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% - 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 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!!!
My suggestions would be: - Make a plan for what you're going to eat at your main meals. Enter it into your tracker in advance, so that you'll know how many "flexible" calories you can spend on snacks and treats in a day. I ALWAYS plan out a week of meals on the weekend, prep as much as I can on Sunday, and then do minimal work through the week (I LOVE relaxing on weeknights!). - Sweat! Make sure your workouts include cardio, and do it long enough and hard enough to work up a sweat and feel a bit out of breath. But don't keel over and die please! - Think about the week, not the day. I don't stress out if I go out for a fancy dinner or cocktails on the weekend, or if someone at work brings in treats. I just cut back a little the next few days (or the days before, if it's planned) and make sure that my weekly average is more calories burned than eaten. - I personally don't weigh every day. I chose not to buy a scale. I only weigh at the gym, on a weekend after breakfast. This means I don't stress about day-to-day weight fluctuations, and it also motivates me to go to the gym on the weekend!