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Beginners Guide to Self Tracking to Manage Your Health and Wellbeing

Welcome to TrackMyStack, our platform provides the most comprehensive way for you to manage your health safely to help you reach a better outcome.

Please watch the videos below to help you get started. The guide is broken into 5 critical steps.

  1. Creating A Stack
  2. Tweaking Your Stack as needed
  3. Changing Stack Settings as needed
  4. Creating A Check-In Post to your Health Journal
  5. A List of all other Tools available for you to improve your health

 

One Overall Introduction Video or Watch Each Step Below

 

Step 1. Before you do anything, Create a Stack.

A stack, in this case, can be seen as a ‘folder’ or a ‘regimen’. The reason we allow you to create multiple stacks is that many people have different regimens for different goals. E.g. Many users create 1 stack for their entire health to make tracking easier. This is what we recommend for most users.

However, some advanced users want to manage health symptoms in one stack and make another stack to address health goals to address issues like sleep or anxiety. Watch the video below to see how to create your first stack.

Objective: To Create a basic regimen. Start by naming your regimen, then enter your purpose, after that add your supplements and medication with dosages. All these details can be deleted or changed later. This is just a basic list to help you get started, you may tweak and set reminders later.

To create your first stack, click here.

 

Step 2. Modify Your Supplements & Drugs in the Stack, as Needed

Once you are done making your stack via the wizard, you should be on your stack page. If not, click here to see a list of all your stacks. Click your stack to see the stack page.

This page is useful for tweaking and editing dosage and quantity levels, along with:

  • ADD or DELETE Supplements & Medicine that you may not have added initially
  • ADD SYMPTOMS or SIDE EFFECTS associated with any specific Supplements or Drugs
  • ADD OR REMOVE Dosages for Supplements or Drugs
  • SET OR REMOVE ADHERENCE and REFILL REMINDERS for SPECIFIC Supplements or Drugs
  • SET REASONS FOR CONSUMING Supplements or Drugs as a personal reminder
  • MARK Supplements and Drugs as TAKEN

You can see how all of this is done below (Keep in mind the interface now may be a bit different than when the video was recorded)

This page has some useful hints that are triggered by our algorithms to automatically alert you on:

  • Dosage quantity being over/under RDA set by health professionals or governments
  • Negative & Positive Interactions between Supplements and Drugs
  • Overall Potential Effects from taking the supplements in your stack regimen.

Keep in mind this list is by no means comprehensive and you must consult a certified health professional to confirm the safety and effectiveness of your stack. No statements made by our platform is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

 

Step 3. Modify Overall Stack Settings, as Needed

By Now, you have created a stack in Step 1.

In Step 2, you have added or removed supplements and medicine as needed. You may have even set specific adherence and refill reminders. You could have also added specific effects, descriptions, and dosage quantity for specific Supplements and Drugs for this stack.

For Step 3. It is time to visit the ‘My Stacks & Reports Page‘. On this page you may do any of the following:

  • Make Your Stack Private (if need be). This will hide it from the public and is as beneficial as DELETING your stack.
    • We do not allow users to DELETE stacks, but only to archive it for now, you may do so by adding an ‘END DATE’ upon clicking ‘Stack Settings’.
    • You are free to create as many stacks as you like.
  • You may Set overall Stack-Adherence reminders, which are emails you get reminding you to ‘consume’ your stack at certain times of the day.
  • You can click through to see a Calendar-view of your Stack-Adherence by clicking ‘Calendar’.
  • You may click ‘Reports’ to see your check-in posts graphed which you will be creating in the next step.
  • You may edit your stack Description, the Start, and End Date and disable all reminders associated with each stack that may exist for specific Supplements and Drugs.

This is what clicking on ‘Stack Settings’ provides, it has most of the settings listed above:

 

 

Step 4. Creating Check-in Posts that are Posted to your Journal

Most users that create a stack want to track their health day-to-day. This helps in the long run as each check-in adds an input to your health report, which you can view in graphs or print to share with your care provider.

These journals can be used to determine any triggers for flare-ups you may have and to help you to continue optimizing your health to reach your goals quicker.

To ‘Make a Check-in’ post you can click here, or you make click the following card from your dashboard after logging in.

This screen will help you:

  • Record any oncoming Symptoms & triggers
  • Record your Food & Drink Consumption daily with macronutrients
  • Record your Physical activity
  • Record your adherence to the Supplements & Drugs you added above, or add a ‘one-time’ supplement you may have taken
  • Record one of many Personal Metrics such as: Sleep hours, Blood Pressure, Anxiety, Mood, Pain, etc.
    • Add your own Custom Field that you may want to track such as: Hours you watched TV, hours you socialized, etc.

 

The check-in journaling screen looks like the image below:

 

Step 5. Monitor & Improve Your Health

There are many additional features in TrackMyStack to manage your health, such as:

  • Adding Caregivers to your stack, this can be a health professional or family that can see Private Stacks and your Check-ins to quickly get a glimpse of your health.
  • See All Reminders
    • My Reminders – Accessible from your dashboard, this will give you a preview of All Stack Reminders and Specific Supplement & Drug reminders within a stack that you may set.
    • Refill Reminders – Also accessible via your dashboard, this page provides you with a list of Supplements & Drugs that are either depleted. Refill reminders can also be set on a timely basis, such as every 30 days.
  • Past Check-in Posts card is visible from your dashboard, this page renders all your check-ins in one place.
  • Add/Remove Health Conditions Page – Accessible from the submenu upon logging in.
  • Add/Remove Symptoms Page – Accessible from the submenu upon logging in.
  • Similar Patients – Sometimes it helps to find others just like you to see what they are doing.
  • Stack Wizard – We use machine learning to help you figure out which supplements to take or which stack to replicate to begin your journey faster.
  • Health Reports by Goals – You may use Health Reports to see what has worked for others for things like Cognition, Building Muscle, etc.
  • Health Reports by Symptoms – You may use Health Reports to see what has worked for others for different Symptoms like Anxiety, Mood, Stress, etc.
  • Health Reports by Conditions – You may use Health Reports to see what has worked for others for different Conditions like ADHD, Alzheimer’s, etc.
  • Health Calculators – This page contains an Ovulation and Period Calculator, calculators for BMI, Nicotine replacement, BMR, Blood Pressure, etc.

 

 

Quick FAQ’s:

  1. Do I need to create a stack?
    • Please see step 1. You may leave a stack empty (without Supplements or Drugs) and can still write to your check-in journal.
  2. How do I delete a stack?
    • Please see step 3. It is not possible to delete a stack but just to hide it from the public, in which case it will still show up on your list, you can additionally delete all Supplements & Drugs within it as well. Keep in mind you can just let each stack stay behind and just create a new one as needed.
  3. How do I add Exercise or Sleep to my stack?
    • Please See Step 4. You may click the ‘Physical Activity’ tab and enter your details there.
  4. How do I remove a symptom or condition?
    • If you would like to remove it completely, see the link in step 5. Symptoms and Conditions are archived from this page. These pages are also available from the submenu.
  5. How do I disable all emails?
    • You need to go to the User Settings page from the top menu, click ‘My Profile’, then click ‘Update Email Settings’.
  6. How do I deactivate my account?
    • You need to go to the User Settings page from the top menu, click ‘My Profile’, then click ‘Update User Settings’. This does not cancel your subscription nor does it delete all your data, it is hidden and archived from the public. You may log in at a later time to reactive your account.
  7. Which supplements should I add to my stack?
    • You may browse through our supplement library here and select your goals from the left menu to see complete reviews and lists.
  8. Where do I see all the graphs of my check-in posts to see how I have been doing?
    • You may browse to the My Stacks & Reports page as mentioned in Step 3, and click the Reports button on the right-hand side.
  9. What are some specific use cases of TrackMyStack?

 

TrackMyStack is a health and wellness platform for managing personal health regimens. We help improve outcomes with reminders, journals, reports and by connecting you to similar users. If you haven’t done so already, you can sign up here.

 

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us.

What is a Health Stack and Why You Need One

What is Health?

In Body By Science, Dr. Doug McGuff defines Health as “A physiological state in which there is an absence of disease or pathology and that maintains the necessary biology between the catabolic and anabolic states.

 

What is a Stack?

Livestrong.com defines Stack as “…a group of supplements used to enhance performance. Stacks feature products with different intended purposes that work together to enhance energy, endurance, and recovery…

 

What is a Health Stack?

TrackMyStack extends the definition of stack to mean more than just supplements and also incorporates food, exercise, and activities into a stack. More on activities coming up shortly. A Health Stack is a set of foods, exercises, supplements, medications, and activities when combined result in a positive physiological adaptation.

The different elements of a stack can fall into the category of anabolic or catabolic functions. For example, foods such as fruits have an anabolic effect on the body and apple cider vinegar has a catabolic effect. While considering a myriad of biological nuances, in essence, exercises can be divided into catabolic and anabolic actions. Resistance training primes the body to build (anabolic) and endurance training require the body to break down (catabolic) energy storages. Supplements can be distinguished similarly: creatine for anabolic and acetyl-l-carnitine for catabolic, as examples.

With the understanding of how elements that are anabolic and/or catabolic add to an individual’s health, it is important to consider any activity which spurs a biological change to be part of the individual’s Health Stack. Activities such as meditation, sleep, infrared saunas have a biological impact. There have been increasing trends in health and biotechnology. 

These new trends are called Biohacking. Dave Asprey the creator of Bulletproof Coffee and pioneer of biohacking calls biohacking as:

“To use science, biology, self experimentation to take control of and upgrade your body, your mind, and your life.”

TrackMyStack gives users the tools to input various activities regarding health and the ability to track those activities.

 

Adding Exercises & Activities to your Health Stack

 

Adding Food & Drinks to Your Health Stack

 

 

 

 

 

 

Avoiding “Recall Bias”

You are bound to make a mistake trying to remember the various components of your health regimen. Even if you hack your memory to remember all aspects of your health stack, you will not be to interconnect the different elements.

Side note: I know a memory hacker reading the last line is going to say “challenge accepted” and I say “may the force be with you!”.

For the rest of us, the Health Journal in TMS will serve as a snapshot of all your daily activities. Data from ‘Check-In’ posts in your Health Journal will help you plan, organize, interconnect and cross-examine your Health Stacks.

 

How to create a Check-In post:

  1. Hover mouse over ‘Health Journal’ on the main menu bar on top of the page.
  2. Select ‘Make A Check-In Post.’
  3. Pick a particular Health Stack from the dropdown under ‘Related To’.
  4. Toggle supplements to ‘No’ or ‘Yes’ (Tip: If you are checking ‘NO’ to fewer items, it might be helpful to ‘Toggle All’ to yes. Then, toggle ‘No’ to individual items that you did not take).

You may see all of it in the video below:

 

Food & Nutrition as it Relates to Supplement in-take.

Food and nutrition will serve as the foundation of your health. Dietary intake should be optimized to proved the macronutrient *requirement* of an individual. Tracking food intake will provide a judgment on what to supplement.

For example, if you supplement creatine as a nootropic, it is recommended to be taken along with carbohydrates. If you use honey as the carbohydrate source and you have eaten rice or had other carbs, then you can skip out on honey.

Tracking your food intake will allow you to calibrate your supplement regimen more precisely, if you realize that the food you ate one day mostly consisted of meats, you may want to supplement Vitamin K. Alternatively, if you feel like you are starting to get dry eyes and flaky skin, it could help if you take Vitamin A — one time or on an as-needed basis.

 

 

Your Daily Values or ‘Quantified Self”

This section is used to track anything that matters to you! It could be the number of stairs you climbed in a day, the number of people you spoke to, or essentially any metric you deem important for you to track.  We provide pre-set values that we deem important as well. Evaluating your energy, focus, memory, mood, pain: These factors provide the core understanding of your subjective effects.

 

Exercise & Physical Activity

Enter in exercise for the particular day to go along with your health stack. Tracking physical activity is beneficial because exercise makes an impact on our biology. Exercise is beneficial however it is important to keep in mind that physical activity will have an impact on other elements of your stack….

For example, one of the benefits of exercise is the hormetic ramp up in anti-inflammatory pathways.

In simpler terms, your body will strengthen its stress reduction pathways (anti-inflammatory pathways), when it recovers from the stress brought on by exercise. To complement this biological nuance, you can skip taking antioxidants after your exercise, antioxidants such as Vitamin C, N-Acetyl-Cysteine. Doing so your supplement stack will not interfere with your body’s recovery, with respect to strengthening anti-inflammatory pathways. (reference)

 

Putting it All Together

If your health stack has multiple elements and multiple items within each element then standardize your experience by creating a routine and stick to it until you have gotten desired effects.

You can standardize your experience by optimizing the timing of each element. The timing of each element should allow them to complement each other’s effects. Next, select a duration of the experience, example: 30 days. During this period make appropriate ‘check-ins’ and record the daily values. Also, create custom value(s) to facilitate standardization.

Objective measures will aid your experience in understanding your health stack. Objective measures are blood work, inflammation markers, cognitive assessment tests (ex: dual-n-back) and more. Daily values and objective measures will give you an understanding of how your health stack is stacking up in regards to your goals. You will become aware of the impact of your health stack.

 

Chart visualizing a User’s Adherence Rate over time

Figuring Out What Worked

Singling out an item’s efficacy will challenging but possible. First, standardize your experience. Once, you are able to replicate the same result for a health stack then you can adjust a single item.

Tinkering with a particular item will help you gauge how much of a bottleneck that item is to your goals. For example, increasing or decreasing your sleep volume and recording daily values throughout a given duration, ideally 10 days. First few days will be an adjustment period and then a week to decide if the increase/decrease in sleep volume is affecting your health goals.

This could help you optimize the amount of sleep. Similar can be done for supplements. Make sure you can replicate desired effects from a supplement stack multiple times, then it will be easy to adjust the dosage of a particular supplement and record daily values. Also, in the situation of switching brands of a particular supplement, you can follow the above scenario to determine if the new brand has similar quality. Utilize objective measures to further aid your awareness in the changes in your health stack.

Plan. Plan out your weekly supplements according to recommended time to be taken. Other elements of your stack will need to be planned out to fit your supplement timing. For instance, setting a bedtime to 4 hours after taking Vitamin B6.

Once a good routine is figured out then the effects of each element should provide synergistic effects.

Organize. When your supplements will be taken. Standardized everything, and track what you want to change. It is rather overwhelming to figure out exactly what to track. To overcome the daunting tasks, organize the elements of your health stack to track what you want to change. When you gain adequate flexibility in making changes to your health stack and become aware of the effects of the changes. You will have built a holistic understanding of your health  stack.

Interconnect. Most of us have many moving parts on any given day. This holistic approach should be continuously optimized, one might tinker with one specific element of a stack or get even more granular with an element and determine its outcome.

How To: Track If Your Supplement (Stack) Works or Not!

Many people have written in asking for more detailed instructions on how to determine if a stack or a single supplement they are taking is actually working or not. The guide below will demonstrate how to how record your progress when your stack consists of just one supplement initially. It will also show you how to meaningfully record your results if you decide to try another supplement for the same goal. We have written a previous guide on how to setup a stack to track your conditions and symptoms here.

Step 1 – Click Create Stack

Lets start by creating your first stack, once you have signed up, you can click “Create New Stack” from any page. Click any of the screenshots to enlarge them if you need to.

 

Step 2 – Name it to differentiate it from other Stacks

Start by entering all the required details for a stack, the first being what you want to call the stack and selecting the purpose, e.g. “Anxiety” and adding conditions if any.

 

Step 3 – Explain the reason behind the Stack

Continue ahead with your stack by adding a description. The reason for entering this information is to inform other users on the platform a bit more about your stack and potentially receiving feedback from others. A detailed reason not only helps you but others understand why the stack was made.

 

Step 4 – Add Elements by Typing or Clicking

On the final step, you can add one or many supplements, vitamins, minerals or drugs that you may want to track. For the sake of determining what works and what doesn’t for a new goal, we will start by adding just one supplement (Fish Oil) to our stack. We refer to all items that can be added to a stack as an element and elements can be searched from the search field, added via suggestions (based on goals) and by clicking the green button with the supplement name. Go ahead add your elements and click Continue.

 

Step 5 – Stack Page, Change Log & Notes Tab

Once you have followed the wizard and created your stack, you will be forwarded to your stack page. From this page you may modify and tweak your dosage, timings, and add or remove supplements at any time.

If any changes are made to your stack, it can be viewed by clicking on the “Change Log” tab at the top. If you would like to store notes of any kind without doing a journal entry, it can be done so from the “Notes” tab. The following screenshot shows the stack page, we will now show you how to record the efficacy of this supplement by journaling in step 6.

 

Step 6 – Journal Your Results

To start journaling for this stack/individual supplement, scroll down on the stack page and click “Add Post to Journal” or go here: https://trackmystack.com/logs/create


(1) Click Add Post to Journal to be taken to a page where you may add entries to your journal which is connected to individual stacks.

(2) Start by clicking “Yes” or “No” for the supplements you have taken for that day to record your adherence levels. Next add any comment you may want to add along with this individual journal entry.


(3) Next, optionally, you may click the “Daily Values” tab and quantify pre-set metrics or add your own. Here we opted to change our energy level, memory and mood based on anecdotal evidence of how we felt after supplementing fish oil which we are taking for relieving anxiety. Once we are done, we go ahead and click “Save Post” at the bottom of the page (in green).

 

Step 7 – View Your Post

You can now go ahead and see what your post looks like on your stack page. You will notice your metrics are listed and graphed, along with a table displaying your adherence levels. In the next step, we will go ahead and make a few more posts to show you how the journal may look after some time. To see a list of your past entries go here: https://trackmystack.com/logs/ the link to post a journal entry is also in the sub menu bar available when you are logged in.

 

Step 8 – Post and Review Your Results

You can see that after taking fish oil for a few days, our focus, memory and mood all start to improve anecdotally. We can also tweak and play around with dosage increases or decreases at the time. Keep in mind, if you are changing other lifestyle factors such as exercising more or sleeping more or less, all these factors can also be included in each post through the different tabs on the journal posting page as seen in step 6.

 

Step 9 – Tweaking Your Supplement (Stack) if results Fail

Let’s assume in the past example the user did not see any changes with Fish oil after consuming it for a while, how do they add or track another supplement? There is no need to create another stack (though you can create as many as you like). The screenshot below shows the proper way to add another supplement and/or removing an existing one from your stack.

(1) You can set the effectiveness to “Can’t Tell” to remind yourself why you stopped taking it.

(2) You can set a Start Date and a “End Date” to remind yourself when you started it and ended taking it.

(3) You can make any other note you wish and click “Update & Close” and see it recorded on the stack page like below:

 

 

Step 10 – Adding a New Supplement to Your Stack

In the final step we click the blue button that says “+ Add Element to Stack” to add another supplement we have decided to try. You are given many options in this dialog box to record, such as the brand you are taking, the dosage and frequency of the new element. You may also setup refill and adherence reminders (via email) for yourself at this step (or any time later).

Below we see the new element added to the stack page with all information we wrote in the previous step saved, along with the a info-tip alerting us that our dosage may not be effective enough. If you had added multiple supplements, our service would also alert you about any dangerous interactions along with supportive ones. This may not be fully comprehensive but provides a general guide.

As a final step, you can continue to journal and see your progress, but you can also click through to the “Change Log” tab (At the top of the page), to see how your stack was tweaked over the course of your journey to find the right supplement or track your medication history.

 

In Conclusion – Keep Track of Health Journey

Thus far, we have only shown you the absolute basic features on TrackMyStack, there are dozens of other features that you could find useful such as: advanced graphs (pro feature), the ability to track calories and nutrition. Adding a circle of care (family and caregivers) where your team can monitor your progress privately. If you need further help you can also contact us or read specific articles with videos such as this one for tracking vitamins, or this one for using TrackMystack as a health diary.  Good Luck!

Stack Advice for Supplements Stacks

There are many problems TrackMyStack has helped solve for its users. From simply helping users maintain and track the effectiveness of their supplement stack and its results for them to learning more about how supplements, otc and other medications have affected patients with various health goals and conditions. All of this for free as a way for people reach optimal health, combined with a healthy diet, sleeping and exercise plan (all of which we also help you track!)

The New Stacks Page (subdomain)
Starting today we will be putting a stronger emphasis on users getting feedback from patients, biohackers, or fitness buffs just like them! Having said this, we are officiating this by moving the entire stacks section of TMS to https://stackadvice.trackmystack.com — after all, the whole point of having your stacks posted publically is to get feedback from others or have others hold you accountable for your results!
Edit: Update your bookmarks to the subdomain above and if possible link to us from your blog if you find it interesting!

New Commenting System
Recently we also changed our commenting framework from a custom in-house commenting system to Disqus to make it easier for users to post comments to stacks or supplement pages.

New Stack Building System
For those that haven’t made a new stack in a while we have also gone ahead and added the ability to “Bulk Add” supplements or medications to your stack rather than adding them one at a time from the initial wizard or the actual stacks page, look for a button that says “+ Bulk Add” to get a stack built faster.

The idea of “Stack Advice” comes from the Reddit subreddit that was trying to solve the problem we are solving in a more structured way. Here is the official description:
Due to an overwhelming number of posts in /r/nootropics where people post their stacks and ask for advice on dosages, feedback, recommendations, etc, we have created a supplementary subreddit for requesting and giving personalised advice.
Consider this a friendly environment for stack advice, Nootropics recommendation, supplement information, and any question concerning Nootropics.

Initially the purpose of our site was to help the nootropics community manage their stacks but we have since allowed everyone to build a stack for whatever purpose they deem fit with more options than they can handle. If you still have suggestions on how we can improve TrackMyStack, feel free to leave a comment below. We have slowed down development as we do not want “feature creep”.

Feature creep, creeping featurism or featuritis is the ongoing expansion or addition of new features in a product, such as in computer software. These extra features go beyond the basic function of the product and can result in software bloat and over-complication rather than simple design.

Final Word on StackAdvice
I leave you with some very real stacks found on reddit’s /r/stackadvice

Nutrition Tracker

A Free Nutrition Tracker

TrackMyStack is slowly morphing in it’s abilities to track everything you may need to, to feel your optimal self. The newest feature we have been working on diligently is a nutrient tracker. Our platform will help you keep a log of your nutrition, and count your daily intake of calories, fat, protein and carbs. We intelligently plug into a database of food recipes/nutrition database so for many items of food you are not required to enter any values. Below is a breakdown of everything this nutrition software will help you do.

  1. Daily Nutrition Tracker – you can log as many entries as you need to daily, just enter a food and we do our best to guess what you are talking about and try to pre-populate the macronutrients. Soon we will allow you to mark each entry as “clean”, “gluten free”, “grass fed”, etc. as well.
  2. Track Vitamins – Along with tracking your macros, you have an additional detailed ability to record exactly which supplements and brands you are currently taking to determine and make sure you are reaching all RDA’s
  3. Free Nutrition Software – best of all, all of these features are available to you free of charge even with a basic account, however previewing graphs of food requires a Pro account.
  4. Discover Triggers – now you can cross reference your diet to your mood, medicine intake, symptoms, and pain. Additionally you can track your exercise, and symptoms, mood and sleep as well.

Nutrition Tracking App

See these screenshots below to see if our platform can be a good substitute for a traditional printable nutrition log. We will continue to add features and capabilities to really personalize everything as time goes on to be the best nutrition tracker out there. For now we demonstrate how to track your meals daily:

add nutrition to log
Step 1. Quickly enter any food item that you have consumed and want to log. This is the first step in recording your nutrition daily.

 

daily nutrition
Step 2. A list of most common entries will be provided where you may quickly choose one or continue to add your own original nutrient values.

 

macronutrient breakdown of eggs
Step 3. Once a food is selected, all nutritional values for that food are automatically presented to you, making tracking nutrition that much easier. You are free to edit and add weight, protein, sugar, calories, fat, and carbs.

 

Step 4. You may add multiple items in one journal check-in. In this example we added bacon and eggs. Any values at this point can not be edited but deleted only. As more users use our software we will build up a more comprehensive database of foods available to be tracked.

 

The Final Step. After your entries have been made and you have added the right calories and adjusted your totals, you can view it on your stack page. Additionally by the time you read this we should also have graphing capabilities where you can view your intake over time and find patterns that may emerge that may help you maintain a balanced diet.

More Than A Calorie Counter App

Counting your calories, and keeping a nutrition log online has many other benefits such as being able to log the entries from wherever you are via your phone. Proper nutrition tracking will help you either lose weight, eat healthy, or gain muscle, depending on your goal. The benefit of using our app over the countless others such as myfitnesspal for example is that health & wellness is a bit more than tracking your calories, the data that can be analyzed using the various other trackers we have truly gives you a complete picture of your health. Being able to see what other’s are doing for their health goal, viewing their reports, ability to see which supplements work and do not (backed by science), adding symptoms and conditions and the ability to set-up reminders (adherence notifications, caregiver notifications) are just a few of the countless things we do that other tracker can’t. The fact that we go above and beyond in what you can track but don’t explicitly require all the data is what we think makes us the best weight loss app or calorie calculator out there.

Getting Started with our Nutrition Tracker

To get started using our nutrient counter for free, you can create a stack here, it is free to signup and get started. If you have any other questions on how to track nutrition or any feature requests, feel free to contact us.

How to Use a Symptom Diary to Get Better

Symptom Diaries for Outpatient Care

 

symptom diary

Keeping a diary of your symptoms can help you diagnose your health issues quickly, it will help you determine triggers and provide a log as a reference. TrackMyStack is the perfect tool to track your health symptoms easily. If you want to know how to use the tracking features excluding journaling click here. If you would like to learn about why it is important to track your symptoms keep reading.

The symptom logs can be printed and used by your doctor to treat your condition more accurately by having quantifiable data. A corollary to that is that it is vital to track your symptoms as you experience them during the course of your day.

The Best Part…

TrackMyStack can be accessed via your mobile device or desktop at any time with access to the Internet, so you have no reason to carry around a diary at all times. This removes the risk of losing your diary or remembering to take it everywhere you go, as your phone will most likely always be with you.

 

The Use Case for Journaling

Let’s take the case of Jessica.

Jessica is a 35-year-old who has a bipolar disorder and migraine headaches. She constantly goes in for checkups and reports daily headaches that last for days at a time.

She says she has also “noticed” an increase in symptoms such as lethargy, and anxiety. At the same time, Jessica has been changing and trying different medications, supplements and eats out during lunchtime at different places all the time.

 

With these many variables in place stating “a bit”, “every now and then” is not enough, the more precise the data, the easier it will be to diagnose her problems.

When this information is presented to a doctor, the information sounds all too vague, is confusing and can be challenging to explain correctly. To your doctor making sense of your information is not only time consuming (as you are given 15 minutes per visit) but your information will contain many errors and biases (such as recall bias).

 

The Solution? Maintain a Symptom Diary

The solution for Jessica is to maintain a simple Symptoms Diary also known as patient logs. TrackMyStack has the tools available for anyone to track symptoms and daily activities (ODL’s) in a quick, organized manner that will help with your diagnosis.

Here are 6 benefits you will gain from keeping an online symptom journal:

 

Why does this matter? Here’s the Clear Benefits:

  1. Time Savings – Your physician can quickly scan through your online diary/print out in seconds accurately, as opposed to you verbally explaining everything.
  2. Cost Savings – With more accurate information, you are less likely to go through radiographic testing or other unnecessary lab tests.
  3. Identification of Triggers – Looking at the graph can easily show clear patterns of symptoms occurring linked to your activity for that day, it is easy for physicians or yourself to discover triggers.
  4. Graphs & Reports – Linked to #1 and #3 + they can be shared and gives you a quick overview of your health.
  5. Patient Engagement & Empowerment – Once you start tracking your health actively, you are likely to start making the necessary changes to get better. You will lessen your cognitive burden and may notice therapeutic benefit as well. Remember, what get’s measured, get’s improved.
  6. Personal Health Record – Record your activity and see how you are doing compared to others just like you on TrackMyStack. Keep your data with you at all times, and be in control of your health by maintaining your own records.

 

Use the Diary to Journal Everything!

The most common types of health diaries do one thing only; TrackMyStack is the only platform that helps you manage all or any of your symptoms in a single location. To begin click here.

This includes a sleep diary (to determine your, you guessed it, sleep patterns), mood diary which we write about here, a voiding diary (to measure fluid input/output), general symptoms (any symptoms such as IBS, fatigue, gas, cardiac symptoms, neurological), exercise diary, headache diary (helps with adjusting your abortive or prophylactic treatment), and a food diary (for lifestyle modification). Along with symptoms, you can also use TrackMyStack to track your chronic conditions as well.

2 Challenges You May Encounter or Have Encountered:

#1 Non-adherence: You may feel too lazy or tired to write daily, TrackMyStack allows you to write as frequently as you want with as much information as you’d like. Obviously, however, the more frequent you write and with more detail, the better your results will be. We organize and display your diary in a structured order, so you don’t have to worry about being “neat” or following certain protocols or even remembering if you have written down all the things needed to make the entry useful.

Take a look at the screenshot below to get an idea of the steps involved in recording your daily symptoms:

symptom journal screenshot    symptom journalinghow to record symptoms
#2 Irrelevant Apps: If you are a patient, you need an app that can record your vitals, ODL’s, and symptoms; however, many food or calorie trackers or fitness apps are not right for you as they are not meant to be used as you may need to. Wellness apps are a different category than fitness apps, using the right tool for the job is key.

 

And Finally, What is TrackMyStack and What it Isn’t…

The risk-reward ratio for using a symptom diary is heavily skewed, TrackMyStack is a simple, effective clinical tool that augments the diagnosis as part of outpatient care without any risk to you. You are free to share as much or as little as you right, TrackMyStack also does not diagnose or recommend any treatments. It is a tool used to track your activity that can then be shared with your primary care provider to assist them and yourself determine ways to improve your health.

The cost of starting your stack and journaling are minimal, you need 20 seconds to sign up, and about a minute each time you experience a symptom or “flare up”. TrackMyStack can be upgraded to Pro if you need to use advanced features or to generally support the development of our platform. We have over 5,000 members that are actively monitoring their health, privately and openly.

Your data can help other people solve the same problems as you and vice versa, where you can use other people’s experiences to augment your own diagnosis.

When logging your symptoms in an organized manner you are committing to being a healthier you and are demonstrating that you are proactive in taking control of your health, your family will thank you for it, so will your physician, and not to mention your body. Get tracking today for free, click here.

diary for symptoms

The Perfect Chronic Pain Tracker

Tracking Chronic Pain Online
pain-management

A diary that tracks your level of pain is an indispensable tool to have in your arsenal, for the benefit of your caregiver and yourself. The key is to make sure you record your level of pain and discomfort in a timely manner and describe conditions that may have led up to it, along with all other useful details. This information helps your medical team provide a more personalized effective treatment that will help you cope much better.

TrackMyStack provides all the tools of a regular pain management diary along with many additional tools to record all details that will help you with a better diagnosis. These tools are optional to use and are provided in additional to basic pain management, all data is safe and securely stored online on our private servers; so it can be accessed from anywhere, without you needing to carry a physical agenda or worrying about losing it.

Many patients who don’t originally believe in ‘tracking’ to optimize health always ask ‘the point of tracking everything’ and our answer is always the same. You can not optimize or fix that which you do not actively self-manage. Tracking your pain makes it easier for those taking care of you or yourself to see what is working. When you start taking out treatments that aren’t effective, it will save you time, help you recover faster and potentially even save you money. These all sound like good things to have, wouldn’t you agree? Best of all, we have a community that is here to help you and be your support network if needed.

The records you create will help remediate any confusion that may arise or is a result of alternative therapies or medicine as part of your regimen. Maintaining accurate pain records is critical for everyone, if the records you keep are not helpful at the end of the day, there is no point in maintaining them. Keeping a structured journal like the one we provide is critical, you need not write long entries, you can simply record notes, which will suffice.

wong-baker-scale

Your plan to maintaining a pain diary is simple:

  1. Create a Stack (a routine for a health condition or goal), this will consist of medication, supplements and other treatments you are undertaking to feel better.
  2. Track your pain and pain relief efforts whenever you feel like, and record any additional observations of daily living (ODL’s), photos, notes you may have.
  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as needed.
  4. Print out or e-mail your doctor your chronic pain journal so they can either actively monitor it or look at it when you go in for a follow-up. Your caregiver will find this log incredibly useful in determining the efficacy of your treatment. You will feel great knowing you are taking part in helping yourself get better (and potentially quicker too!).

 

Chronic Pain Management Entry Form

The additional benefits of using TrackMyStack’s platform is the ability to record any side effects felt as part of your regimen and record medicine adherence levels (and refill reminders). This level of detail will help all those managing your health learn about what may be causing your flare-ups, along with if you are on track with your treatment (and if not, hopefully motivate you!).

Pain Journal Entry
A 0-10 quantified pain scale, very similar to a Visual Analog Scale (VAS).

All of this takes little time to complete and is done in 2 steps:

  1. Step 1 – Click “Record an Entry” – to make an entry to your pain journal or log.
  2. Step 2 – Fill out as much or as little as you like. It is all managed from 1 screen. In as little as 20 seconds you can keep everyone in the loop on the status of your pain and your progress towards curbing it.

Many care givers require you to keep a Pain Management Log, which is a self-assessment log used for keeping track of pain, how long you have felt it, the medication associated to relieve the pain and severity.

Additionally our platform can be seen as a Personal Health Record (PHR) which will help you record all pivotal data about your health including but not limited to subjective things such as your mood, anxiety and symptoms that may be associated with pain as part of your Daily Pain Diary.

However, because a journal entry may be made in as little as 20 seconds, it does not mean that it is how long one should spend recording an entry. Your pain log becomes more valuable the more comprehensive your data is. Take extra time to answer these pain questions in the notes section when making your first or next post:

Questions To Ask Yourself:

  1. What does it “feel” like?
  2. Where does it hurt?
  3. Are there multiple types of pain?
  4. The duration of your pain.
  5. What did the pain prevent me from doing?

Things we will automatically answer for your nurse or doctor:

  1. What medicine or compound was taken at which time.
  2. When you felt your pain (day, night, all day).
  3. Any symptoms or side effects related to your pain.
  4. Your total adherence levels to your stack/regimen.
  5. Graphs & charts displaying time and health or just pain over time.
  6. The level of pain from a scale of 1 to 10.
  7. If the pain comes and goes (based on pattern of entry).
  8. If the pain interrupted your sleep, as you can also record how many hours you slept the night before.
  9. If the pain is getting worse or not.
  10. If it affected your appetite or not (as part of total calories consumed).
  11. What may be making it worse.
  12. The history of everything you have tried and when to manage your pain.
  13. The effectiveness of the medicine you are taking to manage your pain and the level of relief.
  14. Your Mood, Memory, Anxiety, Calories, Sleep and various other metrics that may correlate to your pain.
Pain charts and graphs
Pain Charts generated automatically using TrackMyStack. Sign up now and manage your pain instantly.


Health Conditions our users are tracking actively:

Shingles, Cluster Headaches, Frozen shoulder, Broken bones, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Heart attack, Slipped Disc, Cancer, Arthritis, Migraine, Sciatica, Kidney stones, Appendicitis, Trigeminal neuralgia, Pancreatitis, Gout, Endometriosis, Stomach ulcer, Chronic Neuropathy, Fibromyalgia, Rheumatism, PMS, Pain after a surgery/operation.

There are well over 300 other chronic health conditions and symptoms that may be managed on TrackMyStack using multiple stacks (diaries).

The one key take away is to track your health daily or multiple times daily, the data will not be conclusive if entered sporadically. Our professional pain tracker web app is mobile responsive, so you may access us via Android or iOS (a dedicated app is in the works for iPad and iPhone! but our website loads perfectly on any mobile device as of now through a browser). There are many scales to measure pain, some prefer, the Wong-Baker FACES pain Rating Scale, but we use a “0-10 Pain Scale” where 0 is No Pain. If you are ready to use a modern option to record your pain (rather than a physical pain assessment card or printable worksheet) and improve your treatment (possibly) from managing your own health, click here to get started right away and remember to maintain a good healthy attitude towards your health goal.

– Asher

References & Additional Resources:
http://theacpa.org – The American Chronic Pain Association
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/paintracking/201110/treat-chronic-pain-ongoing-experiment

Practicing Gratitude

How To Practice Gratitude

Being grateful
Being grateful

We have already discussed the benefits associated with writing and maintaining a gratitude journal. Those who regularly take time to write a journal entry daily on things they are thankful for experience many more positive feelings of emotion, they sleep much better, feel more alive, and generally express much more compassion and kindness. There have been studies done that state that they can even have a stronger immune system.

The feeling of gratitude should not be contained only for large occasions in one’s life but should and can be felt for smaller things in life as well. Even these small feelings of gratitude can lead to the above mentioned effects, claims UC David psychologist Robert Emmons. It is important to write regularly (as brief as it may need to be) on things for which you are thankful.

Since the benefits are many, I will quickly suggest ways in which you can start a gratitude journal and maintain the habit long term.

 

Variety of Thanks

Sometimes writing the same thing day after day or week after week can keep your brain from being thankful about other fresh grateful moments. You can consider writing about other things you may be grateful for, or writing the task in more detail to vary your entry for additional ‘unrealized gratefulness’. Think about what you are grateful for a bit more by asking yourself “why” up to three times. When focusing on new things around you, you will massively enhance your gratitude regimen. Doing this will slowly change the way you think about different situations in real life for the better.

You Need Momentum

gratitude thankfulness journal
“A Offline” Thankfulness Journal

Once you realize the benefits of maintaining a gratitude journal, you will want to start immediately. However the key to maintaining a journal effectively is Momentum. You need to make sure you set aside at least 5 minutes a day to write what you are thankful for, for the day. If you feel like you will be tired at night time, perhaps do a entry when you get home (from work, from school, etc), or the day after (in the morning). Keep in mind that although the task sounds simple, being consistent can be difficult, and so plan ahead and perhaps schedule your writing on your calendar (or better yet, consider adding ‘Write an Entry for my Gratitude Journal’ as part of your ‘Stack’ and set it as a reminder). 

 

The Gratitude Jar

Another common practice done by many is the Gratitude Jar, which involves writing your grateful movements on a sticky note or any piece of paper and dropping it in the jar to be reviewed at a later time. You will obviously not be able to keep track of your entries (in a ascending manner, like you would in a regular journal), but the goal here is to fill up the jar by an arbitrary time (New Years, Christmas, Birthday) at which point you can review what you were grateful for. The reason for keeping a jar and not tracking your gratitude using an app like TrackMyStack is that it keeps things more fun and exciting, see point above on keeping momentum.

Being Thankful of People

Humans are social creatures and as such it is known that if we interact with other’s, our level of happiness increases. It is no different when comes to writing your journal entries, if you focus on non material things and focus on people you are thankful to have in your life, you will see greater benefits from writing your journal. Also, consider telling your friend’s and family and having them start a journal of their own on TMS, or just let your friend know your thankful for having them in your life and why. This may lead to even greater moments of thankfulness down the line with the person.

Remember to keep ‘practicing gratitude’ fun and easy! Keeping a journal digitally has the added benefit of being able to be edited from anywhere. TrackMyStack does a great job of helping you maintain a daily gratitude journal! click here to start daily gratitude journal.