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So it is time to give you a review of a resource I’ve found. I’m sure, especially if you’ve been on the healthy living bandwagon long, you have likely heard about a great free resource out there called Sparkpeople.com. I could certainly give you a reporter’s history lesson on who started it, how it came to be, and so forth but, that would be counter to my purpose here on State of the Fluff. My job, as I see it, is to give you an account of how I found it to use and how helpful it was or is, as the case may be.

sparkpeople_logo1Sparkpeople.com is a resource that I’ve found to be amazing. There are a number of tools available for those who are trying to lose weight or even those who are attempting to get into a more healthy lifestyle.

Like many weight loss sites out there it offers a food tracking tool. There is one noted difference with the sparkpeople tracker that I find very useful. Their database of foods is actually more extensive than anything else I’ve tried to use. Part of this is the adaptability of it. They not only start you off with a base food list. However, as the user base enters nutritional values for their own foods, they are saved and accessible to the rest of the users. They also allow you to create a list of favorite foods that you use on a regular basis.

For those who want to do a diet plan, they offer preplanned menus. Their set up process allows you to decide if you want to lose weight or just get healthier with more activity. When you choose the options it will give you goals for your food and activity.

It also has an activity tracker that allows you to track steps, miles, minutes, and intensity of your workout. It also allows you to figure out how many calories that you’re burning in a workout session. Which I find very helpful.

There are other features though. For example, it can act as an appointment book and send you email reminders of important events that you put into the calendar. It offers a journal to track your thoughts and progress from day to day. It also allows you access to countless workout videos, recipes, and articles on health and wellness.

The major draw of it is the community aspect. On Sparkpeople you can create a home page that will allow you to post photos, information, goals, and so much more. You can share the journey by friending other people. It really is its own little social network. I haven’t yet mastered all the ins an outs. I know that you can blog there. There are also groups to partake in which offer everything from virtual support to challenges that you can take on. They allow you to meet others, share your journey, and find support in a tough time.

They have a whole website of their own with recipes that you can use to find alternatives to what you already eat. I’ve tried a few of them and I can tell you that the ones I’ve made were very tasty. There really are too many for me to review individually though, if you ask nicely, I might be persuaded to post some of my favorites with a review and pics when I make them. It could make for a good series on here, no?

imagesLike most sites, Sparkpeople.com has a retail and sales side of things. Their store hosts a variety of things from gym gear and food storage to workout DVDs and apparel. They also offer a more personalized coaching option that you can try for free. It offers additional videos tailored to your plan, motivational emails, and other details that I may review more thoroughly later on.

I definitely give the site and the tools a thumbs up! In fact, I encourage you to give it a try and join me over there. I’ll be putting a link to my own profile over here on the right so you can connect to me there. If you’re already on there my username is fit2beamom. If you’re so inclined, you can join up there and interact with me on the site. I am always happy to make new acquaintances and share my story with others.