My Advise To A New Member

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A new spark member had questions to me on where to begin, and after I finished writing to them, I felt I wanted to share it with more people.


This is the best benefit of SparkPeople... it a site FULL of motivation... all you have to do is reach out to it and it will give back to you. Spark is one of the few places you will ever be in life where everyone here knows what your going though and what your dealing with. The more you reach out to others, the more that will come back to yourself.

Now... First things first...

Face the truth:

I strongly recommend you take a picture of yourself as you are now. "Ewww... No..."... Nothing like a dose of reality to slap you in the face... but as you start to make progress and you start to see change it will be come more and more of a motivator to you. My "fat" picture is right up on my spark page and I look at it every day... "NEVER AGAIN"

Take and weigh yourself for your starting weight... then take that scale and put it in the bottom of the closet and bury it under the kids toys. Don't take it out again for AT LEAST 90 days. The scale is NOT your friend. Especially in the beginning. In the begging the only thing you need to feel in yourself is the fact that your energy level is starting to grow and your cloths are starting to fit better.

I did not loose a singl pound of weight for the first 2 months that I was exercising... but I went down 3 inches in my waist... Toss the Scale OUT. It means nothing right now. Focus on the positive.

Be honest with yourself:

It's not going to go away over night. It took you a long time to put the weight on. It's going to take a while for it to come off. You are going to have to face the fact that it's just going to take time. The best thing to do is just worry about today. Each day we faced with choices. We can make good choices or bad choices... and the choice is ours... You can always pick... Do you want the apples or the Twinkies? Use every day to make the best choices you can and the pounds will take care of themselves in their own time.

Be Active Here:

Do not be afraid to ask questions of the community here... every one of us is in the same boat here. We are all either there with you... or have been.

Be active in a few of the Message board groups of people who have similar interests to you. The Memphis board itself is not all that active, but there are 100's that are... stop in and say hi! People with similar interests can help to motivate you.

There are 1000's of articles... READ... you're a teacher... educate yourself here... there is so much good free info on this site... you can dig around here for a few years and not read half of it...


In the begging, let spark put you program together for you for a few weeks... that will get you soeme strength training that is so key. Muscle burns 12 times the cals that fat does... There is no feeling like feeling strong again. Trust me. After that, there all all kinds of workout vidieos here on spark that are quick and good... toss a few of them in the mix...

Logging your food:

You said below "I know the drill on how to eat"... that's great... but trust me here..

Take your first week here and just eat how you think is healthy for you and log EVERYTHING that goes into your mouth into spark... I mean EVERYTHING. It's time to be honest with yourself. The only person your going to lie to here is yourself. You just may find that what you think is healthy may just be far from it. It made a real impression on me when I did... Then you can start making adjustments each week as you go along and your eating will get better and better.

A word of warning... collecting spark points here gets to be an addictive game... you'll get close to your next trophy and you start looking around for things to do to make those last few points...

That should be enough for a first mail...

I'm always here for your questions... You CAN do this.

Do you have questions or answers? Reply and add your comments!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This was a very helpful blog! Thank you for the guidance!
    2224 days ago
    Thanks SO much for this blog! Putting away the scale was THE best advice I've ever gotten with regard to sticking to my health and fitness plan. It has made a WORLD of difference in my life!

    It is so much better to gauge yourself by how you feel every day, as well as the change in the way your clothes fit, your mobility, having fewer pains, etc., than going by a scale whose numbers do not reflect the whole truth. Really...if I was still weighing myself every day, I would have given up (AGAIN!) already. Now I'm just doing what I know I need to do daily, and I'm looking forward to all-around improvements day by day.

    Thank you SOOOOOOOOO much!!!! You cannot imagine how this has changed my life!

    All the best,

    Gena P. emoticon
    3350 days ago
    Great post! I wish I had the nerve to hide that scale, though; you are right, it is not my friend!!
    3426 days ago
    wow..... I feel like that was written for me. :)
    3428 days ago
    What great advice.And 4DDREAMSCAPE reminded me how at my weight watchers group there would be an almighty rush for the bathroom before we weighed in,as if peeing would make us lighter.We are so good at fooling ourselves and that's one of the reasons we are fat to begin with!
    3430 days ago
    I am new here and thanks for the words of encouragement.
    3431 days ago
    Carrying the scales round the bathroom is nothing. I have gone to diet clubs with no underwear on and no jewellery hoping it would make a difference - how sad is that! emoticon Love the emoticons. You have achieved so much, you truly are an inspiration. Well done you!
    3434 days ago
    Thank you so much for your advice and inspiration!
    3434 days ago
    Good advice, thanks.
    3434 days ago
    I'm a fairly new member. Most of what you have said, I've learned or am in the process of learning. Way to go on your accomplisments and I look forward to more of your writings!
    3434 days ago
    Great information! Your are an inspiration!
    3434 days ago
    I enjoyed reading your post. Thank you.
    About the 1/2 marathon - you can do it. I've done 3 now in the last 3 years. I never thought I would be able to run even a 5k. But I am training now for my 4th half and hope to get a personal best.
    Once you're running, you just keep on going until you get to the end.
    There are so many people cheering you on, and at the end, the first two times, I cried that I actually finished it. The last one, this past summer - I didn't cry - I just rejoiced in that while my time wasn't as good as last years - I at least showed up and ran the thing by myself, and had fun doing it along with the "crowd" that seemed to be going the same pace as me.
    You can do it - I will be checking back to see how you made out.
    Thanks again, I am inspired now myself to keep on going, even when things seem to be hard.
    Fall down 7 times, get up 8. Cheers.
    3434 days ago
    I couldn't agree more with you about having a picture of an "old" you. It was my turning point. Seeing the picture of myself on our last vacation! Ouch! I couldn't believe I got so out of hand!
    I also find that reading the motivation page helps a lot. Also seeing that you are staying in your calorie intake helps also. For me, just actually being full with the small portions and staying full is motivation. Especially once you see that you are starting to loose weight. It will be a long process, but so worth it in the end.
    Good luck to everyone of reaching your goals! It will happen, just be patient with yourself!
    3435 days ago
    Thank you for this blog post! You rock!

    I second you on the comment about the scale. It is the most unhelpful piece of equipment out there. I always do better when I concentrate on something other than that number.
    3435 days ago
    THANK YOU for the great advice. I always have to remind myself that I didn't get to the weight I was at overnight and I won't lose it all overnight. Along the way I may have ups and downs, but I will learn and become stronger because of it.
    3435 days ago

    Yeah...pretty much what i did when i first got here....Was quite a slap into reality...

    great job.
    3439 days ago
    I couldn't agree more. Ya'll can just be jeolous cause not only do I get to watch his blogging but I get to see him in person 5 days a week. He is every bit as inspirational and funny in person as he appears to be in his blogging. I get to take credit for him being here to since it was I who turned him on to sparkpeople. Yeahhh me.
    P emoticon
    3441 days ago
    Thank you so much for sharing this piece of advise. It's my first week at SP and also towards weight loss and you have been a great motivator.

    Look forward to learn a lot from you.

    3441 days ago
    Hey, thanks for the heads up on your blog, it's spot on.

    3442 days ago

    3442 days ago
    thank you for your words of encouragement. You are a very inspiring person to me and I am so thankful for your hand of friendship that was extended to me as a newbie. I have been with Spark People to 2 months now and feel as if I am just scratching the surface as to all the tools available to me with just this one program.

    I know I have a lot to learn and just needed to say THANK YOU for the encouragement--I printed This BLOG and have highlighted the bulk of your words of wisdom. I agree with taking the BEFORE picture and looking at it. Thank you again, you are a neat guy!

    Congrats on your accomplishments--keep on track.
    3442 days ago
  • SANDYS2100
    Thanks for sharing this, When I first started I was in shock over how many calories I consumed in a day. I think for me that was the biggest eye opener. Take care.
    3443 days ago
    I agree this site is definately filled with motivation, without my sparkbuddies i would have never made it on my own thats why i failed so many times before.Im sending newbies your way becasue you also an inspiration to me and your bold and honest, i dont have the gift of words like you do.
    3444 days ago
    Well done!
    3444 days ago
    Congrats on your weight loss!
    Excellent article you have written on your blog and so very useful and truthful for newbies.TFS!

    3444 days ago
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