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Put It in Writing...No Matter What

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Saturday, February 02, 2019

Look around, folks. We're in a pretty popular place here on Spark. Even Wikipedia knows it's true... "SparkPeople.com announced on February 15, 2012 that during January 2012...there were 10 million visitors to the website, making it the most visited fitness and weight loss site on the internet. SparkPeople.com was named the winner of BusinessWeek's Best of The Web : Health in 2006, 2007, and 2008. In January 2007, SparkPeople.com was ranked by Hitwise as the 6th most visited site in the "Health and Medical - Wellbeing" category (and 3rd among diet sites)." These statistics are a little outdated, but they speak for themselves...and for our reason for being here (or at least mine). We ALL need and want to be healthier, whether that means dealing with weight or other issues, and we ALL know that Spark and other similar internet offerings are one tool we can use to help us get there.

I am not a psychiatrist, and self-analyzing gets to be a bit much sometimes. My head is sort of a horrible amusement park of horror rides and loopy rollercoasters of stress and strange ideas, and it's not exactly the kind of park where I need to buy a season pass. I prefer to leave the analysis to the experts with all those letters behind their names. So, when I'm pondering why it works for me to log calories and keep track of my weight in writing - currently on an Excel spreadsheet, a chart on my fridge hanging in front of the Lean Pockets box I once appeared on (for motivation), and on Spark - I'm not sure of all the psychological workings of why it works. It just does. In fact, "researchers have found a significant relationship between keeping food diaries and losing weight. A 2008 study of about 1,700 overweight people found that those who kept food records lost twice as much weight as those who didn’t." I'm no math expert either, but if I'm reading this right, it means that food journaling (or using the Nutrition Tracker on Spark) means for every pound I might lose otherwise, I can lose two. Those are pretty good odds.

Of course, when I'm sticking to my 300-300-400-200 (breakfast-lunch-dinner-snack) plan, it's pretty easy to proudly enter my 1,200 calories. When it becomes a bit more difficult is when I know I've been a bad, bad girl. This has been one of those weeks. I'm not sure I stuck to 1,200 any day this week, and I've killed far more bags and boxes of nibbling naughties than I can even recall. The proof is in the pudding on my Nutrition Tracker...and on some days, I mean that literally! Sure, I could blame it on my worries about my job/job hunt and some other anxieties, but just because things are eating away at me, that doesn't mean I need to eat away at everything in my kitchen. One might be tempted not to log everything, but I beg to differ. We have to put it in writing...no matter what. Why? Because I believe we can learn as much from our mistakes as we can from our successes.

My adorable nephew Austin just completed a scholarship essay (and I'm praying he gets that scholarship, so he can go into Criminal Justice as he desires!). In that essay that I had the privilege of editing for him (of course everyone in my family sends everything they write my way for a once-over, but I don't mind a bit), he wrote this sentence: " I gratefully accept my entire journey thus far—the good, the bad, and the ugly—because I believe one must see the latter to appreciate the former." Pretty wise for 17-year-old, huh? The same holds true in our weight loss, my friends.

I'm not happy at all that my current weight-loss report on Spark is creating a V-formation. I'm not a Canadian goose (heck, I'm not even Canadian, eh!) However, I think it's very important that even on the bad weeks, on the bad days, I fess up to what I did. Speaking of geese, feel free to take a gander at my Nutrition Tracker anytime, and you'll see I have my struggles, especially in this last week. Still, not only does writing the good, the bad, and the ugly down inspire me to do better, but it also will be something I can look back on when I'm a little further in my journey and see as something I overcame. It also reminds me of something very, very important to weight-battlers: If I can change my weight by 4 pounds in the wrong direction, based on my own behaviors and habits, I can change it by 4 pounds in the right direction, by making changes in those behaviors and habits. I don't have a Castle Grayskull of my own, but if I did, I could stand outside and shout, I HAVE THE POWER. (I mean, I suppose I could do that anyway, but there are 6 inches of snow in front of my house, and I am not sure my dog would appreciate being painted green like Battle-cat while her people mommy holds a foam sword and shouts random things that make the neighbors look at me funny. Besides, I don't have a blond wig and purple tights, and I'm not thin enough yet to squeeze into a furry loincloth, at least not in public.)

My point in all this nonsensical ranting is this: Do NOT stop logging, even when your log might be overloaded. Confession is good for the soul and the waistline. Do NOT stop keeping track of your weight at whatever intervals you've decided on, and I suggest you record that in Spark or write it down somewhere too. (Hey, I'm brave enough to post my weekly graphic below, even though the news isn't good.) Everything important in life is put in writing, and your health is certainly important! Use the power of writing it down to help you keep track, improve, and make the changes you need to make.

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