Most everyone who knows me knows that I have been a Weight Watchers member for the past 7 years. One of the 8 healthy guidelines of Weight Watchers is to keep track of everything that you put into your mouth. Studies have shown that people who have lost weight and maintained that loss have kept a food journal as part of their daily habit. During my years of maintenance I have also found this to be true. I can’t say that I always follow this habit, but when I do stray and stop logging, I do see a difference. I guess we think we can keep it all up in our heads, but really we can’t.
The best thing that I have come across to help my record-keeping in the past month or so has been the weight loss website SparkPeople.com. This site was mentioned to me by my doctor probably 3 years ago or so. I also heard about SparkPeople from another fellow WW member. Why it took me so long to check it out, I couldn’t tell you. I am just glad that I did.
This site is fabulous. I am sure I am not using it to its fullest but I do love the feature where you are able to track online everything you eat. It has a great database of foods. If one is not listed, you can add it yourself. Beside the fact that it keeps track of your calories, fat, and carbs, it also gives a whole slew of other important info such as Vitamins A, C, D, Calcium, etc. At the end of the day, it is so cool to just see how you helped your body.
The other thing that is very helpful is the recipe site associated with SparkPeople. I love to cook, and we very rarely go out to eat. I feel more in control when I make things myself. They have a lot of recipes on the site, and again you have the ability to add your own. It can be a little tedious to add one, however once it’s in you are able to add it to your own cookbook. Each recipe is then calculated with the nutritional info. So when you make something, you just add it from the cookbook and it links to the day you ate it, while adding it to your nutrition log.
In addition to the cookbook and nutrition log, you can also keep track of your daily activity. There are message boards for inspiration and motivation. You can create a profile just like on Facebook. Like I said, there is a lot in this site that is very helpful.
I started using SparkPeople on December 19th. My weight was 170, and since then have been able to get back to my WW goal of 164. I do feel that logging my food on SparkPeople has been a great help in getting me back to where I needed to be. I know you can just as well write it on paper, which I still do, but I love to see all of the other benefits I am getting from the good food choices I have made for that day. Or on some days, the bad ones. Yesterday I really went over my calorie intake. I was as honest as could be. I went a little overboard on dry roasted almonds. At least they were unsalted.
And the best thing of all it’s free! I think that SparkPeople is a powerful tool for everyone to get motivated and to live a healthier life.