Denise Tausig (SP_COACH_DENISE)

SparkPeople Community Coordinator

Denise's first introduction to SparkPeople was January 1, 2004, as a member. It took her eight months to lose 40 pounds and reach her goal weight, which she's maintained for many years thanks to regular walking, yoga, and fitness videos. Losing weight and exercising inspired Denise to change her life. She went back to school and earned a bachelor's degree in wellness at Lincoln University in Missouri and become an ACE-certified personal trainer. Now a SparkPeople employee, she helps others achieve their health and fitness goals, including the 13- to 17-year-old members of our sister site,, where Denise works as the Community Leader. At SparkPeople, you'll find her throughout the Community, answering questions, leading SparkTeams and challenges and providing support to members.

Read More of Denise's Blogs:

8 Steps Towards Busting the Winter Blahs

For many people, cold weather and a lack of sunshine can bring on a mild depression known as the ''winter blues.'' People that experience the ''winter blues'' will generally lack motivation and energy. Others may even develop a clinical depression in the form of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). 
According to the Mayo Clinic, SAD is ''a type of depression that occurs at the same time every year. If you're like most people with seasonal affective disorder, your symptoms start in the fall and may continue into the winter months, sapping your energy and making you feel moody.'' Those that experience SAD may produce too much melatonin, which is a hormone that helps to regulate sleep and body temperature. Producing too much melatonin disrupts the body's internal clock and may then cause depression, as seen with SAD sufferers.
Some of the signs of SAD may include the following:

  • Loss of energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Depressed mood
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Cravings for sweet and starchy foods
  • Oversleeping

Posted 12/18/2012  12:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 15 comments   16,398 views

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Thanksgiving Tips and Trivia

Happy Thanksgiving! Let's celebrate with some trivia and tips related to the holiday.

Posted 11/22/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 36 comments   24,229 views

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Healthy Family Fun for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to follow family traditions, from baking Grandma's classic pie recipe to watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Unfortunately though, those traditions often revolve a lot around food--and not at all around being active. I know that was the case for me as I grew up, and I've seen the same trend with other families as well. Over the years, I have tossed out some of those old and unhealthy traditions that I grew up with and have started up healthier traditions with my own family. It's completely possible to still be festive while making healthier choices—plus, I don't regret my decisions later!

One of my favorite traditions that I have adopted in recent years is Coach Nicole's idea of ''moving my feet before I eat.'' Whether it is getting out for a walk or playing with my dogs, I make sure to get some physical activity in during the big day. This is not only a great way for me to stay on track with my fitness goals during the holiday, but it's also a wonderful way to spend time with my family--and include them in my healthy lifestyle!

This year, I encourage you to take the spotlight off the fattening feast, and focus on what really matters--bonding with your family. Create your own healthier holiday traditions with these ideas.

Posted 11/13/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 22 comments   21,209 views

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Wired? 7 Tips to Help Tech Addicts Sleep Better

Just about everywhere you look someone is using technology. I find it's actually difficult to go out and not see people texting or playing games on their cell phones. It seems that using our phones and other mobile devices (iPads, tablets, laptops, etc.) is such a common thing now. According to this article, the National Sleep Foundation found that "more than 90 percent of Americans regularly use a computer or electronic device of some kind in the hour before bed." With the use of electronic devices like that, researchers are finding that the "exposure to light from computer tablets significantly lowered levels of the hormone melatonin, which regulates our internal clocks and plays a role in the sleep cycle." This can cause disturbances in our sleep, along with increasing our risk of obesity and diabetes.

Posted 11/1/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 12 comments   15,723 views

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We Tried It: A Self-Defense DVD for Women

I previously blogged about the importance of self-defense and I still feel very strongly about it being something that every person should know. Because of this, I was very excited that I had the chance to review "Stilettos and Self Defense with Jennifer Cassetta." While this isn't a fitness DVD, which is what we typically review, this DVD does have a lot of valuable information and can help prepare you for possible attacks.
Jennifer Cassetta, a third-degree black belt in HapKiDo and certified personal trainer, is the instructor in this DVD. According to Jennifer's profile information, her HapKiDo experience helped her early on in her training when she was "grabbed on a NYC street, dressed in her highest heels and used her martial arts training to scare off her attacker." So Jennifer has not only been trained in self-defense, but she has also experienced the need for it and is passing along her knowledge to other women on how to defend themselves.
From the DVD cover:

Posted 10/18/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 24 comments   19,179 views

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How Exercise Can Reduce Stress & Anxiety

When I find my mood is going downhill, I usually take an exercise break to try and lift it back up. The mood boost that we get is just one of the many benefits we experience from exercising. Not only do I know that I burned some calories, improved my overall health, but I feel a lot better in general and come back with a much more positive outlook on things for quite some time afterward.

Posted 10/11/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 23 comments   14,775 views

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Healthy Headlines from Around the Web

Healthy Kitchen Staples To Keep Around The House from Huffington Post

Want to lose weight? Be sure to get enough sleep, experts say from Los Angeles Times

You’re Not Alone from honey, i {shrunk} the gretchen

Think Sweating Means You’re Burning Calories? Think Again from Diet Blog

Posted 10/7/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 4 comments   7,443 views

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Set Realistic Goals for Success

When someone sets a weight-loss goal (or any goal), it needs to be realistic because that is what sets us up to succeed. If we set some wild and crazy goals for ourselves that is too difficult or that we know cannot be achieved, we are setting ourselves up to fail and that doesn't get us any closer to where we want to be.
When it comes to weight-loss, many people have a certain number in their mind of what they want to weigh, whether it is because we remember being that weight at a certain time in our life, it is what we think is ideal, or any other number of reasons. For me, I had a number in mind, but I honestly don't know where that number came from. So I had my goal weight in my mind and like many others, I wanted to get to that number fast. But after reading some articles on SparkPeople, I realized quickly that the weight wasn't going to be lost as fast as I would like. I was still feeling ambitious though and set the maximum weight-loss goal of 2 pounds per week. Was that a realistic goal for me? No. Was I defeated? No way! Although, most of the time I was lucky to lose a half pound per week. Even though I did everything right (eating healthy and exercising), I never had a week with a 2 pound loss.

Posted 10/4/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 10 comments   28,554 views

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Take a Break to Torch the Calories

Having a job that requires sitting most or all of the day doesn't mean that you can't fit in extra calorie burning activities throughout the day. For me, I work from home and am on the computer a lot of the day, however, I take breaks as often as I can to get up and walk around to stretch my legs, which also gives my eyes a rest from the computer screen. Some of my favorite exercise breaks include walking around the house at a fast pace, walking up and down the stairs, dancing around the living room  (my dogs really love this!), or taking the dogs for a quick walk around the neighborhood.  Before working from home though, I worked in a conventional office and would do everything I could to get up and move. I would walk to my co-worker's office/cubicle rather than email them,  take the stairs as much as possible and go for walks during my lunch hour. Even though I'm not in a conventional office now, I still make sure to work in ways to burn extra calories (in addition to my formal exercise) throughout the day.

Posted 9/20/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 43 comments   20,283 views

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Poll: Should Physical Inactivity Be Considered a Medical Condition?

Over the years as technology has advanced and made it easier for us to sit more throughout the day, humans in general have become less active. This continued inactivity has lead to increasing obesity trends, along with other ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, etc. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, "many people might find that they spend 8+ hours sitting at work and then come home and sit some more, whether it is to watch TV or for some other sedentary activity."

Posted 9/13/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 87 comments   17,378 views

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Poll: Which Season is Your Favorite for Outdoor Exercise?

Fall will be here in just a couple weeks, which means we should be experiencing cooler temperatures very soon! During the hot summer months, many people take their workouts indoors to escape the heat, including myself. With the cooler weather that accompanies the fall season though, it's a great time to get back outside for some of your workouts.

Posted 9/6/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 151 comments   27,193 views

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Healthy Headlines from Around the Web

Cheap Health Food: Tips To Combat Rising Food Prices from Huffington Post

How to Eat Your Vitamins from Real Simple

Greatist Workout of the Day from Greatist

Transplant Centers Struggle With Donors’ Obesity from The New York Times

Posted 9/2/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 11 comments   12,517 views

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I Won't Be a Victim: The Importance of Self-Defense

After living in the state of California all of our lives, five years ago my husband and I decided we were ready for a change, and we moved to Missouri. We have enjoyed the change that we experienced with that move and decided that it was finally time for us to purchase our first home. We purchased our house in mid-July and have been enjoying being homeowners. We honestly couldn’t ask for a better first home as we both love it very much. It feels great, and we both feel quite accomplished that we were able to become homeowners much sooner than we ever thought was possible.

Our new house is located in a neighborhood only a few miles away from the house we were renting. Now, this is generally a safe and quiet neighborhood. However, last week we learned an important lesson, that bad things happen even in "safe and quiet" places.

Posted 8/30/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 40 comments   14,942 views

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How to Keep Exercise from Zapping Your Energy

Do you ever hit an energy low during your workouts? If so, there could be a variety of reasons why, but some of those can be an easy fix, such as eating properly, getting enough rest, drinking plenty of water, changing up your workouts, etc.

Whenever I find myself hitting a low during my workouts, I run through a list of things in my head to figure out what may be happening so it doesn't continue to happen for future workouts.  A few things that I do to make sure I have enough energy for my workouts are to make sure I'm well rested, drink plenty of water and make sure I switch up my workouts so I don't get bored.  If I'm not well rested, then I am going to be tired well before my workout, which will not only cause my workout to be less than great, but it can also lead to more fatigue and possible injuries. On the days that I know I didn't sleep well the night before, I either do a short walk as my workout (or something else that is quick and simple) or I skip that day's workout. I would rather go to bed early to help me catch up on my sleep so I will be more rested and less injury prone. If all goes well and am better rested the next day, I am able to put more effort into my workout then.

Posted 8/23/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 14 comments   22,917 views

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Learn to Love Exercise

Not everyone enjoys exercising, but it doesn't have to be that way. You CAN learn to love exercise! I know some of you may be thinking to yourself that I'm crazy and that there is no way that you will ever learn to love exercise, but it really can happen.

For anyone who knew me before joining SparkPeople and going on my journey to better health, they probably would have told you that I didn't like exercise. Back then they would have been right, but I have changed that mindset. Now I honestly can say that I enjoy exercising. But how did I change my dislike for exercise? Well, what worked for me was trying various exercises and activities until I found what I liked to do. If you find something that you enjoy doing, or at least that you don't mind doing, then you are more likely to start to enjoy exercise and look forward to it. Any time I hear anyone say that they don't like to exercise, I always recommend they try a new exercise or activity. That usually helps them enjoy working out and sometimes even love exercising.

Posted 8/16/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 35 comments   21,765 views

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