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 Body Fat %: 45.0
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    emoticon Greetings and emoticon

    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 @ 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
    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!!!

    2378 days ago
    I'm Natalie one of the co-Leaders of the C25K- Running for Beginners Team. I just wanted to welcome you and invite you to participate on the boards and in the challenges. If you have any questions feel free to post on the boards or shoot me a SparkMail. Happy running!
    2378 days ago
    Welcome I'm pleased you have chosen to share your journey with us all. If you haven't already you may want to look at joining some of the teams that may be interesting to you. Joining a team helps to bring you together with others who share your interests which helps with accountability, motivation, and support.

    2378 days ago
    emoticon Good morning, Steely! And welcome to the mighty, mighty SparkPeeps (as I call it :).

    You have lots to feel optimistic about now that you've joined us. I used to fear dying of a heart attack, too, because when I started out (at 70 lbs. more than I weigh now), I was worried about heart attack and stroke - I was a prime candidate, my doctor told me. Walking was very painful, and I used a cane at the time...when I didn't use one of those motorized carts in the stores (an absolute necessity). The plus sizes I had to wear fit very poorly, and like you, I had to hide my arms, too - so much fat on those upper arms, in particular. I let life pass me by like that for several decades.

    Don't let it happen to you; you're still quite young. At your age, you'll be likely to run, sweat, run a 5 or 10k, ride that bike, and easily fit into a bathing suit - plus sky dive and climb that mountain with your family. Take a look at others' SparkPages, and you'll learn that these sorts of really major achievements are not at *all* uncommon here! You can once again restore that sense of pride in yourself...and you will.

    Become familiar with all that Spark has to offer, and I'd especially urge you to take care to track your eating every day. Enter everything you eat on the SparkTracker (directions are fairly self-explanatory, but don't hesitate to ask for help if you feel stymied about something). That's the single, most important bit of advice I can offer you!

    Develop a willingness - and know that you are already capable of doing these things; they're within you - to adopt a completely *new* way of eating, and gradually - when it is comfortable - adopt more movement into your life, as you are able.

    If you do these things, and if you remain open and patient, you cannot fail to reach the goals you've put forth here. Don't hesitate to let ANY of us know if we can help along the way.

    All the best...and emoticon
    2378 days ago