Food intake and “Average Happiness over Time”

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December 16, 2008 by 8junebugs

It’s been a while since I maintained a food log. I know, I know…a bazillion percent of people who lose weight and keep it off practice mindful eating, and a food journal is critical to that success.

Well, eat me. I’ve become relatively good at prioritizing the things I need/want to spend my stress on, and my food intake hasn’t been a big deal for most of this year (with the exception of that bachelorette weekend…good lord).

I gave myself the month of November off from worrying about it — I’m not always an emotional eater, but, if that did manifest itself after Mom died (which it did, a bit), I was not going to care about it for a month. Still seems like a pretty fair arrangement, I think.

But November is over and it’s time to make sure I’m meeting my health goals. I’ve returned to my pre-divorce weight — it isn’t killing me, but it is annoying and it’s not where I want to be. I’m back in the gym now and then. Ballet and Modern Dance are the best kind of exercise for me, though, based on my experience.

Neither will help my comic-book-hero calves, though. (Sigh…so much for my FMBs.)

For food tracking, I’m a loyal and happy fitday.com user. The database is pretty comprehensive and, where it isn’t, the application allows you to create custom entries. This is fantastic if, like me, you eat a lot of Trader Joe’s-brand stuff that is slightly off the average nutritional chart for their equivalents.

I prefer TJ’s “No Preservatives” rule. Also their prices. Also their chicken sausages and frozen fish and hummus and…

Oh.

So I logged into fitday and saw that the interface has changed and the user experience has significantly improved. The entry pages no longer look DOS-based, the color scheme is soothing, the sections of the site are tabbed logically, and all the important functions are still there.

Plus one.

The tab after the Journal tab, which is after the Weight Goal tab, is “Moods.” Fitday now offers a mood tracker, complete with dropdown lists and graphics based on your selections.

Today’s Mood: Happy, but a little stressed, and you can see from the squiggly line on the Charlie Brown face 

happy

Yesterday’s Mood: Neutral — not happy, but not likely to become a tower of rage

neutral

And bless their hearts, there’s a real-time bar chart below the fold that measures my “Average Happiness over Time.” If I’m not fond of the bar chart format, I can click a tab to see my “Mood Pie Chart.”

Mmmm…Mood Pie…

I have not explored the application to see if it correlates the Mood data with the food intake and weight fluctuation. I firmly believe that it’s critical to use data, if you’re going to gather it, so I expect a pretty little report telling me I am more likely to get fat when I’m depressed.

I’ll bet I can customize the report.

X = level of rage and/or sadness
Y = squidginess and unlikelihood of fitting into my jeans

Yes. That terminology will work much better.

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