Top 10 Things You Should Know About the SparkPeople Community

By , SparkPeople Blogger
As some of you may know, before I became an employee for SparkPeople, I was a member just like you. My husband and I joined SparkPeople on January 1, 2004. Back then, the site was great and had a lot of helpful features, but it was nowhere near what it is today. Today, SparkPeople offers a lot of the same basic features that it did back then, but now it has even more, especially when it comes to the Community features! Can you believe when I started there were no SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkGoodies or SparkTeams? Crazy, I know!
Something that hasn’t changed on SparkPeople throughout the years though, is the fabulous Community. From day one of using the site, I found that the SparkPeople Community was one of the most valuable pieces to my success and keeping me motivated throughout and beyond my weight loss journey. As a member, I made many friends by posting in the Message Board forums (this was before SparkTeams and SparkPages were available on the site). I found a lot of support from other members, along with the SparkPeople Coaches. I truly felt like I was a part of something really special, and honestly, I still do!
Many of you may have seen me posting on the Message Boards. As I answer questions on the Message Boards though, I still see this wonderful connection that the SparkPeople Community provides for so many people all over the world. I see so many posts that contain a lot of support, whether it is a reply to someone who was reaching out and needed help or a reply to someone posting a “WooHoo” in celebration.
Not only have I seen SparkPeople members give a tremendous amount of support to other members, but I have also seen many friendships develop among them. There have even been members that met on SparkPeople and got married - talk about developing long-lasting friendships/relationships!
As you can see, I think very highly of the SparkPeople Community, but what if someone asked me what the top 10 things they should know about the SparkPeople Community?
Well, it was hard for me to narrow it down to 10 things, but here they are, in no particular order:
  • You get a tremendous amount of support. Just about everywhere you look on SparkPeople, you are able to get an encouraging word, SparkGoodie, etc. when needed (and sometimes when it isn’t needed). I think this one really says a lot about how awesome SparkPeople members really are!  
  • The SparkPeople Community is a very positive place. Just as we state in our Community Guidelines, “SparkPeople’s vision is to make our community one of the strongest and most positive in the world!” Fortunately for us, we have a lot of wonderful members that make this vision a reality.
  • SparkPeople has a lot of members that have been voted as a SparkPeople Motivator. Again, I think this says a lot about how awesome are members are. Any time you need a little motivation, you can go check out the Motivational SparkPages. Or if you find a member that motivates you, but hasn’t been voted as a SparkPeople Motivator yet, you can vote for them on their SparkPage.
  • SparkPeople members share their Secrets of Success with the Community. When members have a secret to their success with living a healthy lifestyle, losing weight, etc., they post it for other members to see and use. Perhaps you have a secret of success to share or you want to know what is working for others – the Secrets of Success section is the right place to look for those “secrets” that are no longer secrets.
  • SparkGoodies are a great way to reward, congratulate and motivate other members (or yourself). While SparkGoodies are only virtual gifts, they can brighten anyone’s day and are another fun aspect to SparkPeople’s Community. Sometimes I like to send SparkGoodies “just because,” while other times I send them to say “Great job” or even as a “thank you.”
  • The SparkPeople Message Boards are a great place to get help and/or support. The Message Boards are just one of the places that you can get support, but they are a fun and easy way to communicate with numerous members on the site. Some members use the Panic Button forum to get some help; others may use the WooHoo forum to post about something they are celebrating about. There are numerous forums to choose from and I’m sure you will find one (or more) that you like, along with finding support if that is what you are looking for.
  • SparkTeams are another great place to get support and find others that enjoy similar interests. Joining a local SparkTeam can help you get that local support if that is what you are interested in. Some of the SparkTeams based on location have SparkRallies, which are gatherings for those that want to meet in person. Of course, it’s not required, but it can help you find more support in your health journey, along with possibly finding some fitness buddies.
  • SparkPages can help you find a Buddy if you are looking for one-on-one support with another SparkPeople member. You can use the SparkPage Search/Buddy Finder to help you find someone who has similar interests/goals. Even if you aren’t looking for one-on-one support with another member, the SparkPage search function can still be helpful in gaining more support throughout your journey and building long-lasting friendships.
  • Blogging on your SparkPage (and commenting on other SparkPeople members’ blogs) is yet another way to get support and build friendships. You may be surprised by how blogging can help you with your health journey. By blogging/writing down what you are going through, what tips you might have, whether you are having a great day or bad day, etc., you can actually help yourself as you write (similar to if you wrote in a journal), but also other members can see it and possibly comment on it and give you an encouraging word, offer some helpful advice, or just tell you that what you are going through is perfectly normal.
  • For those that need extra support and want more than some of the previously mentioned SparkPeople Community features, we also offer Live! Online Support & Motivational Meetings. While this feature is not free, it is offered at a low price and includes a free trial week period. With the Live meetings you will interact live online (via video, audio, and chat) with other SparkPeople members and leaders. Each week there is a new topic that is covered and various times that you can join the meeting. So for those that are looking for some more motivation and tips, you may find the Live meetings just what you are looking for.
I also updated my SparkPeople status in my Friend Feed the other day, asking SparkPeople members to leave a comment with what they liked about the SparkPeople Community and thought others should know about it. I was thrilled to see some of the comments that were posted – they confirmed a lot of what I was already thinking. Below are a few of the comments posted on my status (and might I add that posting a status update is, of course, another great way to get support in the SparkPeople Community – perhaps that is a bonus to my top 10 list).
NEWSTART2018:I like it because I can interact with the SparkPeople Community.
WHOLEHEARTPAT:I read the stories of my SparkFriends and I am in awe of the daily shifts from uncertainty to confidence, and the slow, steady transformation from wavering hope to unwavering focus. What SparkGuy started, you all (my fellow team members) have fostered until it has become nourishment and sustenance.

The articles, the tips, the accountability, the recipe helps and advice... I am continually blessed and encouraged by my participation here. But by far, the biggest benefit and surprise has been the welcoming, (and dare I say it? YES!) loving community that has developed around me!

1BEACHWALKER:I love having the latest articles on medical, nutrition, and exercise! The Interaction, blogs that inspire and support from people from all over the world, including Chris Downie himself! I have lost weight and kept it off for the first time in my life and living a healthier lifestyle because of SparkPeople!
CRAZYDOGLADYBO:I like to interact with people through their SparkPages and blogs. I also like the support that I receive back. Last, but not least, I really like the challenges and Coach Nicole's videos.
HARPER369:SparkPeople keeps you headed in the right direction! You may do well one day and then blow it for the rest of the week. Here we come together and share our experiences and advice , logging into SparkPeople daily keeps you aware of the choices and results, It keeps you motivated!
STRINGS58:My SparkFriends have become a dear and cherished support. I want to work hard for them and encourage them to achieve their goals. I joined SparkPeople for the free trackers, but had no idea that I would feel such a tight bond with people from around the globe! It has created a new neighborhood for me!

There is no doubt in my mind that SparkPeople’s members find so much success with their weight loss and healthy lifestyle goals because of the Community and support that they are able to find on the site. There's no wonder why we have found that members who are active in our Community tend to lose more weight than those who are not as involved.

What is your favorite part of the SparkPeople Community? What would you say is the top thing to tell others about the SparkPeople Community? Have you found yourself forming long-lasting friendships from within the SparkPeople Community?

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GEORGE815 8/12/2017
All and all I enjoy this site. It has changed some and those changes aren't all in the participant's best interests. I do enjoy fellow members working on their health and succeeding in their journey. We are what we eat! Report
Not True!
While the trackers and reports are great, the support is lacking especially from your motivators and community team members.

I have been chewed out on the message boards, so I don't use them anymore.

I have posted my struggles on my blog but have been abased there, too, so I am looking for a better place to get support.

If you are looking for tools - it's great!
If you are looking for support, beware - there are sharks in the water. Report
Nice to know about the community. This is really god to know about different types of diet recopies. Report
I love the support I get from my teammates. The nutrition and exercise trackers are wonderful and the recipes. I don't know where I would be without those wonderful recipes. Report
These are all of the great reasons SP has been the first successful weight loss program I have encountered in more than 60 years if "dieting".
But why can't I convince others who need to lose weight to come on board and make use of this wonderful program???
(Wish I had the money I put into programs that didn't work!)
Thanks to SP for providing this free site that really does work!!! Report
I am a newbie, too, although I signed up over a year ago, I just got serious about doing something about my weight recently. We started a Biggest Loser contest at work and this has been a great way for me to track my calories, see where I am doing well or not in eating a healthy diet, and since Jan. 3 I've lost 5 pounds. I am walking almost every day and trying to get motivated to make that an everyday habit. I need the exercise. I am doing a lot of my errands around town on my lunch hour by walking; now that winter has arrived, it will be more of a challenge. Thanks for being here, sparkpeople, I am looking forward to exploring more of the features. Report
i am still a newbie here. I was here before under a diffrent name but in ways Sparkpeople have changed. So far I am glad that the community is still there helping out to those who have been there before but sometimes not. I like using the site to keep me focused and learing stuff I should know about ie nutrition since I am a cook by trade. I would like to see a program that if you don't have wifi that you can still continue to log your nutrtion etc and the when you have wifi the program automatically update your account. (I am on the seas 1/2 the year)
just my thoughts Report
Of course I love all of the web site and the sparkpeople community, however, I have recently started using the mobile app and I must say it makes tracking my food and fitness easy. Since it's easy I find myself traccking my food on sparkpeople these days and I absolutely love it. No matter the good or the bad I track and it helps keep me aware of how my day is playing out and where I might need to slow down. Thank you sparkpeople and sparkfriends for being a motivater and inspirational. Report
The nutrition tracker helped me see what I was doing that I didn't like, the fitness tracker helped me see the benefits of the exercise I was doing but the spark team I found has helped me with so many things. The trackers help me lose the weight--the team keeps me from losing my mind! Report
This is the best interactive site I have ever come across in my 14 years of internet surfing. But yoovie has a point. It can be TOO good and nice. I had to open a new page and go private because my old name became motivator and too popular. I am compassionate about helping others in their healthy lifestyles, saying what I have learned after two years of maintenance, but allowing people to willy nilly add you as friend is just too overwhelming. I am a slow typist, have limited hours and can't keep up with everyone :( and feel guilty if I miss someone's blog, so I am trying to limit my friends list to those special people who have been there since the beginning. So I really think there should be a a friend request button rather than just allowing everyone to friend you at a whim. I truly don't see how anyone can be friends with a list of hundreds of people, that isn't really being helpful and supportive. That is just wanting an audience.. Report
SparkPeople are there rain or shine, good days or bad, 24/7. They are happy when I succeed, and supportive when I am down. Spark friends have great wisdom, fabulous recipes, and fun workout ideas. Sometimes they are even silly. They have a lot of heart. I am happy to be a member of this great Spark community! Report
My favorite part is being part of a Spark Team. It's nice to know there are others out there like me. Report
I really think SparkPeople has been the key to my success. I love interacting with the team members. I've met some in person and hope to meet others in the future. This is a fabulous site and one, anyone trying to lose weight and become healthier should check out!! Thank you Spark People Report
The community has been the best part for me. The support, the teams, the friendships I've developed. Report
1. Sometimes too much support makes it feel like you have an audience
2. There is no way of blocking the unsupportive mean trolls from tearing you down.
3. You have no CHOICE in being a motivator and it shifts your focus from yourself to having to please the people that hang on to you and want you to carry them
4. You cant choose whether or not you can be recommended as a buddy or not, and most of the buddy recommendations are inactive members
5. You don't have the option to stop people fro votin for your blogs as featured, resulting in unwanted exposure when you are trying to work through the emotional and humiliating efforts of trying to stop being fat
Im sorry this comment is so negative, but there are two sides to every story :( Report
Spark offers the component that was missing with the other weight loss programs I've tried ~ daily interaction with people who understand what I'm going through! There's no way I could quit or fail with the support I get from the Spark community! I've gotten close to several people and we've even exchanged phone numbers! I rely on my teams to help keep me motivated through the ups and downs of this journey, and I look forward to supporting them too. Spark has change me inside and out! Report
I have been a member of SparkPeople since 2007. Still struggling with losing the last 20-25 lbs. to reach my goal, but logging onto SparkPeople daily is my reminder to keep working at it. I don't do much on the community side - I have joined some teams to support the team challenges but haven't really 'connected' to anyone. I DO understand that for many these teams are a real lifeline and, in that way, SparkPeople is a much better product than most. Keep up the great work. Report
I love my Biggest Loser Team -- it is a fun way to keep your focus on your goals and build friendships. I have been on the same team through many challenges and although there are some people that come and go there is a core group on our team that have been together for a long time and have built close relationships. I joined SparkPeople when I was looking for a nutrition tracker and have found so much more than I was looking for. Another thing I like here is that I don't have to use all the tools -- I can just use what I want to at any time.

Bev Anne Report
I love SparkPeople, but I just haven't been able to connect with the community parts. Journaling is something I can relate to and want to do, but the blogging feels like I am putting myself out there for a bunch of people to see who don't know me. Maybe that should be a goal for me this year.
I love all the tools and information I find on SparkPeople. This is an awesome site! I was gone for about a year and the improvements are wonderful! Report
I love SP!!! I started in 2007 and wanted to lose weight. But I gained so much more! Oh, I did lose weight but I gained friendships, confidence, fitness, and a healthy life!! I deal with Crohn's disease and RA but I am in remission with the Crohn's and the RA is controlable!!! I can't believe how good I feel and I owe it all to SP! The friendships that I've built here will last a life time I'm sure. I can't thank you enough!!! Report
I have been a Spark member for years and had success early on. Then got away from the proper eating/drinking principles for some time after and gained it all back plus some. Finally back on track and losing again. Love the support and encouragement that the other members give and that I can give in return. I am so thankful for Sparkpeople. I would say that this is one of the keys to my current success. Report
This site allows me to keep the commitment I've made to myself; it's wonderful to know that it continues even when I'm not progressing in the way I thought I should, I don't quit! ! I'm learning new things about myself that has created a healthy lifestyle and an awesome life! Report
My favourite team assigns accountability partners and I have a great friendship with my first partner - is great to check in with her most days, see how she is doing and get tips for my journey :) Report
I love the support on the teams and I love to support others on their journeys by leaving messages and subscribing to blogs and handing out goodies in recognition of goals met......or a supportive hug when things go wrong.
I've noticed that the "SPARK VILLAGE" is on the whole a positive neighbourhood! Report
I won 500 sparkgoodies yesterday but I don't know what you need them for or what you do with them Report
Thanks for this blog. I really have enjoyed my time here on Sparks. Have so many friends from all over the world. I took a break and really, really missed out on everything. Report
I love the accountability .. It keeps me focused.
I love the interaction with so many wonderful people from all over the world
It makes my day when one of my team members report a new weight loss or the fact that they are moving and out of pain for the first time in years.
I love the challenges, the information, the comeraderie, the love and concern for others that we have never met .
So many of us have made lasting friendships, and such amazing support.
This would never have happened without this wonderful site,

I myself have come so far ..
From 145 kilos =319 Lbs and confined to a wheelchair most of the time and definately house bound .to 78.2 kilos =172.4lbs and so very active ..
At 69 years old I have a new life .. and it is all thanks to Sparkguy and his wonderful team that has made all this possible for so many of us . Report
Spark keeps me on the weight loss track mentally even when I don't get an opportunity to workout. Reading the articles and staying fitness minded keeps me motivated for the next day. Report
I like logging on each day and talking to my friends. Yes, I feel like I know them personally because I hear from them daily. I love Sparks! Report
I like logging on each day and talking to my friends. Yes, I feel like I know them personally because I hear from them daily. I love Sparks! Report
The most helpful piece for me is food tracking, but I love great blogs, member comments, and great informational and motivational articles. SP gets credit for all my success! Report
I tried so many other ways, but I have confidence here, where I never had with others. Hope it continues! Report
I do Weight Watchers for the weight loss, Spark for the community. Nothing beats the Spark community. Report
I love sp, I'm on here all the time getting all the wisdom and knowledge I can. Meeting new friends who cares about what I'm going thru. They read my blogs and comment on them, everything always positive. We laugh, cry, hug, motivate, challenge......etc. I can go on, I tell everyone I meet about sparks and all the sparkies that i have grown to love. Report
I am always watching the tv ads of companys like weight watchers and jenny craig but community is NOT something they advertise. I received more christmas cards this year then EVER and ALL from sparkfriends! Report
I absolutely love SP! It has change my life forever. I love the tools, educational material and the support. Knowledge is power - and that is what SparkPeople gave me. Now I know how to lose and keep the weight off. Report
I'm new to SparkPeople and being over 60 years old, I did not expect to become totally hooked on it! Every way I look there is something new and different to help me in my weight loss journey. Thanks! Report
The whole site is fantastic but most of all I love the support and friendship with people across the globe. We not only support each other on the weightloss journey but also in lifes ups and downs. Thank you for developing this supportive environment. Report
I started SparkPeople because I ran across a link on another health related website I was reading one day. I had never heard of it before. I had been wanting to join Weight-Watchers, but I didn't feel that I could afford it. I was in for the surprise of my life, because SparkPeople was about to change my life. I would have been happy just to lose weight, but I ended up getting fitter, working on better sleep patterns, learning to bust stress, and setting lots of other lifestyle goals that have helped my self-confidence and happiness tremendously. It took me a while to find active SparkFriends. Since I have started to, I have found a very vital, interesting group of people. Although I mostly feel I get glimpses into their life, I have enjoyed it tremendously. Report
It works better than any other tool I've tried ... and it's free! Report
I actually get more out of what I can do and say for others. I learn so much from reading their threads and blogs and posts, and it's an amazing feeling when I can point them in the direction of an article that helps or suggest a new way to look at something that turns around a bad moment.

The top thing I would tell people is "you get out what you put in". If you passively sit back and say you want support, it's a crapshoot if someone will see it and offer something - if they can even figure out what might help. If you actively join in with the community, posting on Team boards, reading and commenting on blogs, and (IMPORTANT) be specific when you need support and what difficulty you're having, the support just flows in naturally.

And emphasizing something in that last paragraph. If a plea for support is very general, the support will be general. If a plea for support has specifics, the resulting support can be tailored and specific. Report
I love this blog and I am completely in agreement with those 10 items. I use all of them on a VERY regular basis! Report
i am a new member however i find this to be almost addictive ... it combines all the support, tools and knowledge that i have received from any weight loss group. this is wonderful thanks for sharing it with me. Report
Everything about this site is awesome, especially the wonderful cancer survivor's I have come into contact with and how we push forward together in the healthy lifestyle. SP has something for everyone and a gift to teach all of us a healthy way to live and enjoy life! THANKS! Report
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