Saturday, July 08, 2006

Becoming a Spark Person

It was at 12:34:56 p.m. on 7/8/90 that I first began my venture in sobriety. If I had managed to stay sober since that date, it would be 16 years today (it being Saturday in Japan). As it is, I have around 8 1/2 years, and I feel good about that.

In celebration of my initial anniversary, I've joined Spark People. The past 2-3 months have been sugar and chocolate-free for me most of the time. Now it's time to get even more serious about developing good eating and exercising habits.

To do that, I have to add two major elements to my routine. One is putting about half as much on my plate as has been my custom. The few times I've experimented with that, I find that I can be just as satisfied by eating less. Often I end up finishing what's on my plate somewhat mechanically, rather than out of need for or enjoyment of the food. Nutritious snacks, fruit or some kind of protein, between meals also help me to keep my energy up. I have to make sure to stock up on these items. I can no longer eat like a 15-year-old or even a 50-year-old!

Second, I need to get moving. On a humid, albeit cool, day like today, that's easier said than done. (In fact, regardless of the weather, it's nearly always easier said than done.) I have plenty of *ways* of getting more exercise - a beautiful park to walk in as well as lots of yoga and dancing videotapes. Unless I make use of them, however, many of my clothes are going to continue to be snug or too tight to wear.

I sense that becoming a "spark person" is certain to help. To quote from the site, "The SparkDietTM is a four-stage process that helps you make the elusive jump from 'dieting' to a 'fresh, new lifestyle.' These stages zero in on the keys to a lifestyle transition that fixes the problem once and for all - motivation, healthy habits, and confidence." What's more, it's free, which is pretty unbelievable (although it's possible they get income from subtle endorsements for certain brands).

On the Spark People site, you can set goals in terms of weight loss, food intake, and exercise. It will calculate how long it will take to reach your ideal weight. (The date it gave me happens to be my 62nd birthday, although it doesn't really seem possible that I'll weigh under 130 pounds by then. However, I'm going to stay optimistic.) The site has ways of planning meals and keeping track of calories/carbs/fat and nutrition. It has a means of tracking how many calories you've burned through exercise.

Anyway, the timing seems right for me. My concert's over, I have only 1 more week of classes at 1 of the universities, and 3 more weeks at the other 2. I have 1 month coming up (August) when *all* I'll have is private classes (including a new private student), lesson planning for the 2nd semester, an audition for another chorus (connected to the Sapporo Symphony), a hike with my international women's group, my dance classes, chorus rehearsals, and my Macintosh Users' group - in other words, a quiet month!

Today I've already been happy with what I've done for my body - a 30-minute walk in Nakajima Park and 7-grain cereal with banana, raisins, and yoghurt for breakfast. As part of the Spark plan, my goals for today are:

Eat 2 fruits or veggies (ridiculously easy!)
Get 8 hours of sleep
Tell 1 person about my goals

Well, with this post I'll have accomplished all 3, so I'm a successful Spark Person today! Get a Free Online Diet

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