The true value of Sparkepeople (As felt by me!)
Friday, March 08, 2013
I have been on Sparkpeople for a long time but a like a number of persons who start up but don't continue I found the site hard to navigate and understand. I read all these success stories and heard how important the teams and the spark buddies were in the process but nothing seem to work for me. I made a few friends but they didn't stay long and so i meandered along.
September 2011 I decided to try to change my life... slow and steady. My doctor had just diagnosed that I was hypothyroid; I also had PCOS and Celiacs. I knew losing weight would be difficult but I wasn't getting younger and I needed to do something about it. So I started back on Sparkpeople so that I could track my progress. I wasn't consistent. I found that I had the same problems; no real connection with anyone there, and sometimes the logging process was just too much. But I like the recipes and I the opportunity to blog so every now and again I would make the effort to use it.
In February 2013 I started to refocus on me and set out to try to log my food more consistently. I used "my fitness pal" for logging but I still liked the spark for recipes, information and reading about other persons so I also tried to Spark at least once a week. I discovered that logging food is tedious but useful and this week I used spark more than usual and I realised that... wait for it.... I NEED MORE PROTEIN! If I eat at the recommended levels for most persons the mathematics of calories in calories out was not the same for me as others. I read an very useful article on Sparkpeople on eating for hypothyroid and this led me to other articles and soon I had a body of knowledge that let me realised that I needed to focus not just on calories but on the makeup of the meal. I need more protein, less carb and to be careful what vegetables I used. I learnt not to eat raw broccoli, cabbage, spinach, cauliflower, peaches, strawberries etc that they needed to be cooked or that they could impact my uptake of iodine. I learnt that I should NOT take my calcium tables close to the time I take my thyroid medication, I learnt that I needed Vitamin B (I take metformin so I need extra B12, D and Calcium.) I also learnt about the relationship between PCOS, Celiacs and Hypothyroid.
The true benefits of Spark I leant was not the ability to log (even though that was useful) it was the body of information in the articles and on the forums to assist me in improving my health. Yes I would still love to have a spark buddy to walk on this journey with me but even without the buddy I know I have Sparks "body of knowledge" to help me get there.