Logging and Charting My Weight Loss with Siri Shortcuts

June 20, 2020

I needed a better way to track my fitness progress

After gyms shut down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided to buy a Peloton bike to try to maintain progress on my weight loss goals for this year. The results have been surprising and exciting. My weight and consistent, meaningful exercise are both things that I have struggled with most of my life. It was really only last year that I began consistently making it to the gym for an early morning spin class. When it was closed, I knew I wouldn't be as effective without that kind of experience.

But this isn't a review of why I chose Peloton. I bring it up because one thing that I've really appreciated from the Peloton experience is something that's become part of my fitness routine: fitness tracking & measuring everything. I really enjoy seeing my fitness numbers improve week after week, month after month on the bike. However, even before getting the bike I had started logging a basic set of body measurements. I started this list last year when I began intermittent fasting 5 days per week, desperate to see any positive change. Here's what I'm tracking:

  1. Weight
  2. Bust
  3. Chest
  4. Waist
  5. Hips
  6. Thigh
  7. Calves
  8. Bicep
  9. Forearm

After a couple weeks of typing it out into Day One, I quickly made a basic Siri Shortcut to make it quicker.

However, earlier this year I began to realize that the numbers weren't as helpful as they could be. Each week would require me to go compare it to the last week's number. Helpful, but what if I could generate visual charts that showed trends?

Generating Charts

This is where things got difficult, but I'm really happy with the result. I've built a Shortcut that:

  1. Logs this week's body measurements into Data Jar (I do mine on Sunday, a natural end to one week and beginning to a new one)
  2. Grabs the last month's worth of data sets from Data Jar
  3. Creates 3 charts to log into Day One

The links to this Shortcut and it's helper Shortcuts are at the end of this post, but first a few explanations on how things work.

Shortcut Prerequisites

Before installing these Shortcuts you should have:
1. Run a Siri Shortcut before. Open the app, grab something from the gallery and just run it. Lots of good stuff in there.
2. Installed the Data Jar app and paid for the premium features (I believe it was ~$3)
3. Installed the Charty app and paid for the premium features (also around $3, if memory serves)

Data Jar: Data Jar is a Shortcut utility app that lets you set up simple databases and then use that data across Shortcuts.

Charty: Charty is a Shortcut utility that generates charts from data sets that you feed it.

Installing the Shortcuts

After completing the above steps, you can install these 3 Shortcuts (note that you must be on iOS):
Body Measurements: https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/314f94a10f9749dca98a8d184f6f85ef

This is the Shortcut that you're going to run every week. It uses the next 2 Shortcuts to do some more specific tasks.

Get Previous Sunday: https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/a91ec69145af4bbab470a86e1e569182

This Shortcut simply grabs the date for the Sunday at the beginning of the current week. You'd think this should be easy, but it actually involves a few extra steps that were cluttering the Body Measurements Shortcut, so I made it its own. This is particularly important for testing the Shortcut if it's not Sunday, or you're interested in doing a mid-week log (it won't generate charts for the midweek dates, it currently only works on Sunday).

Log Body Measurements: https://www.icloud.com/shortcuts/52aca2b2b5cf465fa9bed1f6227b1ebe

I also broke out the actual logging of data points into Data Jar into a separate Shortcut because it's also quite a long process.

Conclusion

This is easily the longest Shortcut I've built, but has also been incredibly helpful and motivating in my fitness journey. I hope it is in yours as well.

Questions or comments on this post? Find me on Twitter @Crowther223!