My name is Chris. I am 40 years old. I am 5’9 1/2″ and weigh 174 pounds. I walked 9,048 steps and have consumed 1,406 calories today (so far).

Why am I telling you all this?  This is my first entry in what (I hope) will be a year long experiment with self-measurement.   I’m calling it My Year of Data.  The plan is to record and publish as much of my “daily data” as I can.  This includes things I do, foods I eat, how I feel, and almost anything else I can think of.   I’ve created the blog to document my experience and progress.

I came up with the idea recently when I realized that right now I am heavier than I have ever been in my life.  Not by alot, mind you.   Roughly, I have gained about 1 pound per year for about the last  15 years.   For those of you who know me, I dont think you would call me overweight.  But if you go to your favorite BMI calculator, and enter in my stats above I have a BMI of 25.3, which officially classifies as overweight.

What I also realized is that in previous attempts to lose weight, I have been most successful when I keep a log of my weight daily.  By knowing that I was going to have a weigh-in every day, it made me conscious – every day – of what I ate, since I did not want a bad measurement the next morning.   Similarly, if I tracked my exercise patterns, it made me want to exercise more.

In other words, for me there is kind of a Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle of health.  The fact that I was measuring my behavior would change the behavior itself.

Additionally, the more public I am with my efforts, the more successful they are.  If I declare to my wife on Sunday “I plan to eat really healthy this week!”, then I am more likely to follow through.  The public declaration of an intent makes it harder to blow it off.

So, putting it all together, and I figured I would go to the next logical extreme via a grand experiment.  I plan to collect, analyze, and share as much data about myself as possible, for a one year period.  I will open source the data, making it public in case anyone else wants to analyze it.   I’ll try to set goals and document my progress towards them.   You dont get more public with your goals than putting them on a blog!

Part of the fun for me will be the data (I am a statistician after all).   I’m hoping there will be interesting trends to find and things to learn about myself – and maybe more generally about health.  There are lots of gadgets out there that will help me collect and track data, and I look forward to trying some of them out.  I hope those of you reading this will contribute with ideas and feedback.

There will be more to come in the days and weeks ahead.  I plan to take the next few weeks to sort out how this is all going to work, choose my devices, my websites, my data formats, and do a little research.   I’ll share that info on this blog.   The official start will be on 12/14/11, my 41st birthday, and last for a year.

Welcome to my experiment!!

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