Happy Anniversary, dailySpark! I've Gathered Some of Our Best Blog Posts


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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Happy Anniversary!

The dailySpark is elated to celebrate its first anniversary, a milestone that couldn't have happened without you, our loyal and engaged readers!
We'll be celebrating this entire week, with highlights of the past year, a look back at some of our favorite stories and several giveaways. From today through Sunday, Aug. 23, we'll be giving away great prizes. I can't tell you what they are--you'll have to return each day to see what we're giving away!
Today's giveaway will start at 6 p.m. EST, so return to the dailySpark tonight to see what we're giving away.

In the mean time, it's a great time to revisit some of the more memorable blogs I've read this year.

One of the hardest parts of being a writer for online or print is how quickly your words are forgotten. As soon as you finish writing and posting one story, it's time to move on to the next. This is a great chance to give some of our favorite stories a second look.

Throughout the week, each of our bloggers will be taking a look back at their favorite and most memorable posts from the last year, too.

Here are mine:

Confession: I May Not be Perfect, but I'm Still Fit & Healthy

Nicole fights back against rude comments!

Now I know that I don't have the perfect body. I used to weigh a lot more than I do now, and I probably have a good 20-30 pounds on most of the fitness models (yes, they're usually models, not trainers) who lead the workout DVDs that you see in stores. But does that mean that I can't lead YOU through a good workout that will help you reach your goals? I sure don't think so! But then I saw this comment, below my post about the DVD release:

"You need to get those arms toned and get a makeup artist if you want to sell those workout videos in today's competitive market! People aren't going to buy your product if you don't embody the ideal. Hate me if you want to, but it's free advice a marketing professional would charge you money for."


The 11 Worst Foods of 2008

I rounded up some of the most outrageously bad foods that fast food and chain restaurants dished up last year. Thank goodness we didn't have to taste these!

Fast food and chain restaurants have evolved significantly over the last few years. Burgers, fries and sodas are still the status quo for many diners, but those who seek healthier foods have plenty of options, from fruit and yogurt parfaits and baked potatoes, to apples cut like fries and grilled chicken. Trans fats have been reduced and eliminated; lowfat milk, fresh fruits and vegetables grace the menus at even the most ubiquitous roadside eateries; and more companies are disclosing nutritional information.

Despite those changes, fast foods menus remain dichotomous: Healthy choices reside next to triple-stacked burgers and extra large fries.

We've rounded up 11 of the worst foods we've seen this year.

Playing with My Unhappiness

Dean bravely shared his battle with depression and post-traumatic stress--
and his decision to face it head-on--with readers.

I am depressed--no doubt about it. I want this to change as soon as possible, and I imagine there are a few recent victims of my irritability around here who would like that too.

By education and by trade, I am also a philosopher and a psychologist/lifecoach, two activities which have involved a lot of thinking about this whole depression business. So, I would like to use these skills and resources to help myself find a "cure" for what ails me. I'll be happy to take some pills in the meantime, if they help--they aren't helping at the moment, but they have in the past and they may again. I might even be willing to try ECT.

But this blogging about my depression isn't going to be about my pill taking and its results. It's about playing with some different ideas and ways of thinking, to see if any of them can help. Some of them may sound a little strange, so be forewarned...

But What if I Canít Lose Weight?

We love to talk about the weight-loss success stories, but Tanya, speaking from experience, addresses the seemingly insurmountable hurdles that people with medical conditions have to endure when trying to slim down.

We are excited to hear stories about people who choose to make positive lifestyle changes like Birdie Varnedore and lose significant amounts of weight. When we read about people who have accomplished wonderful results for their days, weeks and months of dedication and commitment, we are encouraged to continue in our own quest to reach new health and fitness goals.

However, for every wonderful success story like Birdieís, there are several other people out there that have been equally dedicated and committed to their health that didnít see the same results. They kept careful track of how many calories they consumed on a daily basis, exercised faithfully and sacrificed a great deal. Unfortunately, instead of seeing the scale move 100 pounds in 10 months, they only saw their scale move a couple of pounds. Some of them heard family members, friends or even their doctor tell them they must be doing something wrong or ďcheatingĒ with what they were eating or how much they were exercising. If this sounds like an experience you have had in your healthy living journey, this blog is for you!

Negative Usernames: Motivational or Self-Defeating?

After a user wrote to us lamenting people's self-deprecating use names, Jen decided to ask what you thought. And boy, did you have opinions.

The idea for this blog came from a member, and when I saw it I knew it was something I wanted to talk about. It's something I wonder about all the time as I read blog comments on dailySpark, answer questions on SparkPeople and interact with the Community. Here was her suggestion:

"So often, when I see some of the usernames members have chosen for themselves, I wonder if they realize that they are reinforcing a negative self-image. Maybe if they read that a positive screen name would help reinforce better self-image, it would be helpful to them."

10 Lessons Learned in My 3-Year SparkPeople Journey

Like a few of our employees, Nancy started as a SparkPeople member. She celebrated her third anniversary in December and shared how she has successfully kept the weight off and her chin up.

On Friday, December 26, I celebrated my 3rd anniversary as a member of the SparkPeople community. Just as the coins carry little value alone, the same is true with this journey we call healthy living. While losing a few ounces here and there doesn't seem like much, when you add them up over a 3 year time period, my loss has totaled almost 70 pounds. But more importantly than losing the weight, I have finally discovered the key to living life and that is to appreciate every step of this great journey, even if that means falling flat on my face.

Habits of Fit People series

Whether or not she resembles a fitness model, Nicole is fit. And that's no accident. She started a blog series to share some of the habits that help keep her on track.

Food on the Run
We'd all love to enjoy a healthful, home-cooked meal every night of the week, but in real life, that can't always happen. Tanya scans the menus of popular chains to find better-for-you options.

Poll: The 10 Healthiest Foods You've Never Tried

Stuck in a food rut? Then you should try some of these healthy, underrated foods.

I recently saw a list of the 10 Healthiest Foods You've Never Tried. I pride myself on being an adventurous (mostly vegetarian) eater. When I saw the list, I was excited to see how many I'd eaten.

Tips for Staying Motivated series

Whether he's assuming his "Coach Toughlove" persona or his own, Dean is a master motivator. He started a series that gives in-depth advice to getting started and staying in track.

Finding Balance: Can You Have It All At Once?

In addition to being a SparkPeople Coach and a marathon runner, Jen is also a mother of two. While she is one of the most motivating and focused people I know, even she has trouble being the "perfect" wife, mother and employee. She talks about how to maintain balance.

I love my job and wouldn't give it up for anything. For a long time I thought I would be a career woman who didn't have children. But somewhere along the way, my plans changed. When I had kids, I was lucky enough to be able to make the choice to work part-time, and not only that, but to do most of that work from home. (Working at home with 2 little ones is not as easy as you'd think, but I'll save that discussion for another day.) I know how fortunate I am, because I work for a company that is willing to give me the flexibility I need. But that decision was never an easy one. Because I love my job, I'm often torn between work and family. There are some days when I get all of my work done, and I'm able to do a lot with my kids and give them all of the attention they need. But there are many days when I could use more quiet time to write my blog or answer the emails piling up in my inbox. Instead, I'm changing diapers or making lunch or doing the laundry. I am grateful for the time I get to spend with my kids, but that doesn't mean it's always an easy trade-off.

I think there's a lot of pressure on women to do everything, and to do all of it well. I fall into that trap sometimes, disappointed that I'm not the perfect wife, the perfect mom and the perfect employee. But I think if you can find the balance between all of those, and not expect perfection, you can find happiness and fulfillment- even if you don't have it "all" at once.

Changing Our Mentality from Dieting to Healthy Living

Nancy is in the minority: She has lost weight and kept it off for years. One reason she succeeded is that she doesn't just "diet."

Every year at this time millions of people who embarked on changing their lives eight weeks ago have already thrown in the towel because they didnít see or get the results they expected. Becoming frustrated with the process is a big reason many of us find it easier to give up then to face the challenge of slow and steady progress.

The mind is a very powerful entity. When we make the decision to become healthy and lose weight, many of us expect those changes to happen within a matter of days. But sadly, for many, it may take as long as six weeks for the changes to become visible on the scale and even longer in the mirror. Below are my own top 10 ways of changing the mentality from dieting to healthy living.

Those are my favorites from the past year, ones that made an impact on my outlook and attitude. The rest of our bloggers will be choosing their favorites throughout the week. I wonder if we'll have any of the same ones on our lists! Which are your favorites? Did you read them when they originally ran or did you read them for the first time today? (Don't forget: Come back tonight for the first of our dailySpark anniversary giveaways!)

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NEXT ENTRY >   Poll: Is it a Doctor's Responsibility to Lecture Their Overweight Patients?


  • STEFFI264
    H.A. I love the healthy living secret, I think it starts with healthy thinking though - 8/21/2009   8:27:31 PM
  • 89
    Happy Anniversary - 8/21/2009   12:20:14 PM
  • 88
    happy anniversary, sp! i have read these blogs and find them very helpful, interesting, and insightful. sp is THE best weight-loss site on the web. it's helped me change my life for the better for which i am grateful beyond words. - 8/21/2009   10:02:45 AM
    Happy Anniversary! - 8/20/2009   2:45:59 AM
  • 86
    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!!! - 8/19/2009   10:29:45 PM
  • 85
    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY !!!! - 8/19/2009   4:05:35 PM
  • 84
    Talk about walking down memory lane! I especially appreciated Nicole's post about her image and selling her DVD. The rude remark is so typical of those blinded by form while ignoring the substance. - 8/19/2009   12:49:29 AM
  • MKELLEY913
    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY INDEED! - 8/18/2009   11:53:25 PM
  • 82
    YAY! Happy anniversary! Thanks for all the interesting blogs. :) - 8/18/2009   10:42:22 PM
  • 81
    It is my Spark 1st Anniversary today 8/18 WOOHOOO!!!!
    thankyou to SPARK GUY for making us all better, healthier, and smarter too
    love the quiz's they are fun to see how fitness health smart you really are..

    thankyou all who work at SPARK everyday making this the best site in the WWW!!! - 8/18/2009   9:34:33 PM
  • 80
    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!!!!!! I'm glad I landed here on Daily Spark - 8/18/2009   7:13:15 PM
  • 79
    Thanks for posting this. As a relative newbie it will be good to go through the links and read them. It's great having the 'BEST' picked out for me! - 8/18/2009   6:37:43 PM
  • 78
    Happy, Happy Anniversary Daily Spark! I've read a good number of these, but not all of them (the series ones in particular), so I've saved this to go back and look at all of them. I find tremendous encouragement from reading these, and so much information that I can put into practice (such a key difference for me than in the past...I take action on what I've learned instead of being passive about it). This is a great tool for getting educated, as well as seeing that the pros struggle with the same things that we all do. Makes you realize it's all a level playing field, and we each need to put into practice what we preach, learn and share. I love how much encouragement is given as well with the comments. The coaches and experts need to hear these things just like the rest of us, so it's wonderful to see that people are willing to give back as well as receive. - 8/18/2009   5:22:46 PM
  • 77
    I really enjoy reading the blogs, they give me hope and understanding. There are times that I read something and I think "I oh my, I did not know that". Thank you for giving me the information and power to suceed. - 8/18/2009   2:56:24 PM
  • 76
    Thank you Daily Spark. I enjoy reading the emails. - 8/18/2009   2:29:36 PM
  • 75
    I'm Glad I have been apart of Spark

    Happy Anniversary ! - 8/18/2009   2:24:14 PM
  • 74
    - 8/18/2009   2:24:09 PM
    I've read a lot of these and they really do have great, helpful info. - 8/18/2009   9:30:38 AM
  • 72
    Happy Anniversary DailySpark! - 8/18/2009   7:57:41 AM
  • 71
    Happy Anniversary!! - 8/18/2009   6:18:44 AM
  • 70
    Thanks, and Congratulations, dailySpark! I read all these in the original and look forward to more. - 8/18/2009   6:04:28 AM
  • 69
    Happy Anniversary I love SP it finally got me back on the right track. I love the blogs. I read and reread them. - 8/18/2009   2:40:43 AM
  • 68
    Thanks SP- I appreciate all the resources! You provide a great service- I couldn't do this journey without you!! - 8/17/2009   11:23:56 PM
    Happy Anniversary SP! I just joined July 28, 2009 and hope to lose 31 lbs by April 2010. I'm so glad I found SP. Thank you! - 8/17/2009   11:01:26 PM
  • 66
    I have read most of these and many more I read quite a bit of the blogs already and find myself reading some again for the second time just to refresh myself of what to do and what is important or best foods.
    Thanks - 8/17/2009   9:50:24 PM
  • 65
    I enjoy the blogs very much, thank you for starting them - 8/17/2009   9:05:06 PM
  • 64
    I REALLY sit up and pay attention when you Coaches get "personal!" Coach Nicole's frank discussion of outrageous criticisms of her physique? Great blog! Coach Dean's incredible disclosure about his depression and PTSD...? Priceless!

    Those blogs really helped me to tune into your honesty and humanity...taking this journey well beyond ANYTHING offered elsewhere on the 'net!

    Thank you, thank you THANK YOU going out to Chris Downie, the Coaches and all the SparkPeople staff that *Make This HAPPEN!*

    Don, Co-Leader of All Health Professionals, Binghamton Area Losers and Laid Off But Staying Strong SparkTeams - 8/17/2009   8:55:39 PM
  • 63
    That year certainly flew by fast. Happy Anniversary!! - 8/17/2009   8:22:29 PM
  • NATS44
    Happy Anniversary! - 8/17/2009   8:19:28 PM
  • 61
    Thanks! for all you done to help us all eat and be healthy! Happy Anniversary! - 8/17/2009   8:18:40 PM
  • 60
    I really enjoy these blogs as well. I really enjoyed the top 10 list of things learned at sparkpeople. I have read and re-read that list to continue to motivate my lifestyle change. - 8/17/2009   6:39:48 PM
    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY ! LOVE THESE BLOGS! - 8/17/2009   6:31:33 PM
  • 58
    The blog post about usernames was also one of my favorites. I was inspired to change my username after that blog post. Happy Anniversary! Ive read the Spark blog almost everyday since it started. - 8/17/2009   4:38:46 PM
  • 57
    Happy Anniversary to all the Wonderful People of SparkPeople! - 8/17/2009   4:07:35 PM
  • 56
    Happy Anniversary! - 8/17/2009   3:49:34 PM
    Happy Anniversary! - 8/17/2009   3:37:35 PM
  • 54
    This is the first time reading the daily blogs. I have been using Spark People since June 2009.......

    I will make it a point to read it each day. Very good information for me......

    Thanks so very much. - 8/17/2009   3:30:03 PM
  • 53
    Happy Anniversary and what a great blog, I enjoyed it very much. thaks for writing it.hugs to you. - 8/17/2009   3:25:43 PM
  • 52
    thanks and happy anniversary love the daily blogs !!! - 8/17/2009   2:49:09 PM
  • 51
    Happy Anniversary! Time flies by, doesn't it? - 8/17/2009   2:10:48 PM
  • 50
    Happy Anniversary Daily Spark!!!!!!!!!!!!! - 8/17/2009   1:17:42 PM
  • 49
    Well Happy Anniversary to one of my favorite reads of the day. I can't wait for another year of great posts. - 8/17/2009   1:17:07 PM
  • 48
    These are all good articles, and I have saved this blog so I can re-read some of the articles over and over. Never can get too much Spark. - 8/17/2009   1:04:07 PM
  • 47
    These are all good articles, and I have saved this blog so I can re-read some of the articles over and over. Never can get too much Spark. - 8/17/2009   1:04:04 PM
  • 46
    It seems crazy that the daily spark has only been around for a year! I've been here almost three years and I can't believe it's only been around for a 1/3 of that time. I love reading it daily, and don't worry, I don't just forget about the articles I've read. Some aren't as memorable to me as others, but they all are interesting!! - 8/17/2009   12:46:12 PM
  • 45
    Keep up the good work!!!! I love reading the DAILY SPARK!!!!! - 8/17/2009   12:36:23 PM
  • 44
    Thank you for helping me to start to live again - 8/17/2009   12:36:01 PM
    Wow, one year! I am just celebrating my 2 month milestone. Anyway, NASTY re: the comment about Nicole's figure in the Sparkpeople videos. I for one would KILL to look like she does! I would much rather take instruction from someone real, that I know can actually DO the workouts than some fitness model!! Thank you so much for the videos sparkpeople make. I have done many of them!!! - 8/17/2009   11:54:05 AM
  • 42
    Most of those stories ranked in my top ten also! Love SP and this community! - 8/17/2009   11:50:52 AM
  • 41
    Happy anniversary, dailySpark! I just recently started reading, so I'm seeing all of these articles for the first time. Thanks for reposting them! - 8/17/2009   11:43:40 AM

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