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'Spark Solution' on the U.S. News 'Best Diets' List

Our latest book, "The Spark Solution: A Complete Two-Week Diet Program to Fast-Track Weight Loss and Total Body Health," has made the prestigious "Best Diets" list published by U.S. News & World Report.

Out of 31 diets* on the list, ours was ranked:
  • #4 Best Commercial Diet Plan
  • #6 Weight Loss Diet
  • #13 Overall Diet and Healthy Eating Diet
We also ranked favorably in the Heart Health and Diabetes categories, among others.

Here's what the panelists said about SparkPeople's latest book--which is now available in paperback at a low price!
Posted 1/4/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 23 comments   15,657 views
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Increase in Liver Damage is Linked to Dietary Aids

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.

Older Women May Spend Two-Thirds of Their Day Sitting HealthDay        
No matter your age or gender, this story likely will motivate you to stand up and get moving!

Spike in Harm to Liver Is Tied to Dietary Aids NYT
A scary but true article about how dietary supplements and aids have led to irreversible liver damage for an increasing number of people of all ages.

7 Surprising Body Odor Causes Huffington Post Healthy Living
Feeling stinky? One of these surprising causes could be the reason.  

Posted 12/28/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 0 comments   6,448 views
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How One Mom is Promoting a Healthy Body Image

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.

'Having the perfect body isn't all it's cracked up to be': Mother-of-three hits back at Fit Mom for promoting unhealthy beauty ideals Daily Mail
We shared the story of fitness blogger Maria Kang a couple of months ago on SparkPeople Radio. She's the fitness blogger who posted a pic of herself in a sports bra and shorts with her kids and the caption "what's your excuse?" Now, another mother of three has a must-read response.

F.D.A. Questions Safety of Antibacterial Soaps NYT
The F.D.A. has issued an ultimatum to soap makers: Prove antibacterial ingredients work or take them out of products. Do you use antibacterial soap and other products?

Holiday stress calls for an attitude adjustment USA Today
The most wonderful time of year is often the most stressful. Find out how to reduce bad stress and feel more joy during the holidays. Do the holidays stress you out? How do you cope?
Posted 12/21/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 5 comments   5,863 views
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Eating Healthy Is Cheaper Than You Think

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.
Eating Healthy Is Cheaper Than You Think
When people tell you that it's too expensive to eat healthy, tell them that the difference in cost between a nutritious diet and an unhealthy one is just $1.50 a day per person. Do you think that's a big difference or not?  

9 Easy Tips for Emotional Balance
Do you struggle to find time to do everything you need to do--let alone what you want to do? Don't miss this list of nine easy self-care rituals that will have you feeling more relaxed and balanced, even in this harried world.

Why Your Purse Is Giving You Back Pain... And 11 Ways to Fix It
Raise your hand if your purse is so heavy that you've wondered whether carrying it counts as strength training? If you tote around a large bag, you might be at risk for back pain. The good news is that you can fix it!

Fat Jokes in Children's Movies Are A Lot More Common Than You Think
Sad but true: Even in movies aimed at children, jokes that take aim at those who are overweight are more common than you might think.
Posted 12/14/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 7 comments   8,863 views
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So You're Feeling Too Fat to Be Photographed...

Perhaps our best and most thought-provoking roundup of links yet.

So You're Feeling Too Fat to Be Photographed...
Huffington Post Women
A photographer shares poignant thoughts on what really matters when you step in front of a camera. Spoiler alert: It's not what you think!

10 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Working Out
Whether you're a mom or not, don't miss this empowering list of reasons why exercise is about so much more than aesthetics.

Modern Moms Aren't as Busy as 1960s Moms Were
The Atlantic
According to a new report, moms today are busy and feel like they don't have a moment to spare. However, most spend more time watching TV or using the Internet than they do on housework, playing with kids, and exercising combined.

Caroline Berg Eriksen, Fitness Blogger, Causes Stir With Selfie 4 Days After
Giving Birth
Huffington Post Parents  
A fitness blogger posted a pic of her postpartum belly that's so toned and flat, it's raising eyebrows. What is your reaction to stories like these?

Why a Brisk Walk Is Better
No matter the pace, walking is a good workout, but a new study says that in order to reap many of the health benefits, most of us need to pick up the pace. Slow walking just isn't going to deliver the same results.
Posted 12/7/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 11 comments   9,791 views
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5 Barre Moves You Can Do at Home

A post-Thanksgiving round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.
The Workout: A Woman in Nascar A neat story about a Crossfit champion and NASCAR tire changer. NYT

How to Prevent Aches and Pains For Stress-Free Travel If you're heading out for the holidays, don't miss this story! Fit Sugar

5 Barre Moves You Can Do At Home Barre classes are effective but often expensive. Learn some moves to do at home for free! Self
Posted 11/30/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 1 comments   11,656 views
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The Football Workout

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.

The Football Workout Football fans will love this workout! Self

Eating Nuts Tied to Fewer Cancer, Heart Disease Deaths A handful of nuts a day could be making a larger impact on your health than you realize. Reuters

Breakfast Plates around the World An interesting peek into what people eat for breakfast around the world. USA Today

13 Essential Kitchen Items For Anyone Trying To Get Healthier Want to stock your kitchen with appliances and items to make healthy eating easier? Start with this list. Mind Body Green
Posted 11/23/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 2 comments   8,491 views
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A Pro Athlete Shows Off Her Real-Life (Un-Photoshopped) Body

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.

Keeping it Real.
A fitness model and pro athlete shows you what her real body REALLY look like. Spoiler alert: Even she has cellulite. Ask Lauren Fleshman

Crayons Down. Now Dig Into That Healthful Parfait. NYT
This new program is teaching kids to love fruits and veggies even before they can spell the words.

Bust Out of Your Life Rut Fitness magazine
Bored with life? Here are six great ideas to try when you feel stuck in any area of life.

Drinking three litres of water a day took TEN YEARS off my face Mail Online
It's no secret that SparkPeople values water--we recommend you drink at least 8 cups daily. This woman found an added benefit when she started drinking more water: Her face looked 10 years younger.
Posted 11/16/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 11 comments   405,082 views
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How to Make Today Better

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.

Why Are Kids Who Get Less Candy Happier On Halloween? NPR
This story is fascinating! According to a recent study, kids might be happier with one really good treat rather than one good treat and another not-so-good treat. This same concept might apply to holiday gift giving.

Top Chef's Padma Dishes on Her Workout Secret Weapons Fitness magazine
The host of the popular chef showdown dishes on how she maintains her weight and slims down between seasons.  

Why Are My Hamstrings Always Tight? Fit Sugar
Do you struggle with tight hamstrings? If so, you'll want to read this!

10 Surprising Healthy Habits from Around the World Shape
From France to Japan, Ethiopia to India, get the scoop on what people around the world do to stay healthy.

5 Things You Already Did Wrong before 9 a.m. Huffington Post Healthy Living
The bad news: You might have done at least a few of these already today. The good news: It's not too late to turn things around!  

Posted 11/9/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 1 comments   6,364 views
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What You Need to Know about Kids' Food Allergies

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.

CDC sets food allergy guidelines for schools
For the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are providing schools with guidelines on how to deal with food allergies. USA Today

Those People
A mother opens up about her experience relying on food pantries for assistance, as a way to foster compassion and empathy. Scary Mommy blog

Recipe for Strong Teen Bones: Exercise, Calcium And Vitamin D
The human skeleton is 90% formed by age 15 or so, which is why it is imperative for kids to not only consume adequate calcium and vitamin D but also get enough exercise--especially jumping and running. Are your child's bones at risk? NPR

The 4-Week Plan to Swimming Your First Mile
Want to learn to swim for fitness but not sure how to get started? Check out this plan for newbies. FitSugar

Home Barre Workout: Ballet Belly, Buns, and Thighs
You'll feel the burn with this workout from fitness expert Jessica Smith. Shape

Posted 11/2/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 3 comments   6,897 views
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Tasting 'Game' Helps Kids Accept New Veggies

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.
At-home 'tasting game' helps kids accept vegetables
A really cool idea to get kids to chomp on new-to-them foods! Reuters

Real Beauty Doesn’t Need Retouching, But How Do We Really Make Change?
Inspiring blog with sound advice and suggestions. Fit Bottomed Girls

Toledo man grows, sells produce in urban lot
How neat--turning an abandoned lot into an urban garden! The Review

Step-Inspired Bootcamp Workout
Get your sweat on with this fun workout! Peanut Butter Fingers blog
Posted 10/26/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 4 comments   5,968 views
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Is the Junk-Food 'Addiction' Study Junk Science?

"I'm fat because of Oreo cookies!" screamed the woman as she entered the weight-loss class I was coaching last week. In hand, she waved the press release from Connecticut College, which blared the warning, "Oreos are just as addictive as drugs!" 
"I am addicted to certain foods, just like those rats were addicted to Oreo cookies," she continued on.  "It's supposed to be worse than being addicted to cocaine. How am I ever going to be successful with my weight loss?"
Posted 10/23/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Becky Hand : 76 comments   28,033 views
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A Must-Read Tale of Beating the Odds--and Winning Big

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.

Wheelchair Racer Could Be First to Win 3 Major Marathons in a Season
What a feel-good story! Born with spina bifida, Tatyana McFadden spent her early years in a Russian orphanage. With no wheelchair, she walked using her hands. Now she's a decorated long-distance wheelchair athlete who has taken up skiing! If you've ever had someone tell you "you can't do that," you'll love this story of perseverance and triumph! (Update: She won Chicago, too!)

Feeling the Burn: How I Dealt with Mean Girls in Spin Class Fitness magazine
This blog shares an interesting first-person tale of grown-ups bullying at the gym. Have you ever experienced "mean girls" (or boys) at the gym?

ELLE Magazine Under Fire for Melissa McCarthy Cover Yahoo! Shine
While ELLE has been praised for putting a plus-size actress on the cover, critics say the wardrobe choice (oversized trench coat) is an insult  and a missed opportunity? What do you think about the Bridesmaids star's magazine cover?

Do customers overshare on Instagram? Restaurant Hospitality
While this story is aimed at restaurant owners and operators, read it to find out interesting new info about the effect of food photos on your appetite. Contrary to what you might think, the longer you look at food (on Instagram or other social media platforms), the less desirable eating that food becomes. Is this a viable weight-loss tactic?
Posted 10/19/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 4 comments   7,541 views
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Can Fat Cells Be Healthy (or Unhealthy)?

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.
The 'Healthy Obese' and Their Healthy Fat Cells NYT
Thin isn't a synonym for healthy, and now researchers are looking into people they call "metabolically healthy obese," meaning they are overweight but have normal blood pressure and cholesterol levels. What sets these people apart is their fat tissue, which reacts differently.

How Sitting Too Long Affects Your Body Mind Body Green
Get up on your feet! You'll think twice about sitting down after seeing what happens to your body when you take a seat.

School Pulls All-Beef Burgers From Menu, Citing Complaints NPR
After last year's outrage over burgers containing 26 ingredients, a school stopped serving them. But when served all-beef burgers, students complained about the look and taste. The original burgers are back on the menu. Do you think the school gave them a fair shot?

Just what is in that chicken nugget? Reuters
Wondering what's in your chicken nuggets? According to researchers, they might contain less than 50% muscle (meat). Do you eat chicken nuggets?
Posted 10/12/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 7 comments   9,292 views
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Everything You Need To Know About Back Pain (News Roundup)

A round-up of the most interesting and thought-provoking stories of the week.

Everything You Need To Know About Back Pain (Infographic)
The headline pretty much sums it up: This infographic shares everything you need to know about back pain. Mind Body Green
How to Feel Better Every Day
These 21 tips will help you boost energy and feel better every day--starting today! Real Simple
How Your iPhone Is Harming Your Health (INFOGRAPHIC)
Another informative and self-explanatory infographic, this one about how your phone harms your health. Huffington Post Healthy Living
Groceries Are Cleaning Up in Store-Brand Aisles
Posted 10/5/2013  12:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 2 comments   10,021 views
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