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EMMAEKAY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (20,942)
Posts: 305
2/12/13 10:23 P

We believe in you!

KCS2013 SparkPoints: (800)
Fitness Minutes: (118)
Posts: 30
2/12/13 9:51 P

I am falling in love with Spark, yall are so wonderful again I am still at a loss for words.
Tomorrow is my 'usual' day for weigh in, dinner/dessert is over already for the night, so Wednesday will be my new beginning....... before I know it, I will be out of time to get my health on track for my upcoming 50th birthday AND my 25th Wedding Anniv. I have two HUGE milestones this year!!!!! If I could JUST get into 'Onderland' it would be a HUGE joy!!!!!

PCVCHRISTINE SparkPoints: (21,364)
Fitness Minutes: (57,082)
Posts: 135
2/12/13 8:38 P

Think about the reason that WW in person gives you accountability -- because other people are going to see your progress.

You can build that community online with Sparkpeople! Get yourself some SparkFriends, let them know what your goals are, use your weight, fitness, and meal trackers, and make them public so that your SparkFriends can "check in on you", etc. Maybe find one or two people that share similar goals/challenges/life circumstances, and do a weekly or biweekly check in to share your progress and talk about the road that you're on.

EMMAEKAY SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (20,942)
Posts: 305
2/12/13 8:21 P


First and foremost, I want you to know that you're not alone in the money woes. My fiance and I have had a hard time lately, too. He's been unemployed and I don't make much at all. My company also had a wage freeze a while ago, so I can sympathize there, too!

The biggest reason I chose Sparkpeople is because it's free! There are some community groups you can join for more accountability - some groups have weigh-ins, team challenges, all kinds of stuff.

Like others have mentioned, though, is that you have to be losing weight and getting healthy for YOURSELF. If you're only worried about being accountable to others, what happens when you hit goal, and there aren't people there watching you? The weight will creep back on, and you'll be back in this boat before you know it. You have to be true to yourself, accountable to yourself. No one - not WW, not SP - can do this for you.

GETSALONG Posts: 2,842
2/12/13 6:29 P

emoticon i love SP, that we can come anytime, chat, share encouragement & support.

real world support can be helpful too ~ but ww is expensive. There's also overeater's anonymous (free) and TOPS (take off pounds sensibly) which is an annual fee about $30 plus $1 a week at the meetings.

maybe find an exercise bud who can go walking or exercise with.

sometimes having someone in person just makes a diff...

either way, online or in the rw or both, finding the courage to push through the urges to quit, to keep going is tough.... just have to keep taking things day by day, choice by choice... this is not a 1 time diet... it's kind of choosing how to live... in ways that help us, be healthier, eat well, exercise & move, feel gr8! and as you do these things, u r gonna rock your 50s!

SLIMMERKIWI Posts: 26,040
2/12/13 3:47 P

I live in New Zealand. VERY LITTLE of what is in the Nutrition Data Base applies to me! I have MOST of my food/drinks in the "enter your own..." section. What I did was in the beginning when I was just getting used to things, I would put in the foods when I used them, and IF I had a bit more time, would add in some extra. In time I built up a very large selection in "My Favorites." Now I can just fly through my Nutrition entries.

You CAN do this - you just need to have faith in yourself, and stop telling yourself that it is too hard, or too cumbersome, or too anything else that is negative, because ...... the positives DEFINITELY out-way those :-).


CHRISTINA791 SparkPoints: (67,811)
Fitness Minutes: (110,738)
Posts: 789
2/12/13 3:16 P

Addressing the food tracker issues:

I've found that over time, entering foods manually has gotten easier. I'm Canadian, so even though I'm eating a lot of the normal US brands, the numbers are just slightly different (not to mention common Canadian brands that might not show up in the database). I made the decision early on to be as accurate as possible and use the numbers on the packages I was using. At first it was a bit of a pain to enter something new, but I quickly got to the point where I could fire off an entire nutrition label in about ten seconds. Once it's saved, it's there for good under your manually entered items, so it's easy to find the next time you use that item. After the first few months, I'd essentially entered all my usual foods so I was down to only entering one or two new items per week. 20 extra seconds of your time isn't a huge investment when you look at it.

(Not to mention that as my diet has improved, the number of things I eat that come with a nutrition label has dropped considerably).

Another great tracker tip is to use the groupings feature. I eat the same breakfast every morning at work, so I have a grouping for it. One click and it's all entered. If I change something out, I can edit or delete the item. It's a huge time saver if you have certain combos that you eat frequently.

Here's a blog entry I did about a year and a half ago, where I actually timed how I spent tracking and entering food over the course of a day:

Good luck with whichever method you use. In the end, the drive comes from inside of you and the program -whether it's WW, SP or something else, is just the tool you use to channel it. You can do this!

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
2/12/13 2:21 P

"I do hope yall don't get sick of me posting concerns, questions, problems, "

Well here is another big plus to Spark - there is "somebody out there" pretty much 24/7, if you have a question or just need a bit of support or a feeling of "being in this together" with other people who can relate. You don't have to wait for the weekly meeting, support is as close as your nearest internet connection :)

BUNNYKICKS Posts: 2,433
2/12/13 2:13 P

I think SP can give you a sense of accountability equal to or greater than WW....

I mean... at WW, i was only "accountable" to the person who "weighed me in" - nobody else at the meeting had to know whether i'd gained or lost (unless they shoulder-surfed and peeked).

Here on Spark, my ticker is on display for THE ENTIRE INTERNET TO SEE.

As i involve with the forum community and "get to know" some fellow sparkers, i find myself becoming interested in THEIR journeys - where did they start? how much are they aiming to lose? where are they at right now? wow, look at their recent picture! hmmm wonder what they eat for breakfast.... and if I am doing that to other Sparkers, I KNOW that there are some that will be "looking at me."

Yeap, that is some serious and public accountability.

$43/month is a lot when your budget is tight. You might be better off by investing those dollars in Fresh Fruit and Veggies and other healthful things.

KCS2013 SparkPoints: (800)
Fitness Minutes: (118)
Posts: 30
2/12/13 2:07 P

OMGosh...... I don't even know how to respond. I am so humbled emoticon by the care, concern, advice, tough love, ideas etc.. etc.... I don't know what to say. emoticon

I am taking everything that has been said, suggested, advised etc to heart. I am SO grateful and humbled by you!!!

THANK YOU!!!! I AM going to become a SPARK success and this summer turn 50 & FABULOUS!!!!!!

I do hope yall don't get sick of me posting concerns, questions, problems, etc..... emoticon

STARDUST2K4 Posts: 1,376
2/12/13 11:35 A

It's great that you're looking at your options. I went to ONE weight watchers meeting back in 2006-before I found sparkpeople, and I HATED it. The first meeting was supposed to be free, but when I got there, the first thing she asked me was "So how do you want to pay for this?" Instead of protesting, I just paid the money, and sat in on the one meeting, and realized that it was a sales pitch for their other merchandise....anyway, aside from that, you're concerned about accountability...That has to come from you. No on else has as much invested in your weight loss as you do-it's your body right? I too struggle to afford things-college student's budget, currently living only on financial aid, and don't have a job. I was just lucky enough to have access to a gym here on campus that's paid for anyway from my tuition.
The accountability thing has got to come from you. Even at a weight watchers meeting, sure, they might weigh you in public, and humiliate you into losing, but at the end of the day, real accountability and motivation is going to have to come from you.

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (190,544)
Fitness Minutes: (282,793)
Posts: 26,509
2/12/13 11:29 A

Hi, KCS2013 !!

WW and SP are tools that you can use that could help you lose weight. As others have said, what you get out of a particular program is dependent on what you put in. I know several people who've done WW and love it. But you're quite correct, it can get very expensive. Spark People isn't that different from WW. the main difference is in how to calculate caloric intake. WW converts calories to points and SP just uses calories.

If you're on a budget (aren't we all these days), then SP is the way to go since it is free. Try it for a few weeks. If you find that your finances improve, you can do WW and SP concurrently. There are many SP members who also do WW. Some like being able to go to the meetings for accountability and support.

If you find you need support, feel free to post in the forums. The spark community will give you support when you need it.

There really are many different tools on the Spark website that you can use along with the nutrition tracker to help you lose. You don't have to use the online tracker. You could write down your choices in a notebook if you find the tracker difficult to use. You may find writing down your choices an easier way to learn logging. It is a good visual aid. Many people don't realize how much they eat until they start writing it down.

Take things slowly. Don't try to do everything at once or you will end up frustrated. I would use any FREE resources you can. And once again, if you have a bit of spare money later, then you can consider re-joining WW. Think of SP as providing you some structure to help you lose.

SIMPLELIFE2 Posts: 707
2/12/13 11:03 A

The answer lies within yourself. Joining Weight Watchers holds no magical powers. Bottom line is you have to put in the time and do the work. If money already is an issue, spending more will not help.

Sounds like you are under a great deal of stress. Adding more to it won't help. Studies show that stress increases cortisol levels, which is linked to belly fat. Focusing on reducing stress through meditation and yoga through free resources at the library may be helpful.

You can do this. I turn 50 in April and am in the best shape of my life.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,172
2/12/13 10:24 A

I've never used the scanner, so I can't help you there. The data base for the Tracker that you use from your laptop has tons of entries. I've put a bunch of the stuff I cook with all the time, into my "Favorites" and that really helps cut down on the time involved with Tracking. I will agree that it can be time-consuming. But I like to track in advance-- I can sit and watch tv and rough up a few days' worth of food plans.

I will say that I believe tracking is the single most important thing, in my weight loss and maintenance. So for me, it's well worth the time it takes.

Edited by: MISSRUTH at: 2/12/2013 (10:25)
YELLOWDAHLIA SparkPoints: (94,861)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 13,413
2/12/13 10:08 A

I absolutely hate tracking. What I do is pre plan my meals and snacks and keep it simple.

KCS2013 SparkPoints: (800)
Fitness Minutes: (118)
Posts: 30
2/12/13 10:03 A

I *heart* everyone of you that obviously spent time replying to my post. Words can't express how grateful I am for your time.

Maybe you can help with this..... I love SP and all it offers, of course, esp since it is all free, but my biggest frustration is with the food tracker... the scanner. Seems the date base is VERY small. I scan things I think are 'regular' and popular items and they are never found. Seems like the data base is so tiny and I don't have the time to input ALL the nutrition info from 70% of what I eat. How do yall deal with that. I know for me, tracking EVERYTHING I eat is VERY VERY important. I was doing good last week but got so darn frustrated with so little in the inventory for tracking foods I gave up.

MISSRUTH Posts: 4,172
2/12/13 8:05 A

I'd have to say (JMO) that when money is really tight and you're having trouble just keeping the lights on and the toilets flushing, it's rather selfish to spend some of it on "accountability". Because I agree with a pp-- it's an "inside" job. If you really don't have it in you to do this, there are always ways to cheat or skip a meeting (and a weigh in) or whatever.

I reckon I would suggest you hit the library and check out "The Spark". The first part of the book is the story of how Spark got started-- you could skip that part for now and go first, to the second part of the book. It explains the stages etc and includes a bunch of things for you to do-- listing goals, making a vision collage (which I originally thought sounded pretty kindergarten-ish, but ended up being a great motivator for me. When I finally broke down and did it.) Do every single action step.

And I'd also suggest the Spark Teams too. While there are a bunch that are all just chit-chat, there are also plenty that will include monthly challenges and goals. Be honest! Tell yourself you will faithfully post your results and never "fudge" the truth. Just knowing I was going to be totally honest, helped me stop kidding myself. There are also Spark Challenges-- you can find them under the Community tab at the top of the page. Join a Challenge-- personally I like to pick things that I'm fairly confident I could do without waaaay too much effort. Nothing breeds success, like success itself.

SLIMMERKIWI Posts: 26,040
2/12/13 1:25 A

My thoughts are this (and they are just MY thoughts!) People tend to rely on others - to be accountable to others. What happens when those others are no longer around? IF, however, we learn to become accountable to OURSELVES, then we are always WITH that person you are accountable to! What people generally need is to find the right motivator. We can use a birthday ...... a wedding ........ a reunion, etc. But what happens when that time comes and goes. Often the weight tends to creep back up. For me, the REAL motivator was to improve my health.

As far as what system to use, finances are obviously an issue. There really IS everything you need right here at your fingertips, and it is FREE:-) There is the Nutrition Tracker; the Fitness Tracker; the message boards; the articles; and then there are the teams. I would suggest that you become a regular participator on a couple teams that are very active AND focused on this journey, rather than just focused on daily chit-chat and/or games.

I hope that you find what works for you.
Take care,

MRS.MITA Posts: 888
2/11/13 11:11 P

I feel for you... emoticon There are a lot things you can do for free, like you mentioned. It's good that you've figured out that having real accountability really works for you. It sounds like you have the knowledge you need to lose weight, from weight watchers and from SP, so it's really the accountability and maybe structure of a program that helps you. Maybe if you did SP or if you know how to do the WW program from when you did it before you could totally do it without paying for a program. Maybe you could have a friend or family member be your real life support person and/or the person you are accountable to and you call them every day to check in. You can always go to SP for support or questions. You could find another Spark person to buddy up with for accountability and check in with them every day and they could check in with you, that way it isn't all you and if they are checking in with you that forces you to do it. Also, you can join SP teams and check in with them for support & more accountability.

MRSOLIVER455 Posts: 801
2/11/13 11:02 P

I understand your frustration. No matter what program you choose its all on you, there is going to be some way to cheat or fall off the wagon. My mom lost a great deal of weight on WW and I think it's a great program but when money is an issue it's hard to decide whethere or not to spend it or try and do it on your own. I think if you can get yourself in gear you are completely capable of doing it on your own using spark people. We are all here to see you succeed.

I wish I had a more concrete answer to give you, but its really your choice. But regardless we are all here to help you!!! emoticon

KCS2013 SparkPoints: (800)
Fitness Minutes: (118)
Posts: 30
2/11/13 10:39 P

I am having MAJOR MASSIVE anxiety..... trying to decide, figure out, what I can do or afford to get my a$$ in gear and get this healthy lifestyle started for good. I REFUSE to turn 50 this summer so grossly overweight!!!!

So I am WAY over thinking what 'program' to sign up for and make it my life.

Weight Watchers (again) online -$19 a month
SparkPeople -free
Weight Watchers real meetings -$43 a month
My Fitness Pal -free

Money is a HUGE part of it due to (said with head down) due a bout of unemployment but kept house out of foreclosure.... we have been and still do pay most bills, utilities, phones etc... by shut off notices. Horrid!!!!! Don't see any end to this as husbands pay continues to get cut and I haven't had a raise in 7 yrs.

Weight Watchers online is SO VERY convenient and easy to use but no real accountability. WW in person would have the accountability, BUT $43 a month is a HUGE HUGE chunk of $$ but I feel would be good to try. Haven't done meetings in.... 17 ?? years.

I love SparkPeople, what is offered, all the message boards and community but again... the lack of real accountability.
Same with MFP

What are your thoughts???

Was thinking of tracking on MFP and using Spark for support, ideas etc... but its so easy to quit, skip a day, then a week, then ok... start next week... we'll lets just wait and start fresh next month.... OMG

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