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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

To Resolve or Not to Resolve? Part 1

This time of year there is a lot of chatter going on about New Year's Resolutions.  I'll be honest and say I never proclaim New Years Resolutions.  Now on the other hand my birthday is coming up and I usually do make birthday resolutions -- privately, to myself.  Usually they revolve around being more fit -- more physically fit, more financially fit and more spiritually fit.  Over the years I've found some resources that I think help with these resolutions so I thought I'd share them with my readers.

SparkPeople -- Who are these people and why do they spark?  Well, actually sparkpeople - one word - is a great website.  The interesting story behind it is that this guy (the SparkGuy) owned an on line bidding sight which he sold to Ebay making himself a small fortune.  He wanted to do something for society so www.sparkpeople.com was born.  IT IS FREE!!!  And it is great.  It is chock full of recipes, articles, work out routines and again -- all FREE.  It also has tracking for food intake and exercise.  Sounds a lot like Weight Watchers online?  It is but its FREE!

So to start you set up your profile and state your goals -- is it to lose 30 pounds in a year?  30 pounds in a month?  It will tell you if your goal is realistic.  It will then ask you questions about your activity levels and lifestyle.  Then it gives you a range for each day for intake in calories, protein, carbs and fat.  It will also tell you exactly what to eat if you want it to or you can just log your food and it tallies as it goes and lets you know how you are doing in each of those areas. 

For exercise, again it will tell you exactly what exercises to do or just give you a calorie burn guideline and let you track your own. 

You also have the ability to interact with other sparkers via community boards.  You earn sparkpoints for tracking food, doing exercise, reading articles, etc.  The sparkpoints translate into spark trophies and you can use them to buy spark goodies for your online friends.  Okay, so this may be more than you are looking for in a weight loss website but they have data to show the more involved you are the better you will do. 

When I first discovered Sparkpeople in 2008 I lost about 35 pounds in 4 months.  I know I need to get back on it seriously and that is one of my birthday resolutions this year.  In the past couple of years several of the People Magazine "I Lost Half My Body" people were using SparkPeople. 

So whether your goal is to lose weight or just eat better and exercise more or just to be a more fit person all around or just to maintain the fitness you have, check it out.  I think you'll find something of value there!


By the way, there is an iPhone app for this that I hear is pretty great but I don't have an iPhone so I can't speak to it specifically.  And they also have Sparkteens.com for the younger set that is focused more on just healthy habits and less on weight loss.

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