I am unconventional in many ways, but in the realm of body image and weight issues I am like most American women. I am carrying around about 20 extra pounds and I'm tired of them getting in my way. In the last 10 years I have lost these pounds 2 different times. The first time I was 24 and it came off easily by not really eating much and cutting the carbs. Last time I was 28 or 29 (I really forget) and I did it by eating reasonably healthy and exercising. That was when I was running for fun, running slowly, but having a lot of fun. I went to the gym and all that stuff. I was happy and felt great about myself and my body. I had help in the form of a supportive partner and Spark People, a free and comprehensive source for weight loss and getting healthy support and information. And then I got pregnant.....
While pregnant, I jumped over to Baby Fit, Spark People's sister site for preggos. I loved the support from other first time mamas on the message boards and keeping track of my nutrition, etc. In total I gained 35 pounds during the pregnancy. And then I had the boy and lost some of the pregnancy weight right away- hurray breastfeeding!! But about 15 pounds of it sticks around. To be honest, I haven't been trying very hard to get rid of it, unless eating ice cream and watching Blues Clues counts.
So now, the kid is 2 and I'm still a little more lumpy and out of shape than I would like to be. And I'm back to Spark People. This time I'm not so in need of the online support from all the people on the message boards, but keeping track of those calories in and out is a real motivator. It also keeps me honest about the real effort I'm making.
The site is a one stop shop with message boards, food tracker, exercise tracker, video demonstrations, recipes, motivational articles, health information, customizable plans and lots of other things I can't remember. If you like charts and graphs (who doesn't?), you can track calories burned, weight, etc. with a click of the mouse. And did I mention it is free?!
So if you want to get back into shape, lose the baby weight, or just get healthier, check it out. No meetings, no fees and no annoying cheerleader types.