Melinda Hershey (SP_MELINDA)

SparkPeople Editor and Health Educator

Melinda has a bachelor’s 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:

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 : 20 comments   22,618 views

Read More ›

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 : 59 comments   59,353 views

Read More ›

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 : 17 comments   8,748 views

Read More ›

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 : 2,231 views

Read More ›

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   78,031 views

Read More ›

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 : 18,626 views

Read More ›

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   29,929 views

Read More ›

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 : 35 comments   17,704 views

Read More ›

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 : 19,790 views

Read More ›

Sync All Your Recipes to Our Healthy Recipes App for Android!

Hey, everyone! Today, we're excited to announce an update to the Android version of our Healthy Recipes app. We think you're going to love it!
 
Over the past few months, one of your most frequent suggestions was to be able to sync your favorite recipes back and forth between the app and the desktop version of SparkRecipes. Starting today, you can! Use your SparkRecipes or SparkPeople account to sign into our app for a fuller and more helpful experience. 

Posted 10/8/2014  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 5 comments   7,695 views

Read More ›

20 Ways to Eat Better On the Go

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." 

At SparkPeople, we believe that it's important to keep healthy eating a priority, especially if you're constantly on the go. Healthy food helps give you the boost of energy you need to help you feel your best and get through a demanding day. You might think you're too busy to consistently eat well, but it really is possible to fit in positive, impactful habits in minimal time. Take it from Michael Strahan, who always tries to make nutrition a priority--even in between endless travel and television appearances. When it comes to eating right, Michael says, "Preparation is key. Don’t let yourself get caught without a healthy snack on hand. You never know when you might be stuck in traffic or held up at a meeting. When you’re hungry, your mind is not in the mood to make good decisions. It wants to make the easy decision—and a lot of times, it ends up being something that’s not great for you."

So, how do you avoid making that "easy" decision? Simple: Make eating healthy the easy decision! When you arm yourself with good-for-you snacks at all times, there's never an excuse to hit the drive-thru or office vending machine. 

Posted 9/25/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 59,052 views

Read More ›

10 Ways to Fit in Fitness When There's No Time

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."

Between television appearances, media events, constant travel and time with his kids, Michael Strahan has a lot going on (to put it lightly!). But despite a jam-packed daily schedule, Michael knows that it's important to maintain a healthy lifestyle in order to keep up with it all. When we asked Michael how he manages to fit exercise into his full days, he had some great advice for us. 

Posted 9/10/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 45,082 views

Read More ›

Get SparkPeople Community & Coaching On the Go!

When we released the new, FREE version of our Nutrition Tracker app earlier this year, we asked for feedback about what would help YOU get more out of SparkPeople. You gave us some great ideas,  so we took the most popular suggestions and built them into the app.

Starting today, you can update your app and enjoy these new features:

  1. Take the SparkPeople Community with you! We’ve built mobile chat boards right into the app for easy access wherever you are. You can also easily check your SparkPage on the go.
     
  2. Want to set a small reminder to help you reach your goals? Check out the new (free!) SparkPeople Coaching Center. Here, you can get small reminders, coaching notifications, and great advice from our SparkPeople food, fitness, and motivation experts.
     
  3. Connect your favorite fitness tracking device with our app! Set up your Fitbit, Jawbone Up, or RunKeeper app to feed your step data into your SparkPeople account from your mobile phone.

These updates are available now for both Android and iPhone users. If you’re new to our Calorie Counter and Weight Loss app, you can download it at Google Play, the Apple App Store, or the Amazon App Store. Give it a try and tell us what you think! Thanks and SparkCheers!

Posted 9/2/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 37 comments   17,218 views

Read More ›

UPDATE: Join SparkPeople On the Road This Fall!

UPDATE: We've been having a BLAST at the races so far! Thanks to everyone who came out to say hello! Scroll down to the end of the post to see pictures from the past three events.

Big news! This fall, SparkPeople will be sponsoring several races across the country—and we're going to be there to cheer you on! SparkPeople representatives are hitting the road to attend six different national events, kicking things off in our hometown of Cincinnati at the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014 at Coney Island Park.  Chris Downie (SparkPeople Founder, CEO and author of The Spark) will also be with us at the Cincinnati race to autograph your book, answer questions and do what he does best: provide motivation! We are excited to take our show on the road to support fellow health enthusiasts as they come together to reach their goals. 

Posted 8/29/2014  12:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 44 comments   21,066 views

Read More ›

Message Board and Site Header Changes Launched Today!

Hi, everyone! We launched a few changes to the site today that we wanted to let you know about:

  • An improved and cleaner design for our Message Boards and Team Message Boards
  • An improved and cleaner design for our SparkPoints, SparkMail, and some other pages
  • Moved ''Today on SparkPeople'' from the right side of the site to the top right of the site, in a new dropdown
  • Added a link on the very top right of the site to your Account Settings, SparkPoints, and SparkPage
We hope you like these changes! We made them to help new members easily navigate the site. We also think they are great additional features for our current members. About a month ago, we surveyed our SparkTeam leaders about the Board changes to the Community Team, and we got some great input that was incorporated into the design. This included creating more of a visual separation between posts. Additionally, we heard a lot of feedback that the ''Today on SparkPeople'' features were important to you, so we now have them available on every page of the site. SparkGuy, Coach Jen, and the rest of our team truly do appreciate the feedback and support of our members, and we love using this feedback as a tool to help us continually upgrade and improve your SparkPeople experience.
 
If you can’t find something or have any other feedback, please post a comment below. Thanks!
 
The SparkPeople Team

Posted 8/25/2014  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 22 comments   3,204 views

Read More ›

Read More Entries ›