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- 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 - whatever you pick, I like the way a HEALTHY LIFESTYLE is emphasized here instead of a 'quick fix wonder diet' so it's good for people wanting to lose weight, but also to 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! You're off to a great start already, just by posting here and I think you'll be at your goal before you know it!
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 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.
Some of the other teams that are good for beginners 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!!
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. It takes awhile to get the hang of the site but you can earn SparkPoints and Trophies while you explore and learn!
WELCOME TO SPARK!!! Congrats on taking the first step into changing your life to a more healthier one by joining the site. Spark is filled with amazing people that will motivate, support and encourage you on your journey. There is so much to learn and discover here, take this one day at a time. A couple of things I would like to suggestion to make you Spark experience a great one.
1. Make goals for yourself. Each month I make a list of what I want to accomplish that month and break them down to smaller goals to work with week by week. This way the BIG picture doesn't seem so big.
2. Join Spark teams. There are tons of teams here and you will be able to find ones that fit to what you like or want in a team.
The key to success here is to be active and you've already started by joining. You will find that everyone is willing to help you out if you need it. Spark friends are here for support, motivation and encouragement. Good luck on your journey to a healthier lifestyle! Again, welcome to the SP family! *~ Paula *~