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WATERMELLEN's Recent Blog Entries

Turning off the FB button . . .

Friday, January 13, 2012

Thanks, TRAVELGRRL, for figuring this out!!


Nope, not on FB . . .maybe the only person left in the world. No pierced ears, no tattoo . . . yikes, turning into a hopeless ol' lady fuddy duddy!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 1/15/2012 7:19PM


Please check the comments on SP Guy's blog in which he announces this new feature.

Apparently even if you opt out of sharing, if another SP friend subscribes to your blog the "sharing" icon still appears.

Hmmmmm. Probably not what you had in mind.

Comment edited on: 1/15/2012 7:19:58 PM

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NANCY- 1/15/2012 4:33PM

    You are ever so NOT a hopeless ol' lady fuddy duddy!!
You golf, ski and do many more interesting things. You have an engaging mind.

I have pierced ears but stopped at one in each ear.. my mom told me I already had enough holes in my head. As far as tats go... I have never seen lovely wrinkled ink, it always looks a bit misshaped. So NO needles for me. I am on facebook... but am thinking of leaving, for me it is just a marketing tool. SP is soooooooo much better.
Besides who really gives a Tweet about all that stuff.

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KALIGIRL 1/14/2012 10:57AM

    emoticon was alerted by other blogs - guess I need to check more often...

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CRYSTALJEM 1/14/2012 9:16AM

    Thank you so much! This had really started bothering me and I am so glad I can shut it off. If I want my blog on Facebook, I'll get it there myself. Don't want it shared. I do wish the Sparkguy would ensure we are all well informed about new little features like this, and in my opinion it should be up to us to turn them on, not have to find out how to turn them off. I know this site is great, and free which I love, but as with so many things, there are definitely some strings attached.

On that note, happy sparking!

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TBANMAN 1/14/2012 12:36AM

    Maybe we are the only two people left in the world. Not on the SpaceBook or the MyFace or anything else.

OK, I'm on the Tweeter, but that's it.


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    I think SparkPeople is much better than facebook.

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LISALGB 1/13/2012 9:55PM

    Thanks so very much!! I definately don't want to connect my SP page and my FB page. They are two completely seperate things for me. My FB page keeps me in touch with family and friends, old and new. SP is helping me to restructure my life and body.
I doubt there are many on SP who want to tie the two together.
Thanks again!!

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JIBBIE49 1/13/2012 9:19PM

    I read before that if you sign up to have the Facebook with the Sparks that is causes a LOT OF PROBLEMS, so I have never done it and won't. I have a FACEBOOK page, and I love finding all the people I went to high school with back in the '60's and seeing their grown children, but I don't want it part of Sparks.

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_LINDA 1/13/2012 9:11PM

    I was wondering why some people's blogs had that stuck in the middle of it. now I know, thanks! I am like you, no piercings, tattoos, fancy phones, Ipods, etc. But I did actually sign up for Facebook a while back at the insistence of my relatives, but have never used it until recently, when I wanted to see the photos my niece puts online, and its a convenient way to wish them a happy birthday too. Frankly, I find Sparkpeople way more interesting and wouldn't rather be anywhere else..

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PHEBESS 1/13/2012 8:50PM

    Turned mine off too- thanks! (though I do have a 30+ yr old tattoo!)

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SLENDERELLA61 1/13/2012 8:21PM

    Very good observation. I am on FaceBook. It helped me reconnect with some old Peace Corps buddies and old school friends and for that I'm glad. It also gives me information about many of my younger relatives. But I don't check it very often. I think I'd rather my Spark blogs stay on SparkPeople for the most part. So I appreciate this information. -Marsha

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Welch's Grape Juice promo on Spark: Off Track!!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Somehow -- 45 calories worth of Welch's light white grape juice has been added to my nutrition tracker every day for 7 days. This is some kind of promotion. I have no knowledge of having invited this addition . . . I'm not actually drinking it . . . and I am deleting it every day.

So. I get that Spark People funds its free website (which I appreciate very very much) with advertising and promotions.

And I get that Welch's light white grape juice might be relatively healthy. Although when I consume grapes, in moderation , it's generally going to be the fresh fruit: and red grapes because I believe there are more flavenoids (or whatever) in the red grapes. And if not fresh fruit, maybe the occasional glass of red (or white, or rose) wine!!

But here's the thing. I'm respectful of the economic realities that advertising is the "means to an end" of a free site. But I'd like reciprocal respect for the integrity of my nutrition tracker too please.

And insertion of a "snack" I'm not consuming into my nutrition tracker . . . a small thing in quantity of calories (45) . . . still strikes me as a transgression. Makes me feel a bit "squeezed" I suppose!! The nutrition tracker is the single most useful tool on the site for me, and I have achieved weight loss/maintenance by tracking very carefully. Every day. So please don't mess with my nutrition tracker!!

In general, I'm finding that the advertising is becoming more intrusive: slowing me down as I navigate the site. The delay means from time to time stuff is coming up because I've "clicked" and that "click" links to something I didn't mean to hit. That may be, in fact, how the Welch's snack was inserted into my nutrition tracker. I don't know.

So is this kind of promotion OK with you? Am I overreacting? Not a whole lot of trouble to delete: I just don't like it. And of course (having seen people "disappeared" from the site from time to time) I am a bit nervous about even voicing my objection. I'm not a rebellious type, and my day job provides me with sufficient adversarial stuff . . . don't need it here at all at all.

Your thoughts?

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_UMAMI_ 1/19/2012 1:41PM

    Ah---I just found your blog via a search like SLENDER_Z did. I guess they still haven't fixed the glitch, alas.

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SLENDER_Z 1/17/2012 3:30AM

    I just found your blog post by searching the site for Welch's Grape Juice, trying to figure out how the $@#)(*!!! I had the stuff appearing in my tracker all of a sudden. I remember seeing the totally annoying ads, which often would partially block my "favorites" listing and make it nearly impossible to add anything to my tracker. I wasn't aware until today, though, that it was randomly adding itself to my "snack" tracker. AFAIK Welch's is not kosher so I would not drink it anyhow, but either way, I'll NEVER drink the stuff now. Off to "untrack" it now. How irritating.


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CRYSTALJEM 1/16/2012 1:39PM

    Not something else to have to watch out for! Argh. Is there a message board or something that lists all these "features"? This having to find out after the fact is rather insulting. I too understand the ads and how to keep the site free, but I'm not liking this type of thing. I don't want to have to go thru extra hoops when it's hard enough to stay on track and take the time to keep up with the data entry as is.

Besides skewing results if you're not careful it adds temptations in the guise of healthy alternatives. If they have to have something like that I'd rather have a side bar pop up that asks if I'd like to add it, or suggests I might want to try it, or offers me a coupon so I could try it for free or something like that. But to just weazle it in there is not appropriate in my opinion.

Thanks as always for letting us know about these types of things.

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SARAWALKS 1/13/2012 10:36PM

    The same thing happened to me, it's very easy to mouse over that ad without even looking at it, and if you are just a bit sloppy with the click, you hit it. I had thought of complaining about the placement of that ad, and its having that sort of a button. Thanks for writing this. Ads are one thing, buttons that click that easily and add things to your tracker are quite another. I am not a juice drinker in general, I consider it wasted calories for very little food value -- but if I were, I would be permanently OFF buying Welch's juice because of their choice to do this.

Again, let me say, I realize ads in general are necessary. BUT - this type of ad with this type of button? NO.

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ONEKIDSMOM 1/13/2012 8:36PM

    Do you have Spark recommend your selections? The Welch's ad offers "click to add this to your tracker for a week" on my tracker (yeah, your blog entry made me look), but it didn't automatically add it. Does your mouse rollover in your tracker record as a click in your browser, by chance?

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SLENDERELLA61 1/13/2012 8:24PM

    No, I don't think you are overreacting. Wonder if they will continue to make SP more and more annoying and then put out an advertising-free version for $$$$????

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HDHAWK 1/13/2012 8:24PM

    The fact that the site is free is worth a few ads to me. I know lots of people aren't happy about it though.

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WATERMELLEN 1/13/2012 7:33PM

    I figured out . . . since I can track "ahead" I can also "untrack" ahead. So I "untracked" the grape juice for the balance of the week . . . and still got the one point a day for the item deleted. Heh heh heh. (No, not worth it).

Now I've got that Face Book symbol popping up and blocking words randomly: and nope, I'm not on Face Book. Last person left in the world not on Face Book. Don't have pierced ears OR a tattoo, either . . . hopeless ol' fuddy duddy.

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GETMETO50 1/13/2012 6:54PM

    you have to click on it in order for it to be added to your tracker and if you do inadvertantly click on it, it adds it for an entire week...bad enough it adds it at all but why does it need to add to a whole week is beyond me...I personally don't drink "fruit" juices and I am very careful not to click anywhere near that add since so many people are having issues with it, I check my tracker daily to be sure there is no juice on it as well...I do like that ads keep the site free but I think having ads that add stuff you don't want to the tracker is a bit much....now we have this facebook button that moves all around my page blocking words...I am ready to buy a portable tracker and be done with this...if they are going to add anything get us more smilies LOL

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IMATALOSS 1/13/2012 6:48PM

  I had accidently clicked on something one day that started adding the advertised product to my tracker every day. I finally found where I could un 'click' the auto addition and I was able to get rid of it. Look around a bit more. You may find a place to un 'click' it. It happened so long ago I can't remember where I found it. It took me awhile though... Good luck!!

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TEENY_BIKINI 1/13/2012 6:33PM

    Yes, it is becoming more intrusive. But I like that this site is free... I guess it is a trade off for me.

Interesting topic, gorgeous!


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FREELADY 1/12/2012 9:01PM

    OHHH . . . I would be IRATE if something was added to my tracker.

I agree, it is intrusive beyond reason. Shudder.

I had to put a sticky note over the top inch of the screen during one multi-week interval when the site kept having a snack ad for an item that looked really tempting. It was extremely inconvenient, but I couldn't keep looking at it, and I couldn't not track!

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IMAGINE_IT 1/12/2012 3:10PM

    Hmmmm....the grape juice 'just adds itself to your Nutriton Tracker' HOW DARE!!! emoticon I haven't tracked in a loooooong time (shame on me!!!) but when and if i do...i know that would be very annoying to me!
...i love that Spark is free ....(Thank you Spark Guy.)...but the ads have become overwhelming at times..i even saw some ads for credit cards the other day...but maybe..just maybe... Spark Guy will use some of the money to 'buy' us some new Goodies and emoticons??!!You think??!! emoticon)

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GUITARWOMAN 1/12/2012 7:21AM

    I am willing to live with the ads, the pop ups and the pull downs and the movement, because this is a really wonderful site and it is free.

Would you believe it, when I was on WW Canada, which I paid for, there was advertising as well.

but I am getting that grape juice added to my tracker as well, and every day I delete it.

Welch's must have paid a pretty penny to get the right to do that.

Sparkguy, with this piece of intrusiveness you ahve gone too far.


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PUDLECRAZY 1/12/2012 6:43AM

    I have tried to be philosophical about the ads because I love that SP is free and accessible to any.


The moving ads and flashing ads are not only annoying, they slow down my already slow connection so it takes longer for me to do anything on SP, which means I do less. I like to read peoples blogs, respond to message boards, and read articles, but some days it is so slow I give up.

And putting something on someone's food tracker is beyond believable. That seems like an invasion of space. I haven't been using my food tracker so I have no idea if things are being added... perhaps I should check.

As far as grape juice goes, I rarely drink any juice because it is too much sugar, even juice that does not have sugar added to it. I eat the whole fruit so I get all of the nutrients and the fiber along with the fruit sugar.

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TRYINGHARD1948 1/12/2012 3:43AM

    I don't mind the ads at the side and unmoving but now we have them right across the page moving down as we read them - most annoying, but I couldn't tell you what they are for so they are not working.

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TBANMAN 1/11/2012 11:08PM

    It is a little suspect - kind of like the site has gone from running Welch's ads to actually endorsing its product, which is a dangerous and slippery slope. I hope it's not a sign of things to come.

It should be noted that I have a job because of advertising and will always support it - in moderation and where appropriate.

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FLORIDAGHOST 1/11/2012 10:29PM

    I love SP and I really like the fact that it is free. However, enought is enough! Every page has more than one ad on it and some have several. Like the one that had 7 ads about bagels. And the little kid that slids around the page to end up in front of your face regardless of what you do until you find the little x to delete it. I realize that the ads pay for the site, but do we need 47 opportunities to buy the same thing. I guess I wouldn't mind it as much if it were a different ad in each place, but it ends up the same add in every slot.

I would love to find my Ad Block button. Gotta go talk to my tech guy. I've had enough of the adds all over the place, too.

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CARRAND 1/11/2012 9:33PM

    The same thing happened to me the last two days and it seriously annoyed me. Nothing against grape juice, but I don't drink it and it's a pain to delete it. It doesn't make me want to try it, so it's not working.

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MOBYCARP 1/11/2012 7:15PM

    I found the arrow overlapping the nutrition tracker annoying, so I ad-blocked the Welch's nonsense. Then today when I was at a different computer, I clicked the "click here" to see what would happen. It added the juice to my tracker, and I deleted it; but the ad went away from the computer that I hadn't ad-blocked it on!

I un-blocked it on my home computer this evening, and the ad isn't back. If it shows up again tomorrow, I might just ad-block it again.

Adblock Plus now defaults to allowing non-intrusive ads, and the filter doesn't catch the Welch's ad anyway because it's served out of the sparkpeople site instead of a traditions ad-spam type site; but I found the Welch's ad intrusive and annoying. I philosophically agree with the non-intrusive ad policy; but SP and Welch's are showing us that the temptation to make ads intrusive is as hard for marketers to resist as sweets are for a compulsive overeater.

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DCN8V1 1/11/2012 5:14PM

  I'm having the same problem. And I'll never buy Welch's because I hate that kind of commando aggressive advertising.

I too appreciate the need for advertising on a free site, but yeah. Adding foods to my tracker is the WRONG way to go about it.

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    It sounds like a technical glitch to me.
Have you tried asking on the "Site/Technical Help" forum?


They seem to respond promptly there.

Hang in there! :)

Comment edited on: 1/11/2012 4:08:35 PM

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EMMABE1 1/11/2012 3:53PM

    This should not be happening - maybe someone should tell them that if one can LOOK at a product then MAYBE one would be interested in it to buy it at some stage - to just assume that we will have it is wrong!!
And to add to am overseas menu tracker - when they can't even buy it is totally crazy!!
Newbies have enough trouble figering out the tracker without it springing products on them!!
I backed the asking of a fee paying advert free version of SP - and one day they will have to look at this option if they want to keep members!!

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ARLENE_MOVES 1/11/2012 3:43PM

    I saw the add, but thankfully, I haven't clicked on it. Thanks for the info.

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FRACTALMYTH 1/11/2012 2:12PM

    I had the same problem - though I thought I must have clicked on it accidentally... but the fact that so many of us have "accidentally" clicked it makes me suspicious... and no, the tags are not completely targeted to where you live - even if I did click on something I wanted it wouldn't help me as they are generally for products unavailable here... not that I look at them very often - only when they intrude. They generally exist in my blind spot. I did notice the grape juice though, and as a result, I would not touch the stuff on principle now because it inconvenienced me LOL.

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RICH_IN_NFPA_2 1/11/2012 1:39PM

    I completely agree with this statement: "In general, I'm finding that the advertising is becoming more intrusive: slowing me down as I navigate the site." The Welch's ad in particular is annoying because of its enormous size. I want my Spark Points near the top of the page so it's easy for me to login every day. All I know is that when I am irritated by an ad I am extremely unlikely to purchase the product -- ever!

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MIRAGE727 1/11/2012 1:03PM

    I'm a Firefox geek! Even knowing about this really sucks! This can be eliminated! Thanks for the warning and sharing!

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READYRACHEL 1/11/2012 12:13PM

    I am having the same problem. I know I did accidentally click on the ad a few days ago so maybe that is how it gets on the nutrition tracker? It is annoying, but it is easy enough to remove. It would be nice to remove it from all days though.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/11/2012 10:57AM

    That would royally piss me off.

I use Lose It for nutrition tracking. Has a website that syncs on and off-line with both iphone and android.


Comment edited on: 1/11/2012 10:58:09 AM

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TARANITUP 1/11/2012 10:56AM

    I had that problem last year... with a different item (for 260 calories!) and I was so glad I noticed it!!! You must have accidentally clicked that ad at some point. I hate this type of advertising.

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BAILEYS7OF9 1/11/2012 10:53AM

    My guess is that you accidentially hit the click here to add for the week.

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PAMNANGEL 1/11/2012 10:53AM

    That would be annoying. I'm forever accidently bumping the ads (I sometimes twitch unexpectedly), but haven't noticed anything being added to my tracker, at least not yet. I think I'll go back doublecheck now.

I just noticed a Welch's ad you click to join a daily challenge. Maybe you accidently joined?

Comment edited on: 1/11/2012 11:21:55 AM

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KAREN_NY 1/11/2012 10:45AM

    I haven't seen the juice issue, but the advertising has become MUCH more intrusive over the last year, to the point where I've asked about a fee-based ad-free version. (The answer was no, not planned, btw.)

DDOORN mentions Chrome below - I really need to try that.

Breathe deep & hang in there,

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_LINDA 1/11/2012 10:40AM

    I couldn't help noticing that add, the arrow partially covers an edge of the tracker, must be sensitive if you mis click on it. I have not had a problem with it. About the ads -all mine are Canadian and local Saskatoon ads so they even tailor them to where you live. Yes, Big Brother is watching!!
The Tracker is my number one tool for maintenance. Only being offline in a hospital or with no access to a computer or internet prevents me from tracking my food daily (although I do write everything down in order to track it all later..

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SLIMMERJESSE 1/11/2012 10:34AM

    There are several times that I have almost left SP for similar reasons. Yes, the advertising is becoming very intrusive in a variety of ways. SP is making a ton of money already, and my addl. beef about advertising is the ton of pharmaceutical junk they allow. Of course, I understand that's the way they keep SP free, but it may come to a point where I just quit. Point of fact, I've been planning to cut down my time here dramatically. Have a good day.

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DDOORN 1/11/2012 10:32AM

    Also a tip: I routinely use different browsers, Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google's Chrome and I gotta say Chrome knocks the socks off all the others in speedily loading web-pages, even loaded down with Meebo stuff.


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RUNNER12COM 1/11/2012 10:30AM

    Please report it through Site help. Not sure how it got there, but there must be a way for it to be removed.

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MORGANSMOM52 1/11/2012 10:24AM

    I'm having this problem too! I've had to remove it several times.

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LINDAJ0621 1/11/2012 10:23AM

    Wow, I have been deleting that juice for days! Thanks for the explanation. I also understand the need for advertising to keep the site free, but it has become increasingly difficult to use this site. At this point in time, the benefits of using SP still outweigh the negatives, but I will have to see what the future holds.

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SALSIFY 1/11/2012 9:58AM

    Now that's annoying. I find it difficult enough to track the food I do eat, let alone the stuff I don't.

I've been using another food/fitness tracker at myfitnesspal as it's got more UK food on it. I'd like to use the Sparkpeople trackers for the points, but it's too time-consuming compared to the other site.


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PHEBESS 1/11/2012 9:54AM

    How very strange! I don't think I've seen that add - or I've managed to not put my cursor over it.

But yeah, I'd be irritated!

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DDOORN 1/11/2012 8:54AM

    Wow...that is weird re: adding to your tracker...! Haven't seen that happen to me as yet, but I've got quite the eagle eye when it comes to my tracker so I'm sure I'll spot that if it does. At home everything runs smoothly enough for me but at work all the Meebo stuff slows me to a crawl on a number of pages with some failing to load at all.


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WATERMELLEN 1/11/2012 8:45AM

    Thanks for the explanation of how it happened, GROEDER and TRAVELGRRL: still not likin' it, however!!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 1/11/2012 8:38AM

    I had no idea, I'll be on the look out for this. Thanks for sharing.

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PRINCESSNURSE 1/11/2012 8:29AM

    I had no idea it could be added to the tracker. I track my own food and don't use the spark suggestions and I never click on the ads. In fact, I barely see them--I did not even know that Welch's was advertising on spark. I guess I am an advertising executives worst nightmare-lol

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GROEDER 1/11/2012 8:21AM

    There is an arrow leading from their ad to the nutrition tracker, and if you are not very careful, you can add it by accident. I discovered that this morning while I was tracking my breakfast.

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TRAVELGRRL 1/11/2012 8:11AM

    I track my own meals too and it doesn't happen...although I have been VERY careful not to click on the grape juice ad accidently!

Yes, I think it's intrusive too. Here's another thing I find creepy: Every time I enter a food, the "google ads" underneath it mimic what I've just entered.

When I entered "hush puppies" yesterday (went to a southern fish house), the adds were for HUSH PUPPY SHOES. When I entered the next food item the ads changed.

Well, it's going to get a LOT worse. I heard on NPR the other day that the newest TVs have eyes on them so they can see who's watching TV. That way they can target the ads to the members of the family watching the TV at that very moment.

I think your frustration is warranted, and I totally feel it too, but I also think it's here to stay!!

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WATERMELLEN 1/11/2012 8:00AM

    I do track my own meals . . . so this is not an "automatic addition" for people using the Spark meal planners . . .

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    OMG! I thought it was just me accidentally clicking on the ad, or something! Drives me crazy, too. I don't know how long it's been happening, but I've noticed it the past two days. If it is because I clicked on accident, how the heck am I supposed to make it stop? And, if it's just an advertising stunt, how long do I have to watch for it? Super annoying!

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KALIGIRL 1/11/2012 7:54AM

    I'm not tracking @ this moment as my food regimen is fairly steady. Are they adding it if you track your own food or adding it if you let them pick your meals. Either way it appears intrusive and I'd be interested to know if Spark thinks that's the BEST way to ingest 45 calories.
Namaste my friend.

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Sparkle Plenty!

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Cloudless blue sky. Fresh snow -- the big crystal kind that sparkles and sparkles.

Whoosh whoosh whoosh whoosh: outing two of cross country skiing was gorgeous!

Now: for a bowl of that soup . . .

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 1/10/2012 10:31PM

    ooooh so jealous of snow! I miss it!!

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TRAVELGRRL 1/10/2012 5:45PM

    Yay!! Your description almost makes me miss snow!

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KALIGIRL 1/10/2012 8:43AM


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MEADSBAY 1/9/2012 7:59PM


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_LINDA 1/9/2012 1:08AM

    Lucky you!! Dirt, mud and ice here. Poor Mom's snowshoes are tucked away in the garage, unused for our 'winter' High tomorrow of 8!! If it gets that high, another record broken.
Would love a photo of where you ski, do you know someone with one of those camera phones who could snap a few for you and load them up? Seems like everyone and their dog has those these days!!
Enjoy your wonderful outdoor exercise!!

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    You make even me want to love Winter.

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DONNACFIT 1/8/2012 9:40PM

    I'm jealous of your snow..we still have no snow..just brown, dirty dirt..and my brand new snowshoes sit in the porch..unused..I'm sure the snow will come here soon..

Enjoy your beautiful day and your yummy soup..I'm back making my weekly soup, too..

Keep on Sparklin' emoticon

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DDOORN 1/8/2012 8:27PM

    Jealous of your skiing...hoping the snow will start accommodating me here. I've got my skis stored in my car, ready for action...probably jinxing myself while the Snow Gods chuckle away...lol!


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TRYINGHARD1948 1/8/2012 3:18PM

    Gorgeous word picture, I have you in a brilliant red outfit for some reason, whooshing downhill. 🎿

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NANCY- 1/8/2012 2:49PM

    Hope you didn't forget the sunscreen and shades... all that sparkling bling can be blinding. Gotta love that glittering white blanket. I'm glad that you could get out to enjoy it.

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FRACTALMYTH 1/8/2012 1:43PM

    Sounds idyllic :D

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PHEBESS 1/8/2012 1:25PM


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PUDLECRAZY 1/8/2012 1:00PM

    White snow on mountain
Ellen shushing down the hill
Lovely sight to see


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Hyacinths, Cross Country Skiing -- Winter's Wonderful!!

Saturday, January 07, 2012

My house has its "winter" smell -- hyacinths! A white one on the kitchen table, a pink one on the third floor . . . and my bargain pots of narcissus are budding up nicely as well.

What a busy week -- big workplace changes that have been in planning for months and months. Stressful, sure: but I'm mainly feeling full of optimism and zest!!

And what a busy day today: laundry (3 loads); soup-making (a delicious minestrone, very spicy, with a parmesan rind simmered in with the vegetables); gym with a good friend; library; cross-country skiing; groceries: special dinner with DH (Dijon-crusted salmon, kale chips with sea salt, rosemary potatoes, cherry tomatoes, a lime-citrusy dry Chilean white wine -- just one glass, and a moderate portion of low fat vanilla ice cream).

The cross-country skiing was terrific: quite warm temps, perfect wax for kick/glide, glorious light with sunshine and clouds, sparkly sparkly snow. I can feel it in my thighs and upper arms: despite my regular fitness including weights, it's been awhile for this particular type of exercise!

I do love skiing. And hope to get out again tomorrow!

Winter: there's lots to like.

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DONNACFIT 1/8/2012 9:46PM

    Always a joy to read your blogs:)

Thanks to you my bright red amarilys is almost ready to bloom

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TRYINGHARD1948 1/8/2012 3:22PM

    Ellen, loved the blog, it is full of the joy of being, just a delight.

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SALSIFY 1/8/2012 1:11PM

    Sounds like you've had a great weekend! Thanks for the tip about the parmesan rind - I've squirrelled that info. away for later use.

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PUDLECRAZY 1/8/2012 8:53AM

    Mmmm, the soup sounds delicious!

You are inspiring me to get some bulbs to force. It is so nice to have flowers blooming in the winter.

Have fun skiing!

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_LINDA 1/7/2012 10:10PM

    Sounds awesome! What a day! So you actually have snow -go you! Nothing here yet, just rain the other day, unreal for the 'frozen north'
Rarely get fish, Mom doesn't like it, though my step dad does, and we have had the fresh trout our neighbour brings when he goes fishing. But I do prefer salmon.
Other then the walking at Costco and down Broadway avenue, my day was quite slothful. Looking forward to recovering enough to get back in my exercises again.
Enjoy your Sunday skiing!!

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PHEBESS 1/7/2012 9:45PM

    Mmmm, the smell of flowers, the soup, and x country skiing - I could almost like winter again!!!!

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FREELADY 1/7/2012 9:30PM

    That's what I keep reading, that the BEST exercise is the exercise you love doing! Your ski outing sounds marvelous.

I love hearing about your cooking and eating variations. You stimulate my interest and my learning!

And for others like me who have to look up about the parmesan rind, here's a brief explanation: http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.
Now we can all look up umami . . . I had to do that after an earlier blog!

Watermellen, thanks for keeping us from being bored or unenlightened!!

Comment edited on: 1/7/2012 9:34:02 PM

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CARRAND 1/7/2012 9:15PM

    Your dinner sounds wonderful. I had salmon for dinner, too, with rice pilaf made with basmati rice, dried apricots and cashew nuts. We haven't had any snow yet this winter. It was 60 degrees out today!

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MZKYND 1/7/2012 8:57PM

    Sounds like you had a busy, productive day, filled with sweet smelling flowers and yummy goodness.The parm rind in the soup, intriguing, just might have to try it :)

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The Fat Trap

Monday, January 02, 2012

DDOORN sent me a link to an amazing article in a recent New York Times Sunday Magazine setting out current research into weight loss "recividism" . . . a topic dear to the hearts of many of us.

Well, I'm choosing to characterize it as "amazing" rather than overwhelming. And "dear" to our hearts rather than devastating!!

But you'll have to make up your own mind!! Here's the link:


The article also has a slide show illustrating the weight loss history of a couple who track everything they eat and exercise vigorously pretty much every day. And despite all of that, have not been able to keep their weight loss at the level they would prefer. Although they are maintaining at very substantially less than their prior obese weight levels.

So: what's the take away?

Yes, it's true. It may be hard to lose weight. But it really IS harder to maintain weight loss. So hard that most people don't do it.

And yeah: those of us who have lost substantial amounts of weight really do struggle with how very difficult it is to keep it off. We're not just imagining it. We're not just making excuses for ourselves. That's because there really is a measurable biological tendency -- both metabolic and hormonal -- to put it all back on again. The measurable biological tendency is the reason the article is called "The Fat Trap".

Even a year after weight loss, we produce measurably more ghrelin -- the hormone that makes you feel hungry -- and measurably less leptin-- the hormone that suppresses appetite -- than an "average" person who has never been obese.

It really is as if our bodies are trying desperately to return to their previous weight. Our post-dieting bodies morph into a biologically-altered state. And that tendency to regain weight is sustained for quite a long period of time . . . years, maybe six years or even longer.

Moreover, this new research indicates that those of us who have been obese will regain weight eating fewer calories than those who have never been obese. The change isn't just hormonal, it's metabolic too. That's why never-obese people may be able to eat 300 ++ more calories a day than formerly-obese people can eat, without gaining weight. In addition, a formerly-obese person probably burns fewer calories per minute of any given exercise than a person who has never been obese. DOUBLE WHAMMY!!

So my somewhat cranky perception that I'm hungrier than other people, that I have less will-power than other people, that I simply can't eat as much as other people eat AND that I have to exercise more than other people have to exercise so maintain the same "average weight: there's now some scientific support for all of those perceptions.

Which means it really does take eternal vigilance to maintain weight loss. I've gotta be prepared to treat hunger as something less than an emergency. I've gotta be prepared to re-arrange my environment to avoid temptation. I've gotta eat less than the 1800 calories a day an "average" woman of my height and weight could eat, and I've gotta move more.


It's not going to stop any time soon.

And perhaps means that the best strategy would be never to have permitted myself to have become obese in the first place.

Well, that train has left the station. I was obese. Haven't been obese for almost a decade, but I still want to eat too much. And not move enough. Every day.

Is all of this too discouraging? Should I give up right now?

No. That's my hormonal and metabolic reality. I'm stuck with it. I can't change it, perhaps. But I can manage it.

I used to smoke, too. No cigarettes for more than 30 years -- not one -- but I still feel like smoking most days. However, I know that smoking is a craving I can manage. Because I have managed it.

I can also manage the desire to eat more than I am able to eat without gaining weight. Even if that means eating less than "normal" weight people can eat. I can tolerate some hunger. Because: I would rather be hungry than fat.

There it is.

Don't like it particularly.

But: oh well.

And thank you DDORN -- Don -- for sharing this article with me!! It's comforting, anyhow, to know that I'm not crazy. This weight maintenance thing really does demand the kind of OCD energy and attention I have been devoting to it.

But given the alternative . . . uncomfortably excess weight, all the health consequences that go with excess weight: no question. For me it is worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VALERIEMAHA 1/10/2012 1:11AM

    AMEN sister!

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SEPPIESUSAN 1/9/2012 8:37PM

    I see you blogged about that infamous article, too. I love your conclusions though. Very inspiring read!! Thanks for commenting on my blogs. :)

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MEADSBAY 1/7/2012 10:41PM

You are such a great blogger!
Think I'll go see what's up on the msg boards.
The article certainly has caused a lot of discussion.
I found it to be very comforting.
P.S. OMG- hated that holier-than-thou toxic guy over there.
I do not like judgmental people.

Comment edited on: 1/9/2012 8:00:09 PM

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FRACTALMYTH 1/7/2012 7:06PM

    Wow... so staying balanced on the pinnacle of the glass mountain is just as arduous as the long steep slippery climb to get there??? Shows why it needs to be a complete lifestyle choice and there are no quick fix solutions. Thanks for the heads-up. Helps to step back and look the enemy squarely in the face before leaping back into the battle.

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SLENDERELLA61 1/7/2012 5:10PM

    Thanks, Ellen. I knew it wasn't easy; now I know more about the why. If I had read this last year I would have been even angrier at my mother for raising me fat. In fairness, I should have been blaming my dad, too, as he was also a very poor role model when it comes to food. However, I now feel like a winner. I don't blame mom and dad. I can maintain my weight. And I don't care if it is harder for me than it is for someone who, unlike me, was not overweight for 5 decades. I can do it and it is worth it. I intend to keep doing it. Life is good. May not always be fair, but it is definitely good!! -Marsha

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PENNYAN45 1/7/2012 12:15AM

    How funny, I wrote a blog about that article too.
I didn't much like the research findings it reported...
but I also decided that I would not use it as an excuse to give up.

It does make me appreciate Spark People that much more.
The support here is what helps Sparkers to lose that weight AND to maintain the new lower weight -- in spite of all the body functions that are working against us.

So if we grumble every once in a while - we can be bolstered by the new knowledge that it isn't ALL IN OUR HEADS!

Losing - and then maintaining - is NOT EASY!

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KALIGIRL 1/5/2012 5:16PM

    It's worth it for all of us - here's to eternal vigilance!

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NANCY- 1/5/2012 8:11AM

    Usually I'm not a Negative Nancy.. but I do like Linda's thought about it sucking. what sucks worse.... for me it would be gaining the weight back and going back to smoking. Call it aversion therapy or call it I like where I am. Being comfortable with my body... less pain, more freedom of movement. If staying where I am is the choice that I make then the eternal vigilance is well worth the effort.

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TRAVELGRRL 1/4/2012 7:41PM

    Well, I read your blog as soon as you posted it but I couldn't respond right away -- I had to get over my urge to commit hari kari!

This is very depressing news for someone who has trouble GETTING the weight off, but as you say, I'd rather know the reality so I can face it and deal with it.

The bottom line is that this is my body, for good or ill. This is the only one I've got and will ever have. This is the hand I've been dealt, and now it is up to me to play it the very best I can.

So I sally forth with even more determination!!

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KLONG8 1/4/2012 12:53AM

    So my friends who tell me "you don't really need to walk an hour, then bike an hour, then do some yoga and strength work the next day" are pretty much shown that they don't get my reality. Yes I do....unless I want to try to exist on a handful of greens and a nice big glass of water each day (by the way...I don't!)

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/3/2012 9:33PM

    We've been discussing this over here, too:


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DSHONEYC 1/3/2012 2:56PM

    It's sort of like smoking (or quitting smoking)...it is better to have never gotten "fat" to begin with. I cringe when I see all those kids who are technically obese...their life will be filled with the endless battle of the bulge. Maybe these findings (from Australia) are only valid for people in the Southern Hemisphere...
what do you think? emoticon

Slow and steady makes a lot more sense to me now. I have managed to keep 10 pounds off from 2009 loss, but made no progress on the next 10 I need to lose. Just maintained, which of course is not a bad thing.

Hunger, gives me a whole new perspective on "World Hunger". Thanks for sharing...I know you work hard maintaining and you are an inspiration!

Comment edited on: 1/3/2012 2:57:26 PM

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PHEBESS 1/3/2012 8:13AM

    You've said it all - we have to eat less, exercise more, be ever vigilant, and, oh well, that's the reality. We can't do much else!

And while I have more weight I'm working on losing, I consider every pound lost and maintained lost a victory!

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WATERMELLEN 1/3/2012 7:55AM

    Grrrr. Grrr. Or maybe that should be Ghhhhrrrrrrrrr.

Ghrelin. Get lost.

We'll all just keep roaring together!! We can do this. We ARE doing this!!

And yeah. It does help to know that I'm not being unnecessarily vigilant. That this is what it takes.


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Comment edited on: 1/3/2012 7:56:20 AM

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SALSIFY 1/3/2012 7:18AM

    Thanks for sharing the article. I also think it's better to know why maintenance is so difficult rather than think, as I did before, that there was something particularly strange about myself. For me, it's about managing hunger - & now I know why I get so hungry. I have to eat regularly & also not exercise too vigorously to avoid feeling ravenous & out of control. Also training myself to know that 'hunger is not an emergency' from Beck's Diet Solution has been really helpful - as you know!

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TRYINGHARD1948 1/3/2012 1:59AM

    Thank you Ellen and Don, what an interesting article. It explains so much and now I can understand why eternal vigilance is a must. Thank God for SP and SparkFriends who understand what we go through to be healthier, lighter and to feel better about ourselves. emoticon

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_LINDA 1/3/2012 1:53AM

    I was warned maintenance would be harder then the actual losing of the weight and it sure is -you have to exercise more to burn the same number of calories and eat less so as to not gain. Yep, it sure does suck to be maintaining. But it sucks worse to be obese, so I guess I am stuck with it..
Here is to being successfully vigilant in the New Year!!
We can do it!!

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TBANMAN 1/2/2012 10:50PM

    Excellent article - thanks for sharing. Makes all of us compulsive fitness-minute and calorie trackers seem a little more sane, doesn't it?

I'm glad to see they're doing more studies on slower weight loss. I can't believe that taking people down so fast doesn't fundamentally change how the body reacts. It just makes sense that the body of person who loses 30 pounds in 10 weeks reacts differently to the loss than the body of a person who loses 30 pounds over 10 months. Food for thought, as it were.

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REDSHOES2011 1/2/2012 10:08PM

    Experts do alot of talking- they never ask us people whom succeed at maintenance long haul what it "really takes". The huge changes have yet to come in society so we are not deemed as outcasts saying no to the traditions that are all wrong.
As we get fitter we have to educate ourselfs to fine tune the food and exercise needs to our ever changing fitness level. Alot of people don't even know how to use their calories range correctly or know what components are absolutely necessary at each meal..

Comment edited on: 1/2/2012 10:48:42 PM

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DDOORN 1/2/2012 10:05PM

    Science is getting closer and closer to proving you OH-so-correct! :

"This weight maintenance thing really does demand the kind of OCD energy and attention I have been devoting to it."

This article sums up the latest in research which 4-A-HEALTHY-BMI has been following closely also.

Better hard truths than to wander and wonder, eh...? Not that you've been doing much of THAT lately! :-)


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    Maintenance sure is a whole different animal.

I am so thankful for Spark friends and the "At Goal and Maintaining" team. It really does help to know the real answers to the less-often asked questions.

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