BLUE42DOWN   70,163
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A Goodbye to SP, Permanent or Semi-Permanent

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

As mentioned in my feed and on my Spark Page, I'm going on a permanent (or semi-permanent if I randomly decide to return) hiatus from SparkPeople. I'm not deleting my page or removing teams or friends, just in case I do return for any reason, but I've found I don't use any of the tools any more.

SparkPeople served the basic purpose I needed at the time I started, which originally was just food tracking and adding a bit of walking, with a goal of ending a decade or so of deliberately gaining weight to hide, to be invisible. I started at 250.5 pounds and over the course of 16 to 18 months lost up to 80, my all-time low in probably 15 years was 166.5 pounds.

Unfortunately, as I got down to that point, I was losing balance. Instead of excesses in food, I had traded in excesses in exercise and an obsessiveness on weight loss. I would follow the daily range recommended, plus a little, only to end up seriously hungry and eating more for a day or two.

I'd never been a yo-yo dieter in the past or dealt with anything along the line of binges, and here I was actually close to my general goal ... only to be losing touch with lifestyle and obsessing with weight loss. I was eating and exercising in ways that were beginning to look unhealthy and nonsustainable.

I would buy a jar of peanut butter for sandwiches, and it would be gone in two days. I tracked it all, but was mad at myself for even getting INTO that kind of behavior pattern. At one point in there, I would buy candy bars, not the little one or two serving size, but the massive ones "because it costs less for the large ones" then eating it over the course a day or two.

I had gone from 15 minute walks of less than a mile in September 2011 to some days walking from a train to work (12 minutes), a longer route in the evening (29 minutes), doing an hour of cardio at the gym, then walking home from the gym (25 minutes). I wasn't just doing it on days I wanted to walk. I was doing it to build up my numbers - more minutes of activity, more calories burned. Those had become the entire reason I was walking so much. I also got to where I would eat a huge candy bar, but convince myself it was okay because lo, and behold, if I could eat less of everything else and exercise enough, I could make the Calories In Calories Out say I had a deficit.

What woke me out of that was making a shift in how I handle my finances. I'm much more in control of long-term predictable expenses now and even building up for the (*scowl*) required medical coverage or penalties for failure to be forced to be an insurance company's source of profit. (*avoids ranting by a hair*) I now have a separate account into which I set aside weekly portions toward expenses, then pay those when due. I've wanted to escape my "paycheck to paycheck" mentality for a long time, and this was the big step.

The more carefully I tracked and managed and arranged, the less I could put up with being careless with my health. I couldn't continue down that path, but realized that SP's tools and information didn't provide what I needed. Too often even here on SP the message of a lifestyle change gets diluted. (The new book might be about making a long-term change, but what is the big selling point? It's a "complete two week diet program".)

I stopped and actually looked at the Start Page.

emoticon What's the important number when we enter our food? Calories. Sure, we can track other nutrients, but Calories is the big number that shows up on the Start Page. (It can't even tell us how many fruits and veggies we had ...)

emoticon emoticon What's the important number when we enter our activity? Again, minutes and miles and steps show up, but Calories is the big number on the Start Page.

emoticon There it was every day -- nutrition (Calories), activity (Calories) and weight.

I finally managed to stabilize my thinking back to food as nutrition and activity for health. During the transitions I made, I did regain some weight - notably because I adjusted my activity down (from over 7000 calories burned a week to almost half that) without reducing my eating.

Oh, and "awful confession" time. Because at some point in I think March I said something about setting 180 as my cap while I transitioned, there was a point that I passed it ... and stopped reporting my weight honestly on SP or in my publicly available spreadsheet. (I've corrected the spreadsheet.) I kept track of the real weight in two places that were just for me, where I could make genuine decisions from the information, but didn't want to deal with anyone offering help or support, so I kept it away from others. At the very most, it was 10 pounds off from the real weight. Until a couple days ago, it was coming closer together. Yesterday's weight is real, as is today's - which will be the last I post.

I'll end with a general summary

Where I am as of today, 16 July 2013

emoticon WORKOUT emoticon

I have a workout routine I enjoy. I can skip an occasional day as needed. I don't "count calories". (To generally keep track, I record them as 800 for days I do an hour of cardio, 400 for days I do weight training, 200 for days I walk briskly for an hour, and 0 if I skip. Those give me a very quick comparison of activity day to day by which I can adjust food or understand broader weight shifts.

I have made my primary workout motivation a desire to not lose any progress. While I'm very careful not to overtrain (one reason I do allow myself to skip when I feel physically not up to it), I hate missing a couple days and then feeling like my normal challenge level has become much harder to accomplish. If I'm using resistance level 9 as my starting point and suddenly I'm dropping that to 7 because I slacked off for a week, dang right I'm back in there building back up to 9 and aiming for 10 with a renewed determination.

When I do cardio, I am mostly concerned with how my heart is beating, how my lungs are handling the oxygen demands, and how my joints and body in general are taking the activity. That's it. As long as my heart is beating within the basic range needed, the calories take care of themselves. As long as I throw in alternate activities such as ice-skating or a long trail walk, and making little challenges to go faster, push harder, so I'm never stagnating, my fitness improves.

emoticon NUTRITION emoticon

For a while there I had to just close my mind to the calories in. As I said, I did regain some (I was almost up to 190 and am back down to 184-185). It took weeks to settle into what I wanted my routine workouts to be week to week. I even dropped tracking at all for a few weeks (March-April period). Once I got back to it, my main concerns were keeping sodium sensible and protein well-provided. Every other number could be ignored as long as it wasn't an extreme need or dangerous excess.

What I learned and mentioned in another blog is that my metabolism is most definitely fast. I kind of knew that, but with holding a deficit, I didn't ever get a clear idea of how much faster.

With my height 5'7.75" and weight at 187, a workout routine that means approximately 4000 calories burned a week or less, the BMR calculation says I should be eating around 2470 calories to maintain. In the month of May I found I was eating an average of 3440 a day but mostly bouncing up and down, gaining a pound or two at most. That's right ... with what SP and BMR Calculators would consider a 1000 calorie surplus daily, I was burning most of it naturally.

I'm pulling that down very gradually with minor adjustments -- primarily things that when I look at I scratch my head and wonder why. Two sticks of string cheese at a time instead of one? When did that slip in? A triple serving of granola in a big bowl instead of one and a half in a smaller bowl? If I'm that hungry, I'm making eggs and boosting my protein intake.

emoticon TRACKING emoticon

I love spreadsheets, and use GoogleDocs a lot.

One spreadsheet I use to log what I eat - having added very simple information over three months. It only calculates calories and protein, based on the quantities. When I get home in the evening, I fill it into my recipe software and get all the nutrition data, clearing the log spreadsheet for a new day. It's a very fast, sometimes a tiny bit off, look at where I am through the day, easily accessible and usable on my phone in a way SP's mobile app just never managed to be.

Another spreadsheet is the Fitness log I have had linked in my signature:

It is based on a spreadsheet I'd seen 4A-HEALTHY-BMI link to with her own tracking, a few tinkers to my information and what I wanted to see.

I have a second similar one that only has the more basic information and then three columns for brief journal-like notes about the day. Those let me note why I skip a day at the gym or that I ate out with DDa, so I don't just have a number but a reason.

emoticon APPEARANCE / CLOTHING emoticon

I haven't quite outgrown any of the new clothes, but I'm at that too-snug, she should really wear the next size up point. Thankfully, I'm on the way down so the next problem will be when I hit the "whoops, these got too stretched out and need replacing" point.

I've noticed I'm less and less happy with the excess weight around my middle. I've got all this great muscle underneath - not just the middle, but arms, buttocks, calves - and it's squishy and padded. That, and the body fat % number on my scale, have been bugging me.

I don't usually like to think with appearance, because the usual point is what others think of it. But I'm finally at a point where it is my OWN attention to it that matters. That is hugely important. I want to look better for me. It's like the difference between eating for nutrition and eating for the number of calories in the way my mind approaches things.

I'm dressing up more, taking care of my hair and skin more. I'm not going girly, but dang did I buy myself some sexy heels that I wore to a July 4th BBQ and love the feel of walking in them. There's other little things, but when I am dressing and seeing these cute or sexy clothes, I want to make my body more fit rather than continue to half-abuse it just because I'm not "obese", I'm just "overweight".

All of that, and I don't give a fig when someone external to me comments because I know I'm doing it to please myself alone.

emoticon SOCIAL emoticon

I think this is where I've finally had to decide I'm fully on hiatus from SP. For a long time I wasn't as happy with the tools, but they did the job, and they came with an absolutely incredible community. I loved supporting others, whether it was little surprise SparkGoodies or comments on blogs, pages, or pictures, or responses to threads. But that gets time-consuming (any forum or website does) and once I lost the other reasons for being here by replacingthe tools ... I faded away.

I've been broadening my social activities locally, adding a couple of groups I meet up with, as well as writing a lot more in various pieces of fiction. I have a novel to get back to writing so I can revise it (at 55,000 words now).

All adding up to ... for all that I really care about quite a few people here, that alone isn't enough reason to log in. (And it feels terrible to say, but if the only reason for caring was the shared need to eat healthier and be more active, there's not as much there as building a potential friendship with a wider variety of shared interests. I need to connect more directly with people, something I've avoided for many many years. Online friendships are so much easier to disconnect. It's time to actually get to know people locally more than "Oh, I see you at the gym."


This OUTLAW is riding off into the sunset.

May you all find your own paths and enjoy as much of your life journey as you can!

You will be missed, but in one corner of my mind I will always remember good times and good online friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSB8604 2/7/2014 1:41PM

    I wish you the best!

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JICKEE 1/1/2014 7:06PM

    Good Luck, I hop all is well. am back to lose some weight, it has been an emotional stressful year.

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FIRSTLADYJ1 9/26/2013 9:34PM

    Just returned after a year off Spark...awesome times spent with family and new "real-life" friends..Now balancing life and Spark...totally understand where you're coming from...Spark features can be addictive. Will miss you..wishing you all the best!
Lady J

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GINGERD03 9/19/2013 7:18AM

  I am glad you are finding your path-may you be well & happy~ emoticon

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SHASTABEARZ 9/6/2013 1:46PM

    Bye Blue. We were on the same team, BLC20, and you were helpful! I always wanted to chat with you about religion (I think we both had the same one for a while, JW) and about writing. If you do ever come back, I'd love it if you look me up. I hope you have a great journey!


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OTEN36 9/3/2013 5:19AM

    wow...great blog
I find myself in the same spot you made mention of several times.
But after regaining some weight and yes, like you not liking how it feels having those new clothes get too tight to wear...but I'm going to stay on SP but with a new attitude and not so much craziness if I gain a half pound. I really did put myself thru too much pressure. I'm going to take it slower this time.
Thanks for sharing and good luck.

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JANESLOSS 8/22/2013 8:32PM

    Good luck Jennifer!

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SIMONEKP 8/21/2013 11:02AM

    good luck

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SPARKFRAN514 7/19/2013 5:33PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JULIA1154 7/19/2013 12:59AM

  I will very much miss your thoughtful, insightful posts. Nonetheless, I thoroughly understand and applaud your decision. I think it represents a certain level of maturity to be able to identify what you need to do at this time in your life and then execute those steps. Living virtually is not living, when it comes right down to it, is it?

Congratulations on your self-knowledge, on getting your finances in order and on moving on with what's important to you. I wish you all the best. Thank you for sharing yourself with us.

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_JODI404 7/18/2013 11:01PM

    This is a really great blog, and I appreciate that you took the time to explain so much.

You will most definitely be missed! You are an *awesome* writer, and your blogs were extremely insightful and thought provoking. I always enjoyed reading whatever you shared here.

It sounds like you have got a good handle and plan for the various aspects of managing your lifestyle.

I wish you the very best in all of your endeavors.... work, health, social, writing, financial, fitness....

I'm glad you're keeping your page up. It would be wonderful to hear from you once in a blue moon emoticon to know how you are doing. We'll see.... you may be gone for good. Whatever you decide, I am confident it will be what is best for you -- and that is what really matters.

You were definitely a motivator and source of great inspiration while you were active here. Thank you for all that gave and shared!

Best wishes Blue! emoticon

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CHERYL_ANNE 7/17/2013 3:28PM

    Good luck and much continued success!

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WORLDSERIES11 7/17/2013 2:40PM

    Good luck to you as you continue on your journey!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NEWVINE 7/17/2013 1:14PM

Thank you for sharing emoticon

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MSFRANKI1 7/17/2013 9:48AM

  You'll be missed~ but in reality, we'll all have to move on, eventually. Our day will come. Can you imagine all of us still being here in 30 years LOL? I would be like...almost 100 hahaha. emoticon too~ but it is a fantasy world. If we look around us, the majority of people of healthy weight, are not obsessing, as far as I can tell. At least the people I know or are related to. They may "watch it" a bit food-wise, or make sure they get in some excercise~ everyone not living under a rock knows it's good for humans. But it seems to be more natural, and less obsessive, than we who gather here on this site. The old saying, "Less talking--more doing!" will apply for each of us, as we move on. There is no real reason to be discussing weight loss continuously day in and day out, except when we are embroiled in the process. So I, too, hope to move on at some point. For every thing, there is a season. God bless~have the courage to love in your new groups and relationships~ and wear those sexy high heels proudly, woman. You've been a beautiful work of love for us. emoticon emoticon already~ emoticon ~your friend, Sandi

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TORIAMAE 7/17/2013 9:30AM

    Best wishes! I've always enjoyed your common sense approach to all this and will miss reading your posts.

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SHERIO5 7/17/2013 8:52AM

    Best wishes!

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JALEEMN 7/17/2013 7:54AM

    Definitely will miss you and your blog posts. But all things must come to an end sooner or later. I wish you the best on your journey.

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TWINZMOM7 7/17/2013 7:38AM

  All the best to you on your journey! xo

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SANDYB223 7/17/2013 6:55AM

    Will definitely miss you!! The best of all that life has to offer to you!!!


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GOODHEALTH4EVER 7/17/2013 5:32AM


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GOPINTOS 7/17/2013 4:47AM

    I will miss you. You have been such an inspiration on my journey. I would stop by just to check out your latest progress picture. You were always amazing. Still are :)

Keep in touch!

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DOVESEYES 7/17/2013 4:32AM

    All the best will miss your blogs

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ILOVEMALI 7/17/2013 2:53AM

  I'll miss you, Pal -- one of my goals still is to take a walk with you some day! You know how to get in touch with me! xoxo, Deb

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PKCTTS 7/17/2013 12:57AM

    emoticon Happy trails Blue. It was great hanging out with you at the campfire.

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SHAMROCKY2K 7/17/2013 12:36AM

    Thanks for posting. I wish you luck. It's great knowing you can come back whenever you need support.

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GOING-STRONG 7/16/2013 11:45PM

    You will be missed.... thanks for taking time to let us know your thoughts. It is very disconcerting to have an active Sparker just drop off the radar without a word. Appreciate the heads up and wishing you all the best in the future. Let us know when that book get published!


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DAZZEEDOO 7/16/2013 11:16PM

    May the wind be at Your back, and the sun and moon light Your way in all Your future endeavors.

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BLKLILY 7/16/2013 10:53PM

    You wrote so much that I can relate to and can see how I might one day do the same. I am sad that I just now got to know you but all things happen for a reason. You have truly confirmed so much that I always have felt and thought. It is refreshing to know there are others out there who feel the same. Boy...the Spark community is losing a great one and I know your friends will miss you even more!

I wish you the best! I am going to bookmark this blog as it will continue to be a reference point for me on so many levels.

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KARL1266 7/16/2013 10:33PM

    Well...where to begin.

I wish you all the best. I know you have given this decision a lot of thought and are doing this for all the right reasons.

I'll miss your always thought provoking blogs and your very insightful comments on mine. You always gave me something to think about and usually were one step ahead of me when it came time to blog about something. I would have an idea for a blog and when I get on I find you have covered the same topic. Kind of uncanny.

Just know you will be missed by those of us with whom you have touched in some way. It may not always seem so from certain perspectives, but we all leave a mark in one form or another. I truly believe you have left a big one.

Good luck and like I said, I wish you nothing but the best. You will always be welcome.

Speaking purely from a selfish standpoint, I hope this is just a semi-retirement and not a permanent one. But you do what you need to do.

Hope to see you around! I'll still be here.


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SANDICANE 7/16/2013 10:26PM

    The life of someone with a weight problem is not easy...ask me, I KNOW! And, I also know that there is not one "silver bullet" for everyone. I love SparkPeople because I have found fellow maintainers who support me...

I have been a yo-yo'er almost all my life and now at age 57 I'm determined to maintain b/c I don't believe I have another 50lb weight loss in me.

I sincerely, sincerely wish you luck as you look for the support and path you need to achieve your goals.

I'll be thinking about you....

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2BEABETTERME 7/16/2013 10:25PM

    You have been an inspiration to me and many others and I am sad to see you go. But, I understand and respect the need to do what is best for you.

Best of luck!

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NEELIXNKES 7/16/2013 10:04PM

    emoticon Thanks for sharing your journey with us. Good luck in maintenance/toning up.

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LADYVOLSFAN1954 7/16/2013 9:34PM

    Will miss you but totally understand your reasoning. You have to do what is best for you. Good luck with the book! Stop by and say hi sometime. May your life be filled with joy and love and all the good things life has to offer.

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LIZZYP609 7/16/2013 9:17PM

    you come right back to the campfire if you ever want a good spir in the butt about anything! It looks like you have everything under control (which I have known for a very long time now!)

Good Luck Blue!

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ONEKIDSMOM 7/16/2013 9:13PM

    May you have a wonderful life, Spark having served its purpose for you, and no longer serving you. YOU have made a decision. Live your life and enjoy every... last... minute... in balance and good health! emoticon

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ROXYZMOM 7/16/2013 9:08PM

    I understand what you are saying... I found if you do EVERYTHING spark offers, you have NO live social life. It has taken me a while, but I think I found a balance. Use the pieces that help you and leave the rest alone. For example, It appeared to me that you took a humongous amount of time writing blogs.

I think the thing I love the best is being able to write a simple status about whatever I want to people I know on line and not being judged! It helps so much because I can't do it or be so honest with "real" people i know. I also love that people I know on spark will pray for my son - and they don't really know me. I find great comfort in that.

With that said, I respect your decision and hope you continue on your path to happiness. Thanks for your inspiration.

Comment edited on: 7/16/2013 9:10:23 PM

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KING_SLAYER 7/16/2013 9:00PM

    Have fun out there in the big, scary world! Best of luck to you, kick a$$ and take names!

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ALLYALLYT 7/16/2013 8:43PM

    great job! good luck! will miss your blogs! emoticon

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1EMMA2011 7/16/2013 8:31PM

    Great job! I feel proud of you. Congrats! I will miss you!


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KAYTIE22 7/16/2013 8:14PM

    Sometimes it's good to take a break and concentrate on other things. You accomplished a lot and you can always come back if you wish. Wishing you the best.

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FRANKPAUL 7/16/2013 8:14PM

    Thanks for all the inspiration!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 7/16/2013 8:13PM

    Hope you do decide to sneak in on those rare occasions and say howdy. I truly understand how easy it is to get lost and over do. You have to find your way and follow it. emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/16/2013 8:11PM

    I'll miss ya over here, and hope we can still keep in touch via Gmail!


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SKAHONEY4U 7/16/2013 8:08PM

    good luck! emoticon

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    Best wishes and best of luck!

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KSCHRAUT 7/16/2013 7:49PM

    Good luck with everything!

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MERRYMARY42 7/16/2013 7:47PM

    well it des sound like you on on top of your health, weight and finances, good for you, keep it up, and come by and say howdy once in awhile good luck

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16 July 2013 - Past information from SparkPage

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

This is just to archive what I had on my SparkPage, since some of it makes less sense with going on a permanent hiatus.


** For anyone who winds up on my SparkPage for any reason ... Greetings and Salutations. If you would like to add me as a Spark Friend, please do and you will find I add you back in return. For all that I mention being intensely private and will sometimes call myself "non-social", I do make a point of keeping up with friend statuses, blogs, and other news and making comments. (Gotta have somewhere for all my surplus of words to go. =P ) **

Aug 2012
Seemed like it was about time to change my avatar image. I've been hiding behind the hair for a long time.

Fitness (and, within that, weight training) has become a big part of my progress.

Tracking is the other big part of my progress. I haven't missed a day of tracking my food - every meal, every bite (even if some was guesswork) - and it really lets me see the connection between calories in and calories out.

Jan 2012
I talk more about myself in my blogs and Team forums and comments to others. Since this blog is public (as in visible even to search engines), I tend to not put quite as many truly personal details. I'm intensely private about some things and keenly aware of who can see and read and learn what about me.

I'm one of many many Jennifers in the world. In fact, one Jr. High School class there were four of us in the class, and three of us with the same last initial, it's such a common name. I go by Jennifer or include my middle name with it - avoiding, when possible, all shortened versions.

I have three children - one that I gave up for adoption (DDb - 22 yrs), and two with my EX (DS - 20 yrs - and DDa - 19 yrs.) By my birthday, none of them will be teens even. Time sure flies.

I'm a little unusual here on SparkPeople in that much of my weight gain was through quite conscious and deliberate actions. I built my body shield from large amounts of sweets combined with eating all of the servings rather than one that I cooked. Throughout that time, I always walked - something I love doing - so I'm probably more fit than usual ... but have a very long way to go to be FIT the way I want.

I started my journey at a high weight of 250.5 pounds on 16 September 2011. While I do set a monthly weight goal and eventually hope to be at a healthy weight, my real goal is healthy habits and improved physical fitness. The two go hand in hand, but I consider the loss of weight to be a mere side-effect (good as it is) to getting healthy and fit.

My motto, if I have one, is "Do only those things that I will still want to do in ten or twenty years." I'm verbose (... no kidding?), obstinate, stubborn, have a crazy good memory for things, non-social (neither shy nor anti-social) and an eternally optimistic realist (I see it how it is and with the capacity to get better).

I love tracking and spreadsheets, so I have been tracking my food and other stats since I started. I even share it for those curious what I eat. (I am 5'7.75" and big-boned, so with my activity level I have a current range of 1660-2020, though that will drop as soon as I adjust for lower activity while letting two injuries recover.)

Sept 2011
I've bulked up to hide from relationships for the last dozen years. Now that I have my "empty nest", it's time to undo the damage before I actually have health issues from being obese.

I'm intensely private - and trying very hard to overcome that - but can't promise I'll dive completely into the Spark community for some time to come.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KENDRACARROLL 7/16/2013 6:56PM

    Even after maintaining my goal weight for several years now I find a daily dose of SparkPeople very motivating. Not sure I could do this entirely on my own.

Wishing you continued succrss. You know where to find us if you feel the need.

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Looking behind and continuing forward

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Time for reviewing June goals and making July ones.

== June goals ==
1) Average calories under 3000.
emoticon Didn't make this one, though I didn't blow it terribly either. My average for the month was 3111 calories per day. (More discussion of this below.) I did bring the average down from May and ended June well with an average of 2972 for the last week.

2) Push up my cardio intensity
emoticon emoticon I've been doing this in steps, but definitely feel good about it. I upped the resistance level that I start with on my regular machine (recumbent bike) and have thrown a couple other machines (ellipticals) back into the mix with higher settings than in the past. I have also been paying more attention to hitting the higher side of my % of MaxHR (for me that is 138-145).

3) Short story or poem for submission
emoticon Didn't get the clear information on what the story should be until close to the end of the month, but I have started writing. Might have to take that one back to the drawing board, as it isn't as short as I'll need. Definitely back into writing, though, and that was the important part.

4) Financial planning
emoticon emoticon I opened a special checking account that earns interest into which I set aside weekly the amounts that will be needed for budgeted items. I have a spreadsheet set up and have been tracking what portions of each week's set-aside go toward which item. This way I'm "paying" an amount each week for things and have the money ready when I go to spend it. (Rent, monthly bus pass, annual taxes, biannual gym dues, website costs, etc.) Very happy with that.


My worst couple days were 4750 and 4090 respectively.

I just discovered this morning that at least one food in my tracking software didn't have values entered. That means every day I had that food (one of the two juices I use in my smoothies), I would have eaten around 150 calories more than I had recorded. emoticon It's going to be a little time-consuming, but I'm going to try to check each food item and then update my spreadsheet to see what the actual numbers are. So my average will probably go up, though hopefully not too significantly.

During June I dealt with a couple weeks of an ear infection. It was actually hard to chew for a couple days, so there's three days around 2600, then almost a week of 3000-3500. Movies and dinner with DDa and dark chocolate almonds didn't help either. (The latter were easy to eat in handfuls at the slightest hint of hunger, and were behind the two highest days.)

All that taken into account, I didn't gain. In fact, I'm on a downtrend. I knew I had a pretty fast metabolism, but now I have a clearer idea of that. Maintenance for me at close to 180 pounds seems to be approximately 3200 calories daily. That's with routine walking, nothing special or pushing, and my regular workouts (4 days of weights with 20m cardio and 3 days of 60m cardio). There were even a few days skipped for various reasons. It will be somewhat less at 155, but it certainly says something when I maintain at 3200 when the formulas come up with closer to 2400 at my activity level.

This is really what I've been doing since last year, in fits and starts. My workouts are enjoyable and sustainable with a focus on fitness. I'm not walking as much as I can every day to "burn more calories", instead choosing to walk when I want to because I love being outside and enjoying the climate. I'm eating mostly healthy and keeping track of that to be sure I get all my needed nutrition. I do love my dark chocolate a little much (always will, but I'm learning to be very picky about quality). Other things like jars of peanut butter are no longer an issue because I'm not constantly thinking about how I shouldn't eat more.

For whatever reason, my mentality cannot be "weight loss" or even "fat loss". It truly has to be how I live, a focus on nutrition and physical fitness for a long and comfortable future. My semi-break from SP, while I'm missing all the interaction, has really made a difference in not being as scale- and calorie-centered.


Okay, time to set these.

== July goals ==
1) Average calories under 3000. Same goal, but I actually expect to achieve this, and possibly be closer to my 2750-2800 range the majority of the month.

2) Short story or poem written and submitted. Rework novel, even if that's only going through and editing my atrocious verb tense shifting. All total, try to write at least 10,000 words of fiction - whether one story or several.

3) Clear out stuff in storage that I can break down. I keep putting this off and the rent went up on the space. I'm tired of paying and hope to clear it out before July ends. Failing that, my absolute deadline is end of August, and bribes to DS and DDa to help -- since I can obviously afford to give them the money I'd have otherwise paid for the space.

4) Maintain my social balance. I've got at least three social events planned during July. Enjoy those, but also make sure I keep the quiet me times so I don't burn out. Be open to meeting new people and do not get cranky about compliments or attention.

5) Enjoy summer! Fit in at least two summery activities - picnic, BBQ, swim, something.

6) Measurements and fitness test. I let these slip out mostly and want to get them back in. Time to update my fitness testing. I want to move my measurements to a spreadsheet and make them more accurate. (Stuff like waist I need to remember where I measured it. Ideally get DDa to help me take them so the tape isn't slipping and changing by the time I read it.)

I might add some by fall or by 2014 goals later, but lunch is over so back to the grind with me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NERDLETTE 7/7/2013 7:06PM

    You're doing great, Blue! Good to see you on SP again. emoticon

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RUNNERRACHEL 7/3/2013 3:04PM

    You do such a great job on keeping track of your goals!

You've set very well-balanced goals, physically, socially, and seasonally (yay BBQ, picnic, swim, etc!)

Here is to another successful month!! emoticon emoticon

Have a nice holiday! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    "For whatever reason, my mentality cannot be "weight loss" or even "fat loss". It truly has to be how I live, a focus on nutrition and physical fitness for a long and comfortable future. My semi-break from SP, while I'm missing all the interaction, has really made a difference in not being as scale- and calorie-centered. "

I definitely appreciate that comment! For whatever reason, I react the same way to focus on weight loss. Also have similar reaction to SP, even though I love and appreciate my SP friends.

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DOVESEYES 7/3/2013 3:13AM

    Great job for June, great goals for July.. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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2BEABETTERME 7/2/2013 10:53PM

    Keep up the great work!

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DAZZEEDOO 7/2/2013 9:49PM

    Glad You are well!

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KBLASEN 7/2/2013 7:46PM


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SHERIO5 7/2/2013 7:16PM

    Glad you are feeling better!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 7/2/2013 4:20PM

    Good to see you this afternoon. Awesome on not gaining even with your illness and increased calories. emoticon

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SHEL_V2 7/2/2013 3:58PM

    Nice to see you continuing to ponder the balance of everything. I'm a minimal ponderer, and I've even quieted a few of my data collecting impulses. Tracking what I eat generally causes me to eat to plan, but I've opened the upper limit to 2000 cal.

This totally flies in the face of reducing clutter, but I love my little digital tape measure. about $12 at Amazon right now. It makes it easy to quickly capture a measurement, then move to see what it reads. I ignore the memory function on it (it steps through a fixed series of body parts).

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HEALTHY-SPARK 7/2/2013 3:41PM

    You sound super organized and on top of all these great goals. Seems like you did pretty well in June -- and the goals for July are great. That's fantastic that you've added writing goals to your list. I should do that, maybe that will help me get my novel finished one of these days!

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May slips away and June marches in

Monday, June 03, 2013

Oh my, oh my. Another month bites the dust, and another month gone, etc.

Where did I get to with regards to my goals?

1) Track eating daily emoticon
I'm a teensy bit behind right this moment as I went clubbing last night, got up early to go to a social gathering, then hit the gym. But once I finish this blog post, that's next on my task list. Otherwise I have tracked every day since I restarted doing so near the beginning of the month.

2) Avg calories to 2050 emoticon
Definitely did not put much effort into this. My actual average for May was 3400. Yeah, whoops! I'm higher than I want to be, for sure. I actually touched my upper limit of 180 one day (day before TOM started), but I'm tickling just below. BUT, and this is the part that kept me from getting strict with myself about daily calories, I only gained 0.5 pounds over the entire month. For a month in which I walked to and from work less often, had a couple of days when social activities interfered with my gym schedule, and dog walks dwindled to pretty much non-existent (they're moving out very soon) and eating nearly 1000 more calories daily than the BMR calculation says I'd need to maintain, that tells me chopping to 2050 might not be reasonable so I'm re-evaluating that.

3) Simplify workout tracking emoticon emoticon
Didn't spend much time working on this. I did try to make a couple groupings on SP, but that just does NOT work the way I want. Mostly I've been entering it here for the calories burned number. What I've been watching in May is the typical numbers I burn -- which tend to be 400 on days I do strength training or trail-walking and 800 on days I do an hour of gym cardio. My average in May was 550 calories daily. My plan to simplify the tracking is actually to stop tracking calories burned at all and just track workout information using the JEFit app. (Hence the squiggly mouth as I didn't simplify it in May, but the smile as May led to this plan for simplifying.)

4) Write, write, and write emoticon emoticon
I have been writing more, but have not gotten back to my novel started for Nanowrimo. Recently I uncovered one reason I'm having trouble with it and have been letting that percolate while I write other things. I do have several goals set for June in the writing arena, and actually did accomplish one thing in May related to writing which is kind of amusing -- I decided on a "pen name" and set up a couple of accounts using it. I have also done one other thing, purely mental, and that is to recognize my negative self-talk in that arena and start battling it with positive self-talk. I ~AM~ a writer. I spell well, have a strong vocabulary, and can write better than quite a few self-published books out there. I can and will be a published author.

5) Socialize and recharge in balance emoticon
As I mentioned in one of my status updates, I've been getting a bit more socialized than recharged. These first few days of June have continued that trend, but my obligations taper off in about a week and I hope to get a needed breather. I have been recharging enough to not get stressed, but not enough to seek out more socializing such as here.

6) Active on SparkTeams and with SparkFriends within reason emoticon
Yeah, this one fell somewhat astray due to the lack of complete recharging. I did pop into one of the teams I lead several times through the month, but it's been real quiet and losing people here and there. (I'm actually in a quandary on that team as I don't know if I'll get back to the point of giving as much time and energy as I once did, but I hate to give up on it.

Not as well as I might have liked, but getting the tracking back in has been good and I'm moving in the right direction as June gets under way. So, time for some June goals:

1) Average calories under 3000.
The biggest reason is that during May I averaged 3400 calories in but only gained half a pound over that whole period (which would equate to about 100 calories excess per day). As long as my activity remains consistent, 3000 would swing the needle back to the losing side in a gradual manner. I can again evaluate at the end of June based on weight trend whether I need to lower it further.

2) Push up my cardio intensity
I've been doing this sporadically, but really want to make fitness and health the big focus of my cardio workouts. (This ties into not tracking it on SP any more, in fact. I won't be wasting attention on getting a number of minutes and calories burned - instead focusing on how my heart rate and breathing during the workout are as I push harder and faster.)

3) Short story or poem for submission
One of the other members of our writer's group is doing a project. It involves getting a bunch of writers to volunteer content, publishing them as a book (in online format only at first), and then donating all proceeds to a chosen charity.

4) Financial planning
I've been tracking and budgeting for quite some time now, but this is different from a budget. A budget gives a limit, of sorts, and an idea of how much to expect to spend, but doesn't really show cash available day to day and predict whether a future need might be more than I have available. Years ago I had a spreadsheet that tracked what my available balance would be based on all my expected expenses, so I could see that spending $30 on clothes today could lead to being overdrawn when I paid rent in two months unless I cut some other expense. What I'm leaning toward now is actually an "expense account" - a separate account into which I move the weekly amount needed for all expected expenses (as in 1/4 of rent, 1/12 of expected fed and state taxes). That would leave only discretionary income in the easily accessible account for expenses like clothing or entertainment.

I think I'll stick with just these four goals and a plan to meet all of them in June.

Yes, I left out the recharging and the activity on SparkPeople. I don't plan to go poof, and I do hope to be more active on a couple teams and with specific friends, but making any particular commitment for June is something I want to avoid so that I can avoid burning out with feeling I "should" be doing something rather than doing it because I really want to.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BMCKEOW1 6/4/2013 2:15PM

    I love your goals, you can do them. They aren't so hard that you are setting yourself up for failure, but not to easy they aren't worth it. Good for you getting out and socializing, we all need that from time to time. Go you!!!

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PKCTTS 6/3/2013 7:09PM

    Miss "seeing" you every day. You have become quite the social butterfly. LOL I hope your June turns out just the way you plan.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 6/3/2013 1:34PM

    You have good doable goals in place for June. I hope you see super results. emoticon emoticon

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SHERIO5 6/3/2013 10:11AM

    Simplicity, just might be the key!

Glad you are still here!

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KBLASEN 6/3/2013 8:52AM

    Wow, you have a lot of goals for the month! I've just started setting written goals for myself again, my temptation is always to have too many goals and to expect perfection from myself, so I always have to re-think them several times to set myself up for success & motivation from them instead of failure.

I am a writer and a poet too :) I guess I think of it this way...A writer writes and an author publishes...they are two very different skill sets. Have you read Stephen King's book on writing, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft? It is very inspirational.

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KARL1266 6/3/2013 6:57AM

    Good job with the goals as you laid them out. Everyday life can sometimes throw us off our intended path but the smart plan is to always roll with the punches and adjust as needed.

I especially like your thought on writing. As you know I am trying to get myself motivated to continue my own writing project and maybe I'm my own worst enemy.

As always you leave me with much to ponder! I thank you for that! Have a great month achieving your goals!

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MUSOLF6 6/3/2013 6:47AM

    emoticon emoticon

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DOVESEYES 6/3/2013 6:17AM


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ILOVEMALI 6/3/2013 1:44AM

  I am concentrating on your writing comments. Writing is so personal and brave. Write this month.

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IDICEM 6/3/2013 1:42AM

  I really like your analysis of your May goals and the way you use that to help set your June goals. Good luck!
emoticon emoticon

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SparkStreak for logging in and spinning wheel goes poof

Friday, May 17, 2013

It would have been 608 days with Thursday's spin. Instead, at the time I chose to make my spin, just as it finished and went to submit, SP took a critical dump. Next thing I knew, the status page was saying it would be around 4 hours for them to get it back up. Didn't check before leaving work, didn't check from my phone, and didn't get home until after midnight ... resulting in no Thursday spin.

End of SparkStreak ... and really what I feel is a sense of relief.

The SparkStreak is broken, through no real fault of my own. I was logged on. I did hit Spin. Now that it is broken, I have no need or desire to start it back up again. In fact, I'm perfectly content to let the water tracking one die off as well. (Mind you, I ~ALWAYS~ drink 8-16 glasses of water. The streak isn't really whether I drank them -- it's whether I tracked that I drank them. And it doesn't block going back days and tracking to get the streak back.)

I'm free.

I'm free of feeling like I ~need~ to click Spin every day.

Then again, I've already been migrating away from SP in a number of ways. Somehow keeping that SparkStreak and the water one going had become more a ritual than a "healthy habit". I generally stay logged on both at work and home. In fact, SP tends to log me off more often than I've ever logged myself off. In fact, I think I only ever logged off once ... when some goofup with cookies resulted in my being logged into someone else's account.

But the online time spent on SP easily starts to take over. And underlying that takeover was a very simple obsession with keeping a pointless (to me, at this time) SparkStreak alive. I don't need SparkPoints. I realized that a while back, after months of working hours daily to get 100+ points. (It's not as hard as you'd think. I don't have to actually make a recipe to get the points, just click a button. I don't have to read an article, just click a button. The quizzes probably took me the longest.) Even after I recognized that I really didn't need to spend that time that way, I still spun that wheel daily because I couldn't pick a good point to say "No more."

I'm doing my food tracking in Living Cookbook - which is a recipe, ingredient, inventory, menu planner, and tracker software all in one. I track my weights workouts with JEFit Pro, which is an app on my Android phone. I track my cardio there as well, but SP has been my fallback to get total calorie burn .... so I manually copy over data every day. Finding an alternative has been on my mind, and one option I keep coming back to is a spreadsheet in Google Docs. Simple enough and I could access it on my phone at the gym.

Which basically brings me to the fact that the ONLY reason I'm still here on SP, trying to be active at all, is ... you fellow Sparkers. Community is what really makes the difference. All the rest, the information, the trackers, the streaks, the points, the goodies ... they're just icing on the cake that is a community of individuals who generally have a common purpose:

Living a healthier life (and losing weight and getting fit in the process)

I'm still going to be showing up for now. I'm just not going to spin that wheel or track my water. Because I don't need those streaks to say 600+ to know I'm active and healthy and maintaining some good habits. And I don't need those streaks to say:

Let's do it emoticons! emoticon


Edit to add

The Rave Run was fun, but being the first time they'd done it, there were issues. They filled up completely for the Saturday run and created a Friday one for the spillover (which is why I got the Friday thing confused for a while).

There were 20,000 registered runners. Many of us were unable to get to the packet pickups on earlier days due to location and time, so the line was horrendous to do so. In fact, it and other things added up to the starting time being delayed, and delayed, and delayed. Over half an hour.

Here was an early look at the crowd with the starting gate in the distance. This was over an hour before the scheduled start time, and most people were spread out in an area behind me or still working on getting their packets.

An hour later, as the starting time approached then passed, I took multiple pictures turning a bit each time trying to capture the sheer mass of people, but bear in mind this is night and everyone is wearing lights. (Only uploading three of the six or seven.)

I did like this picture. It looks like a carnival ride.

What is it? A lit up hula hoop being held up by someone very close to me.

Once they finally got people going, their corral system pretty predictably collapsed. (They started with the fastest corral, but everyone was so eager to go that the fencing between got pushed sideways and people just crammed in and ahead.)

Even worse ... imagine 20,000 people, even very spread out over the whole length of the course, finishing here:

That's right ... a Rave tunnel, at best allowing about 10 wide, probably less, that most people stopped to take pictures in. MAJOR traffic jam.

To top that off, once we got out of that, the actual rave was in a build that required we cross the route through those still running. To leave requires crossing the route through those still running.

I'm sure they'll do better next year. It WAS a very cool concept. It WAS obviously very popular, even if a good percentage were more about the rave than the run.

Oh, the only other thing I didn't mention -- the "track". Most of this was run on a dirt track through the fields that are part of our county fairgrounds. A short portion at the end brought us onto the paved main area. This was run at night, in the dark, with mostly rave style lighting. Forget running for best time. The important thing was stepping carefully to avoid twisting an ankle on a loose clod. (Any running / jogging meant going around people, which often meant getting into the less flattened grass.)

I thought I started my watch at the start, only to discover at the end that it only went into "Pending" mode and never started. So I have no idea how long I took. I'm going to look for a race that is timed and smooth. (I'm thinking the Packard Summer Scamper ... the one that takes me over an hour to get to, but runs through Stanford University.) Right now I don't know what my 5k time is like. I did throw in periodic jogging and felt I could have done more if I'd trusted my footing more.


Ending with two final pictures. These are just random shots taken with my phone.

It was a wet winter, so the cacti in front of a nearby business have been gorgeously covered with blooms.

On Google+ there are groups that do photography themes. I took this one of the stairs at work to post, and really liked the result. Shrunk like this, it's easy to mistake for the keys on a piano keyboard.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NERDLETTE 5/30/2013 6:38PM

    I hope you never stop Sparkpeople entirely. I miss your every day notes in the Outlaw Campfire, but can still get a little via your blogs. emoticon

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SBNORMAL 5/22/2013 11:05PM

  I hope you do not give up blogging. I like to read your stories.

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SBNORMAL 5/22/2013 10:39PM

  I hope you do not give up blogging. I like to read your stories.

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SBNORMAL 5/22/2013 10:35PM

  I hope you do not give up blogging. I like to read your stories.

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BMCKEOW1 5/20/2013 1:24PM

    I love the picture those are awesome. There are a couple new races this year. I think next year they will do better. Haven't tried the Rave Run it looks fun though.

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ILOVEMALI 5/20/2013 2:55AM

  doesn't it feel good to not be a slave to anything!!

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MNJONES2 5/18/2013 12:30PM

    Thanks for your blog! Always good to have new points of view. You have come such a long way with your fitness! CONGRATS

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RUNNERRACHEL 5/17/2013 6:05PM

    Spark posted on facebook that they would make sure people could keep their streaks going even with the technical difficulties. But it sounds like you feel free from not having the added pressure. I agree. SP can take up a lot of time.

But if you still find support from the community (as I do, even after reaching my goal weight), continue to be here as much as you feel it benefits you.

It can be a distraction and take away from what you are doing. So, let SP work for you, not you work for Spark Points, etc. emoticon emoticon

P.S. Race looks fun! I haven't done a night race. I would like to some day!

Comment edited on: 5/17/2013 6:06:10 PM

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KENDRACARROLL 5/17/2013 11:18AM

    I've never understood the importance of collecting SparkPoints. Doesn't do anything but keep my butt planted on a chair in front of the computer when I could be moving instead.

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GOING-STRONG 5/17/2013 11:12AM

    I know what you mean about Spark streaks for spinning the wheel... sort of pointless but it keeps me coming back to the site to check in for a daily dose of motivation.


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CIPHER1971 5/17/2013 8:57AM

    Yay for freedom emoticon

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NATE-JANINE 5/17/2013 8:19AM

    I must admit that I feel the same. I spin the wheel out of habit. I have read most of the articles that interested me and completed all of the quizzes as well. I do keep track of my fitness tracking but thats only because its linked through my FitBit...which I love. So other than the spinning thats all I seem to do on here lately.

I will always give great testimonials for newbies. Sparkpeople is a great tool for gaining knowledge when you are just stating out.

So to all of you newbies. Spark on my friends Spark on!

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SHERIO5 5/17/2013 8:09AM

    I like your last two photos!

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DOVESEYES 5/17/2013 8:00AM

    Glad you keep coming back to blog it wouldn't be the same without you!!!

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KARL1266 5/17/2013 7:10AM

    I agree with you wholeheartedly on the value of the streaks. I have a couple that are over a year in length or nearly so. My login spin is not one of those, however. Interestingly enough, every 150 days or so, I seem to forget.

I also kind of agree with one your other responders...I think the wheel is just a way to keep the advertisers happy. If everyone keeps logging in that means more eyeballs on the ads that are all over the spin page.

Good luck with your new tracking and I hope you don't pull away totally. It's true for me as well, I don't NEED to know that I've exercised 20 minutes a day everyday since starting SP. I just do it now. I don't need to know that I drink 8 glasses of water a day everyday (more like 12-16). But I do NEED the community, even if I don't participate as much as others.

Thanks for a great blog!

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JANTWO 5/17/2013 4:33AM

    I am so glad you blogged about this. I am doing the same thing. I really have thought about stopping the streak.

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ARNETTELEE 5/17/2013 4:30AM

  I agree with you...

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AHTRAP 5/17/2013 4:29AM

    The wheel's just a way to show the advertisers that we're still hooked, anyway, no big loss.

I've drifted away from being active on this site the past couple of months, too...but I keep checking in to see what others are up to. It really is the other people we interact with, get to know, that make this site what it is.

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