When I was younger, I was one of those people I have come to despise. I weighed 95 pounds soaking wet and had the metabolism of a hummingbird. I could eat anything and instantly burn it up. It was almost like a super power. I look at old pictures of myself and wonder where that sprite-like person went, replaced by the thick-middled person who’s now seriously pushing middle age. I used to joke that my metabolism would one day catch up with me — now I’m not laughing.
Since turning 25, I have gained five pounds every few years or so. Granted, I don’t play soccer anymore, but I still work out relatively regularly. I’ve kick-boxed, I’ve run, I’ve done yoga. Nothing has gotten me back to my pre-marriage weight, and now that children have entered my daily life, it’s even harder to find time to focus on myself and lose weight.
Enter SparkPeople.com, my newest program/plan for getting in shape and staying there. So far it has been eye-opening because I am more aware of what I am eating. Tracking calories isn’t fun. In fact, it stinks. It’s cumbersome and takes moments from your day when you could be doing something else more enjoyable. But it is for good reason and it works. SparkPeople makes it as easy as possible by allowing you to type in a particular food and pick from the list of foods that is generated.
There are fast foods in there (that should be avoided at all costs, but it’s in there so there’s no hiding from truth), fresh foods and some store-bought foods to help track. You can even manually enter in foods and save them to a favorites list if you eat them regularly. I’ve heard there even is an iPhone application for tracking nutrition and exercise, although online reviews said it can be slow.
I tried using the generated meal plans but found some of them to have odd pairings and it brought up things I don’t usually eat. I found it more helpful to just refer to them for ideas of things I could eat and attain the same or similar caloric intake. My friend who got me to start using SparkPeople sadly hasn’t kept up with it.
I’ve found the exercise tracker section of SparkPeople not as user friendly.