The SparkPeople Blog

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.


Read More of Melinda's Blogs:

New Changes to SparkPeople Articles and Resource Pages!

Hi, everyone! We'd like to make a quick announcement about some changes we made to a few SparkPeople features today. Hopefully you're loving the new look and feel of the site! Here is what we changed and what you can expect:

  • Streamlined Articles and Resource Center Pages. We gave our Article and other Resource Center pages an upgrade. You’ll find bigger images, a cleaner format, and some other small design adjustments on these pages.
  • Get SparkPoints for Re-Reading Articles. Due to popular demand, we now let you get SparkPoints for articles you read in the past. We know sometimes our members like a refresher on certain article topics, and we wanted to give you points for re-reading!
  • Refreshed Fitness Library with Animated Gifs. We completed a huge enhancement of our animated exercise demonstrations. We have new, clearer photos and animated gifs, plus a cool new search tool that lets you filter exercises by experience level, equipment, and muscles worked.
  • A Bigger, Better "Share" Bar. The ''share'' bar on our articles and videos and resource pages has been improved to allow quicker sharing, and we fixed a bug to make sure you get SparkPoints when you share our content.
 
We hope these changes enhance your SparkPeople experience and make it even easier for you to reach your goals! Some things have been moved around, so if you have a hard time finding something, just shoot a quick note to support@sparkpeople.com for help. Thanks for your support, and Keep Sparking!

The SparkPeople Team

Posted 8/12/2014  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 28 comments   8,581 views

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Itís Here! The Best App for Eating Better On the Go

Over the years, we've learned that some of our best ideas and most useful tools come from you, our SparkPeople community. A few months ago when we were releasing the newest updates to our Calorie Counter and Healthy Recipes apps, we asked our members (that’s you!) how we could improve our tools to better fit them into your lives. You responded with honest and insightful ideas that are helping us decide which tools we want to work on next.

There was one suggestion in particular that we kept hearing: You wanted a simple app that could pull up the nutrition information for any food, without the food tracker component. That's it--just a streamlined, one-use app that wouldn't take up much space on your phone, but would still be able to access SparkPeople's extensive food database to deliver quick nutrition information on demand. So, we decided to give the people what they want! Today, we're proud to announce the final product: the SparkPeople Nutrition Lookup App.

Posted 8/11/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 8 comments   4,730 views

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Back On Track: A Consistency Challenge for August!

It's almost August, and whether we like it or not, the days of summer are dwindling. Bathing suit season may be mostly behind you, but that doesn't mean it's time to abandon your healthy efforts now that autumn is in sight! Plus, maybe all those barbecues you've attended this summer are starting to show on the scale. Maybe your vacations and kids' activity schedules have taken precedence over your exercise routine. Maybe, now that the wild ride of the season is coming to an end, it's time to get back on track and consciously recommit to your healthy lifestyle. And we're here to help you do it with a brand new challenge!  

Posted 7/29/2014  6:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 449 comments   101,797 views

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A Sale to Spark Your Fittest Summer Ever!

Have you been thinking about getting the Spark Activity Tracker? Now is the time! For the month of June, we’re offering $10 off any purchase of the Spark. To sweeten the deal, we’ll also include a free copy of Coach Nicole’s Total Body Sculpting DVD with your order to start the summer months off right.

To get this special deal, simply visit sparkactivitytracker.com and select the color and quantity of the device you’d like. Enter the code “freedvd” at checkout to get $10 off your final purchase. We’ll send the tracker and the dvd together so that you can start meeting your fitness goals right away!

Posted 6/1/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 9 comments   13,116 views

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The Best Tool for a Healthy, Happy Pregnancy

Hey, moms-to-be! Have you ever wished you could get accurate, useful information about pregnancy health, fitness and nutrition, all in one place? Today, we’re happy to announce the SparkPeople Pregnancy Health & Fitness App! For just $1.99, you can download it for your iOSAndroid, and Windows mobile devices. (The Android version is also available from Amazon.) And to sweeten the deal even more, you'll get 250 SparkPoints* just for downloading the app!

Here’s what you can expect from our new app:

Posted 5/28/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 1 comments   9,702 views

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Step into May with a New Challenge

When it comes to building healthy habits, consistency is the key. It's a great idea to get in the habit of flexing your consistency muscle as much as possible, across as many parts of your life as you can. When you're consistent in one area of your life, it makes it even easier to start and stick with other, bigger challenges. An easy way to do this is to commit to a small, doable act every day that will get your healthy momentum going. That's why we're starting a month-long challenge that's possible for almost everyone: "A Mile a Day in May"! Simply walk, run, bike, or do any other sort of activity to accumulate at least one mile every day in May on top of your regular daily physical activity. You can do your mile in small bursts or all at once; however you get it done is up to you. The important thing is that you do it! 

Posted 4/29/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 52 comments   31,561 views

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18 Upbeat Songs to Pump Up Your Workouts

We thought it would never happen, but it's true: spring is finally here! If you've experienced some serious cabin fever over the long winter, you're definitely not alone. We're beyond ready to pound the pavement out in the sunshine while listening to some upbeat tunes. Here are 18 of our favorite feel-good songs to sweat to right now. Take them for a spin during your spring workouts! 

Posted 4/2/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 22 comments   59,838 views

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Wake Up to a 10-Day Challenge This April!

Raise your hand if you're a morning person!

…Anybody?

Ok, so waking up early is tough for most of us. However, when you make an effort to do so consistently, it's entirely possible to make it a habit—which is a great way to build more fitness and productivity into your day. So, how would you like a little extra boost of motivation to A) Get up in the wee hours, and B) Make strides toward your healthy lifestyle goals at the same time?

We're going to help you do just that with our ''Rise and Shine'' Challenge!

Posted 3/25/2014  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 249 comments   119,572 views

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55 Things the Scale Won't Tell You

Picture this: It's time for your weekly weigh-in, and you are confident that you've lost a pound or two. You've eaten very well this week and have been even more consistent with your exercise than you usually are. You take a deep breath, close your eyes and step on the scale, your heart skipping a beat. You brace yourself, open your eyes, and… your heart sinks into your stomach and you clench your fists. Your weight is up one pound since last week.

What's going through your mind? Is it a frenzy of horribly negative self-talk? Do you feel like a worthless failure who can't do anything right? Do you swear and stamp your foot and move the scale to another spot on the bathroom floor in the hopes that the number will change?

If you've had any (or all) of these reactions after a disappointing weigh-in, you're not alone. But think about how crazy that roller coaster is! Why should a number on a scale make you feel so nervous—and then so painfully defeated when it isn't what you had hoped for? Why should a number on a scale ruin your day and make you say horrible things to yourself that you would never dream of saying to a friend? 

Posted 3/17/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 23 comments   62,800 views

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Spring Into Shape with a 20-Day Challenge!

It's almost March, which means we've made it through the worst of winter (knock on wood!). Can you believe that spring is less than a month away? Although the arrival of spring promises warmer weather and better conditions for exercising outdoors, it might also make some of us realize that we hibernated a little too much over the winter. Maybe you skipped a few workouts due to bad weather or the flu, or the winter blues derailed even your best efforts to stay consistent. It can be hard to get active again after a lull in your exercise plan, but it's entirely possible to get back on your feet. And we're here to help you do it! 

Posted 2/25/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 215 comments   133,297 views

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Quit Your Bellyaching: A 3-Week Program to Reboot Your System

Are you sick of fighting constant tummy troubles? Many people suffer from bloating, discomfort and digestion problems--sometimes for no apparent reason at all.  Isn't it time you did something to quit your bellyaching for good (quite literally)? We have a fun way to reset your system and get your digestion into tip-top shape with plenty of help along the way. Plus, it'll only take you 20 days to feel better! 

Posted 2/17/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 11 comments   71,374 views

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Jump-Start Your Motivation with Our February Challenge!

See if this sounds familiar: It's cold and dark outside. You're tired and cranky, and that once-shiny New Year's resolution you made at the beginning of the month is starting to look less and less appealing. Even despite your best intentions to plan your exercise and healthy meals, all you really want to do is eat a cookie, take a nap and lie in bed for a long, long time.
 
We get it. If the novelty of your New Year's resolution is starting to wear off, you're not alone. Statistically, only 8% of people who make New Year's resolutions actually stick to them. But guess what? You're already one step ahead of the curve, because we're here to help you make gradual, attainable lifestyle changes by offering consistent support, motivation and resources. No matter what goals you've made for 2014, we're not going to let you drop them. Don't sacrifice what you want most in the long term (better health, more energy, weight loss, etc.) for what you want right now (to veg out on the couch). YOU are worth more than that, and you deserve to live your best life. That's why we're going to help you press on through the darkest days of winter with our #2Fit2Quit social challenge for February! 

Posted 1/22/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 41 comments   21,979 views

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30 Days to a Happier, Healthier Winter

Happy New Year! Now that the holiday season is behind you, you're probably ready to settle back into a routine and reevaluate your health and fitness priorities (we know we are!). This time of year, there seems to be a new gimmick around every corner that promises to get you into the best shape of your life this time (and fast).

At SparkPeople, we don't believe in quick fixes--we believe in good, old-fashioned hard work, consistency and determination. However, we also believe that a nice boost every once in a while can re-ignite a spark that's been fizzling out. So, don't start 2014 with a gimmick that's sure to fail, or an exercise program that's way too extreme for your lifestyle. Instead, join our 30-day Winter Wellness Challenge; a realistic, sensible plan that will steer you in the right direction for a happier, healthier year ahead—no gimmicks and no fine print. Just honest, doable challenges to make you feel great, inside and out, all winter long. 

Posted 1/1/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 14 comments   17,447 views

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A January Challenge You Can Stick With!

We're (finally!) entering the home stretch of the holidays. If you've been following along with our #SparkTheSeason challenge, we hope you've been creating and sticking with goals to keep you motivated throughout the month of December. But January is coming up fast, and if you're anything like us, you're probably starting to think about your goals for 2014. Whether or not you believe in making New Year's resolutions, you can't deny that January is a prime time to kick your routine up a notch after a few months of heavy eating, drinking and general merry-making. And what with the dreary weather and the warmth of the holidays behind us, a little extra boost of motivation after the first of the year can't hurt! That's why we’re introducing a brand new challenge for January, hot on the heels of our #SparkTheSeason challenge: #RockYourResolution!

Posted 12/19/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 46 comments   39,474 views

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The Most Popular Health Headlines of 2013

Every December, we editors here at SparkPeople love digging through all of our content from the past year to see what our readers (you!) liked the most. It is so fun and rewarding to look back on what we’ve done throughout the year, and compiling this annual list helps give us a better idea of the exact kinds of topics you want to see on our site—which helps us create more high-quality and relevant content for you!

2013 was a year of healthy snacks, fun workouts, controversial health topics, and more. Check out these top 15 headlines of the year to see if there’s anything you might have missed (starting with number 1). Happy reading, and here’s to even better headlines in 2014!  

Posted 12/9/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 5 comments   14,426 views

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