I had never paid THAT much attention to SparkPoints before. It felt a little silly, actually. But then my boyfriend joined SparkPeople, and I watched how he got a really fast introduction to a lot of the features on the site (there are SO many) by doing a lot of the things to get SparkPoints, including a lot of Fast Break items. I was so encouraged by his joining, and we’re both the types of people who like to do things for points – it makes it like a game, he said, and I agreed. Silly? Who cares? The wise woman says "whatever works chica!"
Next, I noticed on somebody’s site that they had a trophy for making 500 points. I thought – wow, I wonder if I could do that. So I set a goal for February to make 500 points, even tho I didn’t start til Feb. 10th. Here are some things I’ve noticed:
• As I went about earning my points, the number one thing I noticed was that I became a lot more connected to people on the site. I’d comment on somebody’s blog (1 point) and then they’d thank me with a Spark Goodie, then we’d friend each other, and before you knew it I was reading their blogs and trading encouragement. Even though I may be doing things to get the points, I try and really do them – make comments that I’ve given thought to, remark on blogs I really like. Striving for points gets me out the door – but once I’m outside, there’s a bright world of Spark sunshine.
• I have been *amazed* that I have been tracking my food for the past 10 days. That may not sound like much, but for me it is a real breakthrough. I have managed to avoid some of my regular pitfalls, mostly getting too picky about getting the precise amount of calories for everything and it getting too hard and me dropping it. Another tracking downfall had been my tendency to lowball my calorie counts – now, if anything, I go for the higher number (since there is always guesswork, no matter how careful & measuring you are). AND not only have I been tracking, I have been within my range (or not more than 50 calories under) every day. Amazing! I’ve really been getting into it – here too, that “this is a game” aspect is kicking in.
• I’ve been taking lots of trivia quizzes (easy way to get 3 points!). Not only have I been learning, it helps in the overall food/health awareness, making me attuned towards a healthy lifestyle – plus proud when I know the answers!
• Since the site is so complicated and multi-faceted, oftentimes the quickest way to find what you’re looking for is just to go to the SparkPoints page. For example, I find it really tricky figuring out how to make a blog post (like this one) – but if I just go to SparkPoints and pick "Make a blog post," it takes me right there.
• I’m starting to get some symptoms of healthy eating that I really love and remember from other weight-loss times: a heightened appreciation of my food, so that half a burger really does feel like a big treat, and very filling. Or a square of chocolate (Lindt Sea Salt is my new heart-throb, 48 calories a square) is a delectable thing to savor. Mostly this seems to be happening “by itself” – or at least it’s a fallout of this Spark game I’m playing.
• Of course there are a lot of things I’m still not doing, or aim to do better. Exercise I’m just focusing on, as I’m an on-off type here. Planning is my big bugabear, and I still have a ways to go there. But that is part of the Spark game too – better, not perfect.
AND – ta da! – yesterday I made my 500 point goal. That would be February 25th, so I made my "500 points in a month" goal in 15 days. (And guess what? I get 3 points for posting this blog. )