How to use Weigh Fit

The data is showing me that there are users who continue to use WeighFit in its current form. I have several improvements in mind including AppleWatch integration, a dashboard widget  and food categories to further promote consuming a variety of healthy foods. The more attention the app gets the more I will work on it. So I thought I’d create a quick walkthrough that describes how I use the app for new users.

Background

I qualified for the Boston Marathon December of 2015 (finishing in  3:03:27 at the California International Marathon) after a rigorous training program put together by phenomenal coaches and nutrition assistance from a registered dietician (if either of you want your name here just let me know). I gained a lot of information surrounding workout volume and caloric needs. I counted calories using a google sheet for several months and the work paid off.

During this time I noticed patterns in my eating behavior that were not complimentary to my rigorous training regimen. With the help of my dietician, I was introduced to the Harris Benedict Equation as the method for defining my caloric needs while training. Furthermore, my dietician recommended I eat 100 calories per mile that I ran. Thus, a daily definitive caloric goal was developed for my training needs. However, I also noted that training was not a requirement of this value, meaning I could semi predict the caloric needs of a completely sedentary person, say someone laying in a hospital bed or sitting at a computer all day.

My dad, grandma and grandpa had or have diabetes. I grew up talking about blood sugar and also related my new found knowledge about a defined caloric target to the benefits of maintaining a level blood sugar. If life gets you so caught up that you forget to eat, your blood sugar drops, which can be dangerous for someone with diabetes. However, if you have a virtual partner that gives you a gentle reminder that you haven’t eaten, you can eat a little food before your blood sugar drops. I decided the potential value in an app that stabilizes blood sugar, promotes balanced and healthy eating and also enhances athletic performance was something I wanted to be a part of.

The last 6 months have been a whirlwind of emotion. To a new user the app doesn’t seem too complex, but under the hood it took a considerable effort from many people who I would love to recognize, if they want the recognition. I ran into many road blocks learning about object oriented programming using a c based language, data persistence (a bug here almost ended the whole project), and deploying to the app store (a notoriously rigorous process). I appreciate the users who continue to use the app and hope that it can be as much of a benefit to you as it has been to me. I use the app every day and now I’ll tell you how:

How to use the app

  1. Download the app from the Apple App Store.
  2. Follow the instructions for the on boarding sequence.
  3. Every day press the plus button on the daylist page and enter new values for this day and press save.
    • I start each day on activity level 1 and periodically weigh myself to input an updated weight here (this is part of the caloric calculation). 
  4. As you go about your day check in with the app by pulling the day list down to refresh
    • Similar to how you refresh posts from Facebook or Twitter (one cool thing here is that since the app persists to your phones built in database, it does not need a cell phone connection to work.)
  5. From the Day List screen press the folder icon in the top left corner of the screen and choose a caloric value when you’d like to be reminded to eat.
    • The higher the value the larger the meals, the lower the value the more frequently you’ll be reminded.
    • I set mine to 200, which is basically a bowl of oatmeal.
  6. Recording Events
    1. Every time you eat press the white cell (the white cell represents today, the grey cells represent past days) to navigate to the Event list page.
    2. Here is where you can review the days meals or activities. Record a new event by pressing the plus button in the top right corner again.
      1. Now you’re on the Event Input page, where you can input the description and calories of an event.
        • Just know that selecting ‘Activity’ adds calories and selecting ‘Meal’ subtracts calories from your daily target.
      2. ‘Activity’ calories will be added to todays caloric needs.
        • I use this feature when I run a defined distance, in line with my dietician advice for 100 calories per mile. Your caloric expenditure may differ here, so I recommend you consult a registered dietician for further advice.
      3. ‘Meal’ will take calories away from you caloric target
        • I think about caloric density of foods. Salads have a low caloric density and will keep you fuller for longer. This may be a feature in a future version. 
    3.  I don’t combine the activity level feature and record activities, as this would be double dipping. Recording activities is more exact (100 calories per mile), while the activity level is more general (went for a walk in the park).

That’s basically it. When I feel hungry, I check my current balance by pulling the day list page down to refresh and see how many calories I should eat to be on pace with my caloric needs, then I find food that matches my needs. Sometimes I’m better off eating a cookie because they’re calorically dense, sometimes I’m better off eating a salad. My dietician might fight me on this, but life without cookies silly. If you like the app and want to see some of these upgrades, feel free to help me promote it by sharing. I’ve created this document to help: WF_Press_3-16-2016

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