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MCFHARPIST SparkPoints: (64,278)
Fitness Minutes: (72,311)
Posts: 1,925
7/27/13 8:23 P

JLYNN634, boy, oh boy, did you come to the right place! Sparkpeople can help you make it happen! I am such a true believer it's ridiculous! This site has completely changed my lifestyle. Completely. Eating healthy has become second nature (never thought that would EVER be possible). Moderate exercise has helped transform me into the best I can be.

And you can accomplish all of the above absolutely FREE at this wonderful site.

Spark On! with gusto! You can do it. We're here to motivate you and support you and bug you.

WALLPER26 Posts: 2,972
7/27/13 7:18 P

I agree with all before, too! I have learned a lot from the article, quizzes, and Spark Coach on this site. When you sign in each day take a few moments to check out the information targeted today on the Start Page. Read one or two and soon you will be learning things that can help you on your journey. Be kind to yourself, and check out the Motivation pages. Sometimes the thought just "speaks to you.

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EXCELDREAM SparkPoints: (86,517)
Fitness Minutes: (51,129)
Posts: 160
7/26/13 11:28 A

Hi JLYNN - I agree wholeheartedly with FAITHP44. I bet we could sit around and entertain each other with our learning experiences. Mine was to feel so noble as I was eating my noodles for lunch....until I realized the small container was TWO servings. No wonder the calories were as low as they were. I have since read one of the SP articles that reminds us - the most important information on the nutrition listing on food is the serving size. lol...Now I know, but I've still slipped up on that even. And I've also made mistakes estimating foods at a restaurant. I'd heard quinoa was healthy, so I felt confident shovelling it all in... until I later entered it into my nutrition tracker. Yes, it's healthy, but not necessarily low-calorie. Now I know. I still eat it, but I watch my portion sizes.

FAITHP44 Posts: 8,745
7/26/13 9:12 A


I'm not going to repeat what everyone else has said - it's all good.

Just to say you'll make diet mistakes along the way but it doesn't matter because you'll only make most of those mistakes once when you're tracking your food. (Like a few months ago I bought belly pork when it was reduced. When I tracked it I found that my fat intake for the day was about 60% and the amount of calories in the pork was through the roof! But I never made that mistake again because I'm aware of that now.) I think if you're tracking your food and portion sizes you'll soon find the foods that work for you and learn to avoid foods with empty calories. But don't worry about a few mistakes along the way. It's a learning experience for everyone.

GRACE1054 Posts: 605
7/25/13 5:25 P

You signed on and came to the message boards......YOU HAVE TAKEN THE FIRST STEP!
Now, go to the articles on goal setting and set some Fast Break Goals.. Take it easy the first week. If you go all in, you are likely to lose. We have all been where you are and no matter how long you think your journey is, remember that it isn't going to get any shorter by waiting til tomorrow or next week or next year. Every person has to find their own reason for losing weight and getting fit. This is where goal setting comes in. You can do this but you have to believe that you can do it. Don't look at failure as an option.
Get busy setting those goals and you will see progress little by little and day after day.

Ann emoticon

ICEDEMETER Posts: 1,332
7/25/13 4:15 P

I am going to suggest that the first thing might be to change your perspective. Instead of looking at this as a "diet and exercise program" that it is possible to "cheat" on or "fail" at, try thinking about it as a fun experiment in what changes you can make to what you eat and what you do that will make you happier and healthier over the long term. It can be a fabulous adventure in foods and tastes and activities, and having your boyfriend on board makes it all that much more fun!

Honestly, changes that don't make me happier just aren't going to last in my life, and I want food to continue to be one of those sources of happiness. With that in mind, I have concentrated on ADDING things to my menu, and playing with new foods and flavours to see what I really like. I tracked a ton of nutrients, since nutrition is important to me, and concentrated on adding foods that increased my intake of those nutrients. Over time, I am creating a whole new "base" of foods, all of which I like, and all of which improve my nutrition. I also play with different workouts (and I do mean "play"!). If I don't enjoy something, then it gets dropped from the list and I go on and try something different.

I like the idea of starting with a list of "base" meals that you know you like and that fall in to the Spark ranges. Once you have that in place, then you can start adding! There is a reference guide on this site that lists all of the fruits and veggies, along with info on how to choose them, how to prepare them, and how to store them. You might want to start with that, and see about adding one new thing each week. Buy just enough for 3 meals, and try it prepared in 3 different ways throughout the week. I like to have it as a side-dish, so if I don't like it (or I screwed up the prep!), then there is still enough food to be satisfied.

There's really no rush and no time-line when you are changing your lifestyle, so there's no reason to make huge changes over-night. Take it one step at a time, and see what changes work for you and which ones don't.

Most important - remember to have fun with it!

ARCHIMEDESII SparkPoints: (199,970)
Fitness Minutes: (298,943)
Posts: 27,313
7/25/13 4:12 P


You've posted a message in the forums ! that's your first step !! Welcome !!

I give all new members one piece of advice and it's this,"Don't look at good health or weight loss with an all or nothing mentality". If the only healthy thing you did for yourself today was drink 8 glasses of water, that's still a step in the right direction.

As the old song goes,"accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative". Give yourself credit for all the POSITIVE things you do for yourself and don't beat yourself up because you're not perfect. you don't have to be perfect to be healthy.

This is a journey with lots to learn. It's impossible to learn it all at once. it really does take time. So, don't worry ! You'll do just fine. Whenever you need support or have a question, feel free to post on the forums. Reply to questions too ! that's a great way to interact with the community.


EXCELDREAM SparkPoints: (86,517)
Fitness Minutes: (51,129)
Posts: 160
7/25/13 4:01 P

So happy for you JLYNN634! You are taking a huge step just by being on this site. I agree with everything COANNIE said. I had portion distortion, but I was also amazed when I found out the nutrition in the foods I was eating..or rather the lack of nutrition. I still struggle to get enough protein, fiber and calcium while keeping my calories and sodium in line, but I'm enjoying it and wouldn't think of going back to eating the empty calories I consumed before. I've broadened my menu, learned to cook a bigger variety of foods, and have found that I can still often slip in treats and stay within my range if I plan properly. Setting up a goal is such a strong motivator for me - goals for nutrition, goals for exercise minutes. Even if I don't have to account to another person, my computer knows what I'm up to. And even if I could lie to my computer, I can't lie to my body. It's kept me honest to myself. There are no games here. My body and mind are working together to make me not only thinner, but more importantly, healthier. Best of luck on your journey!

COANNIE SparkPoints: (9,512)
Fitness Minutes: (9,064)
Posts: 241
7/25/13 3:48 P

JLYNN634, you've already started! You have come to SparkPeople, set up your page and your tracker and are asking for help! That is awesome!

Now, if you haven't already set up your goal and found your calorie range, go ahead and do that. Nutrition is the main component to losing weight. Exercise is great, but calories are the key.

If you're not sure how to eat right, which is where I was when I started, look at Sparkrecipes and read the Nutrition articles right here on the site. One thing that REALLY helped me a lot was to find a good breakfast, a good lunch and a good snack and repeat them daily. Too many choices make me a mess, so having the same things, or close variations thereof was easy and easy to follow. For example, for b-fast I would have a greek yogurt smoothie with Chia seeds and frozen fruit. It's just under 300 calories and has a ton of protein and good carbs, as well as fiber. For lunch a salad with black beans, avocado, all kinds of veggies, really, and some low-calorie dressing like Bolthouse Farms Greek Yogurt Ranch. Then for snack, carrots or celery with 2 tbls peanut butter.

Make sure to measure your food. I had major portion distortion. When I saw what 2 Tbls of PB looked like for real, I was shocked. It really, really helps to measure.

As for exercise, if you're out of shape, start with walking. It's free, you can do it outside and if you have one, you can also listen to music or podcasts on your iPod or iPhone. And then it also makes you feel so good.

One piece of advice I got from others here was to NOT beat myself up if I ate not-so-well, or went over my calorie range for the day (or week), or missed a workout. Just dust yourself off and keep going. Don't give up! One day at a time, or one hour at a time, Just Do It.

Come to these boards and ask questions, vent, cry, whatever, and you will get great advice from people who have been there and know where you are- they are invaluable.

I started doing Jillian Michaels workout videos and LOVE them, even though they kick my butt. My batwings have gone and are being replaced by toned triceps. I never even knew that was possible! I also have started reading her books, which are very inspiring.

You can do this, girl! It's not going to be easy, but it is SO worth it!

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Edited by: COANNIE at: 7/26/2013 (12:26)
JLYNN634 SparkPoints: (669)
Fitness Minutes: (526)
Posts: 8
7/25/13 3:05 P

I have no idea how to take the first step of this really long journey and I am mostly scared that I am going to fail. How do I get going what do I do? Please help!

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