Miles Fitzgerald

April 12, 2021

Part 2: A design system for modern wellness

Last week I shared Part 1 of how I’ve been designing my wellness system. A way for me to stay healthy and have regular check-ins with myself. I use a mix of qualitative and quantitative data to analyze different factors. This week I want to share some of my quantitative data experiments. I would also love to hear from you if some of this resonates. 

Disclaimer: While you read this, take it with a grain of salt. I’m not saying this is the “right” way to do it. But I believe that data is still at the genesis for the health industry. Knowing that privacy and AI in that space will be controversial… 

Data is King/Queen 

I want to share a few experiments I’ve done and how they impacted my health: 

  • Sleep — I started tracking my sleep with Whoop (a sports band) and realized a few things. I was getting 5 to 6 hours of sleep per night, and alcohol (even just wine) was having a big impact on my sleep quality. Whoop was able to show me how inconsistent my sleep was. I tried a bunch of things to fix my sleep once the data was clear. So far removing alcohol at night is the single best way for me to have a good night sleep.

  • Weight — Tracking my weight overtime has been super rewarding. Seeing the chart drop, stabilize or go up is a wonderful feeling. It gives you a great indicator that you are on track. Whatever your goals are. I love using my Withings smart scale for that. I just need to stand (every other day) on it and let the app track over time. I will look at the chart on a weekly basis and make adjustments if needed.

  • Glucose monitoring — I’ve always had a sweet tooth and always understood sugar in excess was bad for me, but I never realized how much effect glucose could have on my mood and energy levels until I started seeing the data. I started hearing about new ways to track sugar level with CGM (continuous glucose monitor) systems that were on your body 24/7. I wore one for 14 days and looked at how each meal was having an effect on my overall energy with the help of my nutritionist. That live data loop helped me make some major changes in my nutrition far beyond just removing sweet stuff. I highly recommend trying this. Everyone reacts to glucose differently.

  • Macros — I started using a scale (I love this OXO one) to weigh my food and my FitnessPal to understand the impact of what I was eating. The data hit me hard. I was eating too many carbs and was lacking protein. Shifting my nutrition to a healthier macro ratio has been a journey, and the data is the only way for me to know. This is a time consuming way to get data since you have to enter everything manually. I’m excited for better tech in this space. 
  • Water — We know water is important to us. I started tracking (by hand) how much water I was actually drinking and the data was all over the place. When I realized I needed to hit 1 gallon per day, I did some digging around tracking water data. All the tech options are flimsy at best. But I understood I needed to see what a gallon actually looked like. So I got one of these big water bottles. All I need to do is drink 1 a day to hit my water intake. I’ve shifted to this Miir bottle so my water stays cool all day. I haven’t been able to track a direct correlation between hitting my water intake and anything positive apart for more trips to the restroom. I need to do some more research on this. 
As you can see there’s a lot of ways of tracking for your health and habits. And these are just a few of my experiments. What I've learned is to be consistent with how I track, and I understand there is no one perfect way to track the same thing. Quantitative data is great but it needs to be paired with regular check-in with yourself. I just use a notebook and a pen to keep track of the qualitative part. I wish there was a dashboard that could bring all of this together. All the data and your personal notes in one place… 

9 Things I’ve Enjoyed

  • MiiR Pourigami - The perfect travel pour over coffee dripper. Very sturdy, very compact and very easy to use. I bring this on my trips now. No more shitty coffee in hotel rooms. No more waiting for breakfast hours. All you need is a way to boil water. 
  • MiiR Camp Cup - I bring this mug on my trips and use it everyday at home for my coffee. Perfect size mug and handle. Well designed, easy to use, comfortable lid. Keeps your coffee warm for ~2hours. No app. No Wifi. Buy once and keep for life. 
  • Jarvis Mounting Arm - A friend came by my home office this week and was asking questions about my new monitor arm. I picked it because it gives the best sitting distance between my eyes and my monitor, plus I can use it to stand up for video calls without having to adjust my desk. It’s also clean looking (everything else on the market has an outdated design). 
  • Kodak Film Camera - Took these on a trip recently. They are super fun to have around and shoot candid moments. The film looks great and having to wait to see your full roll is a great moment to reflect on once you get your pictures back. 
  • Gymnastic Rings - I just got these rings for outdoor workouts. I’m working on my upper body strength. If you use these, I would love to hear from you. It’s opening up a new Youtube world for me. :P
  • Nose Bridge Strips - I wear optical glasses so the last year wearing a mask has been foggy. I’m excited to try these and hopefully fix my fog look. If you wear glasses and you’ve managed to fix your fog + mask issue. Please share. 
  • Readng - Is a new platform to share books and reviews. GoodReads interface is not cutting anymore and Amazon doesn’t seem to be investing in the platform. I’m excited to try this new way of sharing my library
  • Bedrock Sandals - I’ve been reading a lot about active mobility. Working your body not for the looks but for the movements. Helping you move better in life. I’ll need to write on that subject soon. But one thing that is clear is the importance of your feet in your overall core stability. The barefoot movement is intriguing but wearing these type of shoes never cut it for me. I just got these sandals (“freedom footwear”) for warmer weather hikes. I’ll report back soon… 
  • Athletic Greens - It’s actually really hard to eat the recommended amount of greens recommended by nutritionists. I’ve been trying this supplement to support my veggie intake. And I’m still eating greens for the fiber part. It’s done wonder on my digestion and the quality of each ingredient is top notch. I can see this being super handy when I travel in parts of the world where greens are hard to get. 

Say hi 👋

Anything data wise you've experimented with recently? I would love to hear from you. Hit reply even if it’s just to say hi!

Feel free to fwd this newsletter to friends who might want to slow down and digest content differently. 

Enjoy your week ✌️