Several times in the last six months, I have adjusted my nutrition ranges to accommodate my decreasing weight and increasing exercise. Each time I've done that, the ranges went up -- once by over 400 calories (which I halved). That time, it just didn't make any sense to me -- and I've read many comments on team message boards expressing confusion or frustration about this same issue. The consensus seems to be to trust SP, or perhaps check an outside calculator, but that the ranges are probably correct.
Yesterday, my husband wanted to set up his own SP account; he would like to drop a few pounds and get healthier. So he put in his stats, and since we usually exercise together, he entered the same cardio & strength-training times as mine, and we let SP calculate his ranges.
Presto, shocking...his ranges were lower than mine!
That just didn't make sense. We checked everything twice, no mistakes. He's only 10 pounds lighter than I, but 5-1/2" taller, similar age, and his ranges are lower? Didn't seem right.
So this morning I checked all my own stats, and recalculated, and it RAISED my ranges by about 100.
OK, so now I KNOW something is not right.
Finally, as I'm reading my entries for the third time, something caught my eye, and something clicked in my brain. My husband wants to lose nine pounds in about ten weeks, which is in line with what SP set up for him . And I want to lose about ten pounds.........but the goal date is still what I set up originally, and very conservatively: August, 2010. Eight months away!
I NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT THE TIMELINE!
I've lost over 90 pounds in 6-1/2 months -- I'm way ahead of schedule. So the calculator was increasing calories to slow down my loss to meet my goal date of August! And it was working, because my weight decrease has been slowing quite a bit.
I then changed the goal date to about ten weeks out, and recalculated the ranges -- they are now about 300 calories lower. That means that even eating at the bottom of my previous range, I have been over the top of the new range.
THIS FINALLY MAKES SENSE!
So I went through my tracker for today (I usually track the night before) and removed enough stuff to get into my range. Surprisingly, instead of feeling deprived, I feel energized. I believe it will help me continue to my first goal in about ten pounds. I also feel hopeful, because I know that when I DO reach that first goal, in about ten weeks, I will probably be able to eat about 300 more calories per day and still maintain.
Although this information is probably out there in SparkLand somewhere, I've never run across it in the help section or on the message boards. So I'll list the steps I took just in case you are struggling with the same issue:
1. Visit your Start Page, and click on the "Weigh-in and Other Measurements" button. Make sure you've entered your most recent weight, then save your changes.
2. Still on your Start Page, scroll down the far left column until you see "My Goals."
3. Under "My Goals," the third bullet point should say something like, "Burn xxx calories per week." Click on the *change* link right after that. This will take you to your Edit Fitness Goals page, where you can make sure your fitness minutes closely match what you actually do. Save your changes.
4. Again on your Start Page, under "My Goals," the first bullet point says something like, "Go From xxx to xxx by x/xx/2010." Click the *change* link right after that line, which will take you to your "Set Your Diet Goals: Tell Us About Yourself" page.
5. Look at the "Current Weight" box -- it should show the weight that you entered in the Weigh-in Page. If not, better go back and fix that.
6. Look at the "Height" box. Through some trial and error, I've discovered that although SP will allow you to enter half-inches, it doesn't take them into account when calculating BMI or nutrition ranges. So if you are 5' 6.5" you'll need to decide if you want to enter 5'6" or 5'7".
7. Now scroll down to the "Set Your Weight Goal" area. Check to see if the information entered is still what you intend. This is where you adjust your target date, if you need to make changes.
8. Click "Save Your Changes" and go visit your Nutrition Tracker to learn about your new ranges.
That's all, folks! Hope maybe at least one person will discover that their out-dated Goal Target Date is hindering their progress!