My Best Advice for Those Just Starting Out


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  93 comments   :  24,865 Views

One of the most difficult things to do is change.  Some people thrive on it; I’m not one of those people.  A little here and there is good enough for me.  When it comes to changing your body, we all want it fast and now, including me. Now where was that genie in a bottle infomercial number I took down last night?
The number one advice I have for people is to embrace your change and your journey.  Make your changes slowly and for real.  If you’re the type who cleans out the kitchen, gets rid of all the food, swears to exercise an hour a day, and starve the fat off no matter what it takes, you too will burn with passion and have some success... that is until the burnout hits hard.
One of my mantras is "Aim for better every day, never perfect right away."  We can all achieve better, but not one of us will achieve perfect.  So quit holding yourself up to perfect standards.  Better standards are worth aiming for--always challenge yourself.
To challenge yourself you don’t need to jump out of your chair and run a 5K.  It may be a challenge for you to walk to the mailbox.  You also don’t need to eat lettuce for every meal.  Taking a few less bites is a good first goal.  Maybe order a size down from your usual or use a smaller plate.  Try to push yourself gently in the right direction, but don’t push so hard that you push yourself down.
Setting yourself up for success is also crucial.  You need proper storage ware to put leftovers in immediately.  They also help make lunches for the week or your own frozen dinners.  It’s necessary to have measuring cups, spoons, and a food scale.  These things help you determine serving sizes.  Many times we "eyeball" a serving size and we are way off base.
Have some clothes that make you want to move.  They can be any clothes.  If nobody is home and you want to wear something you would never be caught out in public wearing, this is YOUR workout time.  It’s your treat to wear whatever you want or that makes you feel good about your body.
Great music is a must for workouts.  I keep a playlist just for workouts of songs I really love.  Then it’s a treat to hear them when I workout, so I workout longer and harder.
I hope my tips help you.  They’ve helped me lose 150 pounds and keep it off. 
What are your best pieces of advice for someone just starting out?

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  • 93
    I'm not new to Spark, but this is great advice!!! Well done, Beth! - 1/28/2012   6:37:40 AM
  • 92
    What a great blog, and the comments that have been posted to it also! I love the advice about not having to be perfect, just aim to improve and get better each day. Slow progress guarantees success! I can't wait to tell you all about my success when I experience it!! Right now I'm just sticking to the plan and trying to be patient.... - 1/26/2012   1:16:11 PM
  • 91
    My best advice also is to start slowly. When I started I bought a kitchen scale and measuring cups and started with just portion control. Later as I read the spark recipes and the nutrition articles I added whole wheat and black beans and started making my recipes healthier. Soon after that I cleaned out the kitchen of junk foods or I should say just didn't replace them as they ran out. A couple of months into my journey I started walking to the mail box and then started adding steps to that and so on so forth. I didn't strain myself with all of the changes at once and I think that is one of the reasons I have kept on my journey. After while it just becomes a way of life. - 1/13/2012   3:24:09 PM
  • 90
    Beth I love your advice and will take it. In the past to stay motivated I wanted to see the scales go down everyday and when I am dieting the urge to weigh myself everyday is overwhelming at times. So learning to weigh myself once a week and lose weight at a slower pace will be new to me. I have been a SP member since this past Sunday and I have weighed myself twice. So that is doing pretty good for me. My plan is not to weigh myself again until this coming Sunday morning.

    Congradulation on your own weight loss. It is amazing!!! - 1/13/2012   2:50:02 PM
  • 89
    "Try to push yourself gently in the right direction, but don’t push so hard that you push yourself down."

    A marvelous quote! Beth, you've done it again! - 1/11/2012   2:40:20 PM
  • 88
    Do what works for you and if something doesn't work....don't worry about it!!! - 1/11/2012   11:04:05 AM
  • 87
    I'm so glad to see this, and you're mantra is so encouraging. I am a returning member of SP and have had the problem of pushing myself down:) Now my greatest challenge is to keep it slow and steady. Good work on your weightless and thank you for the encouragement. - 1/10/2012   10:19:30 PM
  • 86
    Great stuff, ladies! I just keep telling myself simply, "I can do this." Because I can. As women, we do so much for everyone else. And we do it all well. So, yes, we CAN do this, too. - 1/10/2012   3:12:58 PM
  • MZJONES143
    Thank you so much for the advice. It is what I have been telling myself this week, but its awesome to hear it from someone else. I have been drinking only water, eating more fruits and veggies, and not eating after 8pm. I know these steps are small and I was thinking maybe I should be doing more, but now I know that slow and steady can win the race. I'm committed:) - 1/10/2012   9:59:02 AM
  • N16351D
    My advice for those starting out is to be consistent. Small changes made consistently over time will add up to big changes later on. Be encouraged and stay with it! - 1/10/2012   8:44:10 AM
  • 83
    Great advice. I love 'start small.' It works for me even if I've just fallen off the wagon and need to get going again. - 1/10/2012   8:39:19 AM
  • 82
    Great advice thank you for sharing - 1/9/2012   10:07:54 PM
  • FAT2FIT101
    Congrats on your weight loss. I appreciate the tips! - 1/9/2012   9:41:07 PM
  • 80
    Excellent advice! Another thing I recommend is to acknowledge three healthy choices you made each day in a journal or on SparkPeople. Over time, you'll look for ways to be healthier - just to be able to celebrate them at the end of the day : ) - 1/9/2012   11:20:54 AM
  • 79
    Embrace the fact that leading a healthy lifestyle is a life's journey! That's why I stay away from "dieting" and eat healthy, moderately, and safely," every day of my life. It works! All the best on your journey! - 1/9/2012   11:06:43 AM
  • 78
    Great words to live by.... thanks!! My personal mantra similar to yours is "Go Slow, Start Low" .... when you are tired, the goal is to meet your expectations; when you are feeling good, exceeding those goals feels GREAT! - 1/9/2012   1:03:44 AM
  • 77
    Thanks for sharing these wonderful tips. My husband and I are encouraging each other by helping each other record our food intake. We remind each other to just be accountable for what we eat. We are not trying to be perfect and we don't knock each other down when we fail, we just give the best support possible.
    Also, I agree on portion control. When I serve a meal, I pull put the measuring cups and spoons. It has helped us a great deal to know exactly how much we are taking in! - 1/8/2012   7:58:09 PM
  • 76
    Thanks Beth, great advice. It's the end of my first week and I feel like I can actually do this for life! We ate out twice this weekend and I stayed within my limits!
    Another Beth - 1/8/2012   6:55:40 PM
    My advice to those just starting to exercise - find something you like to do. If you don't like the gym, find something you can do at home. Go to the library to borrow videos, look for online workouts, turn on the stereo and dance. Be open to different types of exercise. I've done everything from walking on the treadmill and using the weight machines at the gym, Pilates, step aerobics, etc., to swimming to Zumba classes, and I've just signed up for a hula hooping class and I'll be 60 this year. I figure, I'll try anything once, and if I don't like it, I'll try something else. - 1/8/2012   2:30:24 PM
  • 74
    Track everything...but take your measurements...lots of them...not just bust - waist - hips.. do upper arms, forearms, wrists upper and lower thighs, calves, ankles... It was those measurements that kept me going when my weight wasn't budging and I got discouraged....Those numbers kept going down.... so I knew something was happening - 1/8/2012   10:00:41 AM
  • 73
    Thank you Beth, the Mantras "Aim for better every day, never perfect right away." I wish it was right away, I've been told all my lift I would always be fat & never amount to anything. I have tried all kinds of diets but after a few weeks family didn't see any improvements & would ask me if I quit my diet. without support I gave up. So hopefully this will keep me going one day at time with newbies & pros to talk to. THANK YOU - 1/8/2012   9:53:50 AM
    Love your advice and am working toward embracing it! Thank you! - 1/8/2012   9:47:17 AM
    Thanks for reminding me we don't have to be perfect right away! - 1/8/2012   9:04:08 AM
  • 70
    Great just what I needed to hear. - 1/8/2012   9:02:37 AM
  • 69
    I love your mantra, "Aim for better every day, never perfect right away." I've been practicing telling myself "I don't have to be perfect to be wonderful" and it makes SUCH a difference. I'm actually making progress instead of beating myself up! Thank you for the wonderful advice! - 1/8/2012   1:33:59 AM
  • 68
    Those are some great tips! Thank you so much!! :) - 1/8/2012   12:50:03 AM
  • MISHA58
    Thanks for the great sensible advice. - 1/7/2012   9:41:13 PM
    Thanks for this encouraging blog post, Beth! I just did the first class of a 6 week, 12 class Body Blast Bootcamp today, and I need to remember "Aim for better every day, never perfect right away." :-) God bless! - 1/7/2012   8:44:55 PM
  • 65

    When I first started Spark, I joined a dozen teams, set 20 daily goals and DIDN'T DO ANY OF THEM!

    After several start-overs, finally go it. Picked 6 glasses of water and 5 minutes of exercise daily. After a couple of weeks, upped.

    We are re-learning a lifetime of bad habits. Slow is ok.
    - 1/7/2012   8:16:01 PM
  • 64
    This is awesome and so inspiring! Thank you for posting you made my night. - 1/7/2012   7:40:28 PM
  • MARJIM21
    Just starting today and this article was very helpful. I will try for better and have patience and will go toward my goal in a steadier manner. Any weight loss and/or fitter body is a positive goal. Thanks for your words of encouragement. - 1/7/2012   7:35:56 PM
  • SARHOD99
    Love this - thank you! I needed this! - 1/7/2012   6:58:54 PM
  • 61
    I love this comment: My advice to new members? Take things one healthy meal, one exercise, one positive day at a time and to always believe in themselves they can do this, one pound at a time.

    I can do this, and I will do this.... one meal, one exercise, one day, one pound at a time. - 1/7/2012   6:55:50 PM
    Thank you because I want to lose 200 lbs like you, but I am only about 25 down, so I have a ways to go. - 1/7/2012   6:25:32 PM
  • 59
    "Aim for better every day, never perfect right away"
    Love this one, great Blog too Pat in Maine. THANKS - 1/7/2012   5:56:59 PM
  • 58
    Love , Love... LOVE this Beth !

    No wonder your are so successful turning it around ....

    Thankyou and I completely agree - 1/7/2012   5:13:08 PM
    Great ideas. My fear is weighing on Monday and allowing myself to stop doing what I did for a week. Thanks for the motivation. - 1/7/2012   4:58:56 PM
  • 56
    Just what I needed to "hear". Thanks. - 1/7/2012   4:35:09 PM
  • DARCY19812000
    Start each day fresh. Dont let one bad day ruin you. Take this from a girl who has lost 120 lbs
    - 1/7/2012   4:31:12 PM
  • MOLO78
    I am a newby. On day 6. I have been able to keep with in my calorie range but started to notice unsettleness. I am not hungry but I am not content. I feel stressed and anxiety. Must be wanting the carbs like chocolate. - 1/7/2012   3:22:37 PM
  • 53
    Another good article Beth. You are so good at motivating. - 1/7/2012   3:16:47 PM
    Great article. - 1/7/2012   2:32:03 PM
  • 51
    My best advice is to start small- you don't have to completely overhaul WHAT you eat, just HOW MUCH. Try to eat less to start out. - 1/7/2012   2:20:14 PM
    As many have said before me, the mantra, "Aim for better every day, never perfect right away," resonates. In fact, I may change the signature on my emails to include this mindset. Thanks for keeping me motivated as the newness and excitement of the Spark People program is starting to wane for me. I will continue to look for motivational pieces to keep me on track until these lifestyle changes become habit.


    Jeff - 1/7/2012   2:13:37 PM
  • 49
    Great tips and words of encouragement for us newbies. Thanks - 1/7/2012   1:02:45 PM
    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this comment!!!! "Try to push yourself gently in the right direction, but don’t push so hard that you push yourself down." That is so true in so many aspects of life - thank you for succinctly stating a powerful life lesson. - 1/7/2012   12:23:31 PM
  • 47
    Awesome! Your ideas make so much sense. Most are things I already try to incorporate....and I think I'll make a sign for my refrigerator "Aim for better every day, never perfect right away." - 1/7/2012   11:49:42 AM
    Love your mantra!--"Aim for better every day, never perfect right away." - 1/7/2012   11:43:23 AM
    set a series of goals then divide by 2 - 1/7/2012   11:31:47 AM
  • 44
    Excellent advice! This is SO right on and SO me! I'm one that starts out with 110% dedication, expecting perfection, then I hit burnout and end up gaining even more weight than I'd intended to lose. Thanks for this article.... I'm taking your advice this time around--this will be my LAST "diet" ever. I'm changing my lifestyle. Thanks! - 1/7/2012   11:13:46 AM

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