The Educated Patient

Taking a Risk with a Chronic Condition

Tracking Apps

There are a number of apps that will help you to track your progress. Tracking your progress is critical for monitoring your health. It requires planning and discipline. You can do it by hand although I used apps but I will not be recommending any one over any other. All apps have pros and cons and there is a lot of competition in this market. The goal in tracking is to be as accurate as possible, realizing that the data will not be perfect, but still pretty good.


For tracking food, the most common app and the one I used is My Fitness Pal by Under Armour. Dietary data can be wildly inaccurate, especially when it is self reported but this app, while not perfect, does have some advantages. You can scan the barcode for any food and it will calculate the data for you. It will break down your macros and you can set it for whatever macros you are aiming for. It gives you a daily way to track your weight and measurements and can project going forward. It costs me $70 a year for a subscription but I buy the ad free version. Accurate tracking is helped by weighing your food. Buy a digital kitchen scale for under $20 and weigh in grams if possible, not cups.


For tracking sleep, I use Sleep Cycle. I set it nightly when I am going to sleep and it stays on an records my sleep quality based on movement. It can track snoring if sleep apnea is a concern and also works as an alarm clock. You can download it to your phone for a small fee. It produces CSV data which can be exported. I uses my sleep quality data as an indicator of my stress level and meditate more if my sleep quality declines. Jetlag and daylight savings time changes affect my sleep very strongly. It costs about $40 per year.

Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting is tracked by an app called VORA which I use to enter in my eating windows. I regularly eat all my daily calories within a 1-2 hour floating window of time, usually between 10-2 PM. I can adjust this window easily on both the front and back end depending on social and work obligations. I enter my beginning and end of meal on VORA and I can also set my standard goal for fasting. This allows me to track over time what my history has been. It costs about $30 per year.


I use online mediation resources when I need to reduce my stress levels. There is no cost for this. I primarily follow a Yoga Nidra style of meditation; it’s also called a yogic sleep. It’s guided and focuses on breathing techniques to promote relaxation and to allow sleep.


I have been following a prescribed exercise program for over two years. This program was designed for me by a personal trainer. After several weeks of in person evaluation, he designed a program that I can follow using Google Sheets. He sets the program, I take the program to the gym and fill in the progress, update it online, send him a further written update and he modifies the program on line. Rinse and repeat. It works beautifully for me. I see him now about once per month to check form and sometimes I send him videos of an exercise to obtain feedback. This costs me about $75 a month but was more at the front end during the evaluation stage.


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