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By the numbers - 7 months on the journey

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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

My SparkPage says "Member Since: 6/2/2011", but for everything that matters, my real entry and beginning on SparkPeople was 16 September 2011. On that day I posted my first blog and made some plans. On the very next day I tracked everything I ate, and have done so since.

A look at that first day (the 17th) that I tracked:

Breakfast - Raisin Bran and 1% milk
Lunch - Burrito
Dinner - Spinach Souffle' and 1% milk
Snack - Cucumber

Really low at 1263 calories, but actually typical for my weekends back then - I often was low on weekends because I'd get up pretty late and only eat when I got really hungry.

By comparison, today's food was:

Breakfast - Pineapple Orange Juice & String Cheese
Snacks - Fruit Bar, Cereal Bar, Carrots, Celery & Peanut Butter, Pudding
Lunch - Meatball & Sausage Marinara (packaged meal)
Post Workout - Protein powder, Apple Juice, Strawberries, Banana
Dinner - Lean Ground Beef, Green Peppers, Veggie sauce, Spinach

Right in the upper part of my range at 2109 calories, but since I tend to burn more calories than planned some days because I like pushing my workouts, it's fine.

My activity that first day was a 10 minute light aerobic session - I think I did one of the SparkPeople 10-minute videos that was very basic - and 15 minutes of walking to and from my storage space at a 19 minute per mile pace.

My activity today was 30 minutes on the Recumbent Bike, a full body strength training on the weight machines, 25 minutes on the elliptical, then crunches and stretching.

Even more exciting to me, I keep pushing myself a bit at a time, with things like the level of resistance on the bike and the elliptical, and I use the elliptical with incline now. I've been ramping up the weights little by little, so that I'm actually exhausting some of the muscles properly now. My knees do still twinge occasionally, but the improvement is incredible and continuing.

I didn't measure a lot of spots, but:

Waist ========== 46.5 ======= 39
Hips =========== 55 ======== 48
Thigh ========== 29 ======== 26
Upper Arm ====== 16 ======== 14.5


Nineteen inches just across those four spots. That's honestly the first time I've looked back at those measurements back at the beginning. I can definitely tell the hip difference, especially in the fit of my pants. Not measured there, but I'm also down two bra band sizes (3-4 inches). I was wearing 22/24 clothing from Lane Bryant. I'm now in 16 (Lane Bryant/Torrid) and just picked up some new exercise clothes in an XL, normal sizes.

My BMI when I started (using 5' 7.75") was 38.37 - beyond simply obese. My BMI today is 30.1 - so close to slipping into the realm of just overweight I should be there by next month's check-in.

My scale measures body fat, though it's definitely questionable numbers. However, ignoring whether the numbers are accurate, more important is the change. I started out bouncing between 47-49%. I'm now bouncing between 41-42%. (Those are high compared to the results I get from handheld versions, but those are consistently measured on the same scale.)

Oh, and my SparkStreaks - just the three that it defaults with (I think):

Log in and spin = 214 days
Exercise 90 min = 31 weeks
8 Cups of water = 213 days

All in all a very satisfactory 7 months here on SparkPeople. Made 1000 times better by every fellow Sparker I have the opportunity to interact with in one way or another.

It's funny. I think I could easily have been doing the eating and working out part of this without SparkPeople. I did buy a menu planner that will track all my nutrition. I have a phone app to track my weight training.

But what really sucked me in on SparkPeople was People. I used to regularly check out New Blogs - reading and commenting. I try to make a point of staying active on my Teams, huddling regularly, checking for new members who have posted, giving birthday SparkGoodies. I feel the heartbreak every time I see a listed friend's name go black instead of a link, meaning their page has been taken offline. I get to know people's profile images from my friend feed and miss them when they're away awhile. And I feel the elation when things go right, when something just clicks and they find it easier to make the healthier choices.

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