Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Thrifty Weight Loss: Sparkpeople

The diet industry makes billions of dollars a year off of our body insecurities. When we're "on a diet" we tend to waste money on gadgets, classes, supplements, and crazy foods we never end up eating or choke down miserably... Why do we do it to ourselves? So many of us are looking for that "quick fix," that miracle suggestion that will melt off the pounds while still allowing us to sit on our duffs and consume vast quantities of chocolate. Why does it not work? Cruel!

If you are trying to drop some poundage, stop throwing your money away on Weight Watchers (online or in person) and all of those other gimmicks and get thee to Sparkpeople! Because what does work is eating less and moving more, and having support from similarly-minded people. All of this for free is even better, IMO. Sparkpeople is a totally free food and fitness tracking site with hundreds of other great tools like nutrition articles and blogs, and free exercise videos, along with a bazillion different teams (for everything from "Look Good Naked" to "Living with Hypothyroid") and social networking pages. I've been on SP for a few years now and help run a team called The Hen House (Cocks Allowed!) which is a small but super motivational and supportive group of girls. If you take the SP plunge, come on over and join the team! We'd love to have you.

My favorite things about Sparkpeople are

-In-depth nutrition charts showing all vitamins and macronutrients - Sparkpeople is about creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, not just weight loss, so they give reasonable, healthful ranges (no set number so you can vary your calorie intake and exercise day by day which is best to "confuse" your body into weight loss, anyhow) and the reports tell you when you're short on anything, so you can try to make different choices. They'll even give you full meal plans and create a grocery list for you if you prefer! Or you can make your own selections if you like a bit more control.

-Truly dedicated and fantastic support from people I have never met but feel like I know so well. Seriously, my team is the first place I go when I get to work in the morning-- I always check in on them before I do anything else :)

-FREE! Fantastic, yes? The ads are a bit annoying occasionally but I'm happy to click on them to keep the site free, as they plan to always do.

-Motivational pages: You can browse homepages of other folks who have been voted "motivators" due to their great loss, fitness achievements, or in general. When you're feeling like "I don't know if I can do this," check out awesome before/afters like Killette's, Blondie510's, or Jawjie's. Their incredible transformations are so inspiring! I mean, UNREASONABLE, right?:

You go & rock on with your bad self, girl!

So, what are you waiting for? Happy sparking!


  1. I always appreciate a "lifestyle" type of diet (for lack of a better word) rather than a "lose weight quickly" type of philosphy. It just makes so much more sense to choose foods that make my whole body healthier in the long run. I'll definitely check it out- thanks for the tip!

  2. renee it's even a great place if you're maintaining and not trying to lose... just to make sure you're getting a varied enough diet to prevent disease and all of that sort of thing.

    spent a bit of time on your blog today... glad i did-- i don't think i'd seen your etsy shop yet! LOVE your circle dresses!!!

  3. Thank you so much for your comment on my blog! Nice to see you again. :)

    I would disagree with Weight Watchers as being a gimmick - they do teach you to live a balanced lifestyle (eat more whole food, less crap, move more), and their support is great. I also liked that they focus on the relationships we have with food, and working on the mental aspect of why we get overweight.

    I lost 50 lbs through them, and I've kept it off for 3 years. It's regularly ranked as one of the best of the weight loss companies.

    Personally, whatever works for ya! :)

  4. sheila, when i re-read this post i realized it appeared i was including weight watchers in gimmicks. i agree it can work well for some people. my point was that it is a VERY similar program over at spark, for free! i think weight watchers online seems wasteful if the point is sort of the in-person support, you know? but i'm sure the meetings are great for others. i'm just too cheap :D
    in general any plan that emphasizes portion control, variety and exercise is a good one, IMO! i just prefer not to pay for it :D


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