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:

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   17,536 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   39,554 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   14,619 views

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One Easy Way to Stay on Track in December

Thanksgiving is coming up in just a few short days, and you might still be participating in our November #Fit2Feast challenge (WooHoo!). We know that it’s tough to stay motivated leading up to the holiday season, so congratulations for participating and making it this far already!

You might have made some good strides (hah!) with our November challenge, but we recognize that you’re probably going to need some motivation to stay on track through the busy month of December—which can easily be the hardest month of the year to stick with a healthy eating and exercise program. There always seems to be an endless barrage of feasts, family gatherings and work parties to attend! However, we’ve seen time and again how just a little bit of accountability can go a long way, no matter what the time of year (yes, even in December). And that’s why, by popular demand, we’re hosting a challenge to get you through the bulk of the winter holiday season. Welcome to our #SparkTheSeason challenge! 

Posted 11/21/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 65 comments   32,530 views

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Giveaway Closed: A Blender Bottle with a Motivating Message

This giveaway is now closed. The winners are:

GBPIANO8
DALADYD
DRSTACY2016

Congratulations!



Can you believe the holidays are here again? We’re already getting a little excited at the SparkPeople offices. (I’ve been listening to Christmas music since November 1. Don’t judge!) The holidays are a really fun time around here—we usually have a ''Secret Santa'' exchange, informal get-togethers and a hefty dose of holiday pranks. This year, we want to share our joy of the season with YOU by hosting a special 8-week holiday giveaway series! Every Friday for the next eight weeks, we will be giving away a product to help support you on your journey to a healthier life. Consider it our holiday gift to you!

Posted 11/15/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 35 comments   8,044 views

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Get Fit before You Feast: A November Challenge!

Halloween is just one week from today, and we all know what that means—the holiday season will be upon us before we know it. Unfortunately, the "most wonderful time of the year" also tends to be the most stressful time of the year for a lot of people; especially for those who are striving to lose weight or get fit. How do you avoid falling off the wagon during such a busy time full of food, friends and family obligations? 

Posted 10/24/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 164 comments   35,032 views

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Join the 30-Day 'Fit Food' Challenge!

Now is the perfect time to kick off a brand new challenge to help you get on your way to your healthiest, fittest self yet: 30 Days of Fit Food. It's a great way to kick the season and head into the holidays (just around the corner!) feeling your best.

Posted 9/26/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 27 comments   98,463 views

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CONTEST CLOSED: Win a Copy of Leslie Sansone's Newest Walking DVD!

This contest is officially closed. The winners are:

DEEDEE2610
MOLLYJ96
WOODMAN169
GRANNY2B2
STANDY15

Congratulations!


We're big fans of Leslie Sansone. Her approachable, safety-focused workout DVDs completely align with SparkPeople's philosophy that fitness should be an enjoyable, attainable part of life—without making drastic sacrifices or falling for gimmicks. Leslie is the real deal, and she's helped millions of people around the world lose weight, get fit and feel great about themselves through her fitness DVDs.

A few years ago, Coach Nicole reviewed one of Leslie's DVDs and really enjoyed it. So, when we found out that Leslie has a new DVD coming out, we couldn't wait to get the scoop! Walk It Off in 30 Days is a month-long program that combines walking and strength training to get you results in 30 minutes a day. Here's what the most recent press release has to say about the program: 

Posted 8/23/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 59 comments   10,876 views

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The Best and Worst Sips for Your Hips

Made with wholesome fruit, milk and ice, what's not to love about a healthy smoothie on a hot day? Not so fast—although they may sound innocent enough, these summer sippers could actually be massive calorie bombs in disguise. Many common selections at smoothie chains and fast food restaurants pack two times more sugar than a candy bar and more calories than a burger and fries! Before drinking up, read on for the best and worst picks from popular smoothie establishments across the country. 

Posted 8/14/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 47 comments   42,789 views

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NEW: SparkCoach App for On-the-Go Results

Since our launch of SparkCoach, other SparkPeople members like you have found incredible success with the help of our revolutionary program. And now, you can get the same great results on the go, because SparkCoach is now available on your iPhone and Android mobile devices! 

Posted 8/5/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 3 comments   14,069 views

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Food Showdown: How Sweet is Your Tea?

As temperatures continue to climb this summer, sitting out on the porch with a tall glass of iced tea might sound like the perfect way to relax and refresh. Iced tea certainly isn't new on the beverage scene, but we have been slowly increasing our consumption of the warm-weather staple; last year, a national consumer survey reported that 10% of U.S. consumers are purchasing more iced tea than they did in 2009. The survey also revealed that 73% of tea drinkers prefer green tea for its antioxidants and health benefits. Drink companies have taken note of America's love of green tea and have produced dozens of flavored varieties over the past few years; however, many of those varieties pack a mean sugar punch that rivals the most sugary soft drinks on the market.

Between two popular flavored green tea varieties, Arizona Georgia Peach Green Tea and Snapple Peach Green Tea, which one should you choose if you're watching your sugar intake?
 

Posted 6/20/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 73 comments   28,746 views

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The Top 20 SparkRecipes on Pinterest

If you're an avid cook and foodie, you've probably discovered the wonderful (and addictive!) world of Pinterest. This website gives you access to literally millions of recipes, cooking tips and inspiring food ideas, which is great! But we know that you don't always have the time to sift through the countless recipes floating around out there to find the very best ones. Which recipes are going to impress your guests, cause your mouth to water, and make you want to make them again and again? Well, we've taken the time to sift through our most popular SparkRecipes from our Pinterest page. These are the best recipes from our site that keep getting shared and re-pinned time and time again—because they're just that good. And now you can have them all in one handy list! All of these recipes are relatively fast, healthy and easy to make—and are guaranteed to make you want to make them for years to come. Bon appetit! 

Posted 6/12/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 17 comments   75,259 views

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The Healthiest Leafy Green--and How to Eat It

We all know it's a good idea to eat leafy green veggies. They're chock-full of nutritious vitamins and minerals, and they're low in calories to boot. But if you can only stomach so much green in your life, which leafy green should you choose for the maximum nutritional benefits: Spinach, kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, or collard greens?

Posted 6/6/2013  9:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 86 comments   52,866 views

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At First, They'll Ask You...








Inspired by this piece of motivation? Share it! Check out hundreds of inspirational quotes and images on SparkPeople's Healthy Inspiration page.

Posted 6/5/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 21 comments   25,252 views

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To Beef or Not to Beef?

Red meat gets a bad rap sometimes. Criticized for its high levels of fat and cholesterol, it's been avoided in the diet world for years. However, not all red meat is created equal; when choosing the right cuts in moderation, beef can be a great source of iron, protein and zinc. Between 3 ounces of cooked flank steak and 3 ounces of cooked 80/20% ground beef, which is the leaner choice?

Posted 5/30/2013  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 66 comments   42,088 views

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