Melinda Hershey (SP_MELINDA)

SparkPeople Editor and Health Educator

Melinda has a bachelorís degree in health promotion and education and is an ACE-Certified Personal Trainer. Before working as an editor for SparkPeople, she developed and taught health programs for several non-profit organizations. She enjoys writing, interval training, yoga, and cooking with friends.

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Reset from the Inside Out in 30 Days!

Summer is winding down, and though we're sad to see it go, we won't miss the endless sugary summer festival food, ice cream and chili cheese dogs around every corner at outdoor events. Feeling a little out of sorts from a few too many seasonal indulgences? You're not alone! Luckily, sometimes all we need is a short reset to get our bodies (and minds) back on the right track. If you've been feeling a little "blah" lately, we've got just the thing to reboot your body's most important systems and give you a dose of self-care and motivation. Get a healthy tune-up with the 30-Day Fit & Fiber-Full Wellness Challenge! Think of it as a booster shot to help you feel your absolute best from the inside out, just in time for the busy fall season ahead.

What can I expect from the Fit & Fiber-Full Wellness Challenge
  • 30 Daily "Mini Challenges"
Each day, you'll get a "mini-challenge" to complete to help you stay on track with your health, focusing on improving your digestive health, heart health and satiety (feeling fuller longer). 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
Use the Team Wall (located on the challenge page right below the daily challenge description) and the Fit & Fiber-Full SparkTeam to ask questions, post about your progress, and tell us (and your SparkFriends) how the day's challenge went. Encourage your friends to join you!
  • Invite Your Friends to Join!
The challenge is currently only open to SparkPeople members, but challenges are a great way to get your friends to join in on the fun here at SparkPeople and see what it's all about! Share the challenge page with your friends by posting it on Facebook, sending an email link, and more. The signup process is simple and only takes a minute or two.
Sounds great! How do I sign up?
Go to our Fit & Fiber-Full Wellness Challenge page and sign up by clicking the "Join Challenge Now" 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 7 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 from the inside out in 30 days. (Be sure to follow us on FacebookPinterest and Twitter, too.) Let's do this!

Will you be participating in our 30-Day Fit & Fiber-Full Wellness Challenge? Let us know in the comments if you're up for the challenge!

Posted 9/1/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 4 comments   52,711 views

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Earn 300 SparkPoints in September, Win Great Prizes!

Hopefully, you’ve fallen in love with SparkPoints and use them to help motivate you along your healthy-living journey (you can see all the different ways to earn them here). To make SparkPoints even more fun, we’re going to have a contest most months where you can win prizes for reaching certain SparkPoints levels. We also added a handy progress bar on your Start and SparkPoints pages to help you see how you are doing each month.
For September, we’re going to do a drawing out of everyone who earns at least 300 points. We’ll be giving away:
- A $100 Amazon gift card
- 5 Spark Activity Trackers
You don’t need to do anything to enter, other than earn SparkPoints! Click here for contest rules. Good luck, and have fun!

The SparkPeople Team

Posted 9/1/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 16 comments   10,522 views

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Check Out SparkPeople's New Challenges and Start Page!

Hi, Everyone! 
This morning, we rolled out a new version of our member Challenges feature, which is available from both your Start page and the Challenge Central dropdown in our Community header. (If you remember, we gave you a sneak peek about a month ago.) We are very excited about this new Challenge format! We took what members loved most about our older challenges--including daily and weekly guidance on working toward a particular goal--and added in an easier-to-use interface, plus new features like a Team Wall. You can take any of the following Challenges to start with (we will be adding plenty more after launch!): 

Posted 8/26/2015  9:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 66 comments   9,862 views

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Get the New SparkPeople Mobile App Today!

It’s here!

After months of hard work from our awesome SparkPeople team, we’ve now released the newest update to our SparkPeople Mobile app! As of today, you can download the app either at the Apple App Store or the G
oogle Play Store.

This version of our free app is easier to use than ever before! Check out the highlights:

  • Get the powerful fitness and diet tools that you’ve come to use on the site, right in your app.

  • Read articles by our healthy-living, fitness and nutrition experts while on the go.

  • Keep up with your SparkFriends when you’re not in front of your computer.

  • Discover even more ways to earn SparkPoints to keep you motivated on your journey to living a healthier, happier life.

If you’ve already used our app and are wondering what’s different, you can find a full list of the changes we made by clicking here:  

Thanks for using our app and for supporting SparkPeople! If you have any questions or concerns about the app, we’d love to hear them in the comments section below.

The SparkPeople Team

Posted 8/11/2015  7:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 17 comments   16,190 views

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SparkPeople Mobile Gets a Makeover!

UPDATE 8/17/15
Today we released a new update for our iOS users that should fix the issues some of you have been having with the app. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a complete list of changes we made in this most recent version of the app.

Hey, Everyone!

You might have noticed something a little different about your SparkPeople Mobile app recently! Our goal for this most recent update was to make the app easier and more fun to use--and we think we achieved that!

If you haven’t seen it yet, we think you’ll love it; go check it out. You can download SparkPeople Mobile at the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

Posted 8/4/2015  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 35 comments   48,011 views

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Get a Sneak Peek of Our Updated Challenges Feature!

Hey, SparkPeople Members!
We've gotten a lot of great feedback from you about our member challenges--they are a great way to focus on a specific goal or topic for a set period of time. We're very excited to announce that we will be releasing a brand new format for this feature! We wanted to give you a sneak peek of the newer challenges while we're still in development. (Note that our existing challenges will still be available at Challenge Central for now.) 
Our new format takes a lot of what you all loved from the old format, and added in new features and options. Among other things, there is a stronger community element with the new challenges.
As of now, we have two challenges you can try in this updated format. You can click below to visit or join:

Note that since these are in a testing or "beta" period, we have not yet made these challenges readily available around the site. To access the new challenges after you join, you can bookmark this blog to return to later or get to it through the daily email you will receive as part of the challenge. In the future, we will link to these challenges from the Start page and other places.
While you are trying out these two new challenges, we will be developing more challenge topics in this updated format that we think you will love! In the meantime, please post any feedback on the challenges in the comments below.

Thanks for testing. SparkCheers!

The SparkPeople Team

Posted 7/13/2015  3:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 15 comments   10,164 views

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Jump Into July with a New Boot Camp Challenge!

Hey, Sparkers! If you've been following along with us this month, you might know that we ran a "Streak Into Summer" challenge on our Facebook page from June 1st-June 21st. We're happy to say that this format was incredibly successful—over 2,000 of you participated in the challenge! WooHoo! We've been getting tons of requests for more Facebook challenges, so we're delivering a brand new one for July: the Bodyweight Blast Boot Camp Challenge! Here's how it's going to work: 

Posted 6/29/2015  3:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 26 comments   15,831 views

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Vote for the Best Running Songs of All Time (Volume 2!)

If you've been around SparkPeople for a while, you might remember when we created a list of the Top 100 Running Songs of All Time a few years back. Since more great running tracks have come out in the meantime, we decided we were due to create a Top 100 Running Songs of All Time: Volume 2!

Based on your suggestions for songs and artists that we missed in the first list, plus newer tracks that have come out in the past three years, we've created a list of songs for you to vote on (you can also write in your own favorite picks that we might have missed). The top 12 songs of the bunch will be made into a continuous playlist that's re-mixed at exactly the right BPM for running to help you become a faster, stronger runner!

Let your voice be heard: Vote for your favorite running songs here! Thanks for helping us put together another great list!

What's your favorite running song right this second?

Posted 6/6/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 10 comments   13,772 views

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21 Days to Your Healthiest Summer Ever

June is coming up fast, which means sweet, sweet summer is almost officially here! With its gorgeous weather, abundant produce and huge variety of outdoor activities, summer is the perfect time for reaching new health and fitness milestones. If you've been looking for a little extra push to get a leg-up on your healthy-living goals for summer, look no further! We're here for you with a new challenge to help you build up some seriously strong momentum as we dive into the season.

From June 1 through June 21 (the official first day of summer!), we're challenging YOU to ''Streak into Summer" with us. For these next 21 days, we'll give you one simple daily action to help you get on the fast track to a healthier, happier you this summer. 

Posted 5/29/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 53 comments   21,124 views

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The Mobile Update You've Been Waiting For!

Hi, SparkPeople members! We wanted to let you know about some great changes our team has made to the site over the past few weeks to make it easier for you to use on mobile devices.

As you know, you can get many of your favorite food and fitness tracking tools through the SparkPeople Mobile app and can find new recipes and save them with our Healthy Recipes app. But there are so many awesome features on SparkPeople that it’s hard to fit it all into one or two apps (though we do try our best and are releasing some new features soon!). So, instead of making our apps replicate exactly what we offer on our site, we’ve built our apps with the features that we think will work best for the best possible user experience for you. The rest of SparkPeople’s features are kept on the site only.

Since we can’t fit the entirety of SparkPeople into an app, our team has gone through our site piece by piece, making all of the pages more friendly for mobile devices. The font is bigger, and the layout of the pages automatically resizes for whatever device you’re on, so there’s no more pinching and scrolling.

Once you’ve logged in, the new mobile web design makes it easy to:

  • Track from your phone. This is great if you have a Windows Phone, or don’t have one of our great apps installed. You can use all of our tracking tools: nutrition, fitness, weight, sparkpoints and more!

  • Access articles, blogs and videos. All article, video and blog pages have been redesigned to make them easy to browse on your phone.

  • Interact with fellow SparkTeam members. You can now post to walls and forums, find new teams and see blogs from your team members, all from your phone.

  • Browse and post to message boards. Ask and answer questions on the go!

  • Click on links in our emails and see them on your phone. Click on links to community notifications and go right to your desired page.

  • Find great recipes and save them. Now you can find new, favorite recipes on and save them right to your account from any device you happen to be using.

It’s easy to get started with our new mobile web experience. Go to on your mobile device, and click on the orange ''Login'' button in the middle of the screen. On the next page, enter your SparkPeople Username and Password and you’ll be ready to use all our site has to offer. You can navigate around the site by clicking the button at the top right of every page--it’s the square button with three horizontal lines on it.

Let us know what you think! If you have any ideas for how we can improve our mobile web pages, we want to hear about them in the comments below.


The SparkPeople Team

Posted 5/27/2015  11:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 8 comments   5,199 views

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FDA Snack Attack: Are Kind Bars Unhealthy?

At least four types of Kind Bars are in violation of the FDA's "healthy-labeling" requirements. The problem? Too much saturated fat. The FDA is considering pulling the bars from grocery shelves until Kind changes the labeling to meet the requirements.

Will you continue to buy Kind Bars?

The FDA has found that at least 4 types of Kind Bars are in violation of the FDA's "healthy-labeling" requirements... in SparkPeople's Hangs on LockerDome

Posted 4/16/2015  9:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 27 comments   13,332 views

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5 Better Bites for Easter

Easter is synonymous with bright pastel-colored candy eggs, marshmallow chicks and creme-filled chocolates--which aren't exactly the most waistline-friendly treats. But you can still partake in the goodies without derailing your healthy habits. If you're looking for some alternatives to the usual fare, here are some small tweaks you can make to lighten up your Easter baskets this year (while still having fun)! 

Posted 4/1/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 7 comments   12,247 views

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Out Today: New Changes to the SparkPeople Mobile App!

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve made another update to the SparkPeople Mobile app! This update is for iOS users, and if you’ve updated your app today, you’ve already seen the changes. (Note: we rolled out these changes to the Android version of our app a few weeks ago.) We made a good number of tweaks to help improve the app, but there are two major changes we wanted to mention.
Change #1: We simplified and cleaned up the homescreen. When we asked our members what they most wanted on the homescreen, almost all of you asked for better, easier food and fitness tracking. With our new design, you can track your food and exercise even faster!
Change #2: You can now add images to your blog and status updates, right from the app! Lately, you may have seen more images in SparkPeople Mobile from other SparkPeople members who are using our newest motivational tool, pep. We wanted to make sure that our SparkPeople Mobile users could join in the image-sharing fun, too!
Check out the app here and let us know what you think! We love hearing your ideas for how we can improve our tools to make it easier to reach your goals.
The SparkPeople Team

Posted 3/17/2015  5:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 3 comments   9,616 views

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A St. Patrick's Day Challenge (SparkPeople Style!)

St. Patrick's Day is usually synonymous with corned beef, cabbage and pints upon pints of green beer (not to mention other unnaturally-dyed foods). But this year, we're celebrating in a way that's both fun and good for you! Starting tomorrow and leading up to the day before St. Patrick's Day, we'll be challenging ourselves to get in five servings of green fruits and veggies every day—and we want you to join us on Instagram! Even if you don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day, this is still a fun challenge to help you eat those freggies. (And if you are celebrating St. Paddy's in the usual ways, it's a nice way to get in some nutrients before indulging in all that green beer!)

Posted 3/8/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 13 comments   11,812 views

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The Best New Healthy-Living App You Haven't Tried

Hi, SparkPeople!

Sometimes, you see something that makes you feel happy, inspired, or strong. It could be a delicious healthy meal you made, or the view from the top of that hill you just ran up. Images are powerful motivators, and we wanted to make a tool that would allow our members to easily capture, save and share their healthiest life snapshots to help them reach their goals alongside a community of like-minded people.

Enter our newest app: pep!

pep lets you record and share the images that make you feel proud and inspired. You can add custom filters, stickers, text and more to your pictures to get just the right look before sharing them within your community right within the app. See what other health-minded people are posting and motivate each other with just one snap of a picture! Best of all, the photos you take within pep will automatically feed over to your SparkPeople account, so your SparkFriends will be able to see them, too.

pep is currently available for iOS devices. If you click on the App Store button below, you can download pep right away and get started finding your friends and building your motivational community.

Try the app and let us know what you think! If you have an idea about how we can make the app better, let us know in the comments; we always love to hear what you think.

The SparkPeople Team

Posted 3/2/2015  1:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 21 comments   17,337 views

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