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Why SP calorie ranges may be "wrong"

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANEDOE12345 6/18/2011 4:23PM

    I changed my own calorie range and the funny thing was, I felt guilty bout it -- like SP was going to come and yell at me, lol. I feel better with a lower range and I think SP is just too generous.

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WOLFKITTY 6/13/2011 12:00PM

    Whenever anyone says that they're exercising the same amount, eating what their ranges say and is plateauing, I remind them that we are supposed to go and "refresh" our goals...

I *like* having the freedom and accountability that comes with adjusting it myself, just like I have to adjust my planned fitness minutes, and it doesn't recalculate just because one day I did a big hike and it doubled my fitness minutes.

My weight can fluctuate up to 5 pounds in one week - maybe in one day. I don't want SparkPeople to recalculate my ranges when it's because I had too much sodium the night before, or something along those lines. If my goal is to lose 1 pound per week, and I gain 5 pounds, I don't want my ranges to automatically drop to 1200 one day and then bounce up the next day when it seems like I've lost it all.

Looks like a lot of your SparkiFriends have really been helped by your post - that's awesome!! I wish you lots of continued success!!

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MCJULIEO 6/10/2011 11:39AM

    Hmmmm! Thanks!

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DEZZIEJAMES 6/9/2011 9:53PM

    Very interesting! I am so glad you figured this out and shared the wealth of knowledge! I'm sure this will help a great many members! You are doing so awesome on your weight loss!!!!


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    I redo mine after every 15 to keep my skittish metabolism happy. When I used SP in 2007, the calorie range changed for us automatically. Then SP changed the system so that we have to go in and change it manually...I think maybe because people complained when all of a sudden their calorie allotment got smaller.

I agree with you that if it automatically changes with calorie burning, it should change for weight loss as well. Makes sense to me!

Congrats on your success!!! emoticon

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WHIPPEACHZ 6/9/2011 7:39PM

    Didn't know this thanks so much. Just went and figured for my current weight and calories dropped by like 500, right where I've currently been eating. So good to know I am on track it was only sp that messed me up. Thanks again.

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SMURFY_47 6/9/2011 6:49PM

    makes me wonder if thats why i keep plateauing...

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ARLENE_MOVES 6/9/2011 4:12PM

    A friend here on SP told me how to go in and manually change calorie range. If I can find it, I'll post again. I agree with you that it should work right. Mine went up too when I changed some things which is why I went looking as to why.

Thanks for the post.

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EVWINGS 6/9/2011 4:09PM

    I have had the higher range, too, and I just can't eat that much and always fall lower. Every time it changes, I change it

It is so wonderful that you are doing so well in getting so close to your goal. emoticon

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    I have noticed the very same thing! I'm STILL confused, I have to admit! I'll try to do what you said and see if it will make a difference. THANK YOU! emoticon

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TERRI289 6/9/2011 3:31PM

    Congrats on your continued success!! And I have been having trouble with the range of calories as well!! Thanks for the blog!!

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VYVIENN 6/9/2011 3:06PM

    Astute observation! It is kind of weird that this is set up this way. Hopefully, you're right and a make over for this is in the works...

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GARDENQE2 6/9/2011 3:02PM

    Interesting! I had no idea! Thanks!

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1RONNIEMOM 6/9/2011 2:59PM

    Thanks for the tip that could be a big point in my progress. emoticon

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Garden Progress Pics

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.

Day 0
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 2008.

Day 3
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.

Day 6
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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INIT2LIVEIT 6/9/2011 11:18AM

    Wow, it looks amazing emoticon

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CLAIRELINN 6/9/2011 10:13AM

    Looks great! We are just about to pull all our spent plants...leaving just the tomatoes, peppers, and watermelon. Our cukes, beans and corn are done and the rest of the plants are suffering from the drought and heat...bad pollination. I have been canning for the last three to four weeks and will look forward to a couple week break before we plant for the fall garden. Thanks for sharing your pictures. I love seeing other peoples gardens.

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    Wow, that is just terrific!!! Your garden looks wonderful! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MCJULIEO 6/9/2011 9:58AM

    Fantastic job! I'm a mulch disciple myself.....

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MISSFORTE 6/9/2011 9:39AM

    So cool! i hope you are rewarded

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DOODIE59 6/9/2011 9:36AM

    I wish I had a quarter of your energy ... but then ... what would I DO with myself:)

That is a stunning amount of work you've done, but very gratifying. Soon enough you'll be sitting back there, cool beverage in hand, soaking up the glory of your domain:)

Have a great week!

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4EVERFIT011 6/9/2011 9:36AM

    Awesome garden! You have done a lot of work!

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VYVIENN 6/9/2011 1:13AM

    Great garden! Everything is looking so nice already!!

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Son's first driving experience

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" 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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NURSESUSIE51 6/11/2011 6:25PM

    Sounds like the perfect vehicle for a 16 boy emoticon And I commend you on holding off until the grades were up. I'm glad I'm through the teenage years with our girls. Now we get to look forward to watching them deal with the next generation (so far two boys and two girls)

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FROSTY99 6/6/2011 10:40PM

    Ah, brings back memories. Try teaching one to drive a stick shift. Ah the joys of being a parent. My oldest son had a house jump out in front of him not a month after he got his license. (Actually he panicked and hit the gas instead of the brake and went into the yard and nailed the house but we always teased him the jouse jumped out and got him!)

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GETSTRONGRRR 6/6/2011 8:22PM

    Ahh, they joys of parenting teenagers. I'm with McJulieo....big empty parking lot on a weekend....let them go wild, let them park between the lines, let them rev the engine to see how it accelerates, and let them brake hard to feel that too....all in an environment where you don't have to bash your foot through the floorboards!

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DOGSTARDADDY 6/6/2011 1:20PM

    I have one year to go...

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MCJULIEO 6/6/2011 9:23AM

    I about wore the carpet flat under my imaginary brake pedal.... and each kid had their own version of exclaiming, "Mo-o-o-o-o-om!"

The first driving experiences were always in the parking lot of the high school after school hours... you should try teaching one how to drive a STANDARD shift car!!! Talk about pulling your hair out!

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TIGGERJEAN 6/6/2011 8:46AM


Oh, that imaginary brake pedal. SO true.

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INIT2LIVEIT 6/6/2011 2:36AM

    ROFLOL, good luck with this!!!

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VYVIENN 6/6/2011 1:19AM

    Heehee, well done, mom! I remember the first time my mom took me to the ADAC training area... that was the one and only time we ever went. I still managed to get my license. emoticon

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    Oh, boy! Did you ever bring back the MEMORIES! I'll save you the freak out and not tell you how many wrecks our youngest has had in his short five years of driving! Thank goodness he's here to tease about it now! emoticon

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SHASSYSUE2 6/5/2011 10:23PM

    Oh my, I just read this at the perfect time!! Keep me posted for the upcoming adventures!! My son will be 15 in November, and will be eligible to start drivers ed in the Fall. I am sooo not ready!!!! He has ADHD so bad, I am afraid he will not be able to concentrate to even get out of the driveway!!! I don't think there is enough Xanax for me!!!! Thanks for the smile!!! Shannon

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ECONLADY 6/5/2011 9:39PM

    Thank you for the post. My daughter starts Drivers Ed tomorrow. Oh I can imagine what might happen the first time I ride in a care with her!

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WORKOUTWITHPAM 6/5/2011 9:39PM way to look at it is if Matt can keep his grades up, it may cost less for his insurance. I don't know if it is like this will all insurance companies, but many of them have 'Good Student Discounts.' You might use that as a way to get him to have a B average. Other than that, I can't think of any advantages of having a student driver...LOL.


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How do YOU use Spark People?

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?

For me….

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’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. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEST_LIFE_NOW 7/22/2011 4:05PM

  Great blog! Interesting and it made me laugh. I used to be a points whore too!

This is my second time on spark and this time I'm much more relaxed.

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    Interesting! I never really thought about it before, but what a great post! Cutting and pasting your format, here's how I use SP:

I read blogs--those that pop up in the team huddle, and at the top of my friend feed, and occasionally random others by hitting the "Blogs" button.

I track my weight but don't publish the ticker because seeing it in my line of vision every time I go to my Sparkpage triggers unhealthy eating behaviors in me to try to get it to move faster.

I use the nutrition tracker every day and track most of my vitamins & minerals in addition to the basic SP nutrients.

I've never used the Meal Planner. I too, turned it on at the very beginning but it's not practical with food allergies or my lifestyle. It also used to be loaded with processed foods.

I track my exercise and use the SP calories burned values but I take them with a grain of salt.

I reply to other people’s threads on my Teams and occasionally start one. I remove myself from teams if both the board and the huddle are inactive...I use the team scrolls much more than their message boards. If the team has a lot of active blogging, I'll let it ride for a while.

Currently I do not use any of the fitness videos but may in the future as my fitness improves.

I'm obsessed with SparkPoints.

I've joined a few team challenges not related to exercise so I can see I'm accomplishing healthy things even on the days when exercise is difficult.

I huddle every day with all my teams because that's when I send supportive messages and see how my friends are doing. That's when I also read blogs--I read them as they pop up in the team scroll (although I have it set to not actually "scroll" do the scrolling myself manually).

I blog but constantly forget to subscribe to others’ blogs (I'm dyslexic, so it's a lot of on the screen at once), although I read them as they pop up in the team scrolls and Friend feed.

I've never hit the "share" button and constantly forget to click the "I liked this" button, although I do often comment. (Again, it's a lot on the screen at once for a dyslexic.) I don't really care whether or not someone hits the "like" button for my stuff because it's my blog and my feelings, so it doesn't matter if someone else likes it. Frankly it's a stupid feature I'd prefer to turn off of SP and Facebook. There are better ways of analyzing article hits without turning everyone into narcissistic applause junkies.

When I go to a member’s page I occasionally look at their Teams to see if there are any interesting ones I want to join. I also look to see if there are any motivating or interesting people I want to add as Friends.

I've never pruned my Friends list. I'm not concerned whether people add me back, and I'm sure there are a lot I've accidentally overlooked reciprocating. (There's a mutual friend checker I just found out about, but I've not had the patience to figure it out yet.) I don't place demands on my Friends and don't demand anything of them because I hate high maintenance friends in my real life. If they have time, or if they have something to say, they do. If they don't that's cool too. I don't know them or what they're dealing with in their real life, so who am I to judge how supportive or how good a friend they are?

I update my Spark Page as I go along...on weigh day, or whenever anything changes.

I never use the recipe calculator because there are similar ones online, and I never share recipes. I hate it when someone takes someone's healthy recipe and and "improves" it with a bunch of chemical ingredients.

Is it OK with you if I post this on my blog, giving you credit, of course?

Comment edited on: 6/9/2011 9:27:13 PM

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    I use Sparkpeople for info mostly...Articles, other people's stories...I like to blog...I check in with my teams once in a while...I also don't follow the Spark calories as they are way too low...I trust my nutritionist and trainer who say I need to eat 2000 calories to lose weight (and exercise)...I like spark points, but I don't obsess because I found it took too much time and I can spend that time better! I don't know how the ticker works or streaks or things like that...I need to do more research I guess!

I like the friends I've made, and I don't have many, but I like the comments on my statuses or my blogs - it is motivating!

Great blog!

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DEZZIEJAMES 6/4/2011 12:49PM

    Great post! I use SP for a great deal of the reasons you use it. I have become diligent about tracking my food, if I don't I usually am over eating.

I use it to track my fitness. I just to love my miles walked, jogged, bike rode, and see what kinds of calories I have burned.

I use it to encourage others, and be encouraged, be it through spark pages, blogs, or the message boards. I have made a few VERY good friends here, and feel so blessed that these folks have touched my life!

I was wondering about "pruning" my friend list, and really agree with Jersey's answer. I might make a personal "they're not active for 2 months and they're out rule". Not to be mean to anyone, but like Jersey said - it can hinder keeping up with those nearest and dearest.

I also enjoy the 30 something with 50-99 lbs to lose and Done Girls challenges. I have made it a personal goal to do both challenges flawlessly for the month of June.

I also enjoy the "other goals" and spark Streaks. They are something new I am venturing into, and getting a lot out of!

Thanks for this question!!! It was a great retrospection!!!

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    Well, first of all, I have to tell you that sometimes, I get unsubscribed from my friends' blogs (such as I just noticed tonight with you!), and that irks me, so I will have to be more diligent about using the friend feed so I don't lose touch with people I care about!

I am just about burned out with the points, but I do love to give out goodies for encouragement, so I will probably still do what I can.

I have to log my nutrition or I will be totally out of control. I try not to get too hung up on searching just the exact thing, but I'm usually close.

I love to track my fitness because that prompts me to do more.

I love my SparkFriends, but I tend to get overwhelmed trying to keep up with everyone's blogs and responding to great comments on mine. *sigh* no solution in sight for this one, I'm afraid! I just keep trying!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Oh, and I'm clicking LIKE because I LIKE it! emoticon

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MCJULIEO 6/3/2011 9:41AM

    Some similarities and some differences from you...

Food tracker every day- but I don't use their menus, never have.

Weight tracker almost never- maybe once a month

Love racking up spark points, maybe too much, but I'm an information junkie, and I love the articles and data, so I might as well get credit for reading them (if I reach my limit and there are articles I still want to read, I go ahead and read them and bank them for a busier day when I don't have time) Knowledge is power (Insert evil laugh here: Mwah-ha-ha!)

Have only done a few of the videos, until this last Boot Camp challenge, when I made it three weeks doing the 6-12 minute video each day- I was TERRIBLE, and had to do the "Easy" version of many of the exercises early in the challenge, but got some better... it helped that there was no one at home to watch my travails.

Love reading the blogs...

Am trying to learn to write them as well- I would generally rather be private, but am improving.

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JERSEYFLOWER 6/2/2011 11:47AM

    My usage is pretty similar to yours. I have gotten away from the nutrition tracker. I think I just got sick of it. (Still being healthy, on track and making the same choices, just not obsessive with charting.)

I do prune my friend list. I get a lot of adds because of my visibility as a team leader. If people aren't active, don't add me back, or are not reciprocal in their feedback they get pruned after about three months. No, they do not get notified. They do probably notice after awhile (well, maybe not) but it's just not feasible to keep up with 400 of your closest friends and actually be supportive and nurturing of the friendships and relationships that matter most to you.

Comment edited on: 6/2/2011 11:48:31 AM

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INIT2LIVEIT 6/2/2011 11:34AM

    That is interesting, to get the calorie range I need I had to reduce the estimated caloric burn per week. If I ate the amount that was suggested to me I would never lose weight. Beyond that, when I buckle down and am really good about intake I find it very hard to reach the suggested numbers anyway. Go figure, good food has less calories... emoticon
On another note, Hi, I'm Samara and I am a SP points junkie - but I have been thinking of chilling about it. Don't need to make the max points every single day, plus it's kind of time consuming...

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PRANA_DANCER 6/2/2011 11:24AM

    I use it for the community and participating in challenges to keep me interested. I'll really only use the other features if they're part of a challenge (like the food and fitness trackers.)

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MSPRIS3 6/2/2011 11:24AM

    Great blog! I use Spark basically the same as you, except I recently purchased a HRM. I never used the meal plan, I did try it, but there was too many items on it that were a pain to find, plus, I tend to be a somewhat picky eater, so it's best to stick to my own food plan (Wing-it!)

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VYVIENN 6/2/2011 11:23AM

    I'm actually surprised at how many features I'm using, because I really didn't think I would do much besides track food and maybe blog a little.

I use the fitness tracker a lot because it's rewarding to see how many minutes you can rack up, but I'm not sure if the calorie estimates are correct. Between the tracker and my C25K app, there's almost 100 calorie difference!

I also find the nutrition tracker fairly useful, though I agree on your opinion about the calories on that, and I don't currently use it regularly, mostly because I was a)too lazy to try to figure out what all the stuff may have been that I had out of the house, like wedding cake, and b) I'm kind of eating the same stuff at the moment, so I have a rough grip on my daily intake.

I use the weight tracker, but it's the least regular tool I use. I weigh myself several times a week and seem to be pretty much stuck at 149, so there's nothing to report.

Sometimes I read articles, and I find that little headline thingy on the start page useful for that. I've gotten kind of lax about collecting spark points, but I do think they're a fun feature, and on occasion, I like to hand out some goodies.

I do track personal goals as well as some goals from a few select teams. Seems there are a lot of repeat "offenders"; almost every team lists "drink x amount of water" as a team goal. Rarely ever do I join challenges, because occasionally, I go for days without spending much time online. Also, I tend to forget which team I signed up for...

The teams are very neat, although I could probably participate more. Mostly, I huddle and keep track of current issues. May have to ditch a couple, though. It's useless to be in a group you never visit.

I have similar issues when it comes to my friend list, although it is also difficult to keep in touch with everyone on a regular basis. Luckily, there is only a small handful that seems to have disappeared (and one of them is a team leader!).

I think my favorite features by far are the status bar thing on the start page that shows you what's new with your friends (I use that a LOT), the blogs (love to interact with people) and the spark pages for the same reason. All those great posts and comments really keep me motivated and on track!

I have used the recipe finder a few times and put recipes into a cookbook, like the oven baked brown rice (now a household staple). When I'm bored, I answer trivia questions, but the quizzes wore out the novelty factor fairly quickly. Oh, I actually did all the videos to the Bootcamp Challenge; they were better than I thought! It's just that they're so short (well, the ones I did, in any case)! Also, it's funny watching someone work out in their office... emoticon

I like that SparkGuy and his team pay attention to what Sparkers want and need and keep improving the site. It's incredibly useful! Too bad that none of my friends I've recommended this to have bothered signing up yet. Well, ya can't force people, I guess.

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DOGSTARDADDY 6/2/2011 11:22AM

    hmmm... I try to keep up with the boards, tho my focus is really on Home & Garden DIY and Team Zombie. I used to be a points whore too... but on a good day, when I spend way too much time here, I can hit 100. But then I see people topping 250, and I am like "Why bother?"
I look at the recipes, tho I've only made a few. I like trolling blogs when I have time, and try hard to comment on blogs where there aren't any/many responses. No one should be ignored. But even tho I don't have any "friends" on my page (everyone is my friend) I try really hard to look in on the people I feel like I kinda know here (like you.)

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TIGGERJEAN 6/2/2011 11:14AM

    Hm...I've been using the Nutrition and recommended calories as a guide...and maybe that is why I haven't been loosing? Hm. Though, honestly, I don't think I could eat less than what I already do without being unhealthy. "The jet needs fuel!"

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May recap & June goals...Take 2

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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VYVIENN 6/1/2011 2:20PM

    Mmmmh, salad from your own garden, awesome! That is definitely one thing I look forward to when we go to Indiana. A word about how not to organize your cooking schedule: I was planning on making more black bean chili for dinner last night, but forgot that the beans have to cook for an hour because I'm using dried. So we ate something else and postponed the chili until tonight. Then I realized as I finally read through the instructions that the chili has to cook another hour and some, so... we ate something else and postponed the chili until tomorrow night. Haha! Well, it's done now... so: read the recipe before you get started. emoticon

I'm so excited about how well you're doing with your fitness goals!!!

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