Getting Started

Can I change the notification update frequency or adjust the times during the day when it notifies me?

In the Settings panel there is a 'user settings' row that you can tap. On the screen after you've tapped that row will be a menu to set 'blackout periods' and 'frequency' of notifications. For example, you may want to prevent any notifications from 10 PM to 8 AM. This would be the place to do that.

Why does data sync sometimes take a long time or appear not to happen?

You'll find that performance is impacted by a poor network (4G/LTE/wifi) connection. This is true with any App that needs to reach a server backend. We buffer data that you enter while away from a connection and will attempt to sync when you have reconnected to a network connection. In general, if you've a lot of data to sync with the server, it makes sense to find a good strong connection before letting the sync happen.

Can I invite my friends to join via Facebook or Twitter?

If you've friends that you want to encourage to join you in using the App, then please go right ahead and reach out to them. You'll find a row-item called 'Share our Story' in the 'Settings' screen that will let you do this quickly and easily. Please go right ahead and encourage them to join us!

Best Practices in Collecting Data

Do I have to track the details of my nutritional day?

Our basic science work suggests that the timing of your calorie intake is more important than a detailed list of what you actually ate. While this has not be verified in a large human population, and is one of our goals with this App, we believe that many of our participants will find it much simpler to log only the times when they have ate, and to not be concerned over a detailed list of what has been eaten.

Please know that we view this temporal information as essential to the research questions that we hope to answer. You don't have to enter nutritional information to be a major contributor to our long-term goals. If you are entering nutritional information, that must be entered via a third-party App (for example MyFitnessPal) at this time. The timing information must then be entered as well through Metabolic Compass. That is, there are two separate pieces of information needed for entering the full set of information (meal timing and nutritional content) into your Health App and into Metabolic Compass.

For my workouts, should I include intensity along with the timing?

If you are a dedicated runner or cyclist, then you already realize the value of being able to track location and intensity in addition to duration. Similarly if you are a regular Fitbit or Apple Watch user, then you have heart-rate data in addition to timing data on your exercise routine. For many people, we have found that simply entering your exercise duration is already sufficient to help you gain insights into your total days expense of circadian events.

For that purpose we have enabled you to enter the timing of your exercise events from within the App. If you are using a third party App (e.g. Strava or RunKeeper) then you'll want to avoid duplicating that event from within the App. It will be written into your Health App and then easily ready by Metabolic Compass (assuming you have the permissions set right). This is also true for those of you entering via the Workout App on Apple Watch or via Fitbit.

How do I track coffee/water/soda?

We have selected water as the default beverage for most users. To enter that data you can use Apple Watch or a third party App (e.g. MyFitnessPal). If you'd rather use that entry value to track coffee or tea (or any other beverage), you can put the cups/ml that you are tracking into the 'water' amount and realize that the 'water' marker is now tracking your coffee or your tea.

Should I worry more about the daily or the weekly metrics?

Many of our users have a good 'common-sense' feel for what their numbers mean on a daily level, but have reported more of a struggle with what their numbers mean on a weekly basis. We urge you to start getting into the habit of thinking about your metrics on both daily and weekly values. Our experience, based on the users to this date, is that we all think that we'll be able to remember beyond the day, but that we often forget the impact of our daily decisions within the setting of the week.

By forcing you to think about your averages and your fluctuations in your circadian behavior over the week, you'll gain real insights into how consistent you are in your temporal behavior and can start to plan out how you'd like to make changes in your behavior patterns over time.

How is balance plot displaying data?

To enable a common plot for seven metrics our second dashboard has converted each measure to its own scale. This is a type of normalization that is common for data, but less commonly used for health measures. What we've done is to find average and standard deviations based on publicly available data (in this case NHANES data).

Can I use metric or Imperial Units?

You can change the units that are used for your health metrics. For example, is your weight in lbs or in kg? To do that, go to the settings tab and then into the registration page. On that page you'll find a tab for moving between the different units.

We then transform each dimension of the plot into a scale that uses the mid-point of the display as the average and data plotted further out or further in as reflecting deviations from that average. While this gives you some sense for whether you are lower or higher than the average, please do realize that the comparisons for the mean and standard deviation may or may not be appropriate for your particular interests or goals. The NHANES dataset is the same one that many participants may have first encountered in pediatricians offices where well-baby growth curves are compared to measures computed from a population. This is the same data-set and same general concept that is being used for the 2nd dashboard plot.

Do the number of filters on the first display have an impact on loading times?

You'll note that having a large number of filters active on the first screen will delay the start-up of the App. This is expected, due to the extra processing needed for the filter operation on the server. Some have been frustrated by the extra load time, but others have enjoyed having the ability to compare their numbers with more precision. We'd recommend playing with the settings to find the right balance for you.

Current Limitations in Tracking and Querying Data

Why can't I put in overlapping entries?

If you have overlapping entries, possibly duplicate items, then you will have problems seeing the display on the 3rd dashboard. Our App will prevent you from entering, within the App, duplicate data or overlapping data. That is not the case, however, from within the Health App itself or from other Apps. If your display on the 3rd dashboard is not making sense, then the first place to start for seeing what has happened is within your Health App data. To do that, first launch the Health App, and then explore your sleep and fitness entries. These are most likely the culprit, with items that are overlapping in time. To delete a duplicate, or overlapping, item from within the Health App, you simply swipe to the left on the right side of the line. A red 'delete' button will then be revealed.

Why is there sometimes a slow loading of health metrics?

You will find that sometimes the data from the Health App is slow to load into Metabolic Compass. While we don't have a detailed solution for each case, we have found several places that may have a strong impact on your load times. First, if you've many other (say five to ten or more) Apps that are also reading/writing into the Health App, it will create a slow loading time and may even lead to crashes of your Health App. Similarly, if you are creating a large amount of duplicate data, usually from multiple reads/writes/re-writes of the same underlying data between different Apps, then it will create problems for all of your Apps in determining what to display and how to interpret the data. Finally, if you have many Apps running and have little memory space available for running your Apps, then you will have slow loads due to your App usage. If this is the case, then swipe up on your iPhone to see a menu of your memory active Apps and swipe some of them up and off your screen to close them.

Why do I see duplicate events in the Health App?

You'll note that if you have multiple Apps that are all happily recording your metrics, then they will all write that same data to your Health App. This means that you may end up with several meal entries for nutritional data, with several different step counts or sleep events. You can reorder your permissions for these different Apps in your Health App, or you can change some of your Apps to be able to read, but not write to your Health App. In general we have found that Metabolic Compass will have problems if you've many duplicate events, to please try to arrange the number of competing Apps that you work with to be minimal. In our experience this problem of multiple, duplicating events, is a problem for other Apps as well, not just for Metabolic Compass.

Why did my second column on the first dashboard tab come up empty?

If this happens to you make sure that (a) you have internet connectivity so that you can get data from our server and that (b) you haven't applied so many filters to the data being displayed that you've taken the number down to zero. To check for the presence of a filter on your 2nd column, look for the filter icon on the data row. In general three of more filters may increase the odds that you've been too restrictive in your application of the filter to the data presentation.

Body Clock

Can I emphasize those times when I am not sleeping, exercising or eating?

While not the classic definition of fasting, we offer a nice color change on the body-clock screen to emphasize those times when you are not sleeping, eating, or exercising. If you double-tap, the screen will emphasize these 'fasting' times to let you see when you are have not entered timing information for meals, sleeping, or exercise. The usual fasting definition (non-eating) is used at other places in the App, this is only used for the coloring on this body-clock screen.

Can I zoom in to see more details on the body-clock?

You'll find that moving from the 24-hour view to a 16, 12 or 8-hour view, really any level of hourly detail, is possible when you use a horizontal pinch and zoom gesture. If you try to zoom in the vertical dimension, on the 3rd screen, then you will find that it is not responsive. So, if you are having problems getting from the 24-hour view to a more detailed view, please make sure that you are zooming with a horizontal direction.

Is there a problem with putting in long meal times?

If you are doing time restricted feeding, then you may find that putting your entire eating window down as one meal interval is better than trying to enter it as three separate eating events (breakfast, lunch, dinner). For example, it is totally fine to put your meal-time as 1 PM to 7 PM (6-hours) and not be concerned about using a label for it other than 'eating time'.

Why do some items in my Health App not display on the Body Clock?

First make sure that you are looking at items in your Health App that should display on the Body-Clock. This means that it needs to be an item with a duration in your Health App and that will either be a sleep event (not in-bed, but a sleep entry) or an item in the Fitness category under Workouts. Even within Workouts, there may be cases where an item that appears in your Health App won't display on the Body Clock. If you find an item that is present in your Health App and not seen on the Body Clock, the quickest workaround is to delete the item from your Health App and then re-enter it via the iPhone Metabolic Compass App. Note that while Metabolic Compass App will check for duplicate events, that you will find that not all Apps check for duplicate entries into your Health App. If you've duplicate events in your Health App, these also should be deleted in order for Metabolic Compass App to show them correctly in the Body Clock.

Apple Watch

Can I make Metabolic Compass available as a complication on the Apple Watch?

Yes! We encourage you to do that, since it will make it much, much faster to enter your events. To do that you should follow the general help from Apple about how to enable a complication. In general this means that you select a watch-face that you enjoy, then swipe to the menu for adjusting complications, and then use the digital crown to rotate through the menu until you find Metabolic Compass

What information is there on the Apple Watch with Complications? with Glances?

We've put helpful information onto the Apple Watch. You can see this within a complication or with a glance. This information is to help you see how your daily and weekly fasting time is performing, so that you can make decisions within the day about when to eat and when to wait.

Upcoming Features

Why can't I correlate my weekly fasting and my weekly weight?

We will be adding the ability to look at weekly fasting and other statistics derived from your eating times into the correlation plots. At the moment the correlation plots are limited to metrics that have been stored on the iPhone in your Health App.

Why can't I plot a time series of my weekly fasting?

Similar to the correlations plots, we expect to implement the ability to plot time series metrics for the timing entered for weekly fasting and other derived metrics in an upcoming version.

What other devices will you be supporting for data entry?

We plan to support a range of FitBit devices for tracking steps and heart rate activities as well as the Amazon Echo for hands-free activity logging and querying.

Will you be providing an Android Version?

This is under development. Please sign up for e-mail notification on our homepage.