Thursday, April 19, 2012

Life on the Spark Side

I'm so excited to be making positive progress this week!! It makes such a difference in doing what you know is right when you finally see the hoped for results when you step up on that scale. It's a whole lot easier to talk yourself out of sneaking an unnecessary snack and down into that workout room every day when you're finally receiving the longed for pay off. I knew I would be able to do it on Spark People again. Their program has always worked for me in the past--it's just a matter of truly committing and being honest with myself about what exactly I'm putting in my mouth. No more fudging, no more justifying. Hardcore honesty in tracking calories and seriously pushing those workouts every day.

Thank goodness I found Spark People! I never would've gotten into running, ever, if I hadn't been on Spark. My first Spark Buddy, Nicole, who teamed up with me when I first joined almost four years ago-we were both newbies back then, had begun training for a 5K, and as I watched her posting her progress every week, it slowly dawned on me, why couldn't I try that? I Googled Couch to 5K plans, printed out the training program on Cool Running and simply fell in love. I hope to always be running, well into my golden years-I'm hooked!

And then there's the food! Spark People creates a personalized menu plan for you: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a snack, all within your calorie range. You can choose further options to not include beef or pork or tofu (blech!) There are vegetarian, low sodium, and low cholesterol options as well. They'll completely work with whatever needs you have. Every day they give you meal suggestions, which you can easily swap out either an entire meal or individual ingredients according to what you'd rather have, or maybe what you have on hand at home. There's entire lists of substitution suggestions readily available, making menu planning quick and easy. And they're even set for a week in advance to help you plan your grocery list as well--love it!! Something you want or have eaten not on the menu plan? Do a simple search on their database and insert--viola! Figures your calories, carbs, fat, and protein with one quick click! Brilliant! And I have mentioned before this is all FREE!

This morning, breakfast is a hot bowl of oatmeal. Lunch--nachos! Yes! Nachos!! Afternoon snack, carrots with hummus--love! And dinner-I'm trying a new recipe, a Spark recipe so you know it's healthy--Spinach Alfredo...I can't wait! I just discovered the wonderful convenience of frozen cut leaf spinach yesterday...Last night's dinner was spinach with chick peas, sauteed with garlic and topped with feta cheese. Ordinarily I'd buy one of those big bags of fresh spinach and then watch half of it rot in my veggie drawer in the fridge...Their recipe called for frozen spinach and I was going to buy one of the old 'blocks' of spinach, you know what I'm talking about? Yeah, not all that appetizing....But having my menus written out for the week, I knew I'd need more than one serving, still I wasn't sure I wouldn't end up throwing away half a bag of uneaten freshly rotten spinach so, committed to doing this 100%, I decided to buck up and go for the great green ice block...Mmph. But!! They now have BAGS of frozen cut leaf spinach--it's loose and no longer pulverized to a pretty much pre-chewed state--it's incredible! I bought two bags--they're frozen...not gonna go bad, even if spinach doesn't come back up on the menu for another couple weeks. And it was divine with the chickpeas, garlic, and feta--divine! Loving what I'm still learning on Spark four years in!

The running is going great, building up slowly to give my knees a chance to keep up. I'm on Week Eight of the Couch to 5K, can't believe how fast it's gone. Feeling stronger every day, and what does the scale say?...Down 2.5lbs this week! Oh yeah--that feels great!

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