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Starting again: Startled by tracker changes

Saturday, December 07, 2013

I'm starting my weight-loss journey all over again and I need a little help.

I've noticed that since I stopped signing in to SparkPeople, sometime in the past year, that there have been changes to the website.

Anyway, if finding things on the site were my issue, it would be a small one I could figure out myself, but I think I've stumbled upon something new that I'm not sure what to make of it, or whether or not I even can bring myself to accept it.

The food tracker is different. It used to recommend the same range of calories for each day in the week, but now the calorie range fluctuates each day based on that day's activities.

I don't like that because I have a rotating schedule of workouts with one rest day each week. So my calories are not consistent over the course of a week and the problem I'm facing, at now 411.6 pounds, is that I'm enormously hungry.

I'm aiming to lose a lot of weight in the next year, so my calorie levels are quite a bit lower than I'm used to eating.

I'm afraid that I might lose my mind with all the hunger, especially if the calories fluctuate day to day. My rest day doesn't sound all that appealing anymore, because it will be the most restrictive day.

I don't like this change at all and I'm not sure there's anything I can do about it.

What do other people think of this? Has it worked well for you? Do you plan consistent calories no matter what, or do you let your calories fluctuate with the tracker?

If you're someone with generally a big appetite, like I have for instance, do you feel hungry all of the time or have you gotten used to the calorie fluctuations?

Finally, since I admit I am a little disoriented by the website changes now, is there maybe a change I can make to the tracker to make it function like it used to?

The tracker used to work fabulously, at least until I "fell off the wagon."

Yes, I've been busy over the past 15 months or so. I lost 57 pounds and gained about 87 back, all within that time frame.

That's a bit extreme in such a short time, and I know I have to turn it around.

So I'm back on SparkPeople, hoping that what worked before will work again.

But it's changed, and I'm a little scared.

I know I can plan consistent calories myself, ignoring the tracker suggestions, but then will I meet my weight-loss goal for next year? I don't know because I don't know how the calories in vs. the calories out will balance out if I don't follow the suggestions.

The problem is, I have a big stomach with lots of empty space and I don't know how long it takes for it to shrink. Last time, my appetite did not shrink one iota over five months. I was hungry more times than I would have liked and now I'm scared because this thing is asking me to eat even less.

Frankly, I don't ever want to eat less than 2,000 calories, so a range of 1,200-1,500 or so calories to start, before added exercise seems extremely frightening.

Has anyone been there before in my shoes and broken through to a point where eating less didn't seem like deprivation? Please, tell me, how did you get there?

Maybe my goal is too lofty, and maybe therein is the problem. But I want to lose a lot this coming year because I can barely walk anymore. It hurts. I get out of breath if I move too fast while still seated. I've got more obesity-related medical problems than I can shake a fist at and I'm sick of being sick.

I do tend to make my goals lofty sometimes. But I feel this time it's almost necessary because if I don't lose the weight, I won't be able to walk anymore. Right now it really hurts. I had to use crutches the other day around the house because I pulled my Achilles tendon again while shopping. It wasn't even a long trip. I can't shop in a store more than a few minutes at a time anymore. Standing for more than a few seconds actually seems like too much work.

Anyway, getting back to the point. I need a little help figuring out what I'm going to do about this tracker business. I have a really intense road ahead of me. I could really use some advise right now. ...

Thanks. emoticon

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    It's my hope that if we make healthy food choices, we will find that we're never hungry. We just have to fill up on low calorie veggies and fruits and water and lean protein. It's all about our choices.

    Easier said than done, but I really believe we can change and not be deprived.
    1627 days ago
    Welcome Back!!!
    1627 days ago
    I did not notice the change or if I did, don't remember it. LOL I just log my food.
    1628 days ago
    Looks like you got it covered,
    1628 days ago
  • 144AUTUMN
    You can do it!!
    1628 days ago
    Thank you STRIVERONE. I'm so relieved to get things functioning the way I expected them to.

    I did have to adjust my goal a bit to be more realistic, and when I did so, everything looked a lot more doable.

    Once again, thank you so much! emoticon
    1628 days ago
    Glad to see you back. Progress is often made of detours.

    I can't seem to post the link for this so I'm copying the entire directions on how to do this. I hope it wil format so you can read it.


    " I've seen people discussing an "old" and "new" method of calculating calorie ranges on SparkPeople. How do I know which method my account is using and which option is right for me?

    When it comes to weight loss/management, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. We know that different techniques work for different people, and every SparkPeople member is acting like a scientist in an "experiment of one" to discover what works for them. That's why SparkPeople offers two different methods of determining your daily calorie range. Members can switch to either option at any time based on preferences and effectiveness. You may find that one option works well for a while, but later want to experiment with the other method to jump-start your results, for example. Throughout your journey, our team of coaches and supportive members will be here to help you make the best choice and reach your goals.

    We'll explain both calorie options in detail here so you can decide which is right for your body today.

    There are two great options you can choose from to determine your daily calorie range. You can only be in one option at any given time. We recommend following one method for at least a few days (maybe even a few weeks) to notice whether that calorie range works for you. (To see which option is currently selected on your account, or to change your settings, visit your ”Account/Email Preferences" page.

    OPTION 1: Turn "on" communication between your Fitness Tracker and your Nutrition Tracker. With this option selected, all of the calories burned that you track via the Fitness Tracker (or using an activity tracker synced with your SparkPeople account) will get added into your daily calorie range. The amount of calories you can eat each day will increase when you track your fitness.
    Note: This is the default option for all members who joined the site after 7/10/13.

    Things to Consider about This Option

    This approach may provide a more accurate calorie goal for people who are generally sedentary (no exercise, limited mobility, etc.), people who have very active jobs, people who are in "weight maintenance" mode, people who have a fitness/activity tracking device synced with their SparkPeople account, and people who exercise at high levels—especially endurance athletes who do large amounts of exercise on a single day.
    Some people may find this approach to be motivational—a reason to commit to exercise and to track your workouts on the Fitness Tracker, both of which are healthy habits. In our experience, we often see that people who are doing even small amounts of consistent exercise are more likely to feel better and see more positive improvements.
    This approach will allow you to eat more calories on the days you work out. A lot of people feel better and perform better when their daily caloric deficit isn't so large.
    Every day that you track fitness, your calorie range will change. You will not know how many calories you could eat each day until you track your fitness for that day.
    Eating back all of the calories you burn from exercising may still help you lost weight—or it might not. You may need to experiment a little to find the "sweet spot" in your adjusted range that works for you.
    We recommend aiming for the middle of your adjusted daily calorie range for best results. Consistently eating at the high end of your range may slow down or stop weight loss for some people.

    OPTION 2: Turn "off" communication between your Fitness Tracker and your Nutrition Tracker. With this option selected, the fitness you track will NOT affect your daily calorie range, and you will have one consistent calorie range to aim for every single day. Under this method, our system assumes you are generally sedentary, so if you do exercise consistently, you should edit your fitness program settings to indicate how much you exercise on a weekly basis (so your daily calorie goals are as accurate as possible).
    Note: This is the default option for all members who joined the site before 7/10/13.

    Things to Consider about this Option:

    This approach may provide a more accurate calorie goal for people who have more than 50 or less than 20 pounds to lose.
    You can still track your workouts on the Fitness Tracker, but your calorie range will not adjust to compensate for very active days.
    You will have one consistent calorie goal to aim for each day (rather than a variable goal).
    This approach is designed to increase your caloric deficit when you exercise.
    We recommend experimenting with eating at the low, middle or high end of your calorie range using this method to find what makes you feel best and still gives you results. You may want to eat near the upper end on days that you exercise, or closer to the middle or lower end on days you are sedentary.

    Whatever method you choose, SparkPeople strongly believes in the benefits of consistent exercise and that it can help people reach many goals. Our experts and members can answer your questions about this topic and more in the Diet & Nutrition Message Boards."

    1628 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/7/2013 1:00:37 AM
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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.