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I recently bought a Fitbit Flex, the Flex is a fitness tracker wristband, very similar to the Jawbone UP or the Nike Fuel band. However I have found the Flex to be extremely comfortable to use, accurate and very useful for keeping track of my daily fitness and health.

But why go through all the trouble of tracking my meals, and wearing a fitness tracker 24/7; well the reason is very simple I want to improve my general health and become a more effective person.

I believe that information empower us to make better healthier decisions, and this has certainly proven to be true in my case after a my first month of using the Fitbit Flex, I been able to lose 2KG just by changing my eating habits and doing a little more exercise every day.

Tracking what I eat and how much I exercise is only the beginning, I want to get to a point where I can track most if not everything of what happens on my daily life, looking for ways to do this I found about the Quantified Self movement.

The Quantified Self is a movement to incorporate technology into data acquisition on aspects of a person's daily life in terms of inputs (e.g. food consumed, quality of surrounding air), states (e.g. mood, arousal, blood oxygen levels), and performance (mental and physical).

So without actually being aware of it I took my first step on the Quantified Self world, and started wondering what else could I possibly track and what I could do with that information.

After some consideration I want to keep tracking more of my biometric information before moving into things like the memoto or recording video of my waking hours.

Right now the Fitbit Flex tracks my activity and sleep quality, plus by using their dashboard I can track what food I eat and my caloric balance, which is great if you are trying to lose weight.

The Flex has also replaced my morning alarms since it comes with a neat silent alarm that wakes you up by vibrating.

Superficial tracking

While I love my FitBit Flex, It only tracks a fraction of the information that I hope to eventually track. For example the next vector of personal information that I want to start tracking is my heart rate and blood pressure.

Sure, I could take measurements daily and add that information to the Fitbit dashboard, but this sort of defeats the purpose of life logging, which in my opinion should be as friction less and possible and require minimum input from the user.

Plus I want to have a detailed log minute by minute of my heart rate and blood pressure, this information could later be used for correlating it with work related stress, activity and so on.

Another area that I feel could be improved is sleep tracking, the Flex tracks my 'sleep efficiency' but it does it based on movement so is not really that accurate. Ideally I want to track my REM patterns, temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and so on while sleeping.

Conclusion

The Fitbit Flex is a great way to get started with the quantified self movement and get your feet wet without having to spend too much money or effort.

Even if you are just looking to lose some weight or track what you are eating, the Flex is a great choice.

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Allan MacGregor


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