Arts & CultureCultural Affairs

DatApp: Lifesum

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If I had to pick one crucial, quintessential app on my phone, it’d be Lifesum. It runs my life, and I don’t care who knows that mildly shameful fact.

I had my phone crash recently, and I lost everything — everything (because the Cloud is a *conspiracy theory* and hackers are eVeRyWhErE) — but when I found a crappy old phone, the first thing I loaded back on to it was Lifesum. That’s how much the damn app means to me.

So by this point, you might be asking: what is Lifesum? In short, it’s a lifestyle app — it allows you to track what you eat, what your nutrition and fitness goals are, and your personal statistics (the typical height, weight, measurements sort of stuff, but also your macronutrient breakdown, calorie goals, and more). It has a personal journal section for you to record how you feel on a given day. And it allows you to track your exercise. I started using the app because I wanted to live thinking more carefully about my lifestyle choices, but eventually it morphed in a tiny bit of an obsession, mostly because for me, it’s fun and therapeutic to turn my life into a set of data.

But here’s the most addictive thing about Lifesum for me, and the real reason why I’ve used it every day for the last six months: at the end of every week, you’re given a Life Score — a points-style rating out of 150 for how well you’ve eaten, trained, and generally lived over the last seven days. It’s not a blind shot in the dark — you’re given targets for things like strength training, high-intensity exercise, processed food intake, fruits and vegetable servings, water and alcohol consumption, and healthy fats, and according to how you’ve tracked your life, the app can determine how close you’ve come to those targets.

It’s exhilarating and kind of freaky to be scored on your life. On Mondays, it’s like Judgement Day: will my score go up or down? Did I get more protein than last week? What about my moderate exercise rating? The app’s turned healthy living into a game for me, right down to the little dancing fruits and veggies that pop up when I hit my daily intake goals for each of those foods.

Some might say my religious use of Lifesum is a little worrying, but at the end of the day, the app’s meant to help you keep track of what you eat and how you live, and I think I’ve generally lived at least a little healthier than I did before I started tracking. That’s a win in anyone’s books, right?

Victoria Chiu

Victoria Chiu is a student and writer. She is the 2018-19 Online Editor and 2017-18 Arts & Culture Editor of this site. She can be found under an immovable mountain of homework or, alternately, rifling through your internet search history.

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