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:

FDA Snack Attack: Are Kind Bars Unhealthy?

At least four types of Kind Bars are in violation of the FDA's "healthy-labeling" requirements. The problem? Too much saturated fat. The FDA is considering pulling the bars from grocery shelves until Kind changes the labeling to meet the requirements.


Will you continue to buy Kind Bars?
 

The FDA has found that at least 4 types of Kind Bars are in violation of the FDA's "healthy-labeling" requirements... in SparkPeople's Hangs on LockerDome

Posted 4/16/2015  9:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 25 comments   10,502 views

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5 Better Bites for Easter

Easter is synonymous with bright pastel-colored candy eggs, marshmallow chicks and creme-filled chocolates--which aren't exactly the most waistline-friendly treats. But you can still partake in the goodies without derailing your healthy habits. If you're looking for some alternatives to the usual fare, here are some small tweaks you can make to lighten up your Easter baskets this year (while still having fun)! 

Posted 4/1/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 7 comments   10,716 views

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Out Today: New Changes to the SparkPeople Mobile App!

Today, we’re excited to announce that we’ve made another update to the SparkPeople Mobile app! This update is for iOS users, and if you’ve updated your app today, you’ve already seen the changes. (Note: we rolled out these changes to the Android version of our app a few weeks ago.) We made a good number of tweaks to help improve the app, but there are two major changes we wanted to mention.
 
Change #1: We simplified and cleaned up the homescreen. When we asked our members what they most wanted on the homescreen, almost all of you asked for better, easier food and fitness tracking. With our new design, you can track your food and exercise even faster!
 
Change #2: You can now add images to your blog and status updates, right from the app! Lately, you may have seen more images in SparkPeople Mobile from other SparkPeople members who are using our newest motivational tool, pep. We wanted to make sure that our SparkPeople Mobile users could join in the image-sharing fun, too!
 
Check out the app here and let us know what you think! We love hearing your ideas for how we can improve our tools to make it easier to reach your goals.
 
SparkCheers!
The SparkPeople Team

Posted 3/17/2015  5:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 2 comments   6,518 views

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A St. Patrick's Day Challenge (SparkPeople Style!)

St. Patrick's Day is usually synonymous with corned beef, cabbage and pints upon pints of green beer (not to mention other unnaturally-dyed foods). But this year, we're celebrating in a way that's both fun and good for you! Starting tomorrow and leading up to the day before St. Patrick's Day, we'll be challenging ourselves to get in five servings of green fruits and veggies every day—and we want you to join us on Instagram! Even if you don't celebrate St. Patrick's Day, this is still a fun challenge to help you eat those freggies. (And if you are celebrating St. Paddy's in the usual ways, it's a nice way to get in some nutrients before indulging in all that green beer!)

Posted 3/8/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 13 comments   10,650 views

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The Best New Healthy-Living App You Haven't Tried

Hi, SparkPeople!

Sometimes, you see something that makes you feel happy, inspired, or strong. It could be a delicious healthy meal you made, or the view from the top of that hill you just ran up. Images are powerful motivators, and we wanted to make a tool that would allow our members to easily capture, save and share their healthiest life snapshots to help them reach their goals alongside a community of like-minded people.

Enter our newest app: pep!

pep lets you record and share the images that make you feel proud and inspired. You can add custom filters, stickers, text and more to your pictures to get just the right look before sharing them within your community right within the app. See what other health-minded people are posting and motivate each other with just one snap of a picture! Best of all, the photos you take within pep will automatically feed over to your SparkPeople account, so your SparkFriends will be able to see them, too.

pep is currently available for iOS devices. If you click on the App Store button below, you can download pep right away and get started finding your friends and building your motivational community.

Try the app and let us know what you think! If you have an idea about how we can make the app better, let us know in the comments; we always love to hear what you think.

SparkCheers!
The SparkPeople Team

Posted 3/2/2015  1:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 21 comments   15,775 views

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The 5-Minute Abs Workout

Want to work more on your core strength, but aren't sure where to start? We've got you covered! Strengthen your core at home in just 1-5 minutes per day with this quick video series--no gym or equipment required! 

We've created this 5-Minute Abs series for you to use as you see fit. If you're just easing into core work, you can do one video each day for a fun fitness boost, or do all five videos consecutively for a mini core workout that will seriously challenge you. Follow along with each video and post how you did in the comments. We'd also love to hear your feedback about the video series, and are open to hearing ideas about other workouts you'd like to see in this format. Have fun! 

Posted 3/2/2015  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 16 comments   67,660 views

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Make Your Resolutions a Reality in 30 Days!

By now, you've probably got your New Year's resolutions all planned out and ready to go. If you feel like you need a little extra help to make your healthy-living goals a reality, we've got the answer right here! Maintain your motivation and help better your chances at turning your resolutions into lifelong healthy habits with the 30-Day Realistic Resolution Challenge. Not only will you get daily mini challenges to help you stick to your nutrition and fitness goals, but you will also get four weeks' worth of meal plans to help you clean up your diet and start your year on the right foot. The best part? All of the challenges are simple to complete (but effective!), and the meals are a cinch to make--which will help you avoid resolution burnout and allow you to create healthy changes that will actually stick past February. 

Posted 1/5/2015  12:00:00 PM By: Melinda Hershey : 21 comments   37,303 views

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Kick-Start 2015 with a 30-Day Challenge!

Welcome to 2015—a brand new year full of possibilities! Now is the perfect time to kick off a challenge to help you get on your way to your healthiest, fittest self yet: The 30-Day Small Changes Challenge. Start the New Year off right with a month of healthy (and realistic) challenges to help you look and feel your best all year long!

Posted 1/1/2015  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 60 comments   161,162 views

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New Feature Round-Up: Enhanced Streaks and Photos With Status Updates

Hi, Everyone! We launched a few changes today that you will notice on your Start page and other places on the site.
 
The first is that we launched a number of enhancements to our ''Streaks'' feature, where we encourage members to set small goals every day, creating a ''streak'' of as many days as they can. Many members have found this to be a great way to stay consistent with reaching their goals. Now with Streaks, you can see your progress on the Start page, plus see some big ''Award'' images for your streak. You can save your Award to your SparkPage, and also share to Facebook or Pinterest to help motivate your friends. Click here to learn more.
 
The second update is that we now let members upload a photo along with their Status Updates. You can upload from the Start page, your SparkPage, and also our Android SparkPeople Mobile app (coming soon to iPhone). You can then see photos uploaded by your friends and leave comments or ''likes'' in your friend feed.
 
If you have any questions, comments, or problems with these features, please leave a comment below. Thanks!

Posted 12/16/2014  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 18 comments   12,393 views

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Which Halloween Treat Would You Rather Eat?

Happy Halloween! We hope you're planning to enjoy some candy (in moderation!) today. What's your favorite Halloween treat to splurge on? Take the poll below, and then check out some of our best resources to help you get through the day feeling satisfied--but not stuffed like a pinata! 

Posted 10/31/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 2,897 views

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Get Fit before You Feast: A November Challenge!

Halloween is just around the corner, 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 10/27/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 212 comments   80,025 views

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Michael Strahan's 5 Best Tips for a More Balanced Life

Editor's Note: We had a chance to sit down and chat with former NFL football player and current television star, Michael Strahan, who was kind enough to share with us his tips on balancing fitness, nutrition and motivation while leading a busy life. We'll be sharing his best tips in this ongoing series, ''A Minute with Michael.'' 

These days, it seems like everyone is searching for the elusive concept of ''balance.'' Between family, friends, work and other obligations, it can be incredibly difficult to ''have it all'' without giving up all your sanity to do so. But although it's tough to portion out your limited time, it is still possible! Like anything else that's worth having, you just have to work to achieve that balance. Michael Strahan is living proof that it really is doable to live a fulfilling, well-rounded life based on your personal goals and priorities. Check out how he manages to achieve balance on a busy schedule. Then, adopt some of his pointers in your own life! 

Posted 10/26/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 19,498 views

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Scare Away Candy Calories with the Halloween Workout!

Boo! Don't be scared of Halloween candy calories! Burn them off the fun way with this fast Halloween-themed cardio circuit workout. Perform each movement in the circuit for one minute straight before moving on to the next move. (If you need a demo for any of the movements, scroll down and click on its corresponding link below the image.) There are a total of ten moves, so the whole workout should take you exactly ten minutes. If you want an extra challenge, you can do the circuit 2-3 times through for a real calorie-scorching session! You can make this as low-intensity or high-intensity as you want, depending on how quickly you move during each exercise. Bonus: There is no equipment required, and it's great for small spaces!

Note: For the single-leg movements ("Boo-ty Blaster" and "Spooky Side Kick"), work one leg for 30 seconds and switch to the other leg for the remaining 30 seconds. 

Posted 10/13/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 15 comments   31,646 views

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Quiz: What's Your Breakfast Food Personality?

What you eat for breakfast can say a lot about your personality. Which breakfast food are you? Take this fun quiz to find out--and let us know which food you are in the comments!

Posted 10/12/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 49 comments   21,683 views

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Michael Strahan's Top 5 Motivational Tips

Editor's Note: We had a chance to sit down and chat with former NFL football player and current television star, Michael Strahan, who was kind enough to share with us his tips on balancing fitness, nutrition and motivation while leading a busy life. We'll be sharing his best tips in this ongoing series, ''A Minute with Michael.'' 

Getting and staying motivated to reach goals, whether health-focused or otherwise, is a struggle for almost everyone. It can be all too easy to choose instant gratification and immediate comfort (like relaxing on the couch) over the choice that will make us happier in the long run (like hitting the gym). But guess what? You're not alone! Even the people who seem to have it all figured out have difficulty mustering up the motivation to stick to their long-term goals. The only difference is that they've found a system that works for them—and they make it a priority to stick to their own rules. Michael Strahan, television star and Pro Football Hall-of-Famer, knows all about keeping the eye on the prize in the face of temptation. Read on for Michael's advice on how to stay motivated when life has every intention of getting in the way. 

Posted 10/10/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 21,273 views

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