Weighing in on the New Year’s Resolution

New Year resolutions abound and I am not above it to admit that I have made a few of my own. In fact, I actually look forward to this time of year as it gives me enough time to think through new things that I want to do in life, that I have not done – and then well – DO it.

ChristMktIt was the year before our 1st child was born and my wife and I were spending the Christmas holiday in southern Germany and Austria –Specifically to experience the Cristkindl markets in Munich and Vienna. On the way back from Vienna we stopped for a few nights in Salzburg to catch some concerts (Mozart, of course) and just experience all that the town had to offer.

On our last night in Salzburg, we visited the Augustiner Brewery – that to that point in my life made some of the best beer I had ever tasted. Add to this that a larger than life man in lederhosen poured my fresh draft Bock beer from a barrel into a giant (think a Liter) ceramic mug – Matched with salted black radish and I was in heaven.

When I got back home, I missed that experience and thought – Why can we not get that beer, that experience back home. I then decided – Hey, let’s make it a goal to learn how to make my own beer (not the Mr. Beer stuff either) that year. And I did. Taking it far enough where I built my own temperature controlled fermenter, kegging system and draft system.

This challenge then expanded into my own set of resolutions for each year (not just Beer) to have 3 new things that I might believe ‘difficult’ to achieve and start (or accomplish) them that year. While my brewing days are put on hold (having kids does that to you) I have added 3 more for this year.  The one for this discussion is losing weight. – Original, yes?

Run2As you get older – it just takes sooo much more work to keep from turning into a total blob. Last year one of my resolutions was to run a half marathondid it – I actually run religiously now and have at least 3 half marathons on the calendar this year – yet the love handles are not going away.. in fact they are growing… We had to add this resolution for 2013. Get in shape and lose weight.

So if any of you know me, I love tech… I bleed tech and being in the big data and analytics business, I love sensor data. Reading one of the endless fluff Men’s Fitness magazines I picked up for ‘support’, I ran across an article about one of the latest scale systems from Withings.

This thing takes not just your weight, but your body fat %, your heart rate, ambient temperature and air quality – pretty cool. But what really caught my eye was the fact that this bad boy was WiFi and Bluetooth enabled – sending and tracking every weigh-in to my mobile devices. Pretty cool. I was sold.

Fast forward to today – With about a week under my belt (no pun intended) with this system, I’ve run into a few glitches – specifically with the app and synching the scale with the wireless. With that being said – what is actually remarkable about this product is that because it does the tracking for me – I am not able to escape the constant fear of putting ‘on’ weight – and thus I am more cognizant of taking time to work out, to eat better and eat less.

withingsAppOnly time will tell how effective this is, but I will admit that using sensor data here to remove the tediousness of physically recording data, and then immediately graphing it for view, enhances and supports my goal to lose weight and get in shape.

I’ll report back in on this (and other devices) in this realm – but all I can say is that it is a very cool time to be in the business of big data. While my days at work might be longer – the time I spend getting in shape is being augmented with big data and analytics.

From making beer to losing weight – who would have ever seen that correlation?

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