Like Kyle, I did not realize I was somewhat of a QSer until I read the Whitson and Boesel articles.
I use the app MyFitnessPal to track what I eat each day in order to count my macronutrients. I am not trying to lose weight, I am just into fitness. I enter all the foods I eat and the app counts how many carbohydrates, fats, and grams of protein I eat.
My current personal goal is to have 45% of my food be carbs, 25% be fat, and 30% be protein. These are basically my “rules.” The images below show one of my good days compared to a bad day.
If I didn’t track my food consumption, I probably wouldn’t be able to accurately account for all the snacks and portion sizes I eat every day. This app on my smartphone makes paying attention to what I eat easier, and almost actually fun. The app counts my steps and I also log my workouts in terms of calories burned, which causes me to have to consume more calories. I am not motivated by losing pounds like other people, rather, I am somewhat obsessed with making close to perfect pie charts. Eating healthy has been made more enjoyable while using this app, so a form of gamification may be occurring every time I enter my mealtime data.
Whitson claims that gamification is a form of surveillance and that this surveillance is pleasurable. I do not share my data with anyone, and even if other users followed my MyFitnessPal account they cannot see what I have eaten, but they can see if I was under my calorie goal, if I worked out, and how many days I have logged in a row. I agree with Whitson that it is satisfying for me to have people to see that I have been consistently logging my data, and I wouldn’t want people to see that I failed to achieve my goal for the day. In terms of Big Data, I don’t really know what MyFitnessPal could do with my data except track the brands of foods I eat or restaurants I go to target advertisements to me. However, the app currently does not advertise.
It is really amazing to me to see how drastically my pie charts can shift when I eat an entire sleeve of Girl Scout cookies (a moment of weakness) compared to the ideal serving size of 2-3 cookies. Sometimes I lie to MyFitnessPal and say I had just a single serving when I actually had multiple. Neglecting to include accurate amounts of what I’ve eaten makes it look like my goals have been met for the day when they actually were not. In the end this only hurts me and what I am trying to achieve for myself in the long run. As Whitson says, sometimes people cheat the rules when they play games, and I have been guilty of this while entering my meal data. I don’t do this often though, and I enjoy using MyFitnessPal to track my macros.