Beeminder Forum

Beeminding Calories Best Practices? Integrations? Cronometer? LoseIt? MyFitnessPal?

What are some best practices for Beeminding food calories? Are there any integrations with other products? Perhaps My Fitness Pal, LoseIt, or other?

I normally use Fitbit; we have the Fitbit integration, and if I remember rightly, you can feed through your MyFitnessPal stuff through Fitbit to Beeminder.

We’ve been asked again and again for an MFP integration, but they don’t answer our emails and requests for API access. :frowning:

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To get a foot in the door, one might need to do some corporate research and find a real person to directly talk with. Also might be of interest GitHub - coddingtonbear/python-myfitnesspal: Access your meal tracking data stored in MyFitnessPal programatically. There might be others out there, I just ran across that.

If you’re willing to fork over the cash, then using a wearable might be your best bet. I track my calories with my Fitbit. It also gives you the benefit of being able to Beemind your activity and sleep as well, giving a more holistic view of your health.

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If you have an Apple phone, you can have your food tracker send calorie data to the Health app and do the integration with the Beeminder iOS app. I do that with the LoseIt app but I imagine you could do the same with MyFitnessPal or any app that integrates with Apple Health. It can also track other nutritional data I believe.

I imagine that tracking calories on Beeminder could be a really effective tool for weight loss or gain when done well. I definitely haven’t found the perfect balance yet, in terms of slope or pledge. My goal is to slowly lose weight because I’m currently overweight, but I play competitive water polo which has high energy requirements and definitely stimulates my hunger. I’ve also not found the perfect pledge level that has sufficient “sting” but doesn’t spark disordered behaviour that would have a net negative effect on my life.

I’ve been inspired by some of the great, long-term success stories people have had with weight goals on Beeminder, I think it just requires some considerations to find the right terms for the goal.

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My “autodata” approach to calorie counting is to weigh myself (not a joke really).

Sorry I realize this is perhaps a bit abrupt/gnomic – going out for a (beeminded) walk, happy to expand if interested.

Do you mean by monitoring your own total weight? I guess that works if you already know how to lose weight. But I need to track my consumption and exercise more directly, as that is how I will know that I am on track daily to meet my long term weight loss goals. See Beemind Bites | Beeminder Blog

I’ve settled on using MyFitnessPal and a nice food scale for tracking consumption. My stationary cycle reports number of calories, so I add that into my fitness pal. I’ll eventually get a smartwatch as well.

As yes, the bites thing, I love that idea. I think losing weight can usefully take as many ideas as can you throw at it, so here’s more about the one I was referring to:

Yes, I do. But there’s something I think is still not widely appreciated about daily feedback:

The feedback from just a moving-average chart (for example the retro but good The Hacker's Diet Online) is surprisingly quick and consistent and does provide daily feedback: If the “floaters/sinkers” are below the trend line you’re going the right direction (see the book The Hacker’s Diet by John Walker Signal and Noise).

But halfplane, what about random daily variation in weight, you say? Comparing the lagging indicator of the moving-average trend line with today’s daily weight effectively smooths out also the randomness of the daily measurements – the fact this worked well for me (and I didn’t know how to lose weight when I first tried it) is what got me looking for something similar for things other than weight, which is how I ended up here. It takes a little bit of time at the start – not much – to build up a non-random trend line before you have that daily feedback, but that just means that you have to stick to a way of eating for a week or two, and then you’re likely to start to feel confident about your control over where the trend line is going and of the reality of the daily feedback. That daily feedback is of course partly composed of a rolling summary of your actions over the past few days/a week (the moving average trend line), but that doesn’t prevent making corrections on the scale of one day.

Some nice things about it:

  • Perhaps unlike calorie counting, it isn’t a push in the direction of thinking about food more than is helpful.
  • If done right (exponentially weighted moving average trend line + pay attention to the “floaters/sinkers”) it provides daily feedback, contrary to popular assumption.
  • People like me anyway see it an elegant solution: weight is a pretty good proxy for calorie intake. I find that appealing, which motivates me.
  • It’s very low-effort in admin terms. Maybe that helps somebody else’s motivation too or makes it easier to actually start (rather than the popular not-starting).

Weight control is the only thing like this I do that I don’t use a beeminder-style hard cutoff for – instead just using the chart (pretty much the same as the fourmilab.ch/hackdiet one) – and I’ve found it works well for me.

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I don’t think this contradicts your excellent points, @halfplane, but see also our post on why not to literally beemind the moving average:

https://blog.beeminder.com/movingav/