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HMILLY2020 Posts: 587
4/30/13 7:49 A

You are NOT ALONE! Everything that you may struggle with, someone else on SP has (and typically, many, many people have struggled with). Any questions you have, ask! This is a great website and I wish I used it wiser when I first found it years ago but I'm finally using it to its full advantage now.

DWSCHUYLER Posts: 1,135
4/30/13 6:15 A

I agree with mplane47. Realize that it becomes a way of life, not a quick fix. As some other posters have said: tackle habits one at a time and know that there will be easy ones and hard ones (and they may not sort themselves out the way you think)!

MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (69,042)
Fitness Minutes: (40,508)
Posts: 2,170
4/30/13 6:03 A

Gauge your motivation for long term. Too often one is over-motivated in the beginning, which fades away quickly just in a couple of months. Realize that this whole transformation of life style will take much longer than a couple of months, more like a few years. If you manage to keep yourself motivated most of the time during these few years, you will succeed in transforming your life.

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,618
4/30/13 4:09 A

Get a food scale and use it for everything. Track all of your food.

FEISTYLIZARD SparkPoints: (10,175)
Fitness Minutes: (1,716)
Posts: 186
4/30/13 4:06 A

The number one thing I can suggest is to get your diet under control and to learn about nutrition. This is almost more important than exercising in the beginning, from what I found. Learning to think of food as fuel, and things like the differences between simple and complex carbs, whole grains, "good fats" and "bad fats', lean proteins, balanced diets, etc. can make all of the difference. Change your eating habits, get into a routine, and allow your body to adjust to the changes you've made, before you take on a full exercise commitment. If you've never ate healthy and balanced before, you will most likely lose weight with ease. Before I ate healthy, my weight sat around 175lbs without exercise outside of my regular routine. Now, it's about 155.

SPAYYOURCAT SparkPoints: (78,245)
Fitness Minutes: (60,550)
Posts: 2,738
4/29/13 11:14 P

1-Track EVERYTHING you eat.

2-Exercise, by that I mean do something to the point of sweating (if you are able). I see so many gals sign up at the gym, and then walk at a leisurely pace on the treadmill for 20 minutes and go home. A month later they quit because they don't think it is doing any good. You gotta sweat, the more the better, to really make progress!

3-Hire a personal trainer; even for a short while. They can keep you motivated and teach you about strength training. It will help you not only physically, but it will help you mentally feel much more comfortable working in the weight area.

CLARK971 SparkPoints: (29,641)
Fitness Minutes: (23,602)
Posts: 827
4/29/13 5:35 P

baby steps!

focus on non scale victories too. (fitness minutes, number of veggie servings a day...)

Edited by: CLARK971 at: 4/30/2013 (06:35)
BODYLIKEBRIT SparkPoints: (1,814)
Fitness Minutes: (189)
Posts: 41
4/29/13 1:49 P

Weight loss does not have to be a struggle. Once you get into the groove, the rest takes care of itself.

The way to get into that groove really is small changes. When I tell myself that all I need is ten minutes on the treadmill I always want to do more, every single time.

For me, I find it very important to find exercise that I truly enjoy.

Exercise and healthy eating clearly are the biggest staples in a healthy lifestyle. The secret to keeping the weight off, though, is exercise. Several years ago I lost a large amount of weight. Unfortunately once I reached my goal I stopped with my healthy diet, which obviously I wouldn't recommend. But since I continued exercising, the weight stayed off for almost two years. It wasn't until I stopped working out that I gained it back.

My point is, keep moving, for good!

Good luck us all!

Edited by: BODYLIKEBRIT at: 4/29/2013 (13:53)
KAVDEO Posts: 114
4/29/13 12:30 P

My best tips would be

- Drink one glass of water before every meal
- In the initial phases don't count calories but track your food and try to make it healthier
- While in the gym do not get intimidated by super fit people but get inspired. Try to talk to them and learn from them what made them what they are.

JGIRL5799 Posts: 561
4/29/13 11:04 A

I wished I learned some of these tricks when I was a newbie..

They are all very good suggestions..

I had to realize that you can be your wost enemy on things.

Write everything down, (even when you sneak that one Hershey kiss)
When you cheat your only cheating yourself, so be true

Change one habit at a time.. it takes about 3weeks to develop a good habit..
Don't put so much on your plate that it will make you fustrated.. work on one thing at a time, day by day until you don't have to remind yourself of it anymore, than add your second most change that you want.. It can be anything from food changes to working out.

Learn to self talk positive to yourself, affirmation positives... everyday listen or talk to yourself in a positive way and keep thoughts positive..Don't believe the negatives or try to self destroy yourself with excuses.

Know the only person that can stop you is you... keep going, every day you move or eat well, its one step closer to your goals, know everything doesn't happen overnight, do it for life..

Know that the scale is not the only thing that you measure your goals with there are other things as strength, health (food), inches and other non scale victories like turning down your trigger foods and by passing the bad things at the buffet.

Good luck!!!

EARTH-ANGEL Posts: 310
4/29/13 12:24 A

Keep it simple and take it slow!

4/28/13 11:41 P

What has worked to get me to day 20 with no sugar

Measure as all food on label count says example 60 calories for one cup not three or four

I turned to fruit like strawberrys and mini cuties to get off table sugar

I am using splenda

I write each meals calories before i eat the meal if one item is to high dont eat it

Do not buy junk or your eat it if your down

When i am tempted i say hay your at day 20 and dont want sugar now if you eat one cookie you

will want more and have to start over. This makes me think

Hot air popcorn

Wassa crackers

If item says 100 for 3 or serving half it and save rest for later you do not have to eat 3 at once

Yard work is my exercise as i never could do regular exercise much

Good luck to all

HERE_ONCE_AGAIN SparkPoints: (792)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 34
4/28/13 11:39 P

recognize trigger foods and stay away from them

I new for years Macaroni is a comfort food, so I try to stay away

Italian bread, fagettabout it, if I buy a loaf or two, by the end of the day GONE

Today, I found a new one GREEK feta crissants or pastry thingy, A big NO NO for me.

its weird cuz I thought it wasnt that processed, but now after the day is gone, I think they are processed. They are frozen and are written in greek, so I dont even know the ingrients or the amount of calories but I know I felt I wanted more

So, Newbies, if you recognize your trigger foods, Outta state Outta mind. Just don't buy them

LISAR333 Posts: 83
4/28/13 8:36 P

I agree with the others, take it slow and just 1 change at a time. If you try to change too much it can be very overwhelming, and easier to cave to temptations.

As you make healthier choices more often, they become the easier options and those old things that you used to love don't taste nearly as good as you remembered and are easier to pass up the next time.

Also don't beat yourself up for giving in and having that double chocolate cake (or anything that may be your weakness). One slip will not break you, and neither will just 1 healthy meal. You have to repeat those actions to make a difference.

SARAHTHERESA70 SparkPoints: (1,964)
Fitness Minutes: (235)
Posts: 6
4/28/13 8:04 P

I'm a newbie in my first week and I so desire to change my lifestyle and be healthier. These first few days with Sparks support have been w/o the feeling of failure that hits hard when I try to diet. It is rewarding, thanks for your encouraging words as I work through my goals.

BERKANA_T Posts: 138
4/28/13 6:43 P

Make a commitment to a lifestyle, not a diet, and remember that you have your whole life to accomplish your goals. Also, remember that it is YOUR lifestyle, not someone else's. No one else can tell you what will or will not work for you. Figuring it out what works for you takes a bit of work, but it can be extremely rewarding as well.

LJBRANDOK Posts: 178
4/28/13 6:42 P

What worked for me was setting small monthly goals rather than weekly. Women's weight can fluctuate so much depending on their cycle. I also used the calorie differential report to see why I was or wasn't losing as quickly as I wanted to. For me, it was all about the numbers.This site has worked for me for over two years now, so it can work for anyone.

TOBESTRONGER SparkPoints: (1,496)
Fitness Minutes: (1,221)
Posts: 39
4/28/13 6:35 P

I have been on this site for almost a month now and here are my suggestions

1. take it slow. you didn't get this way over night
2. have mini goals. Mine is every 10lbs. I don't think about the 132lbs i want to lose i just think about those 10 lbs that way you don't feel overwhelmed
3. learn to read labels
4. don't beat yourself up if you eat wrong.
5. find your sweet spot in your calorie range. (mine is 1250 to 1650) i feel great right around 1400. will it vary.. yup don't sweat it
6. educate yourself on how much sodium you should consume and other nurtients
7. Remember this: this is not a diet, this is a lifestyle change.. its hard to swallow because some people can eat what they want and be sticks.. and others can't. I will have to watch what i eat the rest of my life.. but that's a small price to pay to get healthy, stay healthy, and not die because i could have prevented it.

BUTRFLY_FREEDOM SparkPoints: (19,216)
Fitness Minutes: (6,344)
Posts: 2,240
4/28/13 4:50 P

Ditch all or nothing thinking.

Don't eliminate a food from your diet all at once. Practice moderation. Just "one less" than yesterday is better than going without for a month and then bingeing.

ILUVTHE80S Posts: 1,452
4/28/13 2:42 P

Do what works for you and don't worry about what other people are doing to lose weight. I have lost weight very slowly, but I haven't gained any of it back (other than a couple bouts of bloating from not drinking water). I have seen a couple co-workers lose weight really quickly and then put it all back on again. Don't do anything to lose weight that you don't think you can maintain (ie. exercising 3 hours a day, etc). Another important tip, drink your water! It is really true, you will feel so much better, alert, and less hungry.

WUNDERCHIC2010 Posts: 153
4/28/13 2:29 P

Don't give up when the scale stops moving!

I lose weight very well for a few weeks and I'm feeling great, then I hit a plateau. It is so discouraging! It has happened to me many times and I've seen it happen to others.

Eventually, the scale will move again. And there are so many other ways to measure your success! Take your body measurements. Think about how much better you are feeling. And use the great support network we have here on this site. Just don't give up!

FIFIFRIZZLE Posts: 2,063
4/28/13 1:55 P

Go for the bonus spin every day. It will help you use all the tools on the site.
Book exercise appointments and stick with them, and if you can't, reschedule any missed appointments. Keep on trying different exercise until you find the ones you like, then exercise will become a joy. But until then, keep exercising anyway!
A combination of increased exercise and different food choices is your key to success.
Make your health your number one priority until you have released the weight you plan to lose. Then plan for maintenance.

LNTHACKER94 SparkPoints: (14,329)
Fitness Minutes: (23,227)
Posts: 25
4/28/13 9:11 A

Take it slow at first.When I started I made a boo boo in that department. I started walking an hour and it wore me out, so instead I toned it down to walk 30 minutes, then gradually worked my way up. And, of course, do not beat yourself up for the small things. If you slip just keep going, it takes time, and no one is perfect. There are always going to be slip ups, just pick yourself up and keep going. Everything takes time to get what you really want.

CSWEET12 SparkPoints: (29,418)
Fitness Minutes: (11,068)
Posts: 516
4/28/13 8:46 A

Every day is new day, so do not beat your self up. This is the third time I am re-starting this journey. Your mindset is the first and biggest part for me. Once you are ready to do this, it is a snap. Follow your calorie range, drink your water, do some exercise and the rest worry about itself. It all works together!

DUNNAL SparkPoints: (10,214)
Fitness Minutes: (14,138)
Posts: 53
4/28/13 8:12 A

These are all great. Thanks.

HERE_ONCE_AGAIN SparkPoints: (792)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 34
4/28/13 1:24 A

I've read chewing your food more helps in digestion. I've also read it takes 20 minutes for the brain to send signals of feeling full. With that said, my tip for newbies

Use Chopsticks with your meals. It really does take longer to eat and you aren't able to add huge amounts of food. Its almost a chore to eat.

or choose smaller utensils to eat with

LAST20FORME SparkPoints: (4,152)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 158
4/28/13 1:13 A

Take here what is comfortable for you and what you can live with for the long haul. You want to make this a lifestyle and a lifestyle is something second nature to you and not a struggle. Don't deprive yourself but make your favorite foods in a healthier but tasty way. Make his the last time you will have to lose weight in your life.

WORDWOMAN7 SparkPoints: (11,240)
Fitness Minutes: (2,874)
Posts: 154
4/27/13 11:19 P

Read as much as you can on the SP website and educate yourself (or refresh what you once learned) about nutrition, proper exercise, and other topics. What you learn will really come in handy!

Also, learn how to balance your meals. If one meal has pretty high numbers, look for a recipe that will enable you to still meet your goals. The recipe database is also a great resource.

ON-FIRE1 SparkPoints: (1,793)
Fitness Minutes: (365)
Posts: 26
4/27/13 10:20 P

I started having a green smoothie every morning for breakfast. This helped me incorporate more veggies in my diet. I got used to them so salads aren't such a bad thing. Eat clean and become familiar with the dirty dozen and clean 15 produce. This will save you money in the long run. The dirty dozen should always be bought organic. I find the organic taste much better. You may even start to enjoy fruits and vegetables!

MARF226 Posts: 168
4/27/13 9:56 P

Throw out the scale!! Or at least hide it so you aren't tempted to weigh every day. Once a week is plenty, and it actually helped me stay on track at first because I wanted that one weigh in to be a good number. But some days are better than others. Some weeks are better than others. Better to accept it and keep chugging along than to worry about the number on the scale.

JAYDEE1211 SparkPoints: (30,040)
Fitness Minutes: (23,010)
Posts: 62
4/27/13 8:50 P

Try to avoid making a lot of changes all at once. Start small, such as committing to 10 minutes exercise everyday or reducing sugar. Consistency is really important although don't let a slip up destroy your day.

KIM685 Posts: 10
4/27/13 6:09 P

Mindset is so important! Don't think of diet changes as temporary. Focus on eating to nourish your body, and just let it go and move on when you over-indulge.

SUPERMODUS SparkPoints: (12,832)
Fitness Minutes: (11,961)
Posts: 50
4/27/13 5:46 P

I'd say, if you live with others and don't have a big say on what food comes in the house (like me), improvise. If the people you live with are big on junk food and the bad stuff, definitely focus on limiting your portions and saving leftovers. What's "supposed" to be a big, fattening meal, like hamburgers and fries, can be split into two or three meals if you're careful about it.

Also: water. Try to switch to water as soon as you can (and like another person said -- if it's too much at once, go slow). In my household, 90% of the drinks are empty-calorie sodas, but it's pretty easy to avoid all that by drinking about 8 to 10 cups of water a day.

HERE_ONCE_AGAIN SparkPoints: (792)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 34
4/27/13 4:20 P

"Breakfast the most important meal of the day" was always drilled into my head, my biggest problem it went in one ear and out the other.

Mornings can be hectic and coffee is an appetite suppressant and a stimulant. I noticed in myself when I eat breakfast before coffee, coffee is not that alluring any longer, my body got what it need from healthy nutrients and coffee sits in the cup. I tend to drink more water this way too, coffee dehydrates the body

Tips for newbies:
Drink coffee after eating your breakfast

SIMONEKP Posts: 2,615
4/27/13 4:17 P

try different points on your calorie range and find your sweet spot.

HEALTHY-SPARK SparkPoints: (43,079)
Fitness Minutes: (49,966)
Posts: 1,073
4/27/13 3:37 P

I try to plan out my meals for the week, or at least have a go-to option (for example, I like to make a "salad starter" at the beginning of each week for easy meals during the week after work -- check out my blog on it). Also, I plan out which days for exercise, and what I'm planning to do and put it on my calendar. It's not to say that sometimes things don't get rearranged, but at least if it's on my calendar, it feels more like a *real* appointment.

JAMIRBLAZE Posts: 1,427
4/27/13 2:50 P

Plan your meals for the week before you go to the grocery store and only buy for those meals/snacks. Try batch cooking. Plan to use leftovers for another meal later in the week (lunch, etc). I live alone, so I make 2-3 dishes on Sunday to eat all week.

POPSECRET SparkPoints: (70,353)
Fitness Minutes: (84,278)
Posts: 2,043
4/27/13 2:46 P

Trying to make too many drastic changes at once can be overwhelming. Start small and work your way into a new lifestyle that works for you :)

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,182
4/27/13 2:38 P

This is about a lifestyle - YOUR lifestyle - and not some soon-over fad diet aimed at general Joe Q Public.

Don't be afraid of "doing something wrong" or "breaking the rules" - there are no rules, and living your life can not be wrong!

Don't be afraid to discard the things that don't appeal or work for you, but take a tip from here, a trick from there, and a few ideas from somewhere else to gradually create something unique that works for your unique body and brings happiness into your life.

KLUTZY68 SparkPoints: (3,060)
Fitness Minutes: (2,289)
Posts: 179
4/27/13 2:27 P

Be kind and forgiving to yourself. A bad day does not mean you're a failure; everyone has them.

4/27/13 2:15 P

Find some support. Be it a friend, family member or a Sparkgroup/ buddy, having someone to hear your struggles and successes will make sticking to your plan a little easier.

JUULEE SparkPoints: (7,178)
Fitness Minutes: (1,588)
Posts: 92
4/27/13 1:22 P

It can be really hard if you aren't a regular water drinker to go from zero to eight glasses a day.

To get into the habit try flavored waters and put it with a glass in an open space where you can't but help notice it. Think about treating yourself to a new glass especially for this drink - make it your special treat :-).

TACDGB Posts: 6,136
4/27/13 1:19 P

get the junk food out of the house.........if it isn't there you can't eat it.

HERE_ONCE_AGAIN SparkPoints: (792)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 34
4/27/13 12:45 P

Find staple foods that are easy to prepare for the days that are not going as plan

my staple is Oatmeal, tbsp Peanut butter. This is one thing I can totally depend on when the going gets tough.

Scenario: I'm running late and missed breakfast it going on 10:30 am and the laundry is in the dryer or the meter needs quarters, see how this can become hectic and than fast food resturants rely on this. We choose the wrong foods.

one minute oatmeal and a tbsp of PB holds well for days like that

love this topic Best tips for newbies

SCRAPPYDOO9 SparkPoints: (4,452)
Fitness Minutes: (3,792)
Posts: 36
4/27/13 12:43 P

Make long-term lifestyle changes that are sustainable.

WHOLENEWME79 Posts: 949
4/27/13 11:29 A

Eat real food as much as possible, avoiding prepackaged foods that are loaded with salt and other yuck.

If you don't normally eat fruit or vegetables, aim for 1 serving of either at each meal and a snack- right away that will put you at 4 servings a day, so you are half way there. Plus, they are low calorie and high nutrient & fiber, both of which will help you feel better and lose weight.

4/27/13 11:27 A

Procure a decent kitchen scale, and use it religiously.

STARSHINEFL SparkPoints: (1,072)
Fitness Minutes: (40)
Posts: 158
4/27/13 11:12 A

Track for a week before you start trying to make changes. Figuring out your baseline makes it a lot easier to know what changes you need to make. It can also help you decide how to interpret where to start within your calorie range (e.g., if you know you were maintaining your current weight at 1800 cal/day without exercise, trying to cut back to 1200/day plus exercising isn't necessary or realistic and will probably stall your weight loss).

HLKLJGK SparkPoints: (45,206)
Fitness Minutes: (19,195)
Posts: 528
4/27/13 11:00 A

"Eat like a diabetic," even if you aren't.

Utilize the Diabetic Meal Tracker here, and balance out your macro-nutrients per meal. This made all the difference for me. It eliminated the food cravings I was having, and I even started eating less naturally.

I also think the right foods are important; when you fulfill your micro-nutrient needs, healthy food choices seem easier. Check out Dr. Andrew Weil;s anti-inflammatory food pyramid:

Edited by: HLKLJGK at: 4/27/2013 (11:01)
APPRIL Posts: 2,239
4/27/13 10:01 A

What are your best tips for newbies?

1 - Start at the midrange of your caloric range. Too often, the lower end of the range is not enough food.

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