All Entries For spread the spark

Follow SparkPeople on Pinterest!

I have a confession. I am obsessed with a website that isn't SparkPeople. com. I think about it during the day. I visit the site before I go to bed each night. I even had a dream about it once. Don't get me wrong, I love SparkPeople and would recommend it to anyone for all of your healthy lifestyle needs, but I have a new flame. It's name is Pinterest. I could waste spend hours a day looking for cool ideas and pinning the ones I stumble upon on Pinterest. Sometimes I do! Pinterest has changed my online world for the better.
Those of you who have a Pinterest account probably "get it." Those of you who have no idea what Pinterest is are probably scratching your heads and saying, "Huh?"
Allow me to explain.
Posted 12/23/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 30 comments   18,888 views
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SparkPeople Helped Set a New Guinness World Record

In October, SparkPeople partnered with National Geographic Kids magazine to attempt to break a Guinness World Record for the most people doing jumping jacks in a 24-hour period. We needed more than 20,000 people to do jumping jacks to break the record.

We are excited to announce that we broke the record! More than 300,000 people– including many SparkPeople members – participated in Let’s Jump! events around the world between 3 p.m. on Oct. 11 and 3 p.m. on Oct. 12. The record now stands at 300,265 — far surpassing the previous record of 20,425. (Find out how many calories you can burn while doing jumping jacks!)

Here's what our partner, National Geographic Kids magazine, had to say about the event:
Posted 12/12/2011  9:00:00 AM By: Sarah Felkey : 8 comments   7,184 views
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One Man's Journey from Fit to Fat--and Back Again

Growing up, I was not an athlete.

I did wrestle for a number of years, but I was more of a band geek. (Proud to say that too!) I've traveled the world "making music with my friends," as I marched in various marching bands and Drum Corps.   I was always fit, firm and muscular due to the demands that band and Drum Corps put on my body. 

Then, in 1998, I changed careers and got a desk job.  Things started to change.
I quickly grew accustomed to sitting all day.  Sitting behind a desk got easier and easier. It also got easier to sit on my chair at home and do nothing.  

I lost my mother in February 2001 and I started eating, much more than normal.  I never knew I was an emotional eater, but there I was, eating away the grief and loss.  As time moved forward, and my habits did not improve, I slowly grew to my top measured weight of 264 pounds.  I knew I wasn't healthy. I couldn't walk up a small flight of stairs without being winded, I had no energy and I made poor eating choices most of the time. I didn't like what I saw when I looked in the mirror.  I avoided having my picture taken.  In fact it was the picture taken for my security badge at work that scared me into action.  My swollen face and eyes were not a pretty sight! 

That just begs the question words, why, when, how, what?  I simply can't come up with a better answer than I got tired of being fat.  Why at the ripe ole age of 40 did I decide to take my life back? Why, when I knew it was going to take so much discipline, so much work would I make a life changing decision?

I made this decision for me.

Now, let me give you three more reasons I changed my life.  My wife and two daughters.  My wife deserves a husband who is willing and able to help out around the house. I believe she deserves a husband that she can be proud of, who can come home from work and have the energy necessary to help with dinner, kids, activities, etc. My daughters deserve a Daddy who doesn't sit in his chair asleep all the time. They deserve a daddy who has energy to play with them, get on the floor and wrestle, tickle, and not be a grump all the time. They need a role model.

So I made the decision on December 28, 2009 to take my life back!
Posted 11/16/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Jerome Merlau : 80 comments   15,285 views
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Thanks to You, 'The SparkPeople Cookbook' is a Hit

Golly, what a week this has been! Last week, I was in New York with The Slowest Loser to promote the book and tape my national TV debut, and this week--wow, are people noticing that we wrote a cookbook (a pretty darn good one)!

Before I share with you all the praise we've received, I want to thank each and every one of you who has bought "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight" already.

What a fun time I had in New York! With the help of food stylist Nicki Sizemore (it's hard to do your own cooking when you're staying in a hotel!), we prepped Three Cheese Macaroni for the folks at Better TV--and it was a hit. Watch my clip from the show, which aired on Tuesday!
On Wednesday, The Cincinnati Enquirer ran an excellent story on the cookbook, with a can't-beat-it headline: SparkPeople book instant hit. A preview of the story was on A1, with a huge photo of Stepfanie and me on the cover of the food section, three recipes--and a great story that featured successful member Tara (HALLELUL). Even better, the online version had six photos! (Click here to read the story) All mentions of the cookbook are fun to see, but it's even neater to see an article on the book in the newspaper you read every morning (and the one where Stepfanie worked before coming to SparkPeople).

There's more--and you can win a copy of the cookbook, too!

Posted 10/13/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 24 comments   9,521 views
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4 Fun New SparkPeople Products for Less Than $12 is a 100% free site, but a couple years ago, we created an online store to help satisfy member demand for SparkPeople goods. You asked us for T-shirts, workout DVDs and more, so we delivered not only those items, but additional things as well (think key chains, apparel, and fitness equipment)!
Purchasing something from the SparkPeople Store not only helps us earn additional revenue to keep our website free for all, but it is also a great way to Spread the Spark. If you've ever worn a SparkPeople T-shirt in public, or proudly displayed our window decal on your vehicle, then you've probably also fielded questions from friends and strangers alike that led into you telling them about the site. And if that's the case: Thank you! Word of mouth is by far our biggest source of new members.
For those who haven't visited the SparkPeople store lately, we have four new products that make for inexpensive and fun ways to reward yourself for reaching your goals—including a couple items inspired by our members!
Posted 9/14/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 60 comments   15,154 views
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CLOSED: 'You Can Create An Exceptional Life' (Win a Copy!)

Many of you might know that I'm the co-author (with Chef Meg) of The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose The Weight, which will be published Oct. 4 by Hay House. Hay House also published our New York Times best-seller, The Spark, and for that reason, today's giveaway is very special to us.
Hay House founder and legendary metaphysical lecturer and teacher Louise Hay has teamed up with author and life coach Cheryl Richardson to write an inspiring new book: You Can Create An Exceptional Life. It will be published Sept. 20, but we're giving away three copies now!

The book brings together the styles and experiences of these two NYT best-selling authors in a series of heart-to-hearts about their own spiritual principles. You really feel like you're having a conversation with two wise girlfriends, and their words somehow reassure you that life is good and you're able to make of it what you want.
Posted 9/2/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 27 comments   17,049 views
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How to Write a Better Recipe

I recently spoke at the Healthy Living Summit on the topic of writing a better recipe. Participants asked me to share my presentation, so I am posting it here, with notes that make it helpful for those of us who also share our recipes on

Before I delve into the recipe writing tips, let's talk about recipes for a bit.
As the editor of and, I'm always on the lookout for talented healthy home cooks. With more than 300,000 recipes on the site, it can be difficult to choose among them. I hope that you'll share this blog post with your friends (both on SparkPeople and on other sites) and encourage them to publish their recipes on SparkRecipes. Good recipes are featured on the homepage, in our daily email newsletters and elsewhere on the site.

“I invite you to skip the technology, the SEO, and all the other shoulds you’ve collected up along the way. Instead, step up to that darling morsel and sink your teeth in.”
--Brooke Burton,

Sometimes we forget that recipes are stories, meant to entice the reader into making a dish. We, as food bloggers, worry more about aggregating audience and increasing SEO than we do about the words on a page.

I sat in on a session that Brooke Burton moderated at last year's Food Buzz Festival in San Francisco. She was enthusiastic and encouraging as she and her fellow panelists urged us to invoke all our senses as we wrote. This quote, borrowed with citation from her blog, seemed a fitting reminder for the topic of better recipe writing.
Let's get started!
Posted 8/31/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 25 comments   11,803 views
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Down 143 Pounds, Ann Shares Her Story

Editor's Note: EMMABE1 has lost 143 pounds and counting with SparkPeople. Ann, who is from Australia, recently answered ~INDYGIRL's questions via email.
~INDYGIRL: What was your a-ha moment when you decided to finally lose the weight?
EMMABE1: As far as one single a-ha moment – I really didn’t have one! It sort of snuck up on me.  There was a huge media blitz on "healthy living" and this maybe had some effect. I was also having problems with osteoarthritis in my knees and ankles, so my doctor was talking "knee replacement."  The risks were too high at that weight; however I knew that one day the time would come.  With weight loss, healthy eating and exercise, I have managed to stop all pain in my knees and at this time, replacement is definitely "off" indefinitely!

~INDYGIRL: How much weight have you lost?
EMMABE1: 65 kg (143 lb approx.) I had lost 35 kg (77 lb approx.) in the 7 yrs before joining SparkPeople, but was just "fiddling about" reducing the amount of food and calories I was eating, but not changing my lifestyle.  Consequently I was still wearing the same size clothes despite the weight loss, and because of this I was totally fed up with what I viewed as yet another failed attempt.
Posted 8/26/2011  10:00:00 PM By: Beth Donovan : 168 comments   35,068 views
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Meet SparkPeople's Newest Employee!

Editor's Note: By popular demand, our Behind the Scenes at SparkPeople feature has returned.

Name: Sarah Felkey (SPFELKEY)

Position at SparkPeople: Marketing Coordinator

Age: 31

Family: I am married to my wonderful husband, Sean, and we have two cats: Frisches, who carries slippers around the house, and Izzy, whose only speed is "run."

How long have you worked for SparkPeople? Since May

Tell us your proudest accomplishment at SparkPeople or a fun fact about your job:
Since I’ve only been here since May, I am still learning about my job responsibilities, but I’m excited about what I’m working on so far, including marketing for our upcoming cookbook, print ads, and emails. I’m also helping beta test a new member support feature that hopefully will be released very soon on the SparkPeople website!

How do you stay in shape?
Posted 7/14/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Sarah Felkey : 75 comments   13,304 views
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I'm 'Doing Whatever It Takes'

My motto: "Doing whatever it takes."
When the dailySpark asked me to write a guest blog I was completed humbled and honoured. What better way to help inspire people then getting to share my story, where I have been, where I am and where I am going.
On to the title of my blog, "doing whatever it takes." When I started to lose weight in May 2009, I had hit rock bottom with my self-esteem, was very close to the heaviest I had ever been, at close to 320 pounds. My athletic abilities were completely gone and I knew that it was a time for a change.
I had contemplated losing weight for years. In my second year of university, I had a huge drug problem and when I eventually stopped doing drugs (it has been over 4 years) I gave myself 3 goals all with equal importance to me.
Posted 7/6/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Gerry Antman : 90 comments   18,174 views
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This SparkPeople Employee Quit a Big Job for a Healthy One

At SparkPeople, it won't surprise you to learn, we encourage our employees just as much as we encourage our members. That same philosophy, of healthy living, making your life an adventure, and setting small goals en route to larger ones, is embraced by all of employees, from Founder Chris "SparkGuy" Downie right on down to our newest hires. We aren't just in the business of healthy living; we're also living that way.

Many of SparkPeople's employees have been here from the start 10 years ago, but most of us who've joined along the way have left corporate jobs and hectic careers where work-life balance and healthy habits weren't supported and, in some cases, were outright discouraged.

SparkPeople's Tami Booth Corwin is a great example of how much we truly value the very habits we advocate.

She's a wife, mother, and also SparkPeople's President. Despite having two young children and a busy schedule, she always makes time for fitness and healthy eating, something that just wasn't possible when she worked in publishing.
Posted 6/15/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 20 comments   10,015 views
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~INDYGIRL and Team Host a SparkRally

By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)

May 21, 2011, marked the date of the first SparkPeople rally sponsored by E.A.R.P.S. (Exotic Animal Rescue and Pet Sanctuary) and SparkPeople members. I have never hosted a rally before, but the idea came about when I was corresponding with SparkPeople member, Ksigma1222, who was featured in the book, "The Spark." He told me “If we build it, they will come.” We were both very eager to have a rally because there is nothing like being around fellow SparkPeople members. There is a very positive energy in the air.

Posted 6/3/2011  10:20:28 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 78 comments   13,272 views
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Meet Elle, An Author Who Rewrote Her Dreams with SparkPeople

When Chris "SparkGuy" Downie founded SparkPeople 10 years ago, weight loss wasn't the only thing on his mind. He wanted to help people be healthier, sure, but he also wanted to show them that setting small goals en route to larger ones could help them achieve success in all areas of their lives.

SparkPeople grew into the country's largest diet website and helped millions become healthier along the way. But most of you didn't stop there, including Elle Newmark, whom you'll meet today.

As Chris wrote in his NYT best-selling book, "The Spark":

"At the convention, I also met Elle Newmark, the member who landed a major book deal as part of her SparkPeople adventure and embarked on an exciting trip to Italy, the setting of her book. But she didn’t stop there, as she told us:

I just spent a month in India, researching my next book. That little hill in California near my home is laughable compared to the Himalayas where life is entirely vertical. I spent almost two weeks at altitudes between 6,000 and 8,000, and was able to see and do everything. This enhanced physical ability creates a sense of well-being, self-sufficiency, and plain old power that is priceless. I am 62 years old and I feel like the world is mine for the taking. I can go places and do things that would have been unthinkable 3 years ago. My SparkPeople experience wasn’t a dream come true, I never even dreamed this. All that happened to me was beyond what I ever dreamed."

That second book, "The Sandalwood Tree," has been published, and we're thrilled that Elle has been able to achieve such success. She took some time recently to answer some questions via email. As a fellow writer, I was truly inspired by her tale. I hope you will be too. She is as eloquent in email as she is in her prose, so I urge you to keep reading!
Posted 5/25/2011  5:16:10 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 23 comments   10,135 views
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VIDEO: SparkPeople Medical Expert Birdie on Oprah's Weight-Loss Show

Yesterday we told you that a SparkPeople member was going to be featured on "Oprah." Did you watch Birdie (DR_BIRDIE) on Oprah's weight-loss episode yesterday? If you didn't, or if you want to watch again, here's your chance. Birdie told Oprah all about her 144-pound weight loss, breaking through a plateau, and more.

Posted 5/11/2011  1:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 36 comments   13,916 views
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Watch SparkPeople Medical Expert Birdie on Oprah's Weight Loss Show Today!

After losing more than 140 pounds, SparkPeople member (and resident medical expert) Birdie Varnedore appeared in People magazine in a size-8 bikini, then on "Good Morning, America." The mom of five from Florida was also featured in Chris "SparkGuy" Downie's New York Times best-selling first book, "The Spark."

What motivated this busy mom and doctor to lose the weight? Birdie wanted to live a long and healthy life for her five children, and so did her husband, Nick, who lost 115 pounds on SparkPeople. A neurologist, she has referred hundreds of patients to SparkPeople and spreads the Spark whenever she can. We're thrilled that she has another opportunity to share her story with others.

Today, she's appearing on Oprah's Ultimate Weight Loss Finale. (If you watch closely, you can see a before photo and after video of Birdie in the promo video!)

Birdie (DR_BIRDIE) tells us that she delves into the personal side of weight loss, so we're certain that this is a can't-miss show. Check local listings for time and channels.

Posted 5/10/2011  9:00:00 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 61 comments   17,902 views
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