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Advice for New SparkPeople Members

A Little Help from Your Friends
  -- By Jen Mueller, SparkPeople Community Leader
Do you remember the feelings you experienced when you first joined SparkPeople? You might have been nervous or excited about committing to a lifestyle change, worried about whether or not you would succeed, or overwhelmed at exploring all the tools and resources that SparkPeople has to offer. If you're experiencing these feelings as a new member, you're not alone. Even our most experienced and successful members had to start somewhere. Now, their experiences can help you.

Here are some pointers from long-time SparkPeople members that will give you a push in the right direction:

YVONNE.PALMER: "Remember to set short and medium term goals—especially if you have a long way to go. I have found that breaking my desired total loss into smaller chunks has helped me tremendously because the smaller bits are 'doable,' where the total number seems impossible. Also, I have found pacing myself to be vital. With the initial enthusiasm I had when I started, I wanted to rush off and start a huge exercise program. Common sense prevailed, though, because I knew I would not have the time or the energy to sustain that very long. By gradually increasing, I have managed to incorporate a lot more activity into my lifestyle and that is likely to remain rather than be ditched at the first hurdle."

CHUBETTE: "Use all the tools available on SP and find a buddy."

MARIEK1995: "Track everything—food, exercise, water...it makes a difference. Plus use the tools available, recipes, message boards."

REBCCA: "Begin each day by writing down five things you are grateful for, as cultivating an attitude of gratitude crowds out any deprivation feelings."

JAZZORAMA: "Take time to explore the site. Become familiar with all the wonderful tools available to help you on your journey, such as the food tracker and the exercise tracker. Also, concentrate on mastering your three 'Fast Break' goals: drinking 8 cups of water per day, going for a walk, not eating in front of the TV...whatever three goals you have chosen. Try to make those goals daily habits over time."

KARMABUG: "Involve yourself on the message boards. There is no better support than what we all give each other to help us reach our goals."

LILSPARKGIRL: "Be truthful and count every bite. Stick to the fitness plan. Shake it up and try new foods."

NANCYJAC: "Emphasize using the Resource Center. It is a great wealth of information on so many topics."

For more advice, or to share something that helped you when starting out, visit our What Advice would You Give to a New SP Member? Message Board thread.