SLENDERELLA61   162,302
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Help, Please, With Introducing Newbies to SparkPeople

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Several people at work are very interested in what I have done to lose weight and keep it off. After several discussions with my boss, we've decided to go ahead and set up a SparkTeam at work.

One staff member started last week following the SparkPeople meal plans. I don't think she's used much else on the site, but I can already look at her and see that her stomach has disappeared! I'm so excited that it is working for her already. Hope I can help support her and other staff members through any bumps along the way.

Another staff member has looked at the site extensively, but is feeling overwhelmed by everything on the site. A third member just got her screen name.

When I first came to SparkPeople, I was over 55 pounds below my all time high and I'd just lost 35+ pounds on Weight Watchers and was a healthy BMI of 25. I actually signed up for maintenance, but found with SparkPeople I could lose more and have lost another 25-30 pounds (depending on the day) and am now around BMI 20.2. So my experience was not typical.

Does anyone have suggestions for how best to introduce people to the site? I don't think any of the people I am working with have seen the part of the site that has FastBreak goals and tells about setting up streaks. Seems to me that should be part of the beginning.

Any help you can offer will be appreciated. -Marsha

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VTORIA3 9/29/2010 5:40AM

    A team for your work is really great, Marsha, what a cool idea. It took me a several months to get used to spark, and I had formerly belonged to a similar site I paid for, so the concept was not totally new except for the spark pages and how all the interactions worked. I reached out to several super nice sparkers who helped me along the way, but for someone who is shy that might be harder. It would take a burden off of your shoulders if you could introduce a couple of us to your team to lighten your load. Please be sure to give them them my spark name, or if your team is not private, I can visit it for references to their spark pages or e-mail addresses and say hello and offer some support. Best of luck to your new team members!!!

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WALKINGANNIE 9/25/2010 3:31PM

    It's great that you have started a new team Marsha. That really IS spreading the Spark!

I found that following the action links on the Spark Points page gave me the best overview of all the features:


Following the links shows a good range of what's available and collecting a few points might encourage them?

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WILDHAIR3 9/25/2010 3:02PM


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MERALO 9/25/2010 2:23PM

    My experience: I mastered the nurtition and fitness trackers first...after that I fumbled with the rest until I became comfortable. It's VERY overwhleming in the beginning, there's just so much...if they start with the tutorial videos, they can learn a little more every day

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AQUAGIRL08 9/25/2010 12:40PM

    Perhaps you can arrange to get everyone together as WILD4STARS has suggested and show them the "FastBreak" tools. Or....You could schedule a meeting every few weeks and show them whatever they'd like to see. Remember, they are more than welcome to come and walk with the Polk County Team on our twice a month walks.

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DONNABRIGHT 9/25/2010 12:37PM

    Looks like you have lots of good suggestions already! My motto is baby steps in the beginning.

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JOYINKY 9/25/2010 12:17PM

    I, like you, came for maintenance and support in a healthy lifestyle. I started Jan. 2010 and I am still discovering new things on the site. It is kind of overwhelming at first. Knowing why you are interested (goals) helps. I had my nutrition where I wanted it but was struggling with maintenance because I was not active enough. So, I started tracking my activity here and that's helped a lot! Has gotten me to the low end of my goal range; comfortably. The friends I connected with through the groups that interested me have been invaluable. I keep my groups and friends in a managable number for me to stay connected; that's helped me a lot. Also, it's hard to be supportive of people who keep everything "private". I don't want to "friend" everyone! If people want support, they need to be available. My thoughts, take what you like and leave the rest. Kudos to you for wanting to do this with them; can't do it for them, they have to want to walk the walk. emoticon

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GATOR12 9/25/2010 11:51AM

    I agree that learning as you go, seems to be the best way. The fitness and nutrition logs and finding a community group that is active, supportive and welcoming is next. People can get as involved, time wise, as they desire. Hope it helps a little. I try to use Start Page and SparkPoint pages as main references.

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MONTY68 9/25/2010 10:43AM

    Hi Marsha
One of the places I would send a new person, would be at the top of our points page there is a bar. Under healthy lifestyles click on video's , on the right side something called site tutorials how to use Spark. Suggest they just start with the top one on "start page" and review all of them.


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KALIGIRL 9/25/2010 10:32AM

    Not much in the way of help I'm afraid as I stumbled around for a couple years...
I think the Community Teams that are formed by date have forums for answering questions, so you could emulate those?
Good luck and thanks for taking this on!

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JHADZHIA 9/25/2010 10:07AM

    The bottom line is people come to this site to lose weight. Learning to use the Fitness and Nutrition Trackers should be the first priority. Although one person had the great idea to use the Spark points listing as an easy way to navigate the site as you have everything there listed conveniently in one spot.

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HAPPYSOUL91 9/25/2010 9:36AM

    It is overwhelming but if they are determined to rid themselves of the pounds then they will plow through.

Start at the start page, maybe then join 1 challenge besides what you are doing at work

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EDUCGRAD 9/25/2010 9:28AM

    It is great that others are interested,I've had a few people at work sign up,but haven't really used it.I think maybe if they can get plugged into a team that may help as you need a lot of support.the motivation is hard for most as they need someone a workout buddy to exercise with them to get them started,to keep them on track.they also have to see that it is worth the time.1 parent was impressed by my weight loss,but said she liked to eat to much which I find is very common.

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/25/2010 9:23AM

    Not sure I have much to offer in the way of advice, but this was my experience, and what I tell "new" people I refer to the site.

When I first came I was referred by a Live Journal person, and I was in maintenance. I was blown away and kind of OD'd on the features for a weekend, then I determined it was more than I could handle (with everything else I was doing) and became inactive for a loooong time.

Not to despair, when I was ready, I came back, weeded things out, gradually made some good spark friends, and moved on.

So, what I tell newbies that I refer is to take it easy, explore but just use what they find useful at first, as the whole experience can be a little overwhelming!

And I'm so thrilled that people are asking... I've been passing out Spark cards myself when people ask what I've done!

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WILD4STARS 9/25/2010 9:18AM

    Maybe have a "Spark Break" at work and let everyone follow you as you show them the things on Spark that worked for you. The Streaks, the Fast Breaks, etc. I have introduced Spark to several people. Some have embraced it fully, others have played around a bit and just dropped out. Though Spark does help create motivation, make some things easier and more fun, there still has to be a pretty good level of commitment. Spark can't create that.

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Happy To Be Me

Friday, September 24, 2010

I've been overweight 55 of my 61 years. And now I am not just a normal weight, I am slender. I still wake up and look and marvel. Can that person in the mirror really be me?

Negative thoughts come and go. Should I really have eaten that much --(fill in the blank)--? Will I ever quit celebrating that I now have a normal body? Will eating right ever get easy? Why should I be so giddily happy about something (eating) that everyone does every day? Will the arm flab tighten up? Why didn't/couldn't I do this 5 decades sooner? Will the feeling like there's an 80 pound shadow just over my left shoulder ever leave? The thoughts come and I let them go.

Today, I'm just happy to be me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JHADZHIA 9/25/2010 10:15AM

    I have only been overweight for half my life -but am fully aware of how very easy it is for that weight to creep back on. I like to think I have moved beyond that looking back behind my shoulder and am satisfied the new me is here to stay. I believe, even with surgical or other health layoffs, that with Sparks, and tracking, I will be able to watch my calories and maintain. You can believe too, Marsha, because you have worked so very hard and have learned your lessons well.
Here is tobeing happy to be us!!

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RITAROSE 9/25/2010 6:43AM

  Enjoy the new "you!" You've worked hard to get there and serve as an inspiration to others on the journey!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MONTY68 9/24/2010 7:21PM

What a awesome and beautiful blog. Such great questions and thoughts. Let me tell you, I guess I am not completely in "what normal people do" because I still look in the mirror, love what I see and not afraid to admit that I do, its a body that I have seen since the 1940's.
I Love that you are excited, you should be excited. We have to remember that this body is new to us, we have had 55 to 60 + years of that other body and we are reinforcing all those new wonderful things we have learned. Will we always be like you feel today, probably over time we will just be who we are. It will become a automatic part of what we do, as it is with people who never had a weight problem, That is one of the things I am learning from my walking partner, she just is when it comes to eating and weight. Her concern is getting more exercise at our age.
As far as that 80 pound shadow, I carry a picture of it in my I phone and a feeling of gratitude when I show it to others, knowing that it is a part of my past that brought me to this day.
Enjoy every moment of the new you and celebrate it daily.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AQUAGIRL08 9/24/2010 6:25PM

    I can't think of anyone who deserves happiness more than you do Marsha. I'm glad that you're feeling that giddy, light heart that makes you want to take flight!

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JOYINKY 9/24/2010 5:38PM

    emoticonYES! I know what you mean, it's been quite a trip! Great observations that I can identify with too. So nice to be here with people like you and Annie that really "get it". I don't have the answers to the questions but today I'm great! Happy to be me too!

"Who I am really keeps surprising me."
- Poet Nikki Giovanni

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DONNABRIGHT 9/24/2010 4:42PM


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WALKINGANNIE 9/24/2010 3:17PM

    Great blog Marsha.

I can identify with a lot of what you have said here - not least because you have set such a great example and helped me to make progress alongside you.

. emoticon emoticon

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EMBRACE_SUCCESS 9/24/2010 3:15PM

    Great job letting those thought go and staying in the moment:)

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Four Week Challenge

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I'm into the fourth week of the Official Better Sleep Challenge. I go to bed earlier, at a consistent time, exercise earlier in the day, reduce my overall caffeine (almost all before noon), and greatly reduce the size of my evening snack. I usually take a bath and listen to relaxing music in the evening. I am delighted to say that last night made my fifteenth night in a row of good sleep. It has probably been years since I could make that claim.

There are some things I am giving up. I used to exercise right up until bedtime, so I am giving up an opportunity to burn more calories. A lot of the TV my hubby likes to watch now comes on after my bedtime and I miss watching with him. When I first started the challenge, it bothered me that I was giving up quite a bit, but not seeing results. Team mates reminded me it is a four week challenge for a reason. I guess they were right.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BESTSUSIEYET 9/24/2010 1:33PM

    Rejoicing with you -- what we 'give up' so often is minimal compared to what we gain!!! Thanks for sharing another great blog!

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HAPPYSOUL91 9/23/2010 10:34AM

    Glad you are having some good results

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JANEWATKINS 9/23/2010 9:41AM

    I've given up computer and TV an hour before bed. I sit on my lanai with a candle and drink wine and visit with my daughter. It's heavenly . . . and I'm sleeping better.

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DONNABRIGHT 9/23/2010 9:13AM

    Good to hear!

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JHADZHIA 9/22/2010 9:21PM

    Wow! Its great to hear this has worked for you!!
I just can't imagine getting regular, good sleep!!
Hope you have continued success!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOYINKY 9/22/2010 8:48PM

    Glad you've experienced success with this. It is important! emoticon

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PMFISH 9/22/2010 7:24PM

    Right now with a bit of cooler weather I am having to fight to stay awake. The body heals, energies renew lots of good things happen when we get a good nights sleep.

Glad you are setting a healthy habit. Your older body will appreciate everything you do to keep it healthy.


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WALKINGANNIE 9/22/2010 3:59PM

    Awesome Marsha.

I 'graduated' from the challenge today - after 2 days, and nights, away from home but still with benefits that I never envisaged. The first couple of weeks were tough but it has definitely got better.

emoticon emoticon

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GEINAHG0757 9/22/2010 3:47PM

    Sleep is probably my "Last Frontier" of a healthy in I don't get near enough. What all have you done to change this? What is the "4 Week Sleep Challenge"? I am in need of assistance with this.
emoticon emoticon

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A Small Victory

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Well, the apple pie and the mini Baby Ruth bars and finally even the Butterfinger bars I blogged about over two weeks ago are gone from the kitchen counter. I did not eat one bite! I did not even put them out of view. I was patient and determined. That is a victory.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JHADZHIA 9/22/2010 9:23PM

    You are proving over and over again why you are succeeding in this healthy lifestyle!!
There doesn't seem to be anything you can't do!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HAPPYSOUL91 9/22/2010 12:48PM

    emoticon that is more than a small victory...rate it huge!

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BAGGYPANTS5 9/22/2010 3:25AM

    Wow! That's pretty good.
I couldn't do that.

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MISSWINGS1 9/21/2010 10:42PM

    What will power!

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FITCOFFEEMOM357 9/21/2010 10:39PM


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AQUAGIRL08 9/21/2010 9:58PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOYINKY 9/21/2010 7:58PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
That's a biggie! Victory is yours!

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KALIGIRL 9/21/2010 7:22PM

    That is a HUGE victory - must signal some 'grown up' healthy lifestyle habits.

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DONNABRIGHT 9/21/2010 5:29PM


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RHONDA_11 9/21/2010 4:42PM


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I applaud your victory!!

I voted for your blog!

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Three Year Old Suggestibility

Monday, September 20, 2010

This morning I was reading to Natalie, my 3 year old granddaughter. (Incidentally, she is known as the New Big Sister as of last Thursday.) I read Puss in Boots and in our version the king lifts his cup and toasts the marquis as they celebrate plans for the marquis to marry the king's daughter.

Natalie could hardly wait to read the last sentence or two. She announced, "I want toast. Can I please have toast, Old Mom? Can I PLEASE??" I did good not to laugh too hard in her face! I explained the different meanings of the word toast, but pretty soon we had to have a morning snack of toast and fresh peaches.

It made me think. You know, there is still a big three year old part of me who is very suggestible when it comes to food. I have to really exercise the adult part of me when the talk or the smell or the pictures are of yummy food!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOHAL52 9/23/2010 4:11PM

    Okay where did I miss the blog about the new granddaughter? I see a beautiful photo as wallpaper. Congratulations Marsha and so sorry I missed it until today!

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WALKINGANNIE 9/22/2010 3:30PM

    A lovely anecdote Marhsa - and yes I'm very suggestible too.

Glad you're having fun with Big Sister Natalie and hope that the rest of your family are well.

emoticon emoticon

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WILD4STARS 9/21/2010 8:10AM

    Amazing sometimes how the lines blur, who is the student and who is the teacher. I know Natalie learns a lot from you, and WOW some of the things you learn from her.

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SCREWIE 9/21/2010 3:52AM

    Lovely blog :)

Congratulations on the new baby!

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JHADZHIA 9/21/2010 1:42AM

    Unfortunately, we are very suggestible to food. Giving up TV was one of the better things I did for my healthy lifestyle. What you don't learn from children..
Keep up the awareness! You are doing great!

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SLENDERELLA61 9/20/2010 9:04PM

    Yes, the old "OldMom" is Natalie's name for Grandma, Joyinky.

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JOYINKY 9/20/2010 8:40PM

    Ah yes, we are suggestible; and don't they know it! The smells that are vented in the stores and malls; those delectible pizza commercials on t.v. Tempting triggers are everywhere! I'm fine if I don't give in for that first bite.
emoticonmoment. So, the old OLDMOM is Grandma??

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    Great insight Marsha!

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DONNABRIGHT 9/20/2010 5:32PM

    Fortunately for me my granddaughter likes the crust cut off her toast so I eat one bite of that and it usually satisfies me. Good thinking to add the peaches!

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AQUAGIRL08 9/20/2010 5:28PM

    I think there is a part of all of us that is susceptible to things that smell and taste good. We all have smell and taste memories and can associate certain foods with times in our lives that were fun and made us feel good. It will probably be a life long battle.

Congratulations on your new granddaughter! I hope baby and mother are both doing well!

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DONNYE2008 9/20/2010 3:38PM

    How I loved that! Children and grandchildren add so much wonder and humor to our lives.

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ONEKIDSMOM 9/20/2010 3:32PM

    Amen, Marsha, I hear you about the sights and smells! And I love your new background!

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MONTY68 9/20/2010 3:29PM

I will raise my cup and toast to Natalie. What a blessing for you to be able to be with her so much. I feel we all should have a reminder that being child like is a wonderful idea. Of course as you said, the reminder of a food that is tempting is when the adult steps in to remind us.
You are so amazing and a lesson is always learned when you blog.
I love your new page picture.

Thank you for sharing.

Monty emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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