Ok, so normally I would post this in every Newbie intro, but I think this may be a better plan...
Spark has some great suggestions for diet and exercise and little things you can do to help hold yourself accountable. Also many teams have challenges that help encourage you and move you along. This group is good about being uplifting and helpful.
1. Don't be afraid to ask questions. (My philosophy is that the only 'stupid' question is the one you don't ask)
2. Don't beat yourself up if you temporarily fall off the wagon (You CAN get back on!!) Spark has an article about this very thing: www.sparkpeople.com/reso
3. Put signs up around your home in places that you will see (on the fridge, bathroom mirror, back & front of your door, etc) of things that motivate you. For me it is pictures of thin women, people working out, reminders, healthy food, etc.
4. Start light and make a schedule for yourself. Start easy, once or twice a week, working out. Do something that is easy and that you have done before (riding a bike, walking, swimming, etc)
5. Walk more - Park as far away from your office as possible. I park 1/4 mile away from my building. So, by the end of the day, even if I didn't do anything else, I walked at least 1/2 a mile if I just go to work and then go home. If I go out to lunch I walk a mile!! Sometimes I will eat in my car, just so I walk a little further!
6. Add fitness where you can - On breaks at work I walk 2 1/4 mile laps inside the building. It takes me about 10 minutes (not a leisurely stroll, but a powerful quick stride... raise the heart rate = exercise). Most work places are required by state law to give you at least 2 15 minute paid breaks as well 1 30 minute unpaid break (a lot of places will let you take a longer lunch. If you have the option, break it up so you can get away from your desk when possible). Find a route that you can take, see if your office has a fitness map for their building. My work already had the 1/4 mile route mapped out. If you can't walk mile or even 1/2 a mile then try a flight of stairs or 2 flights of stairs, add more when you can.
7. Eat 5-6 times a day - Instead of having 3 regular meals I have 3 small meals and at least 2 snacks. This keeps your metabolism going and helps you get a handle on portions. It is recommended to have 3 meals consisting of about 300 calories and 2-3 snacks consisting of 100 calories. If you have 3 snacks and 3 meals like that you will meet your goal every day!
8. Water Water Water - Drink as much water as you can. Try your hardest to meet or beat the Spark goal of 8 cups in a day. Aim higher and then the 8 doesn't seem so hard.
9. Be patient with yourself!! - You didn't get to where you are over night, you won't get back over night either. It is a slow journey, but "Slow & Steady Wins The Race"! If you keep beating yourself up then you will get depressed and eventually stop all together. Don't be your worst enemy!!
10. Start each day fresh - Just because you messed up once, doesn't mean you messed up for the day or the week! Every time you approach food is a decision to be made. Every time is a fresh start. Don't start tomorrow, start right NOW!
11. Have fun - Make a day or meal once a week for you to "cheat"... if you "cheat" by conscious decision it is easier to get back on track. Make it the end of the week so you have all week to look forward to it. Make it a reward to yourself, if you eat well all week long you will have something you LOVE to eat, but isn't so healthy for you at the end of the week. As time goes by you will desire that unhealthy food less and less. I used to LOVE fried chicken... now the grease makes me sick to even smell it!! If you schedule a cheat day or a cheat meal once a week it is easier to pull through the other days. It is also good for your metabolism to change things up anyway, so it will be good. And as DRJACKIE said... it isn't really "cheating" if you put it in your plan and account for the calories. A direct quote from DRJACKIE:
"I would just add that it's not 'cheating' if you've planned for that treat in your daily food plan. I have decided that there are no forbidden foods - nothing that I can't ever eat again, simply many things I choose not to eat very often. If I have enough calories left over after I've planned to meet all the necessary nutrients for a given day, then the ice cream I plan to have for a treat is part of my daily food plan, not cheating.
I think the deeply ingrained mindset of forbidden foods and being 'bad' when we 'cheat' can be harmful to our psyches. There are no good foods or bad foods - there are foods that are more healthful than others, foods we might choose to avoid, but the dichotomy of good/bad is too 'all or nothing' in my opinion."
12. Healthy living - Remember this isn't JUST about loosing weight! Being a healthier, happier person is the main goal. Simply by eating better and being more active you are automatically healthier! Remember this is for YOU! Living healthier will make your life so much easier in the long run!! (and make the Long Run LONGER!) When no one is watching and you are tempted, remind yourself of that.
13. Goals - Make small goals for yourself. Little battles are the easiest!
YOU CAN DO THIS!! I know it is hard, but keeping a positive attitude is very helpful!! Tell yourself every day "I CAN DO THIS! I WILL DO THIS!! I AM WORTH IT!!!"
TIPS & TRICKS
… hopefully this helps you understand and navigate SparkPeople better!!
1. RESPONDING TO POSTS - People don't know which person you are responding to unless you put the name first (especially if you are responding to multiple people).
2. RESPONDING TO MULTIPLE POSTS - When responding to multiple posts we normally only respond once, even if it is to multiple people. Each time you hit "Respond" it shows up as a response to the thread of chat, not the person. So really you just need to respond once and put all of your comments to everybody in one response.
3. SIGNATURES - In order to have a signature at the bottom of each of your posts go to your "My SparkPage" link. Click "Edit My Page". Near about the middle of the page (scrolling down) is a little box that says "Personal Signature"... this is where you can type whatever you want to show up below each of your posts in your groups.
4. WEIGHT LOSS TRACKER - That same "Edit My Page" area is where you add your Weight Loss Ticker. If you scroll further down from the signature box you will see the "My Weight Loss Ticker" box. Select and fill in the appropriate information. If you do NOT want this box to show, make sure that you un-check the little box next to "Yes! Show Weight Loss Ticker".
5. LOG IN POINTS - Don't forget to get your "Log In" points every day! On the right side of your window there is the rectangular strip that runs down the side. One of the sections shows all of the Points you have earned and which trophy you are on. If you haven't gotten your Log In points for the day it will say "Get Log In Points". Click there and it will take you to a chart that lists where all of your points are coming from. There is a wheel at the top of this window. Below it there is a button that allows you to spin the wheel and get your Log In points.
6. STICKING WITH IT - Taking time to read the articles, look through recipes, pay attention to the dietary suggestions, exercise (for me sometimes exercise is stretching... your range is what is important), and staying motivated through the message boards and Spark Motivators ...all those things are what make SparkPeople work. If you take the time, you will see a reward. Sometimes that reward is loosing weight and sometimes it is feeling better.
7. PICTURES - I found a cool way to show current and goal weight with a picture… www.mvm.com
8. GETTING THE 'SUCCESS' ICONS: Wondering how people have gotten the
pictures? I finally figured it out! lol ... Go to Edit your SparkPage, Edit your picture (the ones on your main page, not the ones in your gallery), At the top of the page (under Or Choose a photo from your gallery) it says 'also choose from our "success" gallery'. This will take you to all of the options!
If you have any questions about anything you can ask me, anybody in your groups who you think may help, or you can go to the "Community Tab" (near the top of your browsing window) and select "Message Boards" ...once the page loads scroll down a little and you will see the "Get Help Here" Forums. You can ask just about any question there, or see if that question has already been asked.
Hope that helps!!