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Friday, January 17, 2014

Okay, folks. I had a revelation today. I'm getting a sense of deja vu regarding the revelation, so I think I've had it before, but wasn't really getting any dirt under my nails at the time, so I let it go. Now that I'm more than halfway into my month and getting this 2014 journey under way, things have suddenly gotten relevant.

Alrighty, so we all know how SparkPeople works with their fitness and goal tracking and whatnot. On the first of each month, we all get a "clean slate" so to speak to begin our tracking for the new month. Cool. BUT, they do their weekly fitness minutes/monthly fitness minutes based on a Sunday-Saturday week, right? All our weekly fitness minutes reset to 0 on Sunday. I've been basing my progress on that so far because that is the quick and simple visual they give us on the right-hand side of our pages (not our homepage for some reason and not our profile pages also for some reason... but, ya know, other pages... emoticon )

You know, this:

Initially I thought, well, it's because it's meant for SparkAmerica tracking... but, no, those also seem to be the numbers they use when they award us our 250, 500, 1000, 1500, etc monthly fitness minutes awards. Right? Or am I wrong and confusing myself?

See, I started my regular workout routine on Jan. 7. In a month-based week, that would have been the last day of the 7-day week before week 2 began on the 8th. But, the 7th landed on a Tuesday, so for a Sunday-Saturday week, that would have been way early in the week. So basically, what I'm asking is, what the hell should I be going off of?

My first Sunday to Saturday week (which technically started Dec. 29) put me at 38 fitness minutes (when I was sick and trudging around the block for my vitamin D walks). My second Sunday to Saturday week put me at 300 fitness minutes. My third week so far has me at 245 fitness minutes. Obviously when I do my workout today, I'll pass the 250 mark on my counter for the week and I'll cross X amount of fitness minutes.

Now, my first complete 7-day week has me more like this:
week 1 (Jan. 1-7) 88 minutes
week 2 (Jan. 8-14) 315 minutes
week 3 (Jan. 15-21) so far 180 minutes

As you can see, I far exceeded my goal in week 2 and am falling far short in week 3 to make my goals. I think I'm going to stick with the remainder of January with a Sunday-Saturday week because that's what I started with. My aim is for 1000 fitness minutes per month and even though I was sick my first week, I think I may inadvertently make that goal after all. If not, my unofficial aim was 750 mins this month due to the first week loss. But, this "month" is a 5 Sunday-Saturday-ish cycle. So, there's still 2 more weeks left... and yes, I realize some months are longer than others, so February (not leap years) is the only "true" 7-days/4-weeks month. But, still, there's gotta be a better way...

Anyway, I'm wondering what I should do for February. If you couldn't tell by all the information and numbers that I threw at you in this blog, I am confused AS ALL F*** about this!!!

I am going to be super busy this upcoming semester and doing any extra work to figure this out is just not going to happen for me. I hate the idea that when Spark thinks I've reached 250,500, or 1000 minutes (based on their Sun-Sat cycle) that the reality could be, based on the month (which seems most logical right? especially in my case?), that I've either surpassed that milestone or haven't reached it yet and am being prematurely awarded.

I'm pretty frustrated by this. Not cool, SparkPeople. Not cool.

What are YOUR thoughts on this? Can you wade through the confusion?

QUICK EDIT: I forgot to mention the reason I find this important is because fitness minutes are how I'm deciding to measure my success for this month. My goal is to hit 1000 minutes. But, when I look at "1000" that number is very big and intimidating. In fact, I've only ever hit 1000 fitness minutes MAYBE twice (for sure once) in the 6 years I've been on Spark. So, I thought breaking it into smaller numbers, like 250 for the week, would be less intimidating and easier to keep track of. So, my fitness minutes are the one concrete number I'm using to have a physical, visual way of measuring my success.

Thank you everyone for your feedback so far.
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    2644 days ago
    I'm with ERINBELLOWS1978...I'd be totally lost without my "weight loss binder" organization system, which includes my paper monthly calendar. At the start of each week I pencil in a plan for the coming week (so I can see my personal/family commitments and figure out when I'll get my workouts in without running 2 days in a row). As I complete each workout I put a checkmark next to it, or if I don't complete it, I cross it off with maybe a short note as to why ("gym closed-blizzard" or something) and write what I do do. I don't go crazy with the details (I still use Spark to keep track of miles and calories), but I really need that "big picture" visual.
    2644 days ago
    Totally over thinking it girl. Do you have a wall calendar??? For your OCD scholastic brain. Double check it. Just pencil in your minutes every day and total your minutes for the month, then check SP and compare the two. It'll help you figure out how and what to use SP tracking systems. Keep up the good work my friend
    2644 days ago
  • KATD13
    Your over thinking it.

    SP is about doing your very best every day. Having a healthy lifestyle.
    Getting a cyber award early or late is totally inconsequential.

    I'm sure you've got bigger fish to fry, so to speak.

    2644 days ago
    I kinda see what you are saying, but I guess I just haven't worried about it. My biggest frustration has always been that if I exceed 4 different kinds of exercises in the same day (like early morning run, walk to the post office, run after work, ST, walk with hubby) the final workout or two don't show up in the totals on the right side of the main page which can mess me up quite a bit.

    But back to your concern.... I guess I have always focused on the total fitness minutes for the week (using their Sunday - Saturday schedule) and know that if I meet my weekly goals I will also make my monthly goals. Now that is not to say that I have not been known to fit in a extra workout mid-week to get me to a goal for the month....and I just have less minutes left at that point to meet my goals for the week. Make sense?

    Hope this helps!
    2644 days ago
    I'm totally confused. ;)
    2644 days ago
    I know that the statistics and charts that SP provides is a good source of information for the members.

    But here's what I've learned over the years. Losing weight isn't an exact science. We say that in order to lose one pound of fat per week, a person should decrease the amount of food they eat by 500 calories. IN THEORY, if a person would do this for seven days, they would lose one pound of fat. This should reflect in the scale. But it doesn't. We might do everything by the numbers and yet not see a loss in the scale for weeks. Not only is weight loss not an exact science, it can't be quantified either. To me, the Spark numbers/charts are a reference and not written in stone.

    Maybe that's the problem. Maybe you're focusing too much on the numbers instead of focusing on all the good things you do for yourself during that one month period.

    I'll admit that I've seen some inconsistencies in the way the NEW software tracks fitness/nutrition. You know the spark streaks ? Okay, well my current streak is like 7 days. Well, I know for a fact I have logged in and spun the wheel every day for years. And yet, the new software seems to think I didn't spin a day last week.

    You can't let a software glitch get the better of you. I would continue your quest for being more consistent. BUT I wouldn't assume the numbers are totally correct either. I think the website calculations have been off since the website was upgraded.

    I've just seen too many odd behaviors.

    That's why you shouldn't use any energy to try to figure out why something isn't working. I suspect it's the software, not you.

    just a few random thoughts.

    2644 days ago
    I am sorry, JillyBean, but you have confused me emoticon

    I guess I don't really care about weekly goals or monthly goals or awards. I am on the "take it one day at a time" so that's all I really look at. Sorry I can't be of help with this, but I bet your other emoticon out there will have the answers you seek.

    My goals are simple:
    1. By February 3rd - lose 10 pounds (I started on January 4)
    2. Every day - calories between 1300-1500
    3. Drink 8 water, 5 veggies/fruits, take supplements a day (7 days)
    3. Walk 40 minutes a day (6 times a week)
    4. 7500+ steps a day
    5. Be mentally tough every day - which mean not over do the calories or underdo the exercise.

    I guess the next month (Feb 4-March 3rd) I will add another goal, perhaps another exercise goal. Need some cardio & strength.

    I know this is absolutely no help, but I recommend you simply your life a little since you are going to be super busy with school. Whatever you decide, don't let the "system" bog you down.

    2644 days ago
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