Yesterday I had a session with a shamanic healer. I met my power animal (a bear), my spirit tribe (a lovely group of fat, happy women), and my spirit guide ( a shapeshifter). I want to lose weight, and among the advice I received was the suggestion to join a group of like-minded people. “You are very good at focusing a whirlwind of people’s thoughts,” I was told, “but now you need to find a whirlwind that will guide you.”

I remembered an invitation from a friend, and so I checked out SparkPeople. Enter the whirlwind.

The site has a mind-boggling number of features. Of course, so does any number of other weight loss sites. What makes this one different, though, is that it gives you “points” for desired behavior. For example, every five minutes of cardio exercise earns one point. Reading a SparkPeople article earns three points. Posting to a SparkPeople forum earns three points. Heck, just logging in earns points!

I’m enamored with the site — especially the points, which appeal to the TAGteacher, clicker trainer in me. The teams, the articles, the recipes… I could get lost in this whirlwind. This morning I could hardly wait to start drinking water or to record my breakfast or read an article. I even went for a walk so I could earn some cardio points!

Still, I’m going to try not to go overboard. Too many changes all at once will overwhelm and frustrate me. My Fast Break goals are to drink no soda, do ten minutes of cardio per day, and to keep a journal. Rather than go nuts trying to force myself to work out, I’m going to stick to those goals for the first few days. I have an appointment with a personal trainer on Monday, so that’s soon enough to worry about kicking the workouts into high gear.

Check out the site. Sign up — it’s free. And then look me up; I’m Rainsmom.

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