Congrats on taking the next step to reaching a healthier you by getting active with SparkPeople - it's a great community, wonderful resources and fantastic support. You're off to a great start already!
Please check out the SparkTeams - I think you will find a lot of others 'just like you' including many with the same challenges, circumstances and goals. You can choose SparkTeams by age group, lifestyle or interests, geographic location or several other ways.
Some of the teams I like and think you might like include the Official 10-minute Daily Exercise Streak Challenge, Starting Over Weekly Mini-Challenge Team, 10k Steps A Day and Motivation & Positive Attitude Plan - but there are so many to choose from, you can have a great time looking for the ones that seem to fit you best! In fact, I suggest joining more than one group, post your intro there and write blogs as often as you can - you will find tons of friends and support that way, I promise!!
In my experience, SparkPeople is like a in some ways - it's lots of fun and easy to make friends because we're all in this together. I like the way a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE is emphasized instead of a 'quick fix wonder diet' so it's good for people wanting to lose weight, maintain a previous loss, get healthier, improve fitness and many other goals including gaining weight or saving money - it's about waaaaaay more than 'just' losing weight so you have definitely come to the right place!
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. You can also find them on the START page and several other places on the site.
Be sure to read and 'study' The Spark book because it outlines the overall program and is compatible with most types of eating plans. If you haven't already discovered the SparkDiet linked at the bottom of the START page, check it out - the program is simple but extremely effective. There is a TON of information on this site - so much it might even seem overwhelming but fortunately we don't have to 'digest' everything at once! The FastBreak program is a good way to start.
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!
Hi Betsy and welcome to Spark People where you will find lots of information and tons of support and encouragement from all our members. You will find that we also have fun along the way. Drink your 8-8oz glasses of water a day (If you only drink one now, add to as you are able until you are drinking your 8 cups or more a day), watch your portion control (measure everything in the beginning...guaranteed it will get easier) and walk, dance or do any exercise you enjoy (start with 10 minutes a day or several times a day and add to it as you are able or have time) or do any other exercise you enjoy. Use your fitness and nutrition tracker daily (guaranteed to work if you use them consistently and honestly). Pick one thing to change...one thing at a time. Don't try to change to many things at once as that can be very overwhelming. Just try to take one step, one minute, one hour, one day, one week at a time. They honestly will all add up to the bigger numbers. These tips will definitely help in lowering your numbers and increasing your ability to enjoy life. Don't expect miracles right away...this is a lifestyle change not a diet. You will be much healthier in the long run. Post any concerns, comments or questions you may have and someone will respond quickly. Start each day with a positive thought just for that day. Reading and reflecting on an inspirational thought or message before you start your day can put you in a positive frame of mind. Your thoughts determine whether you have a good day or a bad day. Fill your mind with positive ideas, suggestions, and thoughts. You will find it will change your attitude and changing your attitude can change your life. Sometimes just reading an inspirational quote or a short paragraph helps one see the positive in a situation. Sometimes as your day progresses you just need to take a break…Take a mental break and read or think about a message of inspiration. Never underestimate your power to change and improve! You are a good person, with wonderful qualities, and you can reach your goals! If I can be of any help to you, please let me know with a spark mail or a comment on my page. I am here for you. God bless you on your journey to a healthier you. Hugs, Helen