VHALKYRIE   16,233
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Fitness Goals

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Running is a great exercise. It is free, and you can do it almost anywhere. Many people have in their minds that running a marathon is the ultimate fitness achievement. Many Sparkers have successfully run marathons, which is incredible! Congratulations to Spark friends ThinRonna and LadyRose who just completed their marathons!

Read about their marathon experiences here. Both of them ran events that are bit more muddy and obstacle challenging than your typical NYC marathon!
LadyRose: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo

ThinRonna: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo

One of the popular topics I see on the message boards is, "I can't run, how can I get exercise" or "I want to run a marathon, but I don't like running" (???) or "I can't run more than 5 minutes".

A lot of these people seem to feel like a fitness failure because they can't do a marathon, or even, if they don't want to. Can they still be a fitness success without running a marathon?

Myself, I have a knee injury from soccer many years ago. Unfortunately, a marathon is out of the cards. Running is a very high impact sport. Losing weight reduced stress on my knee so walking/hiking no longer causes pain. Unfortunately, wear and tear over the years has made running an activity that still causes me great discomfort.

I have fitness goals other than a marathon. If you can't/don't like to run, don't worry. There are lots and lots of other fitness activities you can enjoy. I use the elliptical machine instead of the treadmill. I hike, bike, kayak, swim, and dive.

Here are some of my fitness goals I'd like to do one day that are very challenging. In no particular order:

- Participate in the "Seattle to Portland" bike ride. It's a non competitive, multi day bike ride from, you guessed it, Seattle to Portland.
- Kayak and camp trip through the San Juan Islands in Washington on a 3 or 7 day trip organized by REI.
- Bike and camp ride through Death Valley on a 3 day trip organized by REI.
- Hike to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier. It is where mountain climbers start their trip up the mountain. I don't plan to climb Mt. Rainier, but just hiking to Camp Muir is quite strenuous.
- Hike to the Colorado River and camp in the Grand Canyon.
- Hike/camp part of the Appalachian trail over a weekend.
- Hike/bike/camp Maroon Bells-Snowmass in Colorado.
- Dive "The Wall" in the Great Barrier Reef.
- Obtain my black belt in hapkido.

These are just a few. I'm adding to this list all the time! I refer back to this list from time to time to remind me I can only do this if I get off my butt.

A marathon is a wonderful fitness marker that requires a tremendous amount of discipline to train for, and ultimately, to finish. If you can't run like myself, there are numerous other activities that require the same or similar level of dedication to complete.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 5/12/2011 3:47PM

    SEDGEY: :D Will do!!

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SEDGEY 5/12/2011 3:46PM

    My BF has done the STP a couple of times. In one day even! That was years ago though.
When you do the San Juan Islands trip, let us know and we'll take you on an overnight sail to Sucia or Matia. Just saying that you should allow a couple of days in your schedule, you know. ;)

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THINRONNA 5/9/2011 10:31AM

    Your goals are wonderful! I have bee thinking of getting a bike too as it is much easier on the knees. After my 10K city race this past weekend my knees are just killing me! The Raskinnet was actually easier on my body! I will take it easy for a few days and then get back to it though as it is all we can afford right now.

I have to say that your hiking goals are my favorite. I just love hiking. On Easter Sunday we did not even fix a special dinner...instead we hiked the whole day and had a picnic. It was great!

Your blog is great...a good reminder of what else is out there to do!

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NEURONERD 5/9/2011 7:05AM

    Awesome goals! I especially like the Seattle to Portland bike ride. Maybe someday I can do that too!

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FREDDYB29 5/8/2011 10:29PM

    I had just started jogging which is huge for me. Not sure if I'm doing it all right since I've been told its a bit of fast jog but, it was huge crossing that line between just walking and getting a good jog going.

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MRS.CARLY 5/8/2011 9:03PM

    I'm not much of a runner myself. I have a very large chest size and I always feel like I have a difficult time breathing when I run. To tame down the girls I usually have to wear two sports bras and it is pretty constrictive. I am more of a walking gal and I like to do the activities you listed! Great blog!

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KAYOTIC 5/8/2011 4:00PM

    Great list! I do want to run a marathon one day, but have many other fitness goals that aren't running related as well...many, like yours involve less organized outdoor activities, (including climbing Mt Rainier!).

Keeping those lists going can really be motivating for those times when we're wondering "why do I keep doing all this exercise...." we do it so we'll be fitter when we do the fun stuff!

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ZURDTA- 5/8/2011 1:53PM

    Wow - great goals. Very inspiring.

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EATNBOOGERS 5/8/2011 12:47PM

    I *love* your goals (I think in part because I like a lot of the same activities you do!).

I totally get you re the running stuff. I love to run, but I have to be careful, as I have extra sesamoids (bones in the balls of your feet). Part of me would love to run a marathon someday, but part of me thinks it would be pushing it, considering my biomechanical issues. I may do a *half* marathon someday, but if I do, I will be doing the Galloway method.

Are you doing stuff to strengthen your knees? (Part of the reason I got out of soccer was that I was afraid I was going to injure myself!)

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BTVMADS 5/8/2011 12:12PM

    Loooooooove your hiking goals. My first major fitness goal, before planning a Half Marathon, was to hike all of the VT peaks over 4000 feet, and to do at least one overnight hiking trip -- those are the moments I'll remember forever, just like I know I'll remember my 13.1. Hiking is such an ideal exercise, for a lot of the same reasons as running -- fresh air, it's meditative, it creates time to bond with your companions, it pushes you physically and mentally, and, unlike running, you get a vacation out of it! What more could we ask for?

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KELPIE57 5/8/2011 10:58AM

    Great goals, great inspiration

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Pork Carnitas and Shrimp Mango Ceviche

Friday, May 06, 2011

I meant to do a food blog but I forgot. I'll just do a quick recap. I'll post the instructions sometime next week.

Last night for Cinco de Mayo I made pork carnitas using pork tenderloin. I served with a cucumber salad, homemade salsa, and a watermelon feta salad.

Calories: 247 for carnitas, 450 for whole plate
Spark Recipe: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai

For lunch, I made shrimp mango ceviche using some of the leftover homemade salsa.

Calories: 181 for cerviche, 302 for the whole plate.
Spark Recipe: recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-detai

The SO has today off. When I said I was making shrimp ceviche for lunch, he made a face like "Eww. I don't want that." I gave him the leftover carnitas for lunch. When he tried my ceviche, he was like, "That's actually really good." I just laughed and said, "This could have been yours!"


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FREDDYB29 5/8/2011 10:30PM

    Wow!! That looks fantastic!! I love Mexican type foods. Salsa is fantastic.

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ZURDTA- 5/6/2011 1:54PM

    Lovely - yum!

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KRAEG3 5/6/2011 1:26PM

    Wow! What time is dinner? Those look fantastic!

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    Oh - I love cerviche! I will check out that recipe for sure - thanks for posting it!

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CBRIENZA1 5/6/2011 12:48PM

  yummy!!! LOOKS GREAT!

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ARCHIMEDESII 5/6/2011 12:45PM

    Yum !! Those look marvelous. Bet they tasted great too !!! Gee, must be time for lunch. I'm starving !!


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Goal Analysis

Friday, May 06, 2011

As I mentioned a couple days ago, I use a variety of tools to track my fitness goals. BodyMedia Fit, heart rate monitor; Spark, BodyMedia website, and an excel spreadsheet.

- BMF gives me a full day picture on my calorie burn.
- Heart rate monitor tells me whether I am working hard enough during my workouts.

- Spark: nutrition tracker and a community support group.
- BMF website: Activity calculator. More accurate than Spark.
- Excel spreadsheet: raw data

The last one might seem to raise eyebrows. Why do that?

Well, I am currently working on very specific goals. But other than that, I don't have an explanation other than I am somewhat OCD about these things. ;) I like to see the numbers.

Before we continue, I am *not* suggesting that anyone else has to do this. This is going to be way overkill for many people, which I totally respect. Spark has excellent reports that I encourage you to explore. If you've never used the reports, you'll find that it is an eye opener and a motivator. If you've ever wondered "Why isn't my diet working?", take a look at the graphs. You may see something.

You can find the Spark reports on your home page on the "Reports" tab.

(Thanks to TigerJane and EatnBoogers for mentioning it on one of my previous blogs!)

One of my nutrition goals is to maintain Zone diet ratios of 40% carbs/30% fat/30% protein.

With my excel spreadsheet, I can see I'm off track. Now, there's nothing wrong with 60/20/20 ratios. In fact, these are the ratios Spark recommends.

We can see from my graphs that things have been generally working.

However, I like the Zone ratios 40/30/30 because it optimizes stored fat burn by controlling insulin. Insulin in the blood stream stops the body from burning fat, and preps the body to store fat. This is why if you could theoretically eat 1200 calories of donuts a day, you would still not lose a pound. A calorie is not just a calorie. What you eat causes chemical responses in the body. A donut causes the pancreas to spike a lot of insulin, which stops fat burn, and turns on the switch to store fat instead. Eating lettuce and celery does not cause a large insulin response.

This is why mass quantities of exercise will not cancel a bad diet. If you have excess insulin floating around in your bloodstream, your body will not turn to stored fat.

This is WAY simplified, but this is the gist. Food you eat makes chemical responses. This is why I track my carb/fat/protein percentages, not just calories in/out.

These days, there's more talk about the glycemic index which is the same thing. Balancing food intake to control insulin release.

Glycemic Index (GI)
Donut: 76 (High)
Lettuce: 15 (Very Low)

Everything you eat will cause some insulin to be released (insulin is important to a healthy body). A body in a constant state of high insulin will eventually become insulin resistant, in which the body no longer properly responds to insulin (which is important for regulating metabolism). Type II diabetes is the next stage.

So going back to my data, I see the dates where I got closest to my goal was 4/20 or 4/21. On 4/20, I had ratios of 48/24/28.

Going to my Spark nutrition tracker, what did I eat?

Breakfast: Yogurt, blueberries, and cereal.
Lunch: Homemade chicken caesar salad with lettuce, roast chicken breast, and light mayo; my citrousy carrot soup recipe.
Dinner: Spaghetti and meatballs with garden salad and a beer.
Snack: Multigrain crackers and neufchatel cheese; bowl of watermelon.

I think this would have been perfect without the beer. The beer is pure carb.

So next week, I need to eat more things like this.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRAEG3 5/6/2011 1:54PM

    Yikes! I wish I knew and had time to figure out how to use all this technology. Kuddos to you and thank you for all this info. I too have tried to stick as close to a zone diet for 15 years (my goodness time flies). It has worked for me for the most part. My problem is portion control. If you eat too much, even if it is a healthy food choice, your pancreas will release too much insulin triggering the body to store fat.

Now getting to the wine. I do enjoy a glass of wine but I really try to keep it to the weekends. This week I did well eating and I had a glass of wine on M, T, and TH. I still lost weight but I know a lot more went into that loss than just staying on track with the diet. This week was the first time in months that I exercised 5 days and 5 days in a row to boot. Yeah me!

Have a great weekend! emoticon emoticon

BTW I'm planning on having a glass when I get home. A Cantena Malbec...one of my faves.

Comment edited on: 5/6/2011 1:57:12 PM

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JSPEED4 5/6/2011 1:03PM


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EATNBOOGERS 5/6/2011 12:32PM

    The Italians (and the Spanish) walk a hell of a lot more than we do. ;-) They also eat a lot more veggies than average Americans.

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VHALKYRIE 5/6/2011 11:41AM

    The thing is, I actually have a fair amount of muscle. You just can't see it because it's hidden under this layer of fat! So I am trying to shed off the fat, using some bodybuilder techniques (not that I am a bodybuilder). While the competitive guys have some pretty extreme diets, they actually do know quite a bit about how to change their body composition. I'm just applying some less extreme principles.

Comment edited on: 5/6/2011 11:41:54 AM

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VHALKYRIE 5/6/2011 11:16AM

    I totally agree. Same when I traveled through Spain. They generally ate very high quality, healthy food. Seafood paella, chorizo, cheeses, wine, etc. The only overweight people I saw were American tourists.

An example I often use is Asians eat white rice with every meal. EVERY meal. White rice - not brown rice. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack. Asia does not have an obesity problem.

However, I will say this. They are not overweight/obese to begin with. People who are overweight/obese, I believe, have to alter nutrition and exercise balance in order to change body composition. This is what bodybuilders do. I have also seen this to be true with me, as well.

Comment edited on: 5/6/2011 11:24:50 AM

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ARCHIMEDESII 5/6/2011 11:11AM

    I got into the habit of drinking a glass of wine with dinner when I traveled through Italy. I MISS those days !! Oh and I lost weight on that trip too. I probably am one of the few people on the planet who loses weight when they go on vacation. LOL !


Thinking out loud for a moment, it strikes me the Italians must be doing something right if they can eat bread, pasta and drink wine with their meals and not be morbidly obese. That's what really struck me when I was there i.e. no obese people. Sure, a few overweight or chubby ones, but nothing like here.

Comment edited on: 5/6/2011 11:12:32 AM

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VHALKYRIE 5/6/2011 11:07AM

    ARCHIMEDESII: I'm not giving it up! I'm trying to cut down. My biggest thing is I love a glass of wine with dinner. I got into the habit when I lived in Washington. All the vineyards allowed me to try a different bottle each week!

However, I'm not at the stage where it is fitting in my goals. I think it will be fine in maintenance mode, but I'm trying to cut it down to a couple of nights on the weekend, rather than daily.

40/30/30 works well for me in weight loss mode. 60/20/20 works for me in maintenance.

Comment edited on: 5/6/2011 11:10:51 AM

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ARCHIMEDESII 5/6/2011 11:02AM

    I don't see anything wrong with the beer. eh-hem.


That's why I love Spark People. All things in moderation. I can't imagine a life where I wasn't allowed to drink a beer, glass of wine, have a cookie, brownie, etc... because I was worried that I'd gain weight OR that eating a brownie once in a while would inhibit me from losing.

Personally, I can't do the 40/30/30 ratios. I tried. it upset my tummy. I do much better with a vegetarian based diet that's roughly 60/20/20. that's worked well for me.

Love all the screen shots !! I can't tell you how low tech I am ! LOL !!!

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VHALKYRIE 5/6/2011 10:51AM

    EATNBOOGERS: You are right. :) It is a simplification. There are a lot of variables. Exercise stimulate cells to be more receptive to insulin. It cannot cancel out a bad diet on its own, though.

Comment edited on: 5/6/2011 10:57:03 AM

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EATNBOOGERS 5/6/2011 10:37AM

    Some of this (insulin, fat burning, body's response to carbs, fats, proteins) is altered by physical activity. What might be true for a sedentary person is not true for an active person.

I will say... I love excel spreadsheets myself, but spark is just easier. ;-)

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ZURDTA- 5/6/2011 9:13AM

    Interesting... and has given me something to think about with my own dieting issues... thanks for posting.

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JMAYS831 5/6/2011 8:58AM

    LOL...I too have multiple spreadsheets tracking everything from weight training to my grades. My wife thinks I am neutotic...at least I am not alone.


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VHALKYRIE 5/6/2011 8:07AM

    I track a lot more than what I show on screenshot. I just snipped the section for the ratios for this example. :) The spreadsheet does keep it organized!

Tracking body fat is excellent! I wish I had a more accurate way to do it, or else I would track that too!

Comment edited on: 5/6/2011 8:09:36 AM

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RMREEVESOLIS 5/6/2011 7:59AM

    Hahaha.... I like you! I am a numbers kind of girl and like to have multiple ways to track my goals/successes. I will definitely do your excel sheet. I have tracked my weight and measurements since I started over 7 years ago. It is very neat to watch my ups and downs. And I continue to add new measurements or tracking ideas. I have one of those body fat pinchers and have been tracking my body fat %. I have written this all down, but I think an excel sheet would be more organized looking.

And recently I started to track more of the micro nutrients per day and then I want to work on the micros per meal. I have noticed it is making my body composition start changing in the direction I want it to. I try for 40 to 50 of carbs/20 to 30 of fat/ and 30 of protein. it seems to be working for me!

keep up the hard work!

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Losing the Food Revolution Already?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

I made a few inroads last week. The cat was losing weight. The fiance acknowledged my nutritional ways are better than his. He came to the gym with me. I was pumped up about the new season of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution - Go Jamie!

Seems this week has taken a step backwards on all of it.

I've been trying to make my own Food Revolution in my house, motivating the cat and the fiance.

I thought the cat was losing weight, but apparently she's not. She still weighs the same. Maybe scales don't matter for kitties either? Maybe I should take kitty measurements? Kitty doesn't have any skinny jeans that I could use to see if she's fitting better in them - LOL

The fiance and I went to the gym on Monday. He said he wanted to do it every day after work. Last night, he started off with saying we should go to the gym after dinner. Then fell asleep on the couch. My attempts to wake and motivate were met with grumpiness.

Tuesday, I was looking forward to the new episode of Food Revolution. Except when I looked for it in the TV lineup on my cable channel guide, it was gone. What the heck? I got on Twitter and was horrified to discover ABC bumped Food Revolution for a Dancing with the Stars rerun! The new episodes of Food Revolution have been bumped back until May 27, the Friday before Memorial Day!

I feel betrayed. Earlier I wrote about how I liked Dancing with the Stars. Now I hate it. DWS is NOT more important than Food Revolution! I'm thinking Jamie went to LA too fast. He should have stuck with grassroots America for 3 or 4 seasons. Too many powerful people in LA. I can't help but think he's being squashed. Moving his show to the Friday before Memorial Day is certain to spell bad ratings. Everyone will be in their RVs to Yosemite for the kick off to the summer. Who is going to watch this now?

I'm crushed. Where is the President? Michelle Obama? Former California Governor Schwartzenegger?? They need to get behind this! This can't die already! America needs this! There is so much that has gone wrong with America's schools, and this is a big part of it. One of last seasons episodes, the teachers said they were loving the new nutrition. The kids were alert, getting better test scores, and no more sleepers in the class!

This is the USA being poisoned from the inside. In the modern era, we're not dying of famine. We're dying because we're drowning in processed food, sugar, and salt.

I even got into a disagreement with the fiance over it. I said one of the things Jamie is doing is trying to get rid of the flavored milk that has as much sugar in it as a soda. The milk industry has been pushing it since the 80s saying it's more important for kids to drink milk than worry about the sugar.

The fiance said he agreed! I was horrified! I told him in no uncertain terms, if we have kids, they are NOT drinking that! He just said he agreed that the sugary milk was better than the soda.

Not good. Not good.

He then told the cat they were in the dog house.



Update: I sent ABC a note this morning. You can send them a comment here:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JESS0107 5/5/2011 2:29PM

    What is so sad is that it's not just LA, it's all over and Jamie needs more people. I will never forget finding a box in our school cafeteria that was OUT OF DATE for over a year!!!!

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TIGERJANE 5/5/2011 12:46PM

    I don't think milk is very healthy to begin with, flavored or not. It'll probably come down to who does the grocery shopping in your household. Just don't buy it, & don't give them money to buy it at school, either. I already told my hubs we're not having our kids buy hot lunch, which at first he wasn't totally on board with, but after Jamie's show he completely understands. as long as I plan on being the one to pack it and not him, haha.

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EATNBOOGERS 5/5/2011 10:33AM

    I live in Boulder (super healthy people, right?), and we've been going through our own food revolution here. It has been successful, but it's been a big struggle every step of the way. If it's this hard *here*, I'm not surprised that LA is such a struggle. Sad, but true.

*Don't* rely on the fiance to be your gym partner. You decide on when you're going to do it, and then do it, with or without him. Your resolve will impress him, and hopefully, he'll decide to join you.

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VHALKYRIE 5/5/2011 9:18AM

    This is the comment I sent to ABC:

Why did you cancel Food Revolution on Tuesday for a Dancing With the Stars recap? I was looking for the show, and was confused why it wasn't in the channel lineup. I got on twitter and was horrified to discover that you preempted it and moved Food Revolution to May 27! The Friday before Memorial Day weekend, huh? Be honest with us. Was it pressure from the dairy lobby? Was it the superintendant of LAUSD?

Put Jamie back on the air at his regular time.

You can send them a comment here: http://abc.go.com/site/contact-us

Comment edited on: 5/5/2011 9:21:46 AM

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ZURDTA- 5/5/2011 9:12AM

    I was reading about this in the paper this morning - things went differently here in the UK because we are a much, much smaller country and parent power meant the Prime Minster and Government listened and made legislative changes to way that state school meals were delivered. Those changes are still in place and no one would ever think of going back to turkey twizzlers!

LA has been really tough on Jamie's ideals - you are right - if a someone high profile enough got on board with the idea it could be HUGE. This is something ideal for Mrs Obama to get into - the health of future Americans is surely a top priority. Maybe Jamie Oliver is not the right person to be telling US schools what to serve their pupils, but SOMEONE has to.

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DDOORN 5/5/2011 8:46AM

    I've been SO disheartened by the lack of priority given to the Food Revolution as well. Talk about swimming upstream against some POWERFUL forces...ARGH!


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CARRIE1948 5/5/2011 8:33AM

    I'm with you. I know the difference Jamie Oliver made in the UK schools.

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Supplement Blog to Success without Scales

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Here is more information to follow up on my last blog, "Success without Scales".

I track this information in Spark, BodyMedia, and an excel spreadsheet. Sounds like a lot of work? Just takes a couple minutes a day.

Here is why scale weight is only a very small part of the picture.

Exercise Minutes: 30
Calories Burned (Daily): 1600
Calories Eaten: 1377
Calorie Balance: -223
Weight: 135
Waist: 33
Hips: 40.5

Exercise Minutes: 30
Calories Burned (Daily): 1629
Calories Eaten: 1287
Calorie Balance: -342
Weight: 135.8
Waist: 33 (0)
Hips: 40.5 (0)

Exercise Minutes: 30
Calories Burned (Daily): 1778
Calories Eaten: 1469
Calorie Balance: -309
Weight: 135.6
Waist: 32 (-1)
Hips: 40(-0.5)

Exercise Minutes: 75
Calories Burned (Daily): 1840
Calories Eaten: 1872
Calorie Balance: +32
Weight: Did not record
Waist: Did not record
Hips: Did not record

Exercise Minutes: 30
Calories Burned (Daily): 1744
Calories Eaten: 1743
Calorie Balance: -1
Weight: 136
Waist: 32 (0)
Hips: 40 (0)

Exercise Minutes: 30
Calories Burned (Daily): 1753
Calories Eaten: 1051
Calorie Balance: -702
Weight: 135.6
Waist: 31.5 (-0.5)
Hips: 40 (0)

Exercise Minutes: 30
Calories Burned (Daily): 2066
Calories Eaten: 1739
Calorie Balance: -327
Weight: 134.6
Waist: Did not record
Hips: Did not record

Exercise Minutes: 30
Calories Burned (Daily): 1700
Calories Eaten: 1405
Calorie Balance: -295
Weight: 133.8
Waist: 31 (-0.5)
Hips: 40 (0)

My weight keeps jumping around, but my waist is definitely shrinking. My butt is taking it's sweet time - typical!!!

I know I am reducing my calories, eating good food, and exercising, so I don't sweat what the scale says. I track my scale weight, but it is not the only thing I look at. My measurements are trending down, and that's what I want.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 5/4/2011 11:22AM

    Thank you for pointing out Spark's reports! I should have mentioned it. I prefer my way, as it is raw data I can manipulate in a number of ways. ;) One reason is because Spark's estimate for my daily burn is not as accurate as the data from my BWF.

And I do line graphs, too!

Comment edited on: 5/4/2011 11:37:41 AM

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EATNBOOGERS 5/4/2011 11:12AM

    Yeah, I was going to point out that SP will track all of these (I track all of these). Call me a simpleton, but I *do* like the line graphs, with the numbers slowly going downward. ;-)

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TIGERJANE 5/4/2011 10:59AM

    Two things stood out to me in this blog:
1) you seem genuinely happy and content with yourself (and your life in general, from reading your other blogs) - and I find that SO refreshing! High five!
2) You track your calorie differential, which is the real crux of weight loss. I don't think enough people on here realize that spark tracks that for you. It's underutilized.

You're doing great!

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