voice inside isn't loud enough to motivate us.
QS Fat Loss Applications
The future impact and growth of QS in the health space will ultimately hinge on its ability to leverage better decisions based on human data. With self-awareness in mind, the following 3 QS applications are my current top picks for those on the quest for fat loss:
This app lets you easily log your meals and drinks simply by taking a photo. In a just a short period of time, you'll have a powerful visual history of your eating habits. Two Grand enables you to follow people just like you, but at your goal weight, so you can learn how their routine differs from your own.
Fitbit is known for designing fitness wearables, products, and experiences that track everyday health and fitness, empowering and inspiring people to lead healthier, more active lives. For the neophyte consumer and those in need of a simple UI, Fitbit is the clear leader for 2015. Not to say that won't change as the market grows in competition and expectations rise.
A type of life-logging app that makes it easy to quickly enter your thoughts, pictures, tags and memories to have them backed up in the cloud. Since mid 2014, I've been keeping Day One chocked full of my thoughts, lessons, successes, fears and dreams. The ultimate value to gain from logging your life on paper or in an app is the empowering reflective capability it allots. Day one is a QS tool to increase self-awareness, identify emotional eating, partition away friends that distract you from health goals, and remind you of amazing activities forgotten.
Why Quantified Self?
With QS tools, our personal health transformation occurs when we start tracking something that really matters. While QS isn't the omnipotent voice for the fat loss promised-land, it does contain the power to radically change lives.
No one ever said it would be easy to be healthy. It's because health isn't something we are, it's something we do.
Every day companies utilizing QS and wearable technology are yielding a brand new hope for end-users.
Regardless of the chosen application, if an OEM has the intention of empowering others through technology, they'll make more money and we'll all lose more weight.
It's one of the biggest win-win's in the history of health.
About the author: Josh Trent, NASM-CES, CPT, HLC, is a corrective exercise specialist and participatory sports technology expert with over 9 years in the fitness industry. His passion is to accelerate wellness evolution through the power of the Digital Health and Quantified Self movements. You can follow him on Twitter @wellnessforce, or through his website www.wellnessforce.com.
Questions? Start here