I track using different software. A lot of the success stories and long-term maintainers here do use a different program just because SparkPeople wasn't as developed when we started as it is now. I can't remember whether SparkPeople came up in my search in 2004 when I realized I HAD to tackle my weight issue. I wouldn't have chosen it because my internet service was iffy (still is) and I needed something that would reside on my own hard drive.
Even if I did use the tracker here, I would probably keep it private for a number of reasons. First, SparkPeople is a public site. In theory, anybody who guessed my username could find my tracker, and to someone who knows me, what I'm eating would tell them where I am. I eat different foods when I'm visiting different family members, and also in the different places I live for different seasonal jobs, so a nosy enough person (or a stalker) could locate me and even know whether I'm living alone or with someone else. I don't have any photos on my page that show my face, either, for the same reason.
Second, I'm in my late 40s and only 5' tall, so when I'm not exercising I don't always eat the lower calorie limit. I'm not typical, and I've checked things out very carefully to make sure it's all right for me not to meet the guidelines. A younger, bigger woman might see that and think it means she should eat less, too. Conversely, somebody my size and age might look at the tracker of a 23-year-old, six-foot-tall marathon runner and think she could lose weight imitating them. The tracker doesn't give context. I also get about 70% of my calories from carbs. That works very well for me, but I wouldn't want to discourage someone who's trying low carb.
And finally, I do most of my own cooking; most of what would show up in my tracker is custom entries with names like "Beans, 5/8/13, 1/6th recipe." Probably not very useful to anyone but me!
I leave mine open, I don't know if anyone actually LOOKS at it, but, there it is.
I don't mind if others put theirs open or closed; I don't look at other people's trackers very often - usually only if they have asked a question (i.e. "why am i so hungry by 10am") so that I can offer a possibly-helpful suggestion.
I certainly DO understand why people may choose to keep it private. And I think there's a lot of situations where making it public would almost defeat the purpose of the tool for some people. We are encouraged to journal because diligent tracking is KNOWN to correlate with successful weight loss - so we don't want to do anything to make journalling unpleasant. And for many people, "admitting to the entire universe" that they ate a whole Sara Lee Cheesecake for breakfast, is just too much unpleasantness. Better to keep it private AND ACCURATE than to make it public and then feel the need to fudge the numbers to "look better" to potential viewers.
Also, certain styles of eating are... controversial. Tracking is enough work - defending food choices adds a whole new layer of stress.
Anyways, there's enough open trackers out there to satisfy my curiosity and need for education.
You can't count me as a success story (yet!) but I absolutely REFUSE to have my tracker set to public. It has nothing to do with people on here (everyone I have encountered has been super nice); I am just a very private person and I tend to not give out much info about myself. It comes from years of being bullied and I would rather keep it to myself. I only use the tracker for me, not for everyone else. If I felt the need for help with my food selections, etc, then I would open it up for critiquing, but chances are that won't happen (I am EXTREMELY stubborn and private!).
Back to your question: there could be many different reasons. It could be that since they have lost and have been able to maintain, then they aren't in need of critiquing since they have the experience and know what they are doing (I'm not saying that others don't have any experience). It could be that they just don't feel the need to share that part of their life. It could also be that they don't feel the need to track or as other members have said, we are such a judge-mental society and sometimes we tend to berate people for eating junk food, even if it is for maybe one donut a week. Not everyone does that, but people can be mean.
I suspect that people who are obese have all the experience they need with people observing, judging, and commenting on their food intake. It happens at grocery stores. It happens at restaurants. It happens with friends and family members who are trying to be helpful. If I were a hundred pounds overweight, knowing that random strangers on the internet were poring over my daily food intake would be a powerful incentive not to be entirely honest, and that would only hurt me.
Their weight loss is not for your edification. Some people are fine with letting everyone see what they eat; other people aren't. I don't think there should be pressure here or anywhere else to make your eating habits public, but sadly there often is.
It may be any number of things. I agree that it is a personal thing. I have mine public and always have, but I don't reveal my exact weight - just how much I need to lose. To me, that is more personal than my food.
These responses have made me think that maybe I could make my food tracker public. And it will help someone out.
I almost did and I am just not ready to go there yet, maybe someday
Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 5/7/2013 (18:50)
Fitness Minutes: (17,295)
769 5/7/13 6:15 P
Mine is public. it used to be private, until I asked for advice about what I was eating and never bothered switching it back. It was private before, because I had never bothered to set up a spark page before that. If someone has a question, it is easier for people to give advice if they know what they are eating.
I have maintained with my less than perfect eating. I have made lots of changes toward a healthier way of eating, but there are still things like captain crunch in my tracker.
edit: right now I am tracking 4 days a week to see if I can maintain with that.
Edited by: CLARK971 at: 5/7/2013 (18:19)
Fitness Minutes: (59,463)
3,944 5/7/13 5:18 P
Mine is public, I don't care who knows what I eat. I don't deprive myself and eat within moderation what I like and want.
Fitness Minutes: (16,140)
1,244 5/7/13 5:10 P
Mine is public. For me personally it's a matter of accountability. My niece and I check on one another for feedback and support. But I agree with Becky that it's a personal choice and many folks think of it like medical and financial info.
Mine is public, though I've always been an open book when it comes to what I'm doing. Plus it's a motivation to me if I know people might look at it at any time, to try to fill it up with healthy things. ;) I'm not perfect, and my tracker reflects that, but I think it's good to show that you don't HAVE to be perfect, and still find success on Spark. I still have a dozen pounds to go, and I'll get there imperfectly. :)
Fitness Minutes: (2,214)
365 5/7/13 4:34 P
All of your answers were informative. Things I had never thought of. So thank you all very much for the quick responses.
Fitness Minutes: (120)
2,171 5/7/13 4:29 P
I too hate how judgemental people get about food choices on here. But, if someone wants to make negative comments about what I eat, well, that's their problem. Nobody is perfect and people that try to pretend they are are fooling themselves! I feel like my "non-perfect" eating actually helps some people... so many think you have to do it all 100% perfect all the time to see good results, and well, my tracker shows you don't. There is plenty of wiggle room.
People always forget that there is no "one size fits all" for weight loss, and everyone has to figure out what works best for them and their lifestyle. But I still think having the tracker public can be a huge tool... there could be something really obvious that someone is eating (or not eating) that could be the root of their weight loss problems.
Really the nutrition tracker is your "personal food journal"---for your personal/self reflection, analysis, processing and to find areas to improve.
Many members will make their tracker public when a member asks to see it for helpful ideas, and will then turn it off again.
As a Registered Dietitian, I consider one's nutrition tracker to be as private as their medical history information. I only offer comments about one's food selections when specifically asked for help on the topic by the member.
Edited by: DIETITIANBECKY at: 5/7/2013 (16:16)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
2,171 5/7/13 4:10 P
I don't get it either. Mine always has, and always will be, public. But, some people who have had success don't track anymore so there's nothing to look at. Also some people use other tracking apps instead of the one here. And, there's also not knowing how to make the tracker public :)
Also I never ate "few" calories. I wasn't a member of Spark at first, and ate 1200 calories a day, no exercise. But that stalled after awhile, and after I joined Spark I bumped that number up and continued to lose weight. So it definitely isn't about eating few calories.
No absolutely not. The key to success is NOT to eat 'so few' calories. That would lead to failure.
More likely they've succeeded - they know what healthy food looks like, they know their limits, they simply don't track any more.
Fitness Minutes: (2,214)
365 5/7/13 4:01 P
I have noticed that "MANY" of the success story people, and other spark people, keep their calorie tracker's private. I really don't understand why. It's so very helpful for me to see what they eat and the calories they consume. Is it because they are eating so few calories to have lost and maintain their goal weight?
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