RAYLINSTEPHENS   189,568
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RAYLINSTEPHENS's Recent Blog Entries

Blog Prompt - Has SparkPeople's Nutrition Tracker helped you lose weight, and if so, how?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yes yes yes, I can't say it enough, SparkPeople's Nutrition Tracker has help me lose weight!

How you might ask? Let me tell you!

First and foremost, by recommending the proper range of calories for me. On my own I was eating 900-1000 calories. Bad bad bad!!! Not enough calories and it would then send me into a 3 day binge up to 2500 calories daily! Every time I dropped below 1000, it set off another binge!

I started using the Nutrition Tracker at around June 2008 and at 188 lbs and discovered I was supposed to be eating 1500 calories daily. From that point on I have never experienced hunger UNLESS I was burning more than I was eating. I have not gone over my calories except one day with 2 oz of cheese but it tasted oh so good! And it was after that I started tracking my fats more closely. I have not been tempted to go over my calories since that day and still never hungry!

When my body called for more food I rechecked my Fitness Tracker and discovered I was doing too much Cardio for my calories - so I changed my goals and it adjusted my calories up by 300-400 calories daily. At that point I was walking 150 minutes daily and burning 750 calories each day creating a Calorie Deficit of 1000+ for my 2 lbs per week weight loss. I learned here at SparkPeople that to go over 1000 on my Calorie Deficit did not make me lose more, it kept me from losing!

SparkPeople works! If you take the time and put in a little effort SparkPeople will work for you too!


Thanks MIKIIO, I have to enter a lot of my foods too but then they are in my Favorites and all I have to do is type a word, like chicken, to bring up all the chicken related foods I have entered!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSBATMAN 5/1/2009 2:39PM

    You are amazing and an inspiration to all of us. YTG

Hugs, Vicki

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VICKI-BISHOP-56 4/29/2009 3:48PM

  emoticon emoticon

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MEADSBAY 4/29/2009 12:25PM

    Linda,
Thank you so much for explaining this.
I was going to ask you do this very thing!
I know I tend to under-eat for my activity level because
I think I'm supposed to, or
I think it will help me lose faster, or
I think I should be hungry - all wrong!
It's hard to get my mind around eating more but I know it's the right thing to do. I know this because some days I feel just so tired (unlike me!)
Thanks again, sparkfriend!
elizabeth
emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/29/2009 12:26:53 PM

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PUMPKINHEAD29 4/29/2009 12:03PM

    The nutrition and fitness trackers are life savers for this frazzeled mom who can use as much help as she can get to keep her own life on track while trying to keep everyone elses there as well!! THANK YOU SPARK PEOPLE emoticon

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DEBIPOGUE 4/29/2009 12:01PM

    I use and love the tracker!! It keeps me honest to myself and let's me see if I can have that PM snack or not. I'll need to dig into the calorie deficit stuff if I do to much exercise. Didn't know that. I'm not quite there LOL but maybe someday. Thanks for all your valuable info.
Blessings

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ONMYWAYTOGOAL 4/29/2009 12:01PM

    Thank you for your comment on my blog a couple of weekd ago. YOU were right, of course! I'd been using the nutrition tracker and the spread sheet and I found I'd been terrible at not going over the 1000 calorie deficit which has prevented me from loosing weight. Thank you for your blog today.........now, after getting back from vacation I'm a couple of pounds heavier and very ready to get back on track and LOOSE this time
........You're the best Linda! emoticon

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MARTY19 4/29/2009 11:53AM

    I use both the nutritionacker as well as my ww points tracker. I find it keeps me knowledgable and very focused.

Marty

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KAREOSEL 4/29/2009 11:32AM

    I love the tracker. Before SparkPeople and the tracker I had no idea how many calories I was consuming. I hold me accountable and I have a daily goal of staying in range.

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_VALEO_ 4/29/2009 11:22AM

    Hear, hear!
This tracker is such a wonderful tool! It can be a bit of hassle for me as I have to enter manually most of my food, but it's really worth the effort!


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Stage 2 Overview

Monday, April 27, 2009

I have posted this to my Class Team and wanted to post here as a refresher for us *not-so-newbie* sparkers.

Ok, when we started Stage 2 we learned about Healthy Diet Habits.

Always get your SparkPoints at the bottom of the pages.

Read the Action Steps and the Articles for more SparkPoints!

Habit # 1 is Control Portions
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/s
tage_diet_strategies.asp?diet_stage=2&
strategy_num=1


Habit # 2 is Eat The Right Stuff
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/stage_di
et_strategies.asp?diet_stage=2&strateg
y_num=2


Habit # 3 is Exercise Consistently
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/stage_di
et_strategies.asp?diet_stage=2&strateg
y_num=3


Habit # 4 is Drink Water
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/stage_di
et_strategies.asp?diet_stage=2&strateg
y_num=4


Habit # 5 is Eat On Purpose
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/stage_di
et_strategies.asp?diet_stage=2&strateg
y_num=5


Habit # 6 is Find Unexpected Opportunities
www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/stage_di
et_strategies.asp?diet_stage=2&strateg
y_num=6

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIVNFITNHAPPY 4/28/2009 11:44AM

    Thanks again, Linda, for another inspired post!

I was surprised to see that I missed out on getting some of the Spark Points for this stage. I was so busy following the strategies that I forgot to click on the points!

I have had the same experience as you that I spend a lot of time trying to find articles that I have not already read. It was good for me to revisit these strategies as well. I see some room for improvement in my nutrition & fitness. It is easy to get into a little bit of a rut when you are doing things that work. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_VALEO_ 4/28/2009 4:43AM

    Good reminder!
emoticon

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VICKI-BISHOP-56 4/27/2009 3:29PM

  Thanks Linda. emoticon

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MARTY19 4/27/2009 11:18AM

    I have a need at certain times to go back and review the steps. Thanks for posting them and the links.

Marty

Comment edited on: 4/27/2009 11:19:29 AM

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This Blog is a long time coming...

Friday, April 24, 2009

I have been thinking of writing this Blog for weeks - I don't know why I haven't until now.

I smoked for 11 years from age 17 - 28 and would get up to 3 packs a day before I would wean myself back to 1 pack and then slowly crawl back up to 3.

No, I didn't smoke to keep from eating. I could eat before, during and after a cigarette. I made up my mind to quit and then started tapering off. I would quit the cigarette on the way to the car. The cigarette from the car to *anyplace*. The after dinner cigarette. One at a time I quit them all. The hardest to quit was when the telephone rang. I felt like Pavlov's dog! But quit them I did. Then a few years later I happened upon 2 packs hidden in my suitcase - and out of curiosity I smoked one. Then another - and I slapped myself and put it out! I quit for good then and threw away the packs. I think I actually took them apart and used the tobacco in the garden.

Fast forward to 2008. I came back to SparkPeople. I started counting calories. I could eat anything I could track. Little by little I started making smarter choices. I learned what foods had fewer calories so I could eat more and not be hungry. I switched from my beloved over-sized Baked Chicken Leg Quarters with Skin to white meat chicken with no skin because I can eat twice the white-meat chicken for less calories.

I hung up my red shorts and they got me through the Holiday Season with ease! Everytime I looked at cakes or cookies I thought of those red shorts, size 6, and resisted temptation.

Forward again to 2009 - I no longer desire cakes, cookies, chocolates - yes, I do still eat ice cream but carefully measured and tracked. I realized that in the past year I have broken the hold on me that these sugary treats once held! Just like the cigarettes!!

And, I can now taste one bite and move on!! This is reserved for special occasions when my dad begs me to try some of his cake. I carefully break off a piece and place it into my mouth and analyze it! I chew more and get the subtle flavors out so I can give my opinion - and then I walk away from the plate!!!!

We are talking a major SP AHA moment here!!

I blog this so others can benefit since I know I am just terribly average - you can do this too! If you stay away from the *goodies* long enough to break the habit, you too can be set free from your demons!!

I still will not eat a cookie! Not so much as a nibble! But I am no longer afraid of them, I am choosing not to touch them. I am choosing not to touch chocolates.

Maintenance, here I come!

Hugs y'all,
Linda

**edit: I do not think Carol_'s question petty at all! And I answered her on her sparkpage.
I use a standard set of measuring cups and smoosh the ice cream down to fill it in!
But I have also discovered pre-packaged portions and use them as well. Not the 1/2 cup ice cream cups but Ice Cream Sandwiches and Ice Cream Bars on occasion. I became quite fond of Blue Bell Cookies 'n Cream Bars for 210 calories!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKLESSENCE 5/2/2009 3:08PM

    Congratulations on conquering not one, but two addictive behaviors! Like you, I've got to stay away from things like chocolates, at least for right now. The "deal" I've made with myself is to stay within my caloric range and avoid "trigger" foods...such as chocolate. My May 1 weigh-in went well, Linda! I wanted my 20-lb. badge back, and it turned out that I'd lost 23 pounds. I "only" have 39 to go ;)...and of course, those will be the hardest! ;) Thanks for asking about my brother, too. He's doing quite well, pacemaker helping his heart tick along just as it should :) - Sara emoticon

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_VALEO_ 4/28/2009 4:50AM

    Kudos to you!
I'm glad that your quick relapse on smoking didn't jeopardize your quitting.
I had no problem to quit the first time... and I quit for years before trying again 1, 2... and I'm having really hard time to quit for good now.
We have to find our "jones" and get rid of them for good. Like alcoholics, we can plunge back, and we should not let this happen -I've failed *slow learner*.


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DINA:-) 4/26/2009 1:06PM

    congrats on being smoke free and now cookie free too! i think a food addiction can be harder because you have to learn to live with food- you can't just stop eating it like you can stop buying cigarettes. learning to be in control is key- congratulations on all your accomplishments!

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CAROL_ 4/26/2009 2:14AM

    Linda this is a more petty question from your blog, but, how do you measure icecream accurately and carefully? Sounds like you have a system that really works. I have the small Pyrex clear glass bowls, and by filling them with water I know where a half cup is on the side, because there are decorative lines on the sides. Then I put icecream in (in a dry one of course) and smush it down - it's legal to eat but I am not allowed to lick the spoon, the scoop, or eat anything over the line (those are my personal rules, of course). Do you have a better or easier way? Just checking. Scoops etc. never worked for me; never accurate.

I look forward to your maintenance blogs, I have everything to learn about that.

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JERSEYGIRL24 4/25/2009 12:05PM

    Linda,

You have been such an inspiration for so many Sparkies. I look forward to the day when I can write the same thing!!!!

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POLARBEARSCAT 4/25/2009 7:54AM

    Oh, how I long for the day when sweets won't a temptation!

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SOPHIADARE 4/25/2009 3:50AM

    Perhaps it was a long time coming because it took a long time to achieve. It may even have seemed tricky to write, since jealous or judgmental people could have taken it wrong if your words had come out differently, but your success story is as well told as it is accomplished. If anyone were to be rude, it would reflect exclusively on them. Maybe you were a tiny bit worried about jinxing yourself. Don't worry. Even people who have reached the balance you've achieved lose their balance occasionally. What you know now is how to find it again, no matter what kind of knock life gives you. Not only can you get to a delicate balance, you can get back to a delicate balance. Therein lies a wonderful reason for rejoicing!

Bravissima! Three cheers for you! Congratulations! emoticon Jubilate! emoticon

As nearly as I can determine, you have reached that precise balance where you can enjoy the "control" over making your own choices as much as the "indulgence" even of having "more" of a treat that is good for you in small amounts, but for which you didn't plan.

Oh, that is so great! I've never smoked, but both my parents and one of my sisters were addicted to that oh so seductive nicotine, and oh how rotten to have run across the cigarettes in the suitcase! What a totally crummy thing to happen! Curiosity starts so many smokers, and it is so very hard to stop! Good for you!

Hooray for you for reaching what is definitely the maintenance attitude! emoticon Thanks also for your kind words to me. emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/27/2009 3:50:39 AM

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BABIE_JANE 4/25/2009 3:21AM

    You are an inspiration!

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SASSIFRASSTEA 4/24/2009 9:25PM

    My hats off to you again Linda. Not only for doing what you did, but also for doing what you are doing for rest of us. Thanks so much.

Shirley

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MSLZZY 4/24/2009 7:39PM

    Your determination and dedication speaks for itself! Way to go! emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/24/2009 7:39:29 PM

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FORMYDARLINGS 4/24/2009 7:37PM

    Linda, From the very bottom of my heart, " You're a doll!!!" I really hope your friends and family know just how marvelous you are. Any habit is one you can break. Just do it. Thank you, Gini emoticon

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SPARKLESSENCE 4/24/2009 7:17PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon Linda, you're very much my role model, too! You've strengthened your body immeasurably...and your determination as well! It's quite a formidable combo-platter you've got going for yourself there, and I'm absolutely in awe of your achievements - because you've not only transformed your way of eating and exercising, but you also gave up smoking! I don't meet too many people who've managed to deliver a one-two punch to BOTH overeating and smoking. Your status bar tells me you're off buying cow feed...while we marvel at your success :) I'm looking at your ticker right now and that little turtle has been on quite a journey! Your fan, Sara emoticon

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MARTY19 4/24/2009 7:02PM

    You are miles ahead of me. Mpst of the time I am good but I still have my triggers. It happens less and less so maybe there is still hope. You are my role model.

Hugs,
Marty

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KATRARWINNER 4/24/2009 7:00PM

    Whoohoo!! Way to go!

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VICKI-BISHOP-56 4/24/2009 6:37PM

  emoticon Linda!!!!!!!!! One day I too hope to be able to do like you're doing.
Vicki

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Ok, now I have heard it all!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I started Strength Training more than a month ago and if you read my blogs you already know my veins are no longer tiny due to using weights now.

So now they can get the platelets I have been blessed with out of my body. Being born as an A type blood, I share with others the capacity for the most platelets possible - I am a "triple donor" - - - or should be.

Are you ready for this? I'm too small now to donate triples or even doubles! Ain't that a hoot?! I'm Too Small!!
emoticon
I told them I am Not going to put the weight back on just to give more platelets, lol, but it did feel good to be able to donate them at long last!!

Hugs y'all,
Love,
Linda

**I don't do 8 sets of any exercise. I am doing 4 different Low-Mount exercises!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HONEYNAJAR 4/23/2009 12:37PM

    WHOOHOO! emoticon emoticon

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AMBERROGUE 4/23/2009 11:46AM

    That had to feel good to hear!! LOL

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MYSHERO 4/22/2009 9:55PM

    I am so glad that your hard work paid off. I was reading your fitness and nutrition logs - -holy fritos, Batwoman! You are on fire!!!! Eight sets of abductions? I am seriously in awe and totally inspired to fire up my metabo furnace :-)

Love, Yvette

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FORMYDARLINGS 4/22/2009 1:21PM

    Linda, You may be too small to give plaelets but you're a wonderul person too listen to. Your advice for me yesterday is something I had thought of but I let it go out of shame. Maybe I'll give it a try. Thankyou to the biggest hearted little girl, I know,

Love Gini

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VICKI-BISHOP-56 4/22/2009 12:24PM

  emoticon emoticon

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CUDEAR1 4/22/2009 10:06AM

    Too small -is not the size of your heart. The fact that you wanted to give, and are unable to is a shame.

You can still give blood...did you know that giving 1 pint of blood can save up to 3 lives? It truely is the gift that keeps on giving...Cecy.

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GYPSYHEART1 4/22/2009 9:21AM

    emoticon Congrats on being "too small". I know that must be "music to your ears" to hear. I, too, give blood on a regular basis through my work, (they come to us), and I was told I was too short... emoticon! I'd rather be too small. Anyway, so glad to hear all is getting better and better with you. You are such an inspiration to me...Have a great day, my friend.
Hugs,
Pam

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JERSEYGIRL24 4/21/2009 10:46PM

    Oh well, their loss is your gain (or your loss - or whatever). LOL

Actually, for years I could not donate because my blood pressure was too low, which is good for me but not for them, I guess. The issue with low blood pressure is not in the blood but a concern that the donor's BP could fall to a dangerously low level after the donation. But I still was not able to donate, and I suspect that for awhile I could have but just did not bother.

I know that you can donate platelets a lot more frequently than whole blood. I also know that I told you that my last platelet donation did not go real well, so I probably won't do it again.



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NATURALSOAPGIRL 4/21/2009 10:31PM

    congrats! you have arrived. lol

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BABIE_JANE 4/21/2009 10:24PM

    Although I know you would prefer to be able to donate triples, it has to be nice to hear you are too small. Those have got to be sweet words to hear. emoticon

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MARTY19 4/21/2009 10:08PM

    That is such a hoot. But you are able to do something good for others so that is a blessing.

Hugs,
Marty

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_VALEO_ 4/21/2009 8:37PM

    Isn't it ironical?!
Keep on being the small and healthy woman while donating what you can... I can't donate anymore because of my underactive thyroid, but it's important that people donate -all I can do is, as you do well, increase friends awareness of the necessity to give their blood.

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MSLZZY 4/21/2009 7:55PM

    Way to go-donate what you can and forget gaining weight! You didn't work so hard to lose it and have to gain it back. Do what you can with what you have and enjoy being "too small"! emoticon

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SASSIFRASSTEA 4/21/2009 7:16PM

    Linda, I reckon that's a good thing!!!

emoticon

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REINOVPH 4/21/2009 7:15PM

    Okay, you have inspired me to stat back with strength training on a regular basis. I DO regularly get in enough cardio. But, as of late, I have "not had time" to strength train.

Thank you for continually providing inspiration!

Paula emoticon

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NESEKS 4/21/2009 7:12PM

  That's just too funny. What sweet words to hear that now you're too small. Keep up the excellent work. emoticon Denise

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CRUISEBOUND2014 4/21/2009 7:07PM

    emoticonThat's Great! Also, I want to thank you so much for your first blog on the strength training. I went to get my blood work done today and they had NO PROBLEM finding a vein! I have been going through 2 years of needle horror and because of you that nightmare is over! I cannot thank you enough! emoticon

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How many Spark Teams do You belong to?

Monday, April 20, 2009

I know that SparkPeople is totally free but just how many SparkTeams can one person be active in?

I see this with Newbies a lot - you get so involved with joining Spark Teams and then you get burned out. Too many Teams is just Too Many Teams.

I have been a member for 3 years now, but only active for 1 of them. It is very easy to join a lot of teams but somehow difficult to leave any.

Leave any and every team that no longer helps you on your journey, even (maybe especially ) your Class Team.

If you are no longer active with a team, do yourself and the team a favor, leave it. Teams are full of members never heard from again after a few weeks.

If you are active with 12 teams and spend only 5 minutes a day with each team, that is still an hour a day you are sitting at your computer. And that is just Huddling!

We will not lose weight by sitting in front of our computers. We will lose weight by walking that same hour.

Please find the teams you are active in and leave the rest.

Hug y'all, let's keep losing this excess body baggage!

Linda

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHAR-SPARK 4/25/2009 8:59AM

    Thanks, Linda. An important message. I'm in a bunch of teams right now and they all reflect important parts of me and what I perceive this journey to be. But, you're right, I just can't be active in all of them.

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CHIKAZ 4/21/2009 7:02AM

    I am guilty of this as well. I've been doing my best recently though to leave the ones I am not active with. I'm getting there. =)

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FORMYDARLINGS 4/20/2009 8:32PM

    My friend, you are wise beyond your size. ( I can say that to you cause you post the pics to prove it) LOL. Every now and then I see a team that sparks my interest but as you say we don't have time for them all. I really much prefer to share with my sparkfriends and draw courage and support from them. I WILL reduce my team #'s and concentrate on little things all the way around. Love ya,

Gini emoticon

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VONE777 4/20/2009 5:31PM

    I was just on 4 then jumped on a few more so I think 7 but only really look at 2 or 3 during any one wk.

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MEADSBAY 4/20/2009 3:57PM

    Excellent advice!
When I first joined I jumped into about 10 teams and was totally overwhelmed.
I whittled it down to 4,
then later added 2 more.
I'm thinking of dropping the 1 or 2 that I'm not getting much out of
or contributing much to.
It's hard, though,
if you have even one sparkfriend you've clicked with on a team.
I guess I could sparkmail them and ask them to join one of my teams.
Or just have a sparkmail relationship.
Anyway, great advice!!!
elizabeth
emoticon

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MARTY19 4/20/2009 3:42PM

    I believe that is so true. I am a member of 10 teams. I am active on 8-9 of them. If I join a team and see it is not right for me, I leave. My time can be so limited that I would rather be active on a few teams than a member of alot.

Marty

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CUDEAR1 4/20/2009 3:08PM

    It's all I can do to spend the time loggin in my food and occasionally checkin in with my friends. I am soo that person who with good intentions over extends myself, only to find I'm already so busy with my hard commitments to be able to follow through with any new ones.

Thanks for this reality check, good advice

Cecy.

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GRALLEN 4/20/2009 1:34PM

    *blush* I'm guilty of this too. I know I need to quit some teams but I just can't quite get myself to do it yet. But it's on the back burner. Luckily I can sign on while I'm at work and that helps me to keep up with everything. Another thing is I signed up for Facebook and that has had my attention a lot here lately. There's games on there I've signed up for and they too are kinda addictive. But I'm getting that under control too. Spend just enough time on there to check everything out then sign off.

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REACHGOAL09 4/20/2009 12:41PM

    Linda,
Thank you for your candor! I have been struggling with this issue. You personally invited me to join BTN the first day I opened up SP on 4/3/09. I feel really close to you because of that, welcomed, you know what I mean? Then there was the class team but you told me that it was ok to leave that one since it had been past the week or 2. I quit my age group /wt loss goal team & my state team also because nobody seemed to share my interests, etc. So I've quit 3 and holding onto 4, including this one. Some of the goals are tracked in several different places and I get confused on where and if I've updated each place.I have fallen into and replaced my food addiction to sitting at the computer instead. My step count has paid the price and my husband has (jokingly) accused me of cyber sexing, which I don't even know what that means. When I joined SP I wasn't totally honest about my weight issues.I thought it was just another diet website and I'm always looking for the majic diet. I was ashamed to admit that I had WLS because there is still much stigma attached to it as it being a quick fix to being obese. Since then I've found others on SP who relate and that they actually have teams that address these special matters. I would like to spend more time with them and see if I can get back on track. I appreciate your kindness in having me on your team and it's good to know that since I'm feeling overwhelmed I can quit this team and nobody will be offended. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Debbie

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VICKI-BISHOP-56 4/20/2009 12:37PM

  Thanks Linda. That's why I'm only on the teams I lead or co-lead. A couple of those teams aren't doing well and I don't know what to do to bring the members around. They have members but noone posts. Any suggestions for that? I wish if they weren't going to post they'd leave the team. I feel I'm beating my head against a tree. I've asked what I can do to make the team more active and noone answers back.
Vicki

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BABYFACE26 4/20/2009 12:02PM

    Hey Linda, good advice! I keep whittling down my teams...for just those reasons. But also, I like having some of them on my page, just to remind me of certain interests I may be neglecting, so I keep them there. At least for now.
Yes, we can certainly get addicted to this, and spend too much time at the computer!

Ellen

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