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What To Do About Spark?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking – and you know that never goes well!

I’m wrestling with the idea of leaving Spark. I’ve been here about 3 years. How crazy is that?! And yet I’m not at my goal weight. I never really got close to my goal weight. What is the quote about the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results?

Perhaps this is just me, but I’ve noticed a few changes in Spark and it just isn’t holding, well, the “spark” that it used to for me.

A few things…

- I’ve made and lost a whole bunch of Sparkfriends. They just (poof) disappear. The first few times it happened, I had a bunch of irrational thoughts like “What if they were in a car accident?” and such. Then I realized that people just give up. And that makes me sad.

- I used to find a lot of motivation here. I used to learn a lot. Maybe I’m not proactively working the message boards enough, but I feel like I haven’t learned much in a while from Spark itself. My remaining sparkfriends have given me some great tips, but that is different.

- I worry that this has become too much of a habit. It is one of the first things I do every day when I log on to my computer, but after 3 years, maybe that isn’t a good thing? I don’t really feel the sting of not tracking workouts anymore and such.

- I love some of my sparkfriends, you guys know you who are, but overall the vibes here have changed. Nobody helps to pick you up when you’re down, write you encouraging words if you need it. This isn’t as much of a supportive community as it was when I first started. Find a blog where someone says they are struggling and it may have zero comments. Find one where someone has lost 100 lbs and eats perfectly and works out every day? 200 comments. I could be generalizing here, but it is something I have noticed. I’m not saying we shouldn’t celebrate the people who have done well, but let’s lift up those that haven’t as well. I definitely have stopped blogging as much because of it.

- It just has to be said – the ads on this site are insane. I know they have to pay to keep it free somehow, but my goodness have they gotten crazy. There are ways to have ads on your site without making it so cumbersome or awful.

I feel like I’m at the starting line of another period of change in my life. My job is going through changes, my bf and I are going through changes (getting a house and a dog? Hello!), and I’d love for my dedication to wellness to be part of those changes as well. I just don’t know about Spark anymore.

I’ve been struggling a bit, personally. Feel like I’m dipping a toe back into the depression pool again but I’m trying to fight it. My eating has been kind of whatever and I have had less drive to do anything besides walk. I know I need to make sure I’m not drinking a glass of wine to relax every single night. Maybe this is just a phase? Or just the catalyst before that period of change I feel coming down the line? Deep thoughts man…

On the happiness front, my bf and I decided to hold off on the puppy until after our vacation to Colorado in two weeks. Doesn’t make sense to bring an infant into the house and leave it. I’m super excited but I know this makes the most logical approach to the situation! We have to come up with possible names anyways! I think the vacation just became real to me this morning as well. Starting to get super excited to head out West again. Always feels good for the soul!

Anyways, I’m not planning on ditching Spark today but I’ve definitely got a lot on my mind. I know I owe it to myself to get healthy and I’ve gotta consider my options. Would appreciate any advice you may have : )

Hope you are having a great week so far!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • SLEE103
    I guess my immediate reaction is why it has to be all or nothing. While I agree with a LOT of the previous comments here (and much of what you say). When people say they are tempted to "leave" Spark, it makes me sad. Like you'll never come back. Spark is always there, you don't have to leave it for good and you can be involved in it as little or as much as you want, so I guess I just don't see the point of declaring you're "leaving" (not you specifically, just in general). I may be speaking (inappropriately) for the masses, but I think there's a lot of less active people on here who still get a lot out of reading others struggles and accomplishments (I know I do!). Then again, that's a pretty selfish argument lol. In the end, you obviously need to take an approach that benefits you best. I hope we can still keep in touch off-site emoticon
    2042 days ago
    This blog sounds like I wrote it. I feel ya, 100%. I am logging my food and my fitness in the background but haven't really been part of the Spark community at all. I haven't felt the desire to blog because I don't have many positive things to say about my weight loss journey so I feel like it's not worth blogging since it will be negative and whiny. Lots of positive things going on in my life, just not weight loss wise. I 100% agree with your blog.
    2049 days ago
    Depending on your browser, there are ways to block the ads. I hated paying for them when we were buying data time for our wifi device overseas.

    And, well, I'll miss you if you're gone.
    2055 days ago
    Great blog. I hope you don't leave Spark but I can understand your sentiments. I'll be the first to admit that I need to spend more time reading the blogs of the newest members of SparkPeople and supporting those who need it. Also, super jealous of the puppy! I keep trying to talk J.D. into it, but we're also wrestling with the
    "we work and shouldn't leave it alone all day" guilt too. I hope you post pictures when you do!
    2055 days ago
    I've been taking a little break myself. I've just been in a real funk and tracking has gone by the wayside too. I relate to all that you've said. Maybe just take a break. Have a great trip. I love Colorado. Can't wait to hear about your puppy adventures!!!
    2056 days ago
  • RAINA413
    OBVIOUSLY I don't want you to leave, but we have become good friends so I know we will chat elsewhere off-site.

    That said, this was a great blog. You have vocalized much of what I have been thinking as well. I have stopped tracking my food, but I still do workouts. One without the other doesn't really make sense, though. And like you said, I don't really feel the sting of not tracking anymore.

    The vibes here have changed for sure. I couldn't agree more! Nobody helps to pick you up when you’re down. Rarely do you get encouraging words when you need it. And it seems that the only comments I get on my blogs are from close friends or random religous Sparkers quoting scripture. I have nothing against Christians, but this is about FITNESS, not religion. I agree. I really feel like we have lost that supportive community vibe that so appealed to me when I first started. Find a blog where someone says they are struggling and it may have zero comments. Find one where someone has lost 100 lbs and eats perfectly and works out every day? 200 comments. YES!! So true! Celebrate the people who have done well, but make sure you also lift up those that haven’t as well...they need our love and support even more!

    And finally, the ads. SO TRUE!! I get that they need them to keep the site free, but they have really and truly gotten insane. There are ways to have ads on your site without making it so cumbersome or awful or completely bog down your computer!! I mean, JEEZE!!! I may end up leaving simply due to that!

    2056 days ago
    My gawd, the ads on this site have gotten ridiculous. There were times when I considered leaving SP.com completely because of them! (Although I wonder if something like AdBlock would get rid of them completely...)

    I've also noticed over the years that Spark members will just randomly disappear without warning... some of them re-emerge, but most of them seem to be gone for good. It's the natural course of events on a social media website, I think.

    Being a social media site, it does eat up some time in the day. Sounds like you're debating whether it's a worthwhile investment. You could always take a Spark break and see how you like it--the site will prooobably still be here if you decide you miss it. :)

    P.S. OOOOOO PUPPY!!!!!!!!!!!
    2056 days ago
  • IRP1114
    Great blog. Good for you in just letting it all out. Sometimes that is all we need. There are days like this for all of us. And spark for the most part is positive. It does have it;s negative side of course. But as everything else in life it is all how we look at it. I think today your mind has gone to see more of the bad side of things and that is okay. You got it out and hopefully are moving on from these thoughts. I know you will find a way to bounce back and find your happy place with or without that new puppy! emoticon emoticon
    2056 days ago
    Okay, I don't want you to leave, but I understand that if you're not getting the results that it does seem like a "crazy" thing to keep doing. I have been a member for about 3yrs and have never came closer to my goal than 10lbs and that didn't last long. I have seen significant changes in my body, but I don't necessarily know if that is from tracking. I do think I have found more support here than from people I actually know. Which seems strange, but there is definitely a feeling of being in the same boat and pulling for your sparkfriends that I don't find anywhere else. Maybe take some time and evaluate what you want out of spark. If you can't find a way to utilize it in a way that works for you and encourage your wellbeing I'll be sad to see you go.

    PS - these ads are the pits
    2056 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1540230
    I've had the same feeling about spark for a while myself. I don't track anymore on here (and haven't for a few years now). The site itself became cumbersome. The phone apps costly (back when they weren't free). And the support has really dwindled (like you pointed out). There are a handful of sparkfriends that I truly enjoy reading their blogs and supporting them, but it's just not the same as it once was.... Maybe it's due to so many other sites out there offering a similar product... maybe it's all of the phone apps.... maybe it's just me.... either way, there's something missing.

    I've definitely felt it. Probably why I hardly ever blog anymore myself.....

    2056 days ago
  • no profile photo EVIE4NOW
    Gosh, I envy you your vacation. Can I come? LOL. Life brings all kinds of changes, sometimes when you least expect it. I am sorry you have lost so many friends without a word. I do wonder how good of friends they were to show such a lack of consideration. If they had told you, you could've exchanged emails to be able to keep in touch. I too am addicted to Spark, simply because I like to be able to keep score on my glucose and carbs and am still learning things. Trivia questions prove that lol. Whatever you decide, I hope you will let your friends know.
    2056 days ago
    Hello, I read this post off a link in one of the bootcamp challenges and wanted to stop for a moment to nod and agree with many of your points about Spark and the absence of "community."

    I have been a member since 2008. I asked for SparkBuddies years ago, and not one member stepped up. I got used to that. I think a lot of members get overwhelmed by the sheer effort it takes to achieve goals, whether we track it here or elsewhere.

    My body has changed significantly since I started SparkPeople. Due to illness and injuries I have gained and lost weight several times. As my Spark page notes, sometimes I can only come and spin for a few login points. I have been close to my goal weight, and maintained weight halfway through, but like you, my goal has been elusive. Sometimes I am here only to stay alive and my weight or fitness level are irrelevant for awhile while I track medical data or read articles to keep a finger in or brighten my outlook.

    I have never left Spark outright, but there are times where I am gone for months or years before I am ready to lean on the resources and tap into the community again. I still find good people here and I don't take it as seriously as I once did. This is a lifestyle change after all, and I do much better here when I don't over-commit, instead sliding principles, ideas, and comforting thoughts from message boards into my life to keep me going--no matter how slowly.

    It seems to me that you are in much the same place I was when I learned to let go of the "Kool-Aid" effect around here. Letting go of the self-dissecting, "keeping up with the Jones'" aspect of my early Spark days has helped me and I find I no longer beat myself up so badly when I can't, or won't, keep up with a team, site trend, or my own goal tracking. I had to learn to make Spark work for me and not use it as a stick to beat myself into some sort of nutrition, fitness, or Spark community penance.

    Changing my body has certainly changed my mind and I am glad I am not the only one. Congratulations on all the positive changes in your life. I hope you find what works for you. I know being absent for a while has helped me many times and it might help you too as you adapt to all these major shifts in your life.

    Good luck.
    2056 days ago

    Comment edited on: 8/19/2014 11:34:32 AM
    i'm so glad i'm not the only one feeling this way. even though its a bad feeling, its always nice to not be alone. I am still debating leaving Spark for good. i've been on here for 4 years and i just dont feel the love anymore.

    Yes i hit my goal weight once on here. I hit my highest wieght ever on here and my lowest weight since i started. But somehow none of that matters.

    i will always read your blogs and will always be there for you because you have always been someone i can count on.

    I am so excited about the puppy! please keep me updated and take a million photos while you're in Colorado :)

    I only have one request. If you decide to leave spark please message me your personal email so that we can stay in touch

    2056 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13376265
    You have made some good points but it would be sad to see you leave Spark! If your goal is simply weight loss then it can get disheartening if the scale isn't giving you what you want. We emotional eaters are all struggling. I personally have had to learn to avoid the areas of Spark that cause me nothing but anxiety. By focusing my journey on wellness, both physical and mental, and measuring my goals in behaviours, not numbers, I have achieved what for me is a large measure of success. I think you can use Spark to meet YOUR goals. For me, learning what is driving my eating disorder is more important than the number on the scale. I just want a sane relationship with food. As my relationship becomes more balanced, the weight is coming off...SLOWLY, but that is not my primary goal.
    emoticon emoticon
    2056 days ago
    These are definitely very deep thoughts. But it is always good to reexamine what is best for you. If something doesn't work or fit you anymore, reevaluation is a must. I'm sorry the people who were really there for you are not any longer. And you're right, we do need to make sure to lift up both those who are struggling and those who are knocking it out of the park. I usually try to read the blogs of those who might need a little pick-me-up, but that's just me. I really hope you find whatever is going to make you feel motivated/determined. Even if that means letting Sparkpeople go for a bit. You can always come back here. I did, and I'm so glad about that!

    Your vacation sounds amazing, as do the changes you wrote about! Congrats on the house and the eventual new pup! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us today! I wish you nothing but the best on your journey emoticon
    2056 days ago
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