3 Tips for Healthy Summer Hydration

As the weather gets hot and steamy in the summer, you probably wear lighter clothing, shift what you eat and make sure to apply sunscreen frequently. What often gets overlooked is what to drink. Staying well-hydrated not only quenches your thirst, but it can also help keep you energized, control hunger and enable you to stay the course to lead a balanced, active life. To help you better hydrate this summer, here are three simple tips to keep in mind. 

Posted 7/27/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 9,641 views

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Simple Tweaks for Summer Weight Loss

Losing weight and keeping it off can be a challenge, especially in the summer months when travel, outdoor barbecues and other social events are in full swing. But it’s not impossible.
 
I know this because not long ago, I was nearly twice my current weight. As a neurologist, busy wife and mom of five kids, I realize how hard it can be to lead a balanced lifestyle. The key to my 140-pound weight loss was making smart choices.
 

Posted 7/17/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 11,229 views

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8 Easy Ways to Move More

Do you often find health and wellness taking a backseat to... well, almost everything else in your life? Between work, family, friends and hobbies, it can be hard to keep a date with your treadmill. But studies show that working to find just 30 minutes a day to dedicate to movement can have significant effects on your health, and you can achieve this goal simply by getting creative!

Posted 7/17/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 1 comments   5,659 views

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Get Moving with the #Find30 Challenge!

If you've been around SparkPeople for a while, you've probably heard us say it over and over (and over): Every single minute of fitness adds up. And it's true! Each active choice you make, no matter how small, contributes to your health on a larger scale. Unfortunately, reminding ourselves to add more movement into our busy daily lives can be a struggle. To help you make regular movement a bigger priority in your life, we've partnered with Vionic® with Orthaheel Technology footwear to bring you the #Find30 Challenge! By joining the challenge, you'll receive a 30-day plan to help you fit more activity into your days.

What can I expect from the #Find30 Challenge

  • 30 Daily "Mini Challenges"
Each day, you'll get a "mini-challenge" to complete to help you add more fitness to your days. These daily tasks will help you stay accountable to your plan the whole month, reminding you of what to do, offering great tips, and keeping your goals top of mind.
  • 150 SparkPoints
Yep, you read that right! You can earn 5 SparkPoints for each daily challenge you complete. Just visit the challenge page and click the "Earn Your SparkPoints" button to tell us that you completed that day. It's just that easy!
  • Social Support
We will be using the hashtag #Find30 on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest throughout the challenge. Ask questions. Post about your progress. Tell us how your walking plan is going. Encourage your friends to join you! When you use the #Find30 hashtag, we'll be right here to support you and cheer you on! We also encourage you to use it on your own social media pages to connect with others who are completing the challenge. Be sure to follow our "Walk This Way" pinboard, too, for more tips and motivation as you complete the challenge.
  • Open to Anyone: Invite Your Friends to Join!
While members can earn SparkPoints for participating, this challenge is open to anyone! Share the challenge page with your friends by posting it on Facebook, sending an email link, and more. You do not have to be a member to participate. Anyone can sign up for daily challenge emails just by entering their email address.
 
Sounds great! How do I sign up?
Go to our #Find30 Challenge page and sign up by clicking the "Take the Challenge" button to enter your email address. After you've signed up, you will receive one email per day for the next 30 and a reminder to complete your daily challenge (and get your SparkPoints). Note that once you sign up, you should expect to receive your first challenge email the following day at 8 am EST.

When does it start?
RIGHT NOW. The challenge is open and ready for you to join—and you can start or join at any time. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll be on the path to a healthier, happier you!

What are you waiting for? Sign up right now to get started today—and feel happier, healthier and refreshed in 30 days. (Be sure to follow us on FacebookPinterest and Twitter, too.) Let's do this!

Will you be participating in our #Find30 Challenge? Let us know in the comments if you'll be joining us!

About Vionic Footwear 
Shoes should make your feet feel great and look good doing it. That's why at Vionic, we build every style starting with a tried and true foundation invented by a world-renowned podiatrist—a contoured footbed with Orthaheel Technology that is biomechanically designed to hug your arches and support your feet in comfort, providing all-day support from the ground up. Our mission is to transform your wardrobe and your lifestyle matching the way you want to look to the way you want to feel. Learn more at vionicshoes.com.

Posted 7/16/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 11 comments   13,326 views

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The Surprising Link Between Weight Loss and Diet Beverages

There’s no perfect formula for successful weight loss and maintenance. As a veteran weight-loss researcher, I’ve seen it all: people who continually struggle to shed pounds and, on the flipside, champion losers.
 
What’s their secret? To help answer that very question, Dr. Rena Wing of Brown University and I founded the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) in 1994.
 

Posted 7/9/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 15,671 views

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A 30-Day Health and Happiness Boost

When you're juggling work, family life, social obligations and other responsibilities, your healthy lifestyle probably often seems like it's pushed to the very bottom of your to-do list. But the good news is that you can find the balance you're looking for in just a few minutes per day. Healthy living doesn't have to be all-consuming; your health is a result of small, consistent choices over time. We're here to help with a new challenge to help you make healthy choices at your own pace--and balance your life in the process. If you liked our Healthy Habits Reset Challenge, you're going to love this one, too!



What can I expect from the Balanced Life Challenge

Posted 7/7/2015  4:00:00 PM By:   : 8 comments   16,116 views

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Find the Blood Glucose Meter That's Right for You

It’s a buyer’s market out there. Whatever you need – from a smart TV to walking shoes – you’ll find a sea of options. These days, even blood glucose meters have seemingly infinite variations and features.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed with all the different glucose meters out there, it might help to start with these three criteria: ease of use, required sample size and cost of the meter and test strips.

Is the Meter User-Friendly?
If you choose a meter that’s user-friendly and delivers quick, accurate results, you’re much more likely to stick to your testing schedule. Testing regularly will help you understand how your blood sugar responds to everything from your meal choices to physical activity.

Ease of use means something different for everyone, so consider everything from the size and weight of the meter to how readable the display numbers are. You might benefit from a larger meter that’s easier to hold. If you’re always on the go, a super portable meter that allows you to test discreetly might suit you better.

What Size Blood Sample Is Needed?
If you’re like most people, you’ll be interested in a meter that requires a small sample size. This is particularly important if you need to test often or have sensitive fingers. Fortunately, you’ll find that many meters use less than 1.0 microliter – or 1.0 μL – and take 10 seconds or less to display results.

The FreeStyle family of products offers several meters that require a sample size of just 0.6 microliters or less, and can display results in 5 seconds, on average or less.

How Much Do the Meter and Supplies Cost?
We all know that diabetes can be an expensive condition to manage, so out-of-pocket costs for testing supplies will probably factor into your decision. Although buying a meter may be a one-time cost, it’s really the test strips that are the recurring expense, so make sure you look closely at the total cost when selecting a meter and test strips.  

Bonus Tip: Consider Buying Your System Over the Counter
In addition to all the other options in the marketplace, there is another approach to diabetes management – buying your test strips over the counter. Now you can avoid the hassles of insurance, including paperwork, pharmacy lines and the ever-increasing cost of copays.
 
Until recently, it hasn’t been possible to buy meters and test strips from leading brands over the counter at accessible prices. But now, you can get the FreeStyle Precision Neo meter and test strips at your pharmacy without a prescription. This gives patients a quality alternative to using insurance and paying high copays for blood glucose test strips. You can find the FreeStyle Precision Neo meter and test strips at major retailers or drugstores in the diabetes supplies section, or you can buy them online. Prices may vary, but the MSRP for 50 test strips is $21.99.
 
The bottom line: You have to find what works for you! To help you come up with your ''Best for Me'' short list, be sure to tap into resources like user reviews, manufacturer comparison charts and how-to videos. Good luck finding the meter that suits your needs best. 

Posted 7/6/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 5,168 views

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30 Days of Happy, Healthy Pets

There's no question that owning a pet can be great for your health. Our pets melt away stress, make great workout buddies, and are constant sources of unconditional love. So, it's only fair that we return the favor and treat our four-legged companions with as much love and care as possible. Our friends at Nature’s Recipe believe that all pets deserve to live long, vibrant lives. That's why they focus on providing real, delicious pet food at a real value. We are proud to partner with Nature's Recipe to nourish the relationship between you and your pet with the Make It Real™ 30 Day Challenge. Take our month-long pledge to get happier and healthier together, with fun activities to do each day that will bring you and your furry friend closer than ever.


What can I expect from the Make It Real Challenge

  • 30 Daily "Mini Challenges"
Each day, you'll get a "mini-challenge" to complete to help you strengthen your relationship with your pet and renew your commitment to the health and happiness of your companion. Some days will include fun interactive activities with your pet, and others will have you complete a task to help you become a better, more informed pet owner.
  • 150 SparkPoints
Yep, you read that right! You can earn 5 SparkPoints for each daily challenge you complete. Just visit the challenge page and click the "Earn Your SparkPoints" button to tell us that you completed that day. It's just that easy!
  • Social Integration
We will be using the hashtag #MakeItReal on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest throughout the challenge. Ask questions. Tell stories about your pet. Tell us how the challenge is going for both of you and what you've learned. Encourage your pet-owner friends to join you! When you use the #MakeItReal hashtag, we'll be right here to support you and cheer you on! We also encourage you to use it on your own social media pages to connect with others who are completing the challenge. Be sure to follow our We Love Our Pets pinboard, too, for more tips and motivation as you go along.
  • Open to Anyone: Invite Your Friends to Join!
While members can earn SparkPoints for participating, this challenge is open to anyone! Share the challenge page with your friends by posting it on Facebook, sending an email link, and more. You do not have to be a member to participate. Anyone can sign up for daily challenge emails just by entering their email address.
 
Sounds great! How do I sign up?
Go to our Make It Real™ Challenge page and sign up by clicking the "Get Started" button to enter your email address. After you've signed up, you will receive one email per day for the next 30 days with a reminder to complete your daily challenge (and get your SparkPoints). Note that once you sign up, you should expect to receive your first challenge email the following day at 8 am EST.

When does it start?
RIGHT NOW. The challenge is open and ready for you to join—and you can start or join at any time. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll be on the path to a stronger bond with your furry friend!

What are you waiting for? Sign up right now to get started today—and get ready for 30 days of fun with Fido. (Be sure to follow us on FacebookPinterest and Twitter, too.) Let's do this!

Will you be participating in our 30-Day Make It Real Challenge? Let us know in the comments if you (and your pet) are up for the challenge!

Posted 6/26/2015  10:00:00 AM By:   : 12 comments   7,725 views

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3 Money-Saving Tips for People with Diabetes

Whether you’re newly diagnosed or have been managing diabetes for years, you know that out-of-pocket expenses can add up fast. The American Diabetes Association reports that, on average, people who have been diagnosed with diabetes spend more than twice as much on medical expenses than people who don’t have diabetes.Here's how to keep costs down while managing your diabetes as effectively as possible.
 

Posted 6/1/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 11,798 views

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Go Gluten-Free in 30 Days

Are you newly diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity? Feeling overwhelmed and aren't sure how to start a gluten-free lifestyle? You've come to the right place! Join the 30-Day Goodbye Gluten Challenge to get tips, meal ideas and more. It's just the blueprint you need to teach you gluten-free basics and help you phase gluten out of your diet to start feeling better in no time.* 

Posted 5/1/2015  10:00:00 AM By:   : 7 comments   13,950 views

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10 Tips to Live Better Right Now

Making significant healthy lifestyle changes—and maintaining them for the rest of your life--might seem next to impossible at first. But don't worry! At SparkPeople, we believe in taking small and manageable healthy steps that eventually become lifelong habits. Our sponsors at Meta also believe that small changes can lead to good things, and they even have a name for it: the Meta Effect. When you make a healthy choice like taking the stairs or eating a Meta Health Bar for a snack, you may continue to make good choices to keep the streak going.

We've talked to several people who have changed their lives through this step-by-step approach--and now, they're sharing their secrets with you in this success story series! Meet Rebecca, a fan of walking, Pilates and playing with her grandchildren. We love her realistic outlook and positive approach to healthy living! 

Posted 3/27/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 15,267 views

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12 Real-World Tips from a Celebrity Trainer

Celebrity fitness guru Latreal ''La'' Mitchell has trained big names like Michael Strahan, so she knows what it takes to get into tip-top shape! We've picked her brain to find out how to get healthy and fit in a realistic way—no fluff, no nonsense and no gimmicks.

Tell us a little about yourself! What initially inspired you to be a trainer? What's been the biggest accomplishment of your career so far?
When I was 18, I really started to develop a passion for nutrition and exercise, and I wanted to help others live their healthiest lives. My biggest accomplishment is founding the Fitness Bunch Foundation, a non-profit organization that serves to fight childhood obesity. Our mission is to help today’s youth bring fitness back into their lives.

What's the biggest mistake that fitness newbies make?
They set unrealistic goals. You need to be realistic with yourself about how long it took you to get to where you are now and how long it will take you to get to your goal. I always tell my clients to be honest with themselves. It might not be easy, but it can be done if you take small, realistic steps.

What's a telltale sign that someone will fail to reach his or her goals?
If you're always criticizing your body or underestimating your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you will make it much more difficult to reach your goals, especially if you don't have a plan or support system in place. I like to say, ''If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.'' 

Whenever my clients say anything negative about themselves, I make them do whatever exercise they hate the most! My goal is not to punish them, but to reprogram their thinking and make them realize how frequently they are indulging in negative self-talk. People don't realize that it really can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you tell yourself you can't do something, you won't do it. But if you tell yourself you can do something, you eventually will.

Posted 3/18/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 24,357 views

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Sane & Easy Ways to Stay Healthy

Making significant healthy lifestyle changes—and maintaining them for the rest of your life--might seem next to impossible at first. But don't worry! At SparkPeople, we believe in taking small and manageable healthy steps that eventually become lifelong habits. Our sponsors at Meta also believe that small changes can lead to good things, and they even have a name for it: the Meta Effect. When you make a healthy choice like taking the stairs or eating a Meta Health Bar for a snack, you may continue to make good choices to keep the streak going.

We've talked to several people who have changed their lives through this step-by-step approach--and now, they're sharing their secrets with you in this success story series! Donna has struck her perfect balance with an everything-in-moderation approach. Here are her secrets of success!

Posted 3/16/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 19,066 views

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8 Spring Tune-Up Tips for a Healthier You

Spring is just around the corner, and we couldn't be more excited! If you're like most people, you probably spent the past several months curled up under blankets, eating comfort foods and forgoing exercise due to nasty weather. With its warmer weather, beautiful scenery and fresh energy, there's just something about the arrival of spring that urges us to make a new start. Are you ready to come out of hibernation and recommit to your healthy habits? Here are some of our favorite ways to get back on track after a long, sedentary winter. 

Posted 3/13/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 27,761 views

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30 Days to a More Balanced You

It's been a long time coming, but spring is finally on its way! There's something about the season of rebirth that makes us want to start fresh and re-prioritize our goals. Do you have an ongoing health goal you've been wanting to reach for months (or maybe even years)? It's time to reach it for good with the 30-Day Healthy Habits Reset Challenge! Over the next month, we will be serving up steps to help you find balance in your life and accomplish your biggest healthy goals--all in a fun, bite-size challenge format. 

Posted 3/10/2015  12:00:00 AM By:   : 13 comments   28,838 views

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