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HypeCheck(in) – Week 1 with weight loss tools

GroanEditors note: This post is a day late due to the snow.

I have to say, I had some pretty lofty expectations about the tools I had selected when starting this program. I chose them because the tech press singled them out as being outstanding in their respective categories. Turns out my real-world experience was a mixed bag. To recap, last week I discussed my plan to finally try to lose weight and selected the Microsoft Band, The Withings Smart Body Analyzer, and The MyFitnessPal Pro app to help gather data and monitor my progress along the way. Before I give my impressions of the benefits of these devices, let’s get the accountabilities out of the way.

Week 1 Progress Report
Beginning weight: 223 lbs
After week 1: 220.7 lbs
Net Result: -2.3 lbs

Beginning BMI: 30%
After week 1: 30%
Net Result: Even

Beginning Fat Mass: 29.8%
After week 1: 30.1%
Net Result: +0.3%

Overall I didn’t have the greatest week eating-wise, but I did manage to stick to my exercise plan. (For those who are wondering, I’m using the weight/cardio combo plan from this book). Using the devices added a certain amount of help and difficulty to the process, so I’m going to make some adjustments. I’ll go device by device. Read More…

The pharma implications of the FDA’s policy on low risk devices


On January 19th, the FDA released draft guidance about wearables dated January 20th, proving not only do they have access to a time machine, but they are totally willing to rub our noses in it. The document, which you can download here, relates to the FDA’s policy on what it deems as “low risk devices,” i.e., wearables.

Low risk devices, by the FDA’s definition, are those that, “involve claims about sustaining or offering general improvement to conditions and functions associated with a general state of health that do not make any reference to diseases or conditions.” And, more specifically, a general wellness device has,

1)  intended uses to promote, track, and/or encourage choice(s), which, as part of a healthy lifestyle, may help to reduce the risk of certain chronic diseases or conditions; and,

2)  intended uses to promote, track, and/or encourage choice(s) which, as part of a healthy lifestyle, may help living well with certain chronic diseases or conditions.

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Can technology help you lose weight?


I’m fat.

This is not a new revelation, nor one that I’m just coming to realize, but it needs to be written none the less. I’ve had an up and down battle with my weight for about 15 years now and given that I’m about to turn 42, it’s high time to do something about it.

It wasn’t always this way for me as I’ve always been active and athletic. I made the varsity swim team in 7th grade and at the time (which may still be the case), I was the only student to graduate having lettered 6 times in the same sport. I made my division 2 lacrosse team as a walk on in college. When I transferred to art school I was an avid mountain biker and would often ride the 15 or so miles up or around Mohonk mountain from my apartment in Rosendale NY to my college in New Paltz. I was lean and fit. I could eat anything I wanted and I couldn’t possibly tell you how much I weighed. It never mattered.

Then I graduated, moved to NYC, and my life became more sedentary. I went to the gym 3 days a week (off and on) but slowly gained weight. the problem I later realized, was that I never learned how to eat correctly. I would eat healthy foods, but most always too much. My eating habits were formed by that 18-28 year old guy who burned enormous calories riding his bike, but my eating patterns maintained even after the exercise routines waned. The problem only got worse after I got married and kids came along, as I had almost no time to work out.

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Everything wrong with health tech reporting in one article

Before I delve into this rant, let me start by saying that Business Insider isn’t exactly the Economist of technology reporting. I’d equate it more to a poor man’s HuffPo, but the format of their SEO-optimized clickbait articles (or listicles in this case) means that they permeate the web at a high volume. Good for their ad rates, natch, but bad for informing the public at large in any meaningful way.

I write this because these types of articles shape the opinions of a large number of people who don’t otherwise understand that most of the coverage is superfluous fluff with no real substance. The problem seems to be particularly acute in healthcare technology reporting because, in my opinion, the people writing these stories aren’t even remotely qualified on the subject matter.

Case in point: This article on “9 Ways Google Is Changing The World” Google does do an excellent job self-promoting, but most of their announcements are vaporware that the tech media gobbles up like candy. BI bit hard on these announcements time and time again and covers them like they are real. To be fair, they’re not the only ones guilty of this, but I’ll detail a few examples to show you what I mean.

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