Apple Watch diary: Testing the power of data in meeting health and fitness goals – 9to5Mac

What gets measured gets managed

It’s really quite incredible just how much health and fitness data the Apple Watch (and iPhone) put at our fingertips. In my case, I also have Quardio smart scales, which provide an additional set of data points.

My core approach is the old saying that “What gets measured, gets managed.” Of course, you need the data to be front and center to be effective, which means looking at the data daily.

The Health app can display graphs for a whole bunch of data, but each one is separate – and I wanted all the relevant data visible at-a-glance. Unless anyone can show me what I’m missing, there doesn’t appear to be a way to tell the Health app to export your favorite data categories, and I was in danger of being thrown out of Nerd Club if I was reduced to transcribing them manually.

What I decided was that I didn’t really need a bunch of numbers anyway. What I really needed was to use the numbers to generate a nice color-coded dashboard. Since I couldn’t fully automate the process, I decided to keep it simple.

First, I divided the data into inputs and outputs. Inputs were the things over which I had direct control (like how many calories I consume, and how many I burn). Outputs were the end results. The metrics I’ve chosen to monitor are:


  • Calories in
  • Calories out
  • Exercise minutes
  • Steps


  • Weight
  • Waist measurement
  • Body fat percentage
  • BMI
  • Resting heart rate

My health and fitness dashboard

I created a spreadsheet, but instead of filling in the actual numbers – which would be tedious and hard to parse – I just decided to use the fill function to color-code each cell. For the outputs, I used official government figures to define the bands, from poor (red) to excellent (green).

For inputs, I’ve set my own thresholds, and then green means I met my goal, yellow means I got close to it, and red means less than that.

I then end up with a true at-a-glance indicator of how well I’m doing in terms of both my behavior and my goal. My first day looks like this:

This shows that I hit all my behavioral …….


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