Greetings and - I'm really glad you've joined us!!
Congrats on getting active with SparkPeople - it's a great community, wonderful resources and fantastic support- it's also lots of fun and easy to make friends because we're all in this together.
Sometimes the best way to start is to just pick a small goal such as drinking 8 glasses of water a day or eating 5 fruits and veggies plus a small exercise goal such as increasing whatever you've been doing by 10%. There's a great article explaining how one or two changes can lead to long-term success - you can read the article at http://www.dailyspark.com/blog.asp?p ost=one_healthy_change_leads_to_another . I like the way a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE is emphasized here instead of a 'quick fix wonder diet' and another nice thing about SparkPeople is that we have permission to be human - we don't have to change everything at once or be in a hurry to reach our goals. Take a few baby steps and then a few more and before you know it, you'll have completed a long journey - I hope you enjoy this community as much as I have - it teaches us how to make positive lifetime changes because that's the only thing that will work over time!
Please check out SparkTeams - you can choose them by age group, lifestyle or interests, geographic location, common goals such as a certain weight loss or several other ways. I'd also like to invite you to join the Virtual Walk/Run/Cycle Thru the US @ exercise.lbl.gov SparkTeam - it's a really fun way to track your walking while you travel 'virtually' across America from Virginia to Oregon. Go to the SparkTeam page at www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i ndividual.asp?gid=19805 for more information. If you're a fan of The Biggest Loser reality television show, you might enjoy the Biggest Loser Fans SparkTeam - you can find it at http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/g roups_individual.asp?gid=3822 - whatever you choose to do, I hope you find teams of people who share your interests!
If you ever need any help using features of the site, there are tutorial videos under the HELP section that can show you how to use the features of the site and great FAQs for many topics. You can also find them on the START page and several other places on the site. I wish you the best on your journey!!!
Are you competitive by nature? One of my daily goals is to hit 100 SparkPoints. When I do that, I've not only read articles, I've interacted with other members by reading and commenting on their blogs and writing my own blog. 100 points gets me here and gets me active each and every day.
When I started, I made the commitment to workout daily and write a blog about it. On days when I don't feel like doing it, I think about the blog I need to write and I certainly do NOT want to write that I was lazy and did not work out.
Maintain your goals on your SparkPage (that's what all the goal-setting gurus write about) and make the goals public on your page. Write about it on your blog every day.
Weight loss = calorie maintenance, cardio, and strength. Calorie maintenance is every day, cardio is at least five days per week, and strength is 3 to 4 days per week. I believe you need all three for a successful weight loss and fitness program.
Above all, be consistent. Doing something toward you goal every day will pay big rewards over the next few months. You can do this!