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: 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   13,183 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 7/29/2013  6:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 379 comments   77,370 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   27,036 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 : 16 comments   66,224 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 : 85 comments   49,137 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   22,232 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   40,695 views

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Motivation Boost: Make Your Life!








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

Posted 5/29/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 26 comments   12,318 views

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A Reminder: What Can You Do TODAY?

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

Posted 5/17/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 32 comments   10,121 views

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SparkPeople and SparkRecipes Back Up After Technical Difficulties

Hey, everyone! 

As you may have noticed, SparkPeople.com and SparkRecipes.com were down for a bit last night, and we apologize for the inconvenience. Unfortunately, there was a fire near our server facility, which shut everything down temporarily. We're happy to say that we are officially back up and running now, and nobody was hurt in the fire.

If you were unable to log in yesterday to get your daily SparkPoints, you can click here to get credit for the day you missed. We know how important consistency is to you all, and we'd hate to mess up your streak because of a technical difficulty on our end!

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask--we'll answer them the best we can!

SparkCheers!

The SparkPeople Team

Posted 5/17/2013  8:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 47 comments   6,065 views

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Tired of Starting Over?








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

Posted 4/5/2013  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 43 comments   28,526 views

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Food Showdown: Battle of the St. Paddy's Day Brews!

Top o' the morning to ya and Happy St. Patrick's Day! Even if you're not of Irish descent, there are many ways you can still get into the spirit of this fun, heritage-based holiday. You could deck yourself out in green from head to toe, or blast Irish music and jig around your house while you do chores. Or, you could enjoy a frosty mug of Irish beer, green food coloring optional. If you do choose to indulge in a festive drink tonight, which Irish brew will set you back the least amount of calories: a Guinness Draught stout or a Killian's Irish Red lager?

Posted 3/17/2013  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 18 comments   11,372 views

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You Asked: 'How Do I Find My One Rep Max?'

Your One Rep Max is the highest possible weight you can lift for exactly one repetition. You can use the One Rep Max as a benchmark to measure strength gains over time. However, keep in mind that this metric is typically used on very specific, more advanced lifts like bench press and back squat, so you wouldn't use this metric on, say, a bicep curl or a calf raise. 

Some advanced athletes find their 1 RM by progressively bumping up their resistance until they fail the lift on the second repetition of a set. However, this method is risky and should be done with additional supervision. So how does a beginning lifter determine his or her One Rep Max?

Posted 3/12/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 0 comments   419 views

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The Shamrock Shake: Festive Snack or Meal in a Glass?

St. Patrick's Day is upon us, and restaurants everywhere have officially "gone green" (and I don't mean in the environmental sense). Late last month, dining establishments across the nation began transforming foods and drinks into festive shades of emerald in honor of the March 17th Irish holiday. Every year, McDonald's jumps on this bandwagon (or perhaps leads the bandwagon), with their infamous Shamrock Shake, a minty green treat that's only available through March. The drink looks innocent enough in a small size, but how many calories are packed into that 12-ounce cup: 220, 530, 640, or 810

Posted 3/9/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 95 comments   40,082 views

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The Surprising Benefits of Nut Butter

Nut butters have become popular in the health world in recent years—and for good reason! Nut butter is a great source of healthy fats, which are important for regulating your energy, mood, and even your weight. However, some nut butters also deliver a more unexpected benefit: They're great for your bones! Let's take a look at two of the most popular nut butters--almond butter and peanut butter. Between the two, which one should you choose for better bone health

Posted 3/2/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 59 comments   34,567 views

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