Master of Applied Science in Computer Software Engineering and Embedded Systems Husband and Father of 2 Boys
DOING IT RIGHT, NO MORE YO-YO DIETING
On December 8th 2010, I reached my goal weight. It took me a little over 6 months to lose 85 pounds at an average pace of 3 pounds lost per week..
Unfortunately this wasn't my first weight loss journey. I struggled with my weight all through my childhood.
I lost 100 pounds in high school and again after completing my engineering bachelor's degree. Different factors and life changes contributed to me gaining the weight back both times.
The arrival of my first son was a turning point for me, I decided to do it one more time once and for all. I had just completed my Master's degree in computer software engineering and I decided that I needed to arm myself with some knowledge. I read countless research articles on the subject of long term weight loss and the reasons why people struggle so much with it. I also read a book called "The Hacker's Diet" by John Walker. In the book he describes how he fought his weight issues by approaching it as an engineering problem. I basically came to the conclusion that in theory, the solution was simple. To lose weight, you just need to burn off more calories than you consume on a regular basis.
So if the theory is simple, why is it so difficult to lose weight?
FEEDBACK IS THE KEY
There are various reasons why people struggle with weight loss. For me, closing the feedback loop by quantifying the calories ingested vs the calories burned was the key.
In engineering, feedback loops are used to help stabilize all kinds of systems. In my opinion, feedback is also very important for weight loss and longterm maintenance.
Knowing the amount calories you're eating as well as how many you're burning each day helps determine your caloric deficit. How much weight you will loose or gain depends on this deficit in the long term.
This is one of the main reasons why so many experts recommend a food diary. Often times, you think you have a good idea of the amount of calories in vs out but after logging your food intake you realize that you were in denial.
There are 3500 calories in one pound of fat, so over time, everything that you eat does add up.
Dailyburn.com was my food tracker of choice during my weight loss and initial maintenance phase and I used it religiously. Dailyburn took care of knowing how many calories were going into my body.
In order to complete the feedback loop, I also needed to know how many calories I was burning each day. I used an online calculator to estimate the amount of calories I was burning from normal daily activities. Then I found the magic link that was missing to fully complete the feedback loop.
HEART RATE MONITOR, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL OF MY LIFE?
I started doing about an hour of cardio a day and tracking my heart rate and caloric burn using a Polar F6 watch. An amazing thing then happened. The theory was working! I created a daily caloric deficit of 1500 calories a day by burning 1000 calories a day via exercise and eating 500 calories less than my base metabolic rate. This led to an average weigth loss of 3 pounds per week.
I was excited to see that when I put the theory in practice that it was actually working.
It wasn't easy but I sustained this for 6 months and achieved my weight loss goal.
EASY PART OVER, NOW THE REAL WORK BEGINS
Having done it twice before, I wasn't naïve enough to think that the battle was over and that I was cured forever. From past experience, I learned that if you let your guard down, it's very easy to let the weight creep back on one pound at a time and before you realize it, you're back where you started.
It's now been over 5 years and I'm very proud to say that I've been able to maintain the weight loss with very minor fluctuations.
The secret for me has been being self aware as well as having the right tools on hand.
I have been using MyFitnessPal to track my calories when I feel the bad habits creeping in. It really helps to realign myself when I start to go adrift.
Over the years, I've tried various methods for tracking my burned calories and my favourite has been with my iPhone and a bluetooth heart rate monitor.
FINALLY, BACK TO MOTIFIT
One day, I got inspired and started playing around with various concepts for displaying your workout intensity by using different kinds of gauges.
After creating the intensity halo and testing it out during a workout, I knew I had a winner. It was much more fun to have the visual feedback of the halo than the simple heart rate number.
Around that time, Apple announced the release of the Apple Watch and I just thought that working out with the intensity halo on Apple Watch would be amazing.
Many hours of coding and test workouts later, MotiFIT was released in the App Store and people love working out with it as much as I do.
I then decided it would be great to bring the intensity halo to more people by creating an App for runners and use it to display their running pace and speed.
There you have it, the short history behind how and why MotiFIT was created.