Week 1: Mike's food tracking diary

On the quest to find out if wearables can cut it as calorie counters
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January is the month where New Year's Resolutions are made and often broken. I decided last year that in 2017 I wanted to keep a closer eye on what I was eating on a daily basis. It's not that I consider myself a very unhealthy person. I do a lot of running, try my very best to get a good night's sleep and don't throw burgers in my face on a regular basis. But I do have a habit of letting generally good eating habits slide very quickly. I have the tendency not to eat at the right times or miss meals altogether. I know, it's not good.

So I wanted an easy solution to the problem without having to invest in a nutritionist to get my diet and eating habits in order. Then I remembered that I'm in the possession of many fitness trackers that have, for some time, promised to make it easier to monitor food intake. The trackers themselves can't do it (not yet, anyway), but the apps that accompany them do promise to make it an easier job than scribbling things down on a piece of paper or just remembering what you ate for lunch yesterday.

I've tested Fitbits, Jawbones and whole host of other trackers in the past, and food tracking has always felt like the holy grail. We have the step counting pretty much covered, sleep tracking is at a good place if still a little basic. On the food tracking side, I still have my doubts how useful they really can be.

So that brings me to this diary. I've decided it's time to take a much closer look at how the leading fitness trackers are approaching the concept of food tracking. I'm coming from a basic standpoint on what I do know. I know what's good to eat but I'm pretty sure there are things I tuck away for lunch that I should probably refrain from eating on a regular basis.

Week 1: Mike's food tracking diary

But I'm not just looking at how food tracking is being done, I also want to find out just how a good job they do in creating good habits and educating me on what I'm putting in my body. I kind of have an idea, but for someone that is new to this world, that's pretty important. Also, I want to know if I'm being offered valuable data and being given the kind of insights that can help me make short and long term changes to my diet and overall lifestyle.

I'm going to be spending a couple of weeks each with a bunch of big name trackers including Fitbit, Withings and Under Armour. I'll be tracking daily activity as normal, but I'll be paying much closer attention to what they deliver as far as food tracking is concerned. I'll also be exploring what the smart home world has to offer in these realms as well as speaking to experts and the companies behind those platforms including MyFitnessPal, which is considered the king of the food tracking apps.

Read this: The truth about nutrition tracking and wearable tech

Speaking of MyFitnessPal, that's where exactly where my diary will begin. I've strapped on the Under Armour Band again, set up my HealthBox smart scales and already spent a couple of days logging meals and scanning barcodes inside the Under Armour Record app, which now integrates the food tracking app. But more on that next week. All of sudden I'm feeling very hungry...

Mike's food tracking diary

Week 2: I'm in measurement hell
Week 3: The struggle is real
Week 4: It's finally starting to happen
Week 5: Making small steps to big change (hopefully)
Week 6: It's time to talk calories
Week 7: The big home cooked meal dilemma
Week 8: MyFitnessPal, we meet again
Week 9: It's you, not me

How we test

Michael Sawh


Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.

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