Thursday, June 09, 2011
When I joined on 1/1/11 (yes, I am a New Year’s Resolution baby!) I, like everyone else, entered my weight loss goals. For me it was a starting weight of 204, a goal weight of 134 and a goal date of 12/31/11. This was a reasonable, achievable loss of about 1.3 pounds per week. My starting calorie range was about 1200-1400 per day and I had no planned cardio minutes on the tracker. After a few weeks, once I got into a routine, I entered 30 cardio minutes M-F, nothing on the weekends; my calorie ranged changed a little, but still was within this same basic range.
In reality I exercised a lot more. So finally, for the last few months, ever since I updated & increased my planned cardio on the fitness tracker to 60 minutes per day, Monday - Saturday, SP has told me that my needed calorie range is about 1500-1900 per day.
I understand that if I get 60 minutes of cardio a day I need to eat more to stay healthy on this journey than if I only exercised 10 minutes a day. It made sense, then, that my calorie range would increase.
But that much?!? I quickly found that if I ate even at the low end of that range I started gaining weight (and felt stuffed & bloated). *Obviously* SP was wrong! So I made several posts about how SP ranges were inaccurate for me.
So I continued staying mainly in the range of 1200-1400 per day and that was working for me.
Then this morning I went in to the weight tracker to enter my new weight – 149.9! – and got a little message in a box. Maybe it’s been there in the past, I don’t know, but today I read it.
I wish I had thought to take a print screen or write it down word for word.
It basically said the SP does not automatically recalculate calorie ranges based on weight losses (or gains) and that members need to do so manually. SP recommends resetting every 10-15 pounds.
Well no wonder then that my calorie ranges were so high! SP was calculating based on my original starting weight & goal date with a rate of 1.3 pounds per week.
The *problem* is that I have been losing an average of 2.3 pounds per week (Yay me! What a problem to have!). But SP is still on the original schedule. By my calculations based on my original goal settings I now have over 6 months (29 weeks) to lose the last 15 pounds, bringing my calculated loss rate to…0.5 pounds per week.
Nope. Not going to happen. At least not deliberately by me. If I happen to plateau that is one thing but I’m not going to ease up on fitness or eat more just to stick with “the plan”.
So a new “plan” is required. SP instructed me to go to my Start Page and next to the weight progress graph click on “Change” to update either my starting weight or my goal date or both in order to recalculate my calorie ranges.
So I updated my fitness minutes to 45 per day, 7 days a week (but this is temporary until I take the time to figure out what I am actually doing going forward this summer & update to reality). And I changed my goal date to August 31 (b/c SP would not let me choose July 31 since that would put me over the max recommended 2 lbs. per week).
And now my calorie range is back to 1200-1500 per day, right where I thought it should be.
I don’t understand why SP does not automatically recalculate calorie ranges for your weight loss. SP recalculates when you change your fitness minutes, so why not weight?
Perhaps this should be a future improvement because I am sure I am not the only one who was not aware of this and there are probably many people who follow the SP nutrition recommendations…and are wondering why they have stalled or are gaining now.
Wednesday, June 08, 2011
I've been mentioning working in my garden a lot and some of you have asked for pictures. Generally it never even occurs to me to take pictures of anything but this time I remembered almost from the beginning. Day 0 is when I put out the new raised beds for the expansion so I suppose technically it should be Day 1 but...oh well. The numbered days are days of actually working on the garden, not calendar elapsed days.
The only plants out yet are the catnip, bee balm & chives from last year. I now have the equivalent of 18 full beds, 3’ x 6’, or a total of 324 square feet of planting space. I (sort of) use square foot gardening so that equals A LOT of plants. Some plants take more than 1 square, and I will plant marigolds to help deter pests…all told I have 181 usable squares planted, and several of those will have multiple plants in a square. All the wood along the side of the garage in the bottom left picture is from taking down the playscape...in 2008.
Fence & gated arbor are up in front of the garden proper. The arbor gates have a foot gap between them (not at all like on the box picture!)…way to go arbor quality control inspector guys. Since I bought it last fall I can’t return it so I have to improvise a way to block off the gate to keep Munchie Stupid Dog out of the garden. Many of the veggies are planted. I have yet to do any work on the sides of the garage.
All veggies & herbs are planted, rabbit fencing installed along the bottom of the big fence. Time for mulch! DOGSTARDADDY is the King of Mulch but by the time I am done I think I will be Queen Goddess of that kingdom. 34 bags so far…I can’t count high enough to figure out how many more are going to be needed. I am mulching over ALL of the grass behind the fence, including behind & on the side of the garage (aka The Swampland, North). Time to get truckload quotes & see which way is more cost effective. The fence is up on the side of the garage but rabbit fencing still needs to be attached & I need to adjust the gate. The wood has been piled under the tree outside the fence & every time I take the empty cart to the front for mulch I load some boards in it to pile in the front garage & start cutting down to throw away (it is pressure treated so I can’t burn it). 2 blueberries are now planted along the side where the wood was and I have started installing fencing on the other side to hold in the raspberries which are intent on taking over the planet.
Sunday, June 05, 2011
Matthew, my son, turned 15 last October. That made him eligible for driver training and a driving permit.
However, Matt's grades were far below what I would have liked, and did not even meet what I would accept. So no driver ed. until grades improved.
Finally this March/April his grades got to an acceptable level and I enrolled him in the Session 1 class. He did the class time & instructor driving sessions and passed the class not quite 2 weeks ago.
The vehicle I have for him to drive is my old beater minivan, a 1992 Plymouth Voyager. It does 0 - 60 in about....5 minutes. I used to use it for my trips to Lowe's and Home Depot; then I lent it to my sister for a year. I got it back last July & it has just been sitting there since.
We finally had a weekend where it wasn't cold and wet, and I got the battery charged this week, so it was time to take it in for some upkeep. It is very loud, I'm thinking the muffler needs to be replaced, and the tires are beyond bald. I need to get those fixed before Matt can drive it.
So this morning I handed him the key and said let's go. I let him drive it up to the muffler shop, about 2 miles away from our house, to drop it off. The first thing he said before we left..."I'm not really good at backing up."
I think that was when I started the death grip on the door handle.
The second thing he said as we drove down the road..."Wow, this is a lot bigger than the cars I was in during class"....as we nearly took out a row of mailboxes.
By this time I think I may have put a hole in the floor from pressing my feet against the imaginary brake pedal so hard.
We only went 2 miles, almost the entire distance on residential streets, but it felt like a lifetime.
I did good though. I didn't yell, or faint, or criticize...or have a heart attack. Matt did good, too...he didn't hit anything or anyone.
Can't wait to find out what this is going to do to my car insurance rates though. I can only stall going to the Sec. of State's office for his permit for so long.
Thursday, June 02, 2011
We are all here for pretty much the same basic reason – to get healthy in a supportive environment – although our individual goals can be wildly different.
So my question to you, the Spark Public, is how do you use Spark People? If you are reading this you are (obviously) reading blogs…but what else do you use (or not) on the site?
I track my weight and keep the ticker published. I was doing it every day but for the last 2 weeks I only enter when it goes down. I have been a resident in yo-yo land for a few months now & I got tired of being congratulated for losing the same pounds more than once. It didn’t seem honest.
I use the nutrition tracker every day and track most of my vitamins & minerals in addition to the basic SP nutrients. I don’t always meet all of them, but I have also modified many of the min/max values away from SP recommendations. I don’t obsess over any of them but I do pay attention so I can stay within a reasonable range. I don’t plan my meals or snacks around meeting any of them.
I do not agree with the SP recommended calorie range, I gain weight when I follow it, so although I track my nutrition I pretty much ignore the suggested calories.
I have never used the Meal Planner. I turned it on at the very beginning but found it irritating. It kept putting milk products on every meal & there is no way that I saw to turn off dairy. You can turn off other foods but not dairy, don’t know why that is since I cannot be the only lactose intolerant person on the site. Plus it was way too much work to follow the menu plans or make adjustments to them so I keep it turned off.
I track my cardio & strength training and use the SP calories burned values. I do not have a heart rate monitor to track more accurate values and don’t really want to spend the $$ to get one.
Mostly I reply to other people’s threads on my Teams. Very occasionally I will start one, but not often. Some Teams I only review posts on the weekly digest and am not active on at all. I have removed myself from some teams because either nothing was happening or I finished the challenge and saw no reason to keep reading & writing about it.
I do not use any of the fitness videos. I signed up for 2 Boot camps so far and quit both before I even started because I just won’t use the videos.
For the first few months I was a points whore, trying to get maximum Spark Points every day. It was becoming a small obsession, I felt like I HAD to do everything to earn points. So for the last 2 months or so I’ve backed off. I get points every day but mainly from logging in, tracking food & exercise and posting. Occasionally I will read articles, take polls and trivia, etc. but I don’t make it an O/C habit anymore.
Sometimes I join Team Challenges or Goals, sometimes I do not. I join the ones that I find interesting and that I am not already doing. It seems like 90% of the Teams have a “drink water” goal for example….and do I really need to join every one?
I try to Huddle every day with at least 1 Team because it is one of The Slowest Loser Team goals I joined.
I have a number of individual goals I track, along with the Team goals. I’m pissed about the Spark Streaks. They should start tracking automatically when you add a goal, you should not have to go in and manually start the Streak tracking. I did not realize that at first so I now have Streaks that show as less than 100% because of this…even though my reality is 100%. And if I restart the Streak to show 100%...it’s still not 100% because I’ve started over & I lose my history. Ticks me off to no end.
Sorry, I’m a bit goal oriented and data driven. I like getting 100% and now I’ll never get there.
I blog (obviously) and I subscribe to / read others’ blogs. Although I primarily stick to my SP Friends’ blogs b/c there is a lot to keep up with as it is so I don’t usually go looking for new blogs or Team posts. When I do scroll through posted blogs I typically choose the ones with the interesting sounding titles. I don’t always comment when I read them.
If I like a blog I DO click the “I liked this!” button. And if I find a member motivating I DO click the button that the member is motivating.
When I go to a member’s page I look at their Teams to see if there are any interesting ones I might want to join.
I have not yet pruned my Friends list although I have been thinking about it. There are several members who have apparently not been on SP for a number of months…should I keep them as friends? Or what about the people I have added who have not added me back? Or the people who have added me and who are on the site…but have never commented on my Page or blog or “Liked” my status? Do members get notified if someone removes them as a friend? Have people removed me for similar or other reasons?
I update my Spark Page monthly for my goals…it keeps me focused, gives me a defined target to hit each month. Plus I really do not want to have to report not meeting a goal.
I use the recipe calculator. Sometimes I share recipes, sometimes I don’t. It depends on whether there are already similar ones on the site. I hate how there is no way to copy over an existing recipe so I can make my modifications to it. It is a pain to have to retype everything.
I think that is everything.
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
These were my May Goals with actual results:
1. Increase pushups from 26 to 35 – complete as of 5/31 (nothing like waiting until the last minute!)
2. maintain 50 sit-ups – complete
3. run 2 treadmill miles in 19:00 – totally smoked this one on 5/16 with a time of 17:42
4. plant garden including fencing – planted & fenced as of 5/21
5. reach 50 lbs. lost goal – achieved on 5/17
Apparently writing down my goals & publishing them is a good tool for me. I REALLY do NOT want to have to come here and report I missed a goal!
My June goals feel way too easy. I’m struggling between making them harder and falling victim to goal creep. I need to stay focused on my end goal – black belt – and what I need to do to achieve that and not get sidetracked or split into a lot of different directions. So I think June will be mostly about maintenance and improving form. But I will re-evaluate around the middle of the month. I have always been competitive & have noticed myself becoming even more so the last 2 months so I actually have to force myself not to keep seeking out new challenges to go faster, longer, stronger, harder, higher, whatever. That way leads to a loss of focus…hence “goal creep”.
1. Begin pushup program; be able to do 50 consecutive pushups by month end
2. Increase sit-ups to 60 to allow for some buffer room (50 is required)
3. Maintain -18:00 on the treadmill and do so without needing to hold on at all
4. Improve 2 mile & 5k times in the two 5k races this month; ideal is 19:00 & 30:00 by the 2nd race, but the base goal is simply to improve my current times of 20:44 & 32:07
5. Finish removing carpet from living room, paint floor with Killz and be ready to order & start installing new flooring
6. Earn the 60 lbs lost award
I slacked off a bit on cardio & strength training in May due to all of the extra curricular activities. I need to get refocused this month, get to karate regularly, start going to yoga pilates again (it’s been 2 months!) and make sure I do regular strength training. And remember the ST focus is to be strong & toned…not a body builder so STOP increasing the weights and instead focus on form & reps.
I need to refocus on my nutrition as well. For the last week or two I have been eating within my SP recommended ranges…which causes me to maintain and start to gain. I need to get back to averaging my “normal” 1200-1400 per day and not the 1500-1900 SP wants me to do. I typically feel stuffed & bloated if I follow the SP ranges…but was doing it anyway (because pizza & burgers taste SO GOOD!) so I need to head off this bad habit before it becomes entrenched. So I am just right now adding a new goal for the month:
7. Cook at least 3 meals at home per week
I like to cook, I just need to get organized and make the time. Herbs & salad greens are ready in the garden, and mushrooms have started growing in my “Back to the Root” mushroom kit I bought from the Daily Grommet:
I packed a salad with my lunch today that is 100% from my garden…3 kinds of lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, watercress, basil and mushrooms; I forgot to cut the chives. I wish tomatoes were in season but we have at least a month to go, if not longer.
Onward to summer!
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