Sparkpeople vs. MyFitnessPal: One is silver and the other gold

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I credit SparkPeople for helping me lose a herculean 15 pounds in a first-time effort. Since then I've moved on to MyFitnessPal for its mobile app and because my real-life friends are using it. But I've never closed my SP account, despite the temptation to do so. Here's why:

1. Adjustable reports. I started tracking my weight online in 2008 on SparkPeople, but MFP only lets me see one year's worth of weight-loss data. I fell away from SparkPeople for interim periods but the time I invested in inputting data is still there. It feels good to see a multi-year chart tracking my losses and gains.

2. Anonymity. Blogging about weight-loss and being unemployed can be hard to do with a name and face. SparkPeople lets me get comfortable with these stigma-filled experiences in a public space. Before SparkPeople I would never have told real-life friends my weight. This changed as I started revealing personal details to complete strangers into a server and system run by corporations that made money from having me do so. It brought me to stronger relationships and a better sense of self.

3. Shinier, happier, more productive nutrition reports. When I used SP to count calories, I had a much better sense of how well I was eating. Since I'm not going to input my food into two systems, it would be nice if I could easily download and import my food and weight info from one to another.

I'm going to stick with MFP since the app is free and helps me keep in touch with people I know in the non-Cylon world. It's also a light and simple website. But as long as SP is around for free, I'll let them reel me in from time to time.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Why not continue to keep your weight record on Spark? Adding your weight to a second site doesn't take that long.
    1555 days ago
    I like the combo of Fitbit and SP. Bottom line--whatever works for you! It's about the lifestyle. Good luck on your journey and always remember, your Sparkfriends are here for you!
    1615 days ago
    @Sorgin, glad you can relate! There is definitely a mental health benefit to SP that is ingrained in its members' mostly-physical health goals. If you do try MFP, I'm curious what you end up deciding to do.

    @danielwifey - thanks!
    1615 days ago
    I am like you. I LOVE the anonymous aspect of Spark. I would never share my weight or some of my weight-related struggles in the real world. Spark allows me to process some pretty raw thoughts/feelings and get feedback. Since most people don't know me or see me on a day-to-day basis, their feedback has no strings. They have nothing to lose or gain (no pun intended) by sharing their thoughts with me. I have learned so much here and appreciate the supportive nature of it all. I haven't tried MFP but keep hearing great things about it. I use an app on my phone (Runkeeper) and my Garmin to track mileage and pace. But neither of these apps track every day calorie expenditure. I should look into MFP...
    1615 days ago
    It's really interesting that you post this now. I have been on Spark for years (more or less active depending on my needs) but my friend swears by MFP. It's nice to hear the thoughts of someone who uses both!
    1615 days ago
    Yes, Nikkicole83, exactly! Thanks for the support.
    1615 days ago
    There is nothing wrong with doing both. It isn't like you are cheating. I say get what you need from each and if another app comes along, try that too. Do whatever it takes to get healthy and reach your goals.
    1615 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.