I am so sorry to see SparkPeople is closing up!
I have mixed feelings. I have used the site since 2013, so quite a long time! I have not been a regular user, but I keep coming back when I feel I need it, and have loved how this site has always been here waiting for me, even if there sometimes has been years between logging in. I see good and not so great sides of this website and the SP concept, so I will hash over those a bit more in depth here.
What I have appreciated and loved the most about this website/service is that I have all this data here, everything in one place. 8 years worth of food tracking, weight, body fat percentages, tape measurements, burnt calories... And all the informative charts that display this data. I have perused them a lot and really love them.
The second most important feature here has been my blog. My blogging has been also sporadical, but I have close to 150 blog entries here (starting from 2013). Many of them are full of insights and have helped me to know myself better, and to focus on what ever goal I have at hand at a given time.
Unfortunately non of this data is downloadable now that the service closes up. Sure I can take screen shots and copy paste the blog entries, but what a job that will be (never the less, a job I will need to fit into my schedule, as I want to save my data).
Other things I have enjoyed here are that we have mostly "real" people here, most members are not "extreme" (such as body builders, fitness competitiors, athletes...), just regular folks trying to improve their lives. Don't get me wrong, super athletic people are of course real too, and I am also inspired by the more "extreme" approach, and am a member of several groups where people are working towards these types of physique, fitness and athtletic goals. But sometimes it can twist my perspective of what is "normal" for someone like myself, and that's when SparkPeople has become really helpful to balance me out mentally. I enjoy reading blogs here, and have had many lovely friends and contacts over the years.
I also enjoy the articles, they have been great for keeping my motivation and focus up.
I can truly say that SparkPeople has been very meaningful on my fitness journey. It has been a trustworthy rock to me, really! It was here when I first learned to track my food, and keep tabs on my macros. It was here where I learned that I get too little protein, and learned to adjust my diet so, that I have pretty much doubled my protein intake. It was here that I learned to track my burned calories.It was here that I learned to value data collected over time and displayed in chart form. It was here that I learned to analyse my data and fine tune my routines based on the data.
In few words, this place has been so very meaningful and helpful to me for a very long time. It will be impossible to replace, and I will miss it and you all a lot!
It's not been all roses and sunshine however. I have often criticized that the website is really in need of updating, it is really terribly out of touch with the current standards. It's really difficult to navigate, there is no tagging feature, which (to me) makes connecting and interacting with people almost impossible, and also in other ways the site is not built with interaction between people in mind (for example if I subscribe to a blog, but wont click the link on the heads up email that a new antry has been posted, the subscription goes unactive after a while, which is just silly). The mobile app has not been available outside USA, so I have not have access to it. The forums are cumbersome to use and thus not appealing at all, and so on. The ways the site tries to motivate me - spinning the wheel, spark points... - just seem waste of time to me. And the last unpleasant surprise was, that now that the site is closing down, there is no way of directly download my data and blog, but I will need to laboriously manually copy everything, and that I will be denied access to the new website because I am not in USA.
I understand the limiting to the USA only, and I truly understand that it's easier to start off with a new business and website, than update this super old and out of date website. In all honesty it is a small wonder a website and business has been able to keep alive this long, knowing the life span of most internet based services and websites. SparkPeople was very special. But I would really have appreciated a gesture of being able to download my data easily.
I know for many it has been the community side of things that has been the meat and bones of SP. Unfortunately for me, this social side has been absolutely difficult to navigate, mostly due to the archaic website interface and lacking basic features. But, we are all different, and our brains have been wired differently, and I appreciate that the features that are difficult or useless to me and a life line to someone else. It's all good.
As someone who is not in USA I will not have access to the new website, I will just need to say goodbye to everything I found helpful and worthy to come back to year after year. I will be start copying my blog entries and data, and figure out a best way to organise it. It's probably the unfortunate truth these days that apps and websites come and go, and it will not be realistic to assume there is a way to save my data somewhere for years and years, unless I make an excel document, and even that wouldn't be forever as at some point the current computer technology and programmes will be outdated and replaced with new things.
I probably won't be making new blog entries after this one, at least not health related ones. They would be just adding to the number of entries I would need to copy and safe on my computer.
So, in case I won't write any new entries during the next few months, I want to say goodbye andwish good luck to everybody! It has been great to be here, this site has been a corner stone on my fitness and health journey for 8 years, which is amazing in itself. Thank you for all the Spark friends, for all the nice comments and connections, you have all been wonderful! I will miss you and this website a LOT!
I hope your journey forward will be a smooth one, and that you will reach your goals and learn to maintain the healthy weight, I hope you will find a good replacement for this support system SP has offered.
PS. If someone want to connect over Fitbit, send me a personal message with your Fitbit name, and I will add you. I am also on FatSecret, Map my Walk, and My Fitness pal. Let's connect!
PPS. I have reached the lowest weight AND body fat percentage levels in years! I am now at 60,4 kg and 25,4%. I am still going to lower my body fat percentage, untill I am happy with it visually (I assume it will be around 20-22%). Of course building new muscle mass will be required too. I think I will soon start a few weeks long maintenance period, and then do another cutting period. My last cut has been very effective. All and all, since I reached my all time highest weight and body fat % in January 2020, which was 74 kg and 34%, I have come far! Almost 14 kg lost and almost 9% of body fat whittled away, not to mention numerous centimetres all over. (In reality I have lost more kilos and percentages, as I have had some ups and downs along the way.)