Fit or Fat? Big Data Body Sizing Explained


Big Data capabilities are just beginning. Think of the flip phone you had a couple years ago and then walk through your cell phone capabilities now. You used to think just being able to take a picture with your phone was cool before. Now that pic can be square or panograph or video that you can edit, clip or alter in infinite ways. You can add comments and draw on it. Then how many different directions can you send those pictures? Flash them to the person next to you or around the world… simultaneously? How many ways do you communicate with a picture?

Today’s phones are personal digital assistants too. It doesn’t just hold appointment reminders either. Not only does it provide time and place, but it also offers drive time and directions – with traffic updates. Go sit in traffic in another part of the world wondering where you are and how you’ll get to your destination and you’ll realize again how crazy amazing it is to see traffic real time, while you are actually driving in it. Think of how it affords you decision making opportunity instantaneously.

Pictures and traffic updates on your phone are not just cool, new IT developments. This is evidence of Big Data – a surge of volume, velocity and variety of information. Big Data is a capability to consume vast quantities, at blinding speeds, and of all types like never before. Volume is the quantity of data, like how many pictures you carry on your phone. Velocity is the speed at which it multiplies as your picture transmits worldwide and is collected digitally. Variety means data isn’t just words transcribed into a digital formats. Fifteen years ago, digital data was primarily created from transferring analog records to a digital medium. By 2013, the quantity of digital archives had flipped from 25% to 98%. Big Data captures words, images, legacy archives – all of it. (For more information, see

The ability to extract patterns from the volume, velocity and variety grows daily. To date, most Big Data capabilities have been utilized in business applications, like how Target knows your daughter is pregnant (before you do.)[1] Big Data will continue to colonize our lives, both noticeably and subliminally. In the traffic example, Big Data utilizes your cell phone location data, in conjunction with everyone else on the road. This typifies the overt use – traffic updates – combined with the subtle – continuous transmission of your individual location. Capabilities such as Internet of Things (IoT) and movements like Quantified Self (QS) are expanding as well, making Big Data a very personal experience.

Big Data Body Sizing – Not Your Parents’ Diet/Workout

Big Data Body Sizing is utilizing Big Data to optimize personal health. Big Data was not available for your parents, so using Big Data to maintain or improve your health is not going to be the same. Big Data does not use traditional scientific method and it uses statistical analysis with a different approach. Sampling has changed, as much as the approach to what value is to be found in information.

The sample set was created to statistically approximate the relevant data within a larger body because employing the entire set of data was simply impossible or cost-prohibitive.   Think of finding the average of 10 numbers versus finding the average of 1,000 numbers or 1 million. Big Data means consuming millions (and millions) of data points and being able to arrange them in far more ways than every possible and at relatively low cost. Sample sets were used to approximate what a data set does. Now the entire set can be manipulated.

Big Data Body Sizing doesn’t provide an “answer” the way market diet and workout solutions do. Big Data Body Sizing does less of proving or disproving a theory such as a diet or workout efficacy and more of observing what happens when you diet and exercise. Then Big Data Body Sizing provides suggestions to alter course.   The volume, velocity and variety of your life are never constant. Big Data Body Sizing adapts with you, again and again.

Big Data Body Sizing is personal. Diets such as Atkins or workouts like P90X are created with a sample and you follow those programs in hopes of getting the same results. Those programs and the plethora of others in the market are still very much viable, but Big Data Body Sizing makes them YOUR workout by incorporating a more comprehensive picture of all the elements that effect your health.


The Big Data Body Sizing model is a five-feature Robust Feedback Loop: data lake, diet & workout, path, plan and observation. Each feature is integral to the process. Although logically depicted as a circuit, in practice the elements happen simultaneously or in varying sequence.

Data Lake

All Big Data projects have a data lake – a depository where discrete and continuous volume, velocity and variety of data flow. The Big Data Body Sizing Data Lake starts with legacy information, such as your medical history, procedures, conditions, height and weight history. Next other sources add more to the profile, such as where you live/used to live, family medical conditions/histories, food preferences.   Finally, streaming metrics attach to the data lake, feeding it with your wearable input, spending exhaust and other IoT and Quantified Self apps.

Diet & Workout

Big Data Body Sizing Diet & Workout is promulgating a diet and workout. This is where the rubber meets the road, actualization of the program. This step begins with establishing a baseline, which can be a marketed diet and workout. You can also start with what you are currently doing, or not doing, to see what effects your habits have already. Big Data Body Sizing enhances that baseline with the iterations of the feedback loop. When your Path and Plan changes, your Diet & Workout changes as well.


Big Data Body Sizing Path is intention. Looking up over the high grass, where are you cutting the path to get? Is the current goal training for a triathalon? Fitting into a wedding dress? Perhaps you want to prevent the annual holiday 5+ pound weight gain. Maybe you want to stay cancer free. Alternately, if you are already fit, you want to hold the fitness you have, capture it, and sell your own success plan. Share your path with friends or family or workout groups. The Big Data Body Sizing Path is where success is measured. Note: this is only the bathroom scale if you want it to be. Measurement can be muscle mass, cardio vascular capability, immunity, or cancer prevention.


The Big Data Body Sizing Plan is the actual blueprint for diet and workout created according to the feedback loop. This plan is for daily routine with specific direction for diet and workout, or only as specific as you want it to be. The Plan also shows trending results, factors that influence your daily routine, such as the number of trips to Starbucks, how much you are on the road, dining in versus dining out, or perhaps “life events” that impact your overall well-being.


Big Data Body Sizing Observation is a heads up display (HUD) as to what effect your diet and workouts are having. This can be as old school as tracking your weight, but more effectively, it is a comprehensive glass panel including much more from your data lake. It can be a suite of body and workout metrics, or it can be an all-out virtual portrait of your lifestyle.


Big Data Body Sizing has two core tenets: Robust Feedback Loop and Market Segment YOU. These overarching elements influence the entire methodology.

Core Tenet 1 – Robust Feedback Loop

Big Data Body Sizing is not an “answer”; it is a continuous cycle of observation and adaptation. The Robust Feedback Loop provides specific suggestions as well as general trending reports. One reason the Ci<Co model doesn’t work is we don’t know what happens with the food and water we do intake. The Robust Feedback Loop won’t figure that out, but it can help you understand what your personal patterns are and what effect they have.

Big Data Body Sizing is most definitely NOT calorie counting. The multiple factors constantly influencing your health and your environment are not a stasis. You body continually absorbs the environment and acclimates to preserve your health. Your diet and workout should adapt to provide suggestions and then measure the effectiveness of what happens. Rinse and repeat.

Part of what happens is ready feedback to you on what happens to you every day – how much or how little your body fluctuates. Another part is a vast collection of noise. This noise in turn creates signals. The signals are the actions that effect YOU (and not necessarily anyone else.)

Robust Feedback Loop Example

Back to someone who has had a colostomy (removal of colon and large intestine) and their remarkable instant feedback of what they eat. They may not know whether what they eat is turning to fat or muscle, but because the food they eat is not processed through the large intestine, they know within hours what passes through them in what capacity. That’s a bit graphic but it’s nifty intelligence on what the body does with what it’s given. They have a feedback loop they can understand because it’s shortened and simplified. Big Data Body Sizing provides that feedback loop for the multivariate environment that is not so readably understandable.

A feedback example for workouts is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). CFS is a complicated physical disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that can’t be otherwise explained by medical conditions. Those with CFS are sensitive to what energy they use. It’s not just a reduced effort capacity; it’s also an extended feedback loop. Traditional workouts or exercise may not affect them immediately, but onset of symptoms may come 24 to 48 hours after a workout and event that strains them. The cause and effect is still there, but it’s distorted from “normal” body functions (what used to work).

Core Tenet 2 – Market Segment: YOU

The second tenet, Market Segment: YOU, is emphasis of the individual experience each person has. Big Data Body Sizing is dedicated to capturing the unique story that is Market Segment: YOU. Diet and workout practices on the market today are be derived using traditional sample size scientific method, while others are simple trial and error. Again, these are great products with proven results for a given group of people and as such are a great place to start or continue a health routine.

With mass marketing a diet or workout is creating a single message to reach as many people as possible. Targeted marketing is derived from your habits: the intended audience evolve from specific parameters of behavior or profile, like the “welcome” flyers mailed to you when you move. Further slimming down, triggered marketing is a message delivered only once an interest or other event, such as a Google search, sends a signal of relevant content. Big Data Body Sizing pares that market size all the way down to one: YOU.

Market Segment: YOU Example

Jared Fogle of Subway diet fame created his own success story. Basically, he began losing weight by changing his college life junk food diet to eating low fat Subway sandwiches. After losing 100 pounds, he began adding walking to his routine, dropping another 145 pounds.[2] Jared’s story made its way to Men’s Health magazine as part of a story entitled “Stupid Diets … that Work!”[3] The Subway franchise picked up Jared for advertisements and subsequently as spokesperson.

This is a perfect example of Market Segment: YOU. Undoubtedly, many others have emulated his practice. Some have lost weight and some have not. Jared’s experience is solely his own. How many people who tried his diet already had 245 pounds to lose? He was a college student living in Indiana. He began his fit over fat journey from his unique perspective – Market Segment: Jared.

Only Jared knows all the specifics of his experience. Your experience is unique to you as well, so as Big Data Body Sizing may start with a market diet and workout routine, it continues with crafting a unique Plan for you and only you. It could be John Smith’s Taco Bell diet, or Mom’s home cooking 5 days a week. Create Mary Jones’ workout from Daily Burn or P90X or some other market workout. Big Data Body Sizing takes that baseline and cuts it down to Market Segment: YOU.

Three Domains of Consciousness – Summary

Big Data Body Sizing is a five element Robust Feedback Loop meant to create Market Segment: YOU.  From these tenets, market diets and workout programs can provide plug-ins to enhance their programs. Independent apps are available or are created to provide the methodology and tenets of Big Data Body Sizing.

Your Big Data Body Sizing Data Lake is filled with a comprehensive collection of legacy and streaming metrics that is unique to you. The continuous iterations reflect the three domains of consciousness: voluntary, involuntary, and self-aware. Some times you act with deliberate intention. You go to the gym to work out and you have a salad for lunch. Involuntarily you might not workout with 100% focus or maybe you eat a “low fat” food that actually isn’t that low fat (“Eat this; not that”.)[4] So, some of what we do is deliberate, and some of it is not as thought. The third domain, self-awareness, is seeing the observations of voluntary and involuntary, and realizing you can’t control everything. Then, do what you can going forward. These three domains are how we live life. Big Data Body Sizing brings this to light for your health.

Fit or fat?



[1] Big Data book reference


[3] Duane Swierczynski, “Stupid Diets. . . That Work!”Men’s Health14, no. 9 (November 1999), 94-98.