Beeminder ♥ Fitbit

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
By Andy Brett

Fitbee!

By popular demand, we’ve now added Fitbit to our growing list of integrations. We’ve had a lot of people ask for this integration, and even a few who have already started automatically sending their Fitbit data to Beeminder with our API (thanks especially to Reto Stamm who helped push us along in getting this officially integrated).

You can choose among five different Fitbit data sets to track: Weight [1], Body fat percentage [2], Steps, Hours Slept, and Active Score [3]. We’ll be adding more datasets to this list soon, so if you have one that you want to see added, let us know in the comments. (UPDATE: we added stairs/floors too. Another UPDATE: and a bunch of other things.)

“Your Beeminder graph will update automatically.”

After you choose the Fitbit data set, Beeminder will go fetch all of your historical data (this can take a few minutes if you have a lot!). Your Yellow Brick Road starts today, so just keep using your Fitbit like you normally do and your Beeminder graph will update automatically.

The first time you set up a Fitbit goal, you’ll be prompted to allow Beeminder to access your Fitbit data; this is a one-time step. You can create a Fitbit-linked goal by selecting “Fitbit” from the drop down when you set up a goal, or create one now:

Create a Fitbit Goal

Footnotes

[1] If you have the new Fitbit Aria scale. Our favorite of course is still Withings though! And not just because that was an affiliate link. Team Beeminder has been using a Withings scale for years and it’s rock solid and still going strong.

[2] See our post on tracking weight for an explanation of why we don’t think it’s a great idea to use a commitment contract to track body fat percentage.

[3] Active Score can be thought of as your total calorie expenditure, normalized by your BMR, as estimated from your height, weight, age, and sex. [UPDATE: Fitbit got rid of Active Score. We now have a bunch of other metrics like net calories you can use instead.]

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  • Justyn

    This is great.

    Do you have plans to integrate with any service that tracks food, like MyFitnessPal? MFP has an API but it’s not available to the public.

    Calorie tracking with Beeminder seems like a match made in heaven. Particularly one like MFP which incorporates both calories consumed and expended.

  • Apneet Jolly

    How about stairs? Some of the fitbits provide this data… :)

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves

    Great idea! Maybe MyFitnessPal should be next. Or LoseIt, maybe?

    I’m currently tracking servings of junk food where I use the Beeminder widget on Android with a default value of 1, so every time I eat a cookie or something I just click the widget and click “add” (optionally typing “cookie” or whatever in the comments) and it’s entered. http://beeminder.com/d/sugar

    For me that’s better than learning some other app’s interface, but of course if you’re already using that other app then it’s the opposite — you don’t want to have to also tell Beeminder something you already told MFP or LoseIt!

    Thanks so much for this suggestion, Justyn!

  • Justyn

    I think the biggest benefit of tracking food with MyFitnessPal is its huge database of nutritional info, including a barcode scanner.

    This must be an area where YMMV, but at least for me (in the UK) almost everything I buy from the supermarket is already in the database with precise nutritional details; I just scan the barcode and it’s added. If I’m eating at a restaurant I might add a more generic option (ie Hawaiian Pizza).

    Amongst other things, having a nutritional target (it needn’t be calories – maybe a minimum amount of protein) helps you adjust your eating later in the day/week accordingly. You can easily see if you can afford a tastier dessert, for example.

    And because it adds in calories burnt through exercise to your target, you can effectively “earn” extra calories to spend on food.

    MFP seems to be very popular, and people who use it regularly are clearly pretty serious about staying on top of their eating, so I reckon they represent millions of potential Beeminder users.

    Here is a recent Techcrunch article noting that MFP has 2 million items in its food database, and apparently 30 million registered users (doesn’t say how many are active):
    http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/16/myfitnesspal-api/

    I don’t know anything about LoseIt but if it has the same kind of functionality as MyFitnessPal I would probably be happy to use whichever had Beeminder integration!

  • David

    MyFitnessPal and LoseIt are similar; I’ve never done a good side by side, but the reading I’ve done has favoured MFP, a bit. I think you’re going to have a big decision to make about how many interfaces you can program – building everything will be expensive (but, FitBit stairs!) – but one way to go might be to position BeeMinder as one of the key aggregation sites of a lot of the quant self data. Good luck.

  • David

    Yeah, stairs. What about stairs?

  • gwillen

    I would like to see Beeminder be able to track ‘time went to sleep’ / ‘time woke up’ using the fitbit sleep data.

  • David

    Stairs?

  • John Smith

    Please integrate hours in bed time. I believe in setting goals within my locus of control. I can’t determine the hours I will sleep but I can determine how long I’m in bed. Plus the I don’t believe the Hours Slept is accurate because it’s based on movement.

    Zeo does a much better job of determining this so please can you give this greater priority. In the meantime hours in bed please.

  • David

    Thanks guys! So great to see that Stairs is done!

  • http://beeminder.com Daniel Reeves
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  • Aurora

    Please add in the option of picking up “total time asleep” for each day from Fitbit. At present it takes only one sleep period. So if I sleep in more than one session or take naps that I’d like counted, there’s no way of tracking this except by manually adding time to chart.

  • http://henrystanley.com Henry Stanley

    Nthing MyFitnessPal support. It has the calorie-tracking thing down with its excellent built-in food product database; having the crack of Beeminder’s whip would be a perfect addition.

  • Justyn

    Another Techcrunch article, MyFitnessPal is doing rather well:
    http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/11/myfitnesspal-funding/

    Still looking forward to Beeminder integration, it will be amazing :-)