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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Website Review: SparkPeople.com

SparkPeople.com: Get a Free Online Diet

At the beginning of 2009, I decided I needed to start eating healthier and maybe even drop about 5 lbs. However, I found this to be very difficult. I tried to count calories throughout the day, but would lose track or wouldn't know how many calories were in a particular food, so I would guess. Was I guessing accurately? Probably not.

Also, I was so focused on avoiding the things I didn't want in the foods I ate that I wasn't paying attention to the nutrients I needed. Was I getting enough? Probably not.

The uncertainty of how much of what I needed and didn't need was daunting to say the least. Needless to say, my diet wasn't working very well for me.
Then I stumbled upon SparkPeople. I first noticed that they offer a Free Online Diet Plan. That seemed pretty cool, so I decided to sign up and give it a try.

I found that the website has tons of features like a nutrition tracker, fitness tracker, message boards, articles, recipes, and blogs to name a few. The first thing I did was set up my goals. You can select from a plan to lose weight or to maintain your weight. I then took a look at the nutrition tracker, where you can track everything you eat throughout the day and your water consumption. I love this feature! I simply select the food from the dropdown menu (or add a food if it's not in the list) and enter how much I ate. It adds your food to the day and tracks the calories, carbs, and protein. You can also add numerous other nutrients to track. For example, I also track fiber, vitamin D, sodium, and calcium just to be sure I'm getting the correct amounts. The totals run at the bottom of your list along with the amounts you should be getting, depending on the goals you set.

The fitness tracker is great as well. You can easily track the exercises you do throughout the day and see how many calories you have burned. I have also joined a few of the message boards, which help me to stay motivated. Another fun feature is the points. By doing different things on the SparkPeople website, you can earn points, which earn you trophies. While these points and trophies don't mean anything, they are motivating to a competitive person like me who likes to see how many points she can rack up in a day.

The only downside to this website is all of the advertisements. However, the ads are what keep the site free, so I don't mind them at all.

Overall, SparkPeople is a fabulous website that has a lot to offer. Whether you're trying to lose weight or just maintain a healthy lifestyle, this website is the perfect tool.

Join me at: SparkPeople.com