I'm about to start adding some old and new blogs and articles here, just so I'll have them!  Read if you like, don't if you don't!!  It's under contruction, please forgive the current format!  Dana



SparkPeople.com: Get a Free Online Diet



Diet and Exercise Can Be Fun


In the mid 80’s, I was a high school cheerleader.  Sure, I was one of the “thicker” ones, but looking back I never looked better.  Now, three kids and over 20 years later I somehow ended up almost as round as I am tall.


It happened gradually, sort of.  I managed to add a few pounds each year despite the fact that I would attempt diets along the way.  My most successful attempt was losing 30 pounds once with shakes, and it didn’t take me long to put 40 right back on.  Like most people, I hated dieting, and hated exercise even more.  But, I knew it was time to get serious about getting healthy, and the time was now.


I can tell you just about anything you need to know about popular or fad diets.  Cabbage  soup, all meat, no meat, all vegetables-all fruits, some vegetables-no fruits, yes pasta, no pasta, powders, pills, drinks, you name it, I either tried it or at least researched it.  The only one that appealed to me that I never tried was the “all beer” diet that worked for a friend, but I didn’t think it would go along with picking kids up at school each day.


It’s not rocket science that getting healthy consists of eating right, portion control, drinking water, and exercise.  The part that I thought was rocket science is the motivational factor.  Staying motivated, and not being totally miserable as you work to drop pounds was the impossible part for me, until now.


I had just attempted the “Fat Smash Diet” as seen on VH1’s “Celebrity Fit Club”, and on day three of the nine day “detox” figured out it wasn’t going to work for me.  I got an email from a friend telling me she and her mother were doing www.sparkpeople.com .  She explained that it was a FREE site that would allow me to track my nutrition and exercise, would give me a safe and recommended diet plan if I wanted it, or I could use my own foods and enter them in.  It had tools for those wanting to lose weight, and for those who just want to have a healthier lifestyle. I checked it out.


The website is a user-friendly tool that not only allows you to track your own progress, but gives you numerous health, fitness, nutritional, and motivational resources.  It had two areas for recipes, and in one of them you may enter your own recipes and have it calculate the nutritional values per serving.  Did I mention the price was right?  It’s free.


So I began on July 9.  The first thing I found I loved about it was there was nothing that said “NO” and you fill in the blank.  It actually didn’t tell me I can’t have the food I love.  It encourages moderation, and once you begin to track your calories and nutrients, something mysterious happens.  You WANT to eat healthier.  It encourages you to drink water, which is great because it’s a drink I can afford.  It also gives you baby steps toward getting into exercise.  There is such a variety of ways to get started.  Much to my surprise, I’m actually exercising 6 days per week now, and liking it.


Perhaps the best part of Spark People is the variety of message boards and teams you may join.  We formed a “Princeton People” group, for residents in the area, their family and friends.  We support each other through our ups and downs, and even had a party sharing our new found healthy foods and treats.  There are groups according to age, issues like diabetes or high blood pressure, lifestyles, and even soap opera fans.  You may participate in these a lot, or not at all.  It’s all up to the user. 


For the first time in my life, I’m actually enjoying getting fit.  I’ve already lost over 20 pounds and feel better than I have in years.  I’m not depriving myself of anything, just watching what I take in.  That motivates me to eat healthier. Our Princeton People group is planning to walk the 5K at the Princeton Onion Festival this year, a major goal for some of us who would get tired just watching a 5K before.  That motivates me to walk each day.  I’m finally changing to a healthier lifestyle.


Look for the “Fat Smash Diet” book, as well as about 7 others, on the shelves at the Princeton Community Library soon.  I don’t need them anymore.


Dana Jones