Hi, Teri. Welcome to Spark People. You've come to the right place to start your weight loss journey. Whatever you do - never give up. If you slip, just get right back into things here. It's important to just track the foods you are eating, for the first week or two, before you change your diet. It's also important to do the check-in where they ask your current weight, your current activity level, and health issues you may have. This allows them to calculate the amount of calories you need to consume each day & to make a nutrition program suited to your health needs. Then look at the meal plan they make for you & try to follow it, substituting your favorite veggies & fruits & breads & cereals that most closely mimics their suggestions. Go ahead & start your strength training & exercises, using their fitness tracker. Alternate Strength training & Core exercises w/ your cardio (dancing, zumba, walking, etc). By starting the exercise program first, you'll build some muscle & rev up your metabolic rate, preparing your body for the changes ahead. Then when you do start changing your diet, your body won't go into the starvation mode. So start small - change from whole milk to 2%, use 2% cheeses (there are a lot out there), switch to low calorie multi-grain or whole wheat bread, rolls, & buns. Buy leaner cuts of meats & learn to broil or steam them. We love steamed vegetables & salmon sprinkled w/ Johnny's Seasoning salt. Make sure you get a meat from ALL of the groups each week (beef, pork, fish, poultry) and fill in the other days w/ hearty vegetable soup, a pasta dish, and a stir-fry. This breaks the monotony & satisfies your cravings. Added seasonings can help boost your metabolism & aid digestion while at the same time boosting your weight loss. There is an article on here that lists those spices, but here are a few that helped me - ground red cayenne pepper, turmeric, ginger, garlic, onions, cinnamon, etc. Plan your meals each week & you can use your left-over meats in stir-fries or pasta dishes, or for meat-salad-sandwiches. In the beginning, while your stomach is still shrinking, fill up with cabbage soup (made w/ cabbage, onions, sw gr peppers, celery, diced tomatoes w/ the above added seasonings, with the exception of the cinnamon in this case, lol). It is a free food. I also make sure I have something warm to drink during my meals - tea, coffee, Spicy Hot V-8 Vegetable Juice, or hot chocolate. This keeps you feeling fuller longer & aids in digestion of the food. When having beef or pork for meals, take a tbsp of vinegar mixed w/ a tsp of honey in 1/4 c warm water abt a half hour before you eat. It helps break down the meat so that you digest it faster. Drink your 8 eight oz glasses of water - it not only fills you up, but it lubricates your joints & body tissues & organs & washes the toxins away. You'll be amazed at how quickly former aches & pains disappear. Good luck & remember you can send me messages or ask me questions anytime you want to. I lost 65 lbs the first time I started SparkPeople, but when I stopped exercising, I gained 30 of it back. Now I'm back to lose another 65 lbs & get my health back FOR GOOD. The best thing you can do here is to try to get as many Spark Points as possible - beause when you do, it is a reflection of the articles you've read which will help you eat & exercise right, and an indication that you have done your exercises & tracked your food & let Spark People professionals help you on your way.