Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spark People!

My sister graduated from Appalachian State University with a degree in Health and Fitness, and for years now she has worked as an athletic instructor/coordinator, etc. She now has two children and looks absolutely fabulous. I'm jealous of her now, and can only hope after I have kids I look the way she does. Anyways- I can always go to her for health and fitness, as well as nutrition advice.

A few days ago she e-mailed me a link to SparkPeople. Spark People is a FREE website where people can track their caloric intake, fitness, weight, and all sorts of other goals. It was created not to help people loose weight, but to change people's life style for the better. Most websites like and cost, but this one doesn't. It works by word-of-mouth. So I'm doing my part because I love this site!
I really like this part. I exercise on a pretty regular basis, but the eating part is what gets me. I love to shove all sorts of stuff in my mouth without thinking. Especially at work. I'm not bored by any means at work, but its like no-thinking eating. My office is a car. It is super easy for me to stop in at the local Quickie Mart and grab a candy bar, chips or slurpee. Thankfully I also have the internet in my car, so I have been keeping this website up at all times while at work. This has REALLY helped me curb my mindless eating. I really like the website because it has "real" food. Spark People have added popular foods so when you eat a Fiber One Oats and Chocolate Chewy Bar, you add this to your daily foods and the calories, fat, carbs, vitamins, etc are specific for that food. You don't have to "guess" on how many calories you're adding. It also breaks down each meal for you, so you know if you ate too much for breakfast, you better slow down for lunch! The best part is it does a report for you at the end of every day. It breaks down your food for the day and tells you if the majority of your calories have come from Carbs, Fat or Protein and breaks it down. It then gives you suggestions for ways to improve your diet.

This is just an extra on the website, but you can track your water intake for the day. There is a fun little glass on the front page where you can push the "up" button for each cup of water you drink. I am not a water drinker. I could go the whole day and forget that I haven't drank anything. Its not that I drink a ton of soda or any other drink, I just don't drink. This has to be bad for my body! But now that I've been using this website, I have been drinking the 8 cups of water a day. And peeing... a lot!

This part is pretty cool too. They can hook you up with a workout program and even suggest different strength training exercises with instructions and everything. Since my work schedule is crazy, I can't really get on a regular exercise "program" but I'm using it to track what I do the days I can. It also shows you how many calories you burn doing the exercise. Very cool.

You track your weight, as well as any measurements that you'd like. I haven't measured anything yet because I should probably do that in the privacy of my own home, not at work while I'm driving around in my "office." :)

My Goals:
Hopefully the more-public I make these, the more I'll be likely to follow through! I'll keep you updated. I am 5'8 with, what I would call, an athletic build. I've always played sports, and up until I graduated college, played some sort of "sport" on a regular basis. Since college, I've been stuck to "gyming-it" for any sort of exercise. I'm not fat, but I've got some chunk in places I'd rather not have it- including my stomach, arms, and back of my thighs. Yuck! I also have none, as in zero muscle definition, despite how much I lift weights. I think it may be a genetic thing, but also because the amount of body fat I'm carrying. Anyways- I'm heading to the beach the last week of May. I'd like to go from 154lbs to 145lbs. I have not weighed 145 since high school. I'm not that far from my goal, but since I haven't been under 150 about 6 years, the goal is sort of hard for me to get to. Thanks to Spark People, the website has created a "diet" for me to follow- as in, my caloric intake should be between 1,300-1,500 a day to drop the weight by the last week of May. Simple enough, but I had no clue how many calories I was really putting in my body. With all of the "dieting" I will continue to exercise as I am currently, including strength training. Hopefully by following the structured caloric intake they've set for me, as well as my regular exercise, I'll get to my goal by beach time. If not, I won't be disappointed. I'll probably try to keep this up until I reach my goal. Maybe even after!

Fun Stuff:
I love when the warmer weather comes and every "cause" is holding some sort of walk or run. I've signed up for two already, the most important one to me, The Run For Our Heroes, as well as the Umstead Coalition run. The first is a 5k, and the second is a 4-mile run. I run a 5k on a treadmill about 2 times a week. I've been running consistently at a 26 to 27 minute rate for 3.1 miles. I would love to get that time down to around the 24 or 25 minute mark. I'm working hard to get it down but I'm not sure it will be possible. Whenever I push myself to run faster, I end up having to walk in order to get the "stitch" out of my side, or to get my breath back. The last time I ran, I ran at an 8:40 minute mile pace, and that was even with about a minute of walking to get my breath back. If I can go without that walking, I'd be down to an 8:30 minute mile. Sweet! The runs are coming up this month, so I doubt I'll make my goal, but it might be something I continue to try for throughout the summer. Plus- this is on a treadmill. Who knows if it is actually accurate, and if I'll run slower when outside on the pavement. We'll see. Can't wait though!

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