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7/22/14 3:08 A

thank you very much for replying it means a lot to me and thank you may god always bless you thank you

7/22/14 3:08 A

thank you very much for replying it means a lot to me and thank you may god always bless you thank you

7/22/14 3:06 A

thank you very much for replying it means a lot to me and thank you may god always bless you thank you

AZULVIOLETA6 SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (74,443)
Posts: 3,293
7/10/14 12:38 A

Wow, that is a lot of HUGE questions! Two quick pieces of advice:

1. Track everything that you eat and all of your exercise with as much accuracy and consistency as possible. The only way that you can know what works for YOU is to track and see what gets you results over time.

2. Eat real food, not too much, including a lot of vegetables. That is *almost* Michael Pollan's food rules. The more you can get processed junk out of your diet, the better your overall health and weight loss will go. Here's a link if you want to see the actual food rules:

Good luck!

7/9/14 12:31 P

1)Foods to eat and stay away from... Any food can work if you stay within the ranges on Spark. Log all you eat and drink!

2)How to deal with people you live with that wont adjust to meal changes.. I didn't say anything. I make one meal and pick what I want from it. Tonight is Asian chicken breasts, Mexican squash, and Parmesan cheese rice. I will enjoy the chicken and squash, my kid will have the rice with both.

3)How to/where to learn beginners exercises - I use youtube and look for interesting videos as well as spark videos.

4)How/where to learn beginners healthy food - Spark articles/recipes.

5)If you eat 1,200 calories or more a day how do you know how many calories to work out to lose weight ( it confuses me ) - you can set up spark to account for exercise.

6) and positive quotes or thoughts would be appreciated

Making small changes turns into greater changes. You can do this!

DEANSDAD Posts: 71
7/7/14 2:25 A


Welcome aboard the Good Ship Weight Loss!

First off, you need to know that probably 99% of us started our journey at exactly the same point you find yourself - confused and overwhelmed by the jargon, the various "aps", tools, things you've "heard" or friends have told you about weight loss, "good and bad" foods, and the hundreds of infomercial "magic elixirs" the snake oil salesmen offer up nightly on TV.

Is it any wonder most start off "overwhelmed"?

I'm sure you've heard of the KISS program - (Keep It Simple Stupid) - that's the best advice.

With time (and commitment on your part) the answers to all of your questions will come - some will be similar to the advice and suggestions offered here, some not. That you'll "discover" what "works" best for YOU is what matters. That there simply is NO, one single set of "rules" (or answers) that works for everyone, might just be the most important thing to "take away" from this thread.

"Some" questions can be answered with a simple "yes" or "no", "this IS better than that", or "there is only ONE right answer" - MOST CANNOT.

All too frequently, some are prone to portray things as "fact" when they are not, or to represent "guesses" and "estimations" as hard and fast numbers cast in stone when they are not either. Keep your "prove it to me" hat on and separate "opinion" from "fact" and you'll be fine.

In the meantime, KISS.

Getting started you really ONLY need a few things, most of which are available for free, online, or you already have laying around the house. Here's the short list:

1) Calorie, nutrition, and activity tracking software - A variety of programs are available, some free, some "paid" subscription. SP (spark people) is as good as any but some prefer others like Lose It, My Fitness Pal, or Fat Secret, and Cron O Meter. Find one you like (goggle them) and spend some time setting it up and getting comfortable. You'll be using it every day and the best ones will be a big help in recipe planning and most importantly, tracking ALL food calories you consume each day.

2) A reliable bathroom scale - digital is nice and what I'd buy if you don't have a scale. They're available pretty much anywhere $25 or so, and up. Most digitals (even the cheap ones) are accurate enough, give you readouts in tenths of a pound and self adjust, no need to spend a bundle.

3) A $5 calculator (or just use the one that's probably already on your computer if that works for you.

4) Basic kitchen measuring stuff - measuring spoon set, couple of different size measuring cups, etc.

5) A "kitchen" scale - preferably one that measures in both oz and kg. They're available in most of the "big boxes", kitchen stores, or online and run anywhere from $10 up. My preference is for digital and with the capability to "zero out" the weight of the container (very convenient). Here's an example:

Other than the kitchen cooking basics, which I assume you already have - that's about it.
As time goes on, and depending on how much of a "gadget geek" you are, you MIGHT want to consider things like fitness trackers, pedometers, or any of a million different home exercise contraptions. Not one of them is "required", most are of questionable "value" to many but to others "the best thing since sliced bread".
You're on your own here, it's your money, spend it as you will - or not.

The MOST important item to establish at the beginning is your Daily Calorie Goal (the total number of calories you shoot to consume (but not exceed) each day. You'll need this number to guide meal planning, and you'll need to "track" it every day (by entering EVERY single calorie that you eat each day.
It sounds overwhelming and probably will be the first couple days but the learning curve is pretty quick and within a few days it will all come together and seem like second nature.

Record each meal, item by item (in the tracking software), and your weight (others disagree on daily vs weekly weighing, my preference is daily but do what works for you).

Some trackers include "activity" tracking (exercise as opposed to normal walking around). It's up to you but personally I think it's a waste of time for most people who do light to moderate exercise (walking a mile or two or time on the treadmill). (Tracking it is a waste of time, not the exercise itself).
If you are a "numbers nut" or think that keeping track will provide motivation, go for it, otherwise don't worry about it.

So, back to finding your Daily Calorie Intake Goal number - should be simple, right?
Not so much.
It is "simple" in that if you type "BMI, BMR, TDEE Calculator" (without the quotes) into the Google Machine you'll get about 20,000 hits, many of which are for actual online calculators.
Fill in the info (gender, age, height, weight, activity level) and it will spit out the numbers for you.

Problem is.....pick out 5 or 6, fill them in (using the same info) and you'll likely not get the same results from ANY two - so which one is right?

The answer is "no one knows".
SP has one, it's not bad if you are somewhere near the middle of the "bell curve" they use for their algorithms and use JUST the low end of range they provide for Daily Intake but I prefer this one:

Fill in the info, hit "calculate" and write down the result (BMR)
Now grab your calculator and multiply the BMR x 1.2
Subtract 500 from the result (for 1 lb/week loss), or,
1000 from the result for 2 lb/week loss.

The result is your Total Daily Calorie Intake (TDCI) (food calorie) "starting point".
Depending on your particular situation, subtracting 1000 (for 2 #/week loss), "may" put the suggested TDCI under your BMR or less than 1200 cals. Some folks will start jumping up and down that you must NEVER go under BMR (or less than 1200) (or some other, arbitrarily assigned number they've come up with) because BMR is "the number of calories required to sustain life" (as in, you'll DIE if you do).
Do what you want but those claims are total BS, NOT based on any scientifically determined "fact", likely dreamed up by some liability insurance guy or a lawyer, and since Science won't dissuade them and they prefer to trust anecdotal "evidence" both my wife and I have been under 1000/day for nearly 5 months and we're both still alive (and well).

The two lessons to take away from this are:
1) Much of what you'll read on this (or other) Forums is pure BS, hocus pocus, myth, common "wisdom", or attempts to convert any of the above to "fact" by simply repeating it over and over again. Question EVERYTHING and when someone offers "opinion" as "fact" without being able to provide verifiable, documented, scientifically controlled clinical trial results - IT'S "OPINION", not "Fact".

2) Virtually EVERY single number you will encounter (especially regarding BMR, TDEE, and Total Daily Calorie Intake) is a GUESS, an ESTIMATE and WILL have to be "adjusted" as you go along.
Remember the differences you got when using the various calculators?

As you go along and things begin to stabilize (which will take a couple weeks at least) you can check your progress and see how close our initial "estimated" TDCI actually is and then "fine tune" it.

If you decided to start with a goal of 1#/week (deducted 500 cals/day) and after three weeks your actual loss is significantly different, move the TDCI up or down by 150-250 cals as needed and try that for another three weeks. When you hit the number that results in whatever your original goal (1-2 lbs/wk) was and add the 500 (or 1000) to it, NOW you've found what your TDEE REALLY IS.

Simple right?
And the TDEE number (the "real" one, not the "guesstimates") is pretty important to know because when you finally reach your ultimate "goal" that TDEE is the number of calories that you'll need to eat/day to MAINTAIN goal weight (no loss, no gain).

BUT.....TDEE (and therefore TDCI) is a "moving target". As you continue to lose, they continue to change (go down), which means you'll have to adjust them every month (or ~5lb loss) or so and reduce the cal intake accordingly.

In addition, changes that you make to your "exercise" routine (increase walking time/distance, add treadmill or others) will also have an effect on TDCI. For most of us it's a relatively small change and unless you're training for a marathon usually not worth worrying about but you do need to be aware that it is yet ANOTHER "variable".

It's a lot of information, I know, but "most" of it is just FYI - stuff you want to "know" but not necessarily stuff you have to "do".

Get started, KISS, read everything you can read, question everything, and above all, find what works for YOU. It won't be the same as what works for me or probably not the same as anyone else. Matters NOT, matters only that you find your comfort zone, and that you find a "plan" that's sustainable. There's just no other way to figure it all out than to get started, keep meticulous records, fine tune, and STICK TO IT.

The "journey" is a lifetime one and reaching your "goal" weight likely will involve a longer period of time than you either hoped or were led to believe.

The rewards are worth the effort though and it's the only body you've got - so endure.

Edited by: DEANSDAD at: 7/7/2014 (02:29)
ANARIE Posts: 13,192
7/6/14 11:08 P

1)Foods to eat and stay away from...

Eat foods you know are good for you. Stay away from foods you know are not good for you.

Believe it or not, that's all it takes to get started. You know vegetables are good for you, so eat more of them. You know potato chips and donuts are not good for you, so skip them for now. Of course, you'll hear people argue about what other foods are good and bad, so in those cases, look for healthier versions of the ones you like. For example, some people say bread is good for you and some say it's bad. If you don't like bread and you'd be just as happy wrapping sandwich fillings in spinach leaves, go ahead and do that. If you would rather have all your teeth pulled out than give up bread, then look for (or make) bread that is 100% whole grain. You'll never find a perfect diet that everyone agrees with, but there are steps that pretty much everyone agrees with. Do those things.

2)How to deal with people you live with that wont adjust to meal changes..

They don't have to, unless they are small children. If you're not the cook, you just make your own meals separately and leave the others alone (although it's nice if you offer to share.) If you are the cook, your job is to make a healthy meal. If you're following 1) above, then the meals you would make for yourself are healthy for other people, too, though they might need to eat larger servings. Do your job; make a healthy meal. Anyone old enough to complain is old enough to fend for themselves if they don't like it. No arguing or whining; if someone says, "I don't like this," you say, "Oh, I'm sorry. I won't make it for you again. If you're still hungry, you can make a sandwich or an omelet." This is especially effective with school-age children and young teens, because there's a good chance that when you tell them they can make their own, they'll take you up on it. As long as you're not buying bringing junk home, they'll still get a healthy meal, but they'll get to feel in control and autonomous. When they go off to college, they won't be helpless like half their classmates. Adults are actually more likely to whine than kids, but that's why you assure them that they don't have to eat what you made if they don't want to. You just don't knuckle under and make something else, either. It won't be long before they'll either start eating your cooking or take over part of the cooking. Do try to make things they'll like; if your SO loves tacos, for example, you can easily find a recipe for healthier tacos. Don't tell your SO it's healthier, though. Just say, "I used a new taco recipe. See what you think. Should I save this recipe?"

3)How to/where to learn beginners exercises

You already know exercises. Just do them. Put on a pair of comfortable shoes and walk to the grocery store instead of driving. Dig out your bike from the garage, or borrow one, and go to the park on the weekends. If smokers at your office get to take smoke breaks, tell your supervisor you would like to take the same amount of time for a walk break. The best beginners exercises are ones where you use your body to get someplace you want to go, or ones that you think are fun.

4)How/where to learn beginners healthy food
Magazines like "Cooking Light," websites that you find by googling "easy healthy meals," etc. Buy magazines if your budget allows; use your public library if money is tight. (I will even sometimes take a picture of a recipe with my phone if I find something I want to try but I'm not sure I want to buy the cookbook. I feel a little guilty about it, but I do it anyway.) Also, some grocery store chains have FREE workshops or classes or store tours to teach you things like how to pick out the best fruits and veggies. If you go to farmers markets, talk to the farmers; they'll tell you how to cook the things they sell.

5)If you eat 1,200 calories or more a day how do you know how many calories to work out to lose weight ( it confuses me )

Exercise at least a little every day. Exercise is something you do to make you healthier. It doesn't have a lot to do with losing weight; it will help, but what really matters is that it makes you feel stronger and healthier, which helps you keep making changes to the way you eat. Just be aware that exercise doesn't mean you can quit watching what you eat. If anything, when you exercise you have to be MORE careful about measuring and weighing and planning your food, because you will tend to think, "I exercised. I can afford a muffin from Starbucks," and then when you go to log it you discover it had more calories than a Big Mac. Even when you're fixing everything at home, after you've exercised you're a little more hungry, and when people are hungry, food servings look smaller. (There are some really fascinating experiments that show this-- if you show the same person the same serving of food when they're hungry and when they're not and ask them to estimate the size, they will always guess lower when they're hungry. Skinny people, fat people, healthy food, junk food-- doesn't matter. It looks small when you're hungry.) If you don't weigh or measure and you eat two tablespoons of peanut butter thinking it's one, you'll find yourself not losing weight.

6) and positive quotes or thoughts would be appreciated

I'm bad at this. I believe motivation and inspiration are overrated. You don't need motivation; you need habit. Never say, "Tomorrow I'm going to..!" No matter how much excitement and motivation you're feeling, it doesn't mean anything. Do it, and then say "Today I started..." Then do it two more days in a row, so you can say, "Every day I..." or "I am a person who always..."

NIRERIN Posts: 14,274
7/6/14 11:04 A

take a deep breath and accept that this isn't going to be an overnight fix. it can take six weeks to change just one habit [going out for a five minute walk, adjusting the amount of oil you cook in, adding an extra serving of vegetables, etc] and you can probably only focus on one or two at a time. there is a tiny, tiny portion of the population [like less than 1% tiny] that can just decide that they're going to change, everything, do it and move on with life. there is another small group of people who find themselves facing medical issues [on the your organs have started to shut down side of things, not the "prediabetic" side] that are a big enough carrot/stick to follow through with the changes. but for the rest of us we have to deal in baby steps. so you can't compare what you're doing today with this ideal perfect version of what you want to be doing, you need to be comparing today with yesterday. did you do at least as well today as you did yesterday? building up small successes is a great motivation tool.

1. what foods fall where depends on you and your preferences. there isn't one right way to things, there is only what works for you. in general, more vegetables is better for you and you want to stay away from foods that cause you to try and eat everything nearby that's not nailed down.

2. what ages are you talking about? switching meals on your three year old is different from your thirteen year old which is different from your forty year old spouse which is different from your twenty year old roommate. there are a ton of threads on getting your family on board or dealing with unsupportive family members. just remember that you're the one that decided to change the status quo, which means easing everyone into changes is going to go over a little better than turning everything all topsy turvy at once. and if you have dieted in the past, particularly with fad diets that made you cranky and your family less than thrilled to be around you and have their whole eating schedule disrupted, you're going to have to wait them out to prove that this time isn't like the cabbage soup diet and that you're sticking to something that's reasonable and healthy for all.

3. under articles and videos you will find the fitness section where you can find a whole host of activities. as you find things you like you can look to buy dvds, find more workouts on youtube or even find a local class. if you have any medical or mobility issues, talk to your doctor first and get their opinion on where you should be starting.

4. do you mean learning how to cook? you could ask a friend or relative or check around for classes from your local extension office. if you don't know a pot from a pan, you could also check out the starving students cookbook series for the most basic idea of how to cook. mark bittman's how to cook everything is also a good tool. my local library has both. if you already have the basics, then you could also just start checking out cookbooks from the local library to find recipes or techniques that you'd like to use. if you find an author or a style you like, you can start buying, but the library gives you access to a wide variety so that you can decide what you like.


this is how spark calculates your ranges. it figures out all the calories you burn and subtracts a deficit from it to get your ranges. keep in mind that the less weight you have to lose, the slower that you are going to lose it. so if you only have 30-40lbs to lose, you're not likely going to be able to lose 2 lbs per week.

EELPIE Posts: 2,700
7/6/14 9:44 A

1)Foods to eat and stay away from...
Junk food, processed foods, fast food, candy, soda
2)How to deal with people you live with that wont adjust to meal changes..
Make something separate (they get mac and cheese with the chicken, you have steamed carrots) - or look above bar Articles for healthy recipes everyone can enjoy
3)How to/where to learn beginners exercises
Go to youtube. Search bar type in beginners pilates, beginner yoga, Leslie Sansome in home walking 1mile, Denise Austin
4)How/where to learn beginners healthy food
This board (Diet and nutrition) articles above
5)If you eat 1,200 calories or more a day how do you know how many calories to work out to lose weight ( it confuses me )
Have your nutrition and fitness trackers linked - only eat back about half
6) and positive quotes or thoughts would be appreciated
Articles, above - motivation articles - aim for 2 or 3 a day

SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (250,201)
Fitness Minutes: (41,449)
Posts: 26,963
7/6/14 5:15 A

I meant to add, weighing all of your food for increased accuracy and entering it into the Nutrition Tracker is the very best way to see where you need to tweak. If it hadn't been for that, I would not only have NOT lost the weight I needed to lose, but I wouldn't have been maintaining for the last 3 years. I STILL weigh all my food and enter it into the tracker, daily.


SLIMMERKIWI SparkPoints: (250,201)
Fitness Minutes: (41,449)
Posts: 26,963
7/6/14 5:13 A

Hi. If you have entered you current weight and physical activity, along with gender (yes some people make mistakes - LOL!), and age, accurately into SP and have given a time frame to lose 'x' amount of weight, then the program will tell you what ranges of calories/fats/carbs/protein to eat in. Make sure that you aren't aggressive with your time-frame. 1-2 lb per week is good, but if you are close to your goal weight, you generally need to work that little bit harder to lose. Something to take note of is that 1200 calories is the MINIMUM that SP recommends and that is only for a woman of average weight who is sedentary. If you have a lot of calories to decrease from what you normally consume, then just do this gradually because otherwise you could end up suffering from nausea, light-headedness and extreme hunger pain. I learned this from experience, and I didn't even HAVE to drop a lot of calories. The hunger pain and nausea also often woke me during the night, IF I could get to sleep in the first place :-( I had to go back up and work down in small increments.

As far as your questions regarding dealing with other people in 2), just remember, you can't change others, only yourself. IF you are the main cook, then gradually changing the foods so that they are more nutritious is better than sudden changes, and in fact, it is best for you too, so that you don't suddenly get bored or feel deprived, which in turn causes a lot of people to fall off the wagon.

If you are a stranger to exercise, then you need to start this with baby steps too. If you have a medical condition or are a lot overweight, then you really need to talk with your Dr first and explain what you are wanting to do, because SOME types of exercise could be counter-indicated. Otherwise, just start by 5-10 minutes walk a day; taking steps instead of a lift; parking further away from the store or work; or get off the bus the stop before you would normally, is a great way to start. Below is a link to the Fitness section. They have videos for you to follow. Just remember .. walk before you run! When your body has gotten used to those changes, add a bit more intensity and longer time to the mix.>

Where it comes to your nutrition, you will find that if you reduce soda/juice and replace it with some water, or decrease cake/ice-cream but increase fruit/veges, you will find that is a great start. When your mind/body has gotten used to that, add something else to the mix.

Try to stay away from processed foods - particularly white sugar; white flour; white pasta; white rice, etc. and replace them with whole-wheat versions. I seldom use sugar on my Rolled Oats, and when I do it is only a little bit of brown sugar. (less than 1 tsp). The rest of the time, I chop up dried dates and mix in with the Rolled Oats before I zap it in the microwave. They are natures little sugar bombs with some nutrients included :-)

You asked for positive quotes:

"Rome wasn't built in a day"

"Patience is a virtue"

I wouldn't be a slave to the scales, either. That is only one indicator of success. There are a myriad of others, including:

The quality of your sleep

How your clothes fit

Your energy levels

Your fitness levels

The condition of your hair/skin

Others commenting that you are looking good (but often don't realize why at the start)

Your BP and blood results if they were problematic in the first place

Below is a link to some really great recipes from New Zealand's Healthy Food Guide. They are all approved by HFG's Registered Dietitians. They have the nutritional breakdown, too:

You might like to create a SparkPage and have it so that your Nutrition Tracker is open for us to visit. It makes it a lot easier to give suggestions further down the track.

Good luck,

7/6/14 3:36 A

Hello, I am wanting to make a lifestyle change not just a diet and weight loss.
I am wanting to lose weight and be healthier . I am looking for advice for beginners.
Advice With...
1)Foods to eat and stay away from...
2)How to deal with people you live with that wont adjust to meal changes..
3)How to/where to learn beginners exercises
4)How/where to learn beginners healthy food
5)If you eat 1,200 calories or more a day how do you know how many calories to work out to lose weight ( it confuses me )
6) and positive quotes or thoughts would be appreciated

Thank you in advance for your help I feel like im rowing a boat to make changes but don't know what direction to go to and how to deal with the storm .
thank you
Any Other Advice is Greatly appreciated

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