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Blog Challenge (Week 12): Favorite SP Features

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

I'm a little late completing last week's blog challenge. I usually write them on the weekend but this weekend was more hectic than expected. We discovered some rotted wood in my screened in back patio and had to take a whole side down and rebuild it from scratch. It took the entire weekend, but we burned a ton of calories and it turned out great. Thanks to my best friend, DoItDottie, who basically did the whole thing while I carried, held, hammered, lifted, and screwed whatever she told me to. Talk about sore muscles!

Anyway, down to last week's blog challenge . . .

What features on SparkPeople do you use the most, how do they help you be successful, and why?

I use SparkPeople every day, but there are definitely features that I use and find more helpful than others. The ones I use regularly are:

1. Spark Recipes
2. Nutrition Tracker
3. Daily Nutrition Feedback
4. Fitness Tracker
5. QuickFire Challenge Sparkteam
6. Other Goals Tracker
7. SparkTrivia

The first three can be grouped together for obvious reasons. Each of them help me:

1. Keep track of how much I’m eating.
2. Make sure I’m eating beneficial amounts of each nutrient and not going overboard in any one area.
3. Plan my meals and snacks.
4. Review my eating so that I can make corrections and adjustments to my eating patterns when necessary.

I only use the Fitness Tracker in its most basic form. I used to track every little exercise I did and found I was spending way too much time on the computer and not enough time actually moving. What I’ve been doing this time around is connect my Fitness Tracker to my Fitbit and let that be my gauge of how much I’m moving. I know it won’t be 100% accurate, but that’s ok. I know what my baseline was and how much I’ve improved since I started last January. Plus, my Fitbit lets me track the amount of sleep I get at night and my resting heart rate. Again, I know it’s not perfect, but it’s perfect enough that my sleep apnea doctor was thrilled when I showed him my progress. I check my SP Fitness Tracker every day and try to rack up the maximum number of exercise points I can (that’s 24, if you don’t know). I figure if I can do that, I’m doing enough.

Which brings me to my favorite Sparkteam – The QuickFire Challenge. I check in with them every day and always try to complete whatever the fitness challenge is for that day. This is important to me because I’m not a big strength training person and only have dumbbells at home and not a gym membership. I’ve done the gym thing several times and I never stick with it. With the daily QuickFire Challenges, I can get in some sort of strength training almost every day, using dumbbells and body weight. The challenges usually only take about 15 minutes from my day and I can’t get out of doing them because I don’t feel like going to the gym. The gym is my living room and it doesn’t get much more convenient than that!

I use SparkPeople’s Other Goals tracker to keep track of the hours I sleep every night. I have severe sleep apnea (which I’m hoping improves with weight loss), so getting enough, high quality rest is important to me. I use a CPAP machine every night and wear my Fitbit to bed so I can track my sleep. The Fitbit syncs with SP and the number of hours I sleep is automatically entered into my Other Goals tracker.

Finally, I play Spark Trivia every day. It’s a quick and easy way to help me learn more about health, nutrition, and fitness.

There are lots of other great features and resources on SparkPeople. Some I use regularly; some, rarely; and many, not at all. Which is the great thing about SP . . . You take what you need and leave the rest. You don’t have to be overwhelmed by it. It can be as simple or as complex as you need.

Please tell me about your favorite “go to” SP features in your comments.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    The thing I love on the nutrition tracker is that I can save favorites and grouped meals. For instance, I have an apple with almond butter everyday. I saved it as a meal, and can just select it. Or I sometimes copy a meal from one day to the next. This is really helpful with leftovers.

    But the best part of Spark are my Spark friends.
    590 days ago
  • JANET552
    SP has so many great features. The team you described sounds perfect. I, too, have difficulty sustaining strength training. Though, of course, right now that's quite restrictive for me due to the surgery.
    598 days ago
  • EDWARDS1411
    My fav features of SP are the supportive community and SparkPoints
    602 days ago
    Great blog. Sorry to read about your porch. Glad that you had a hero that could help.
    602 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.