The SparkPeople Blog

Done with the Excess Weight and Moving Forward!

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/28/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  8 comments   :  5,073 views

This blog is a featured "SparkStory", one of the classic posts from our members that provides support, encouragement and inspiration to the SparkPeople Community. 


I found SparkPeople in 2011 after weighing in at the doctor's office and realizing how out of control my weight had become. After lots of reading and finding encouragement here, I started to take steps to improve my life. By tracking everything I ate and starting with baby amounts of exercise, I lost 20 pounds. I was excited. I finally took a picture of myself to start tracking the progress.The reason I'm holding my hand in the shape of a "d" is because I was a part of a team called "done" girls.. women who are DONE with excess weight and all the problems it causes. 

There were other things in my life contributing to problems. For one, I was an alcoholic. It took me another 2 years to get the courage to find help for this problem. I was also in a very troubling marriage situation and didn't know how to get out. In the fall of 2012, I left my husband. My weight loss continued some, but came to an abrupt halt once my alcohol consumption went up. In the fall of 2013, I finally realized that it was time to get help. I went to rehab, and am almost 2 years sober. 

In the fall of 2014, I realized it was time to start focusing on my weight again. Although I had kept most of my initial 70 pounds off, I still wasn't eating as well as I should and I wasn't getting much exercise aside from my work (I'm a server, so I walk a ton). I started making lifestyle changes again, and the weight started coming off. 

It's now 2015. I'm down over 90 pounds, I'm active, I quit smoking so I could run faster, and I'm sober. I have SparkPeople and the great resources here to thank for my success, along with my friends and family. When people ask me how I did it, my biggest advice is to "eat less, move more", but more importantly, to never give up, no matter what life throws at you. You're gonna mess up a lot. It's ok, just keep stepping forward. And take pictures! I wish I had started before that first 20 pounds were gone. 

The weight off my shoulders is not only literal, but figurative as well. I might be 30, but my life is just beginning. 

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The Best Running Songs of All Time (Volume Two!)

By: , – Alicia Capetillo
8/28/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  0 comments   :  4,979 views

A great running song needs three elements: Lyrics that bring out the champion diva inside, infectious beats that propel you forward every time the bass drops and that little extra something that makes you look forward to--or distracts you from--all those miles ahead. Now, imagine a playlist comprised of a mix of songs, all containing these three important elements. Imagine what a playlist like that could do for your workout. 

Imagine no more! We teamed up with Yes! Fitness Music to create "The Best Running Songs of All Time (Volume 2)" playlist, just for you. After hundreds of fitness fans shared their favorite running songs with us, Yes! Fitness Music combined the top choices with their diverse music library to develop an all-new playlist that is sure to make your run more enjoyable and keep your pace competitive, too. The list has something for everyone, whether you like to have a little dance in your step with Bruno Mars and Taylor Swift, prefer jamming with The Boss or need a bit of rock 'n roll to keep you moving.

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6 Ways to Fit in Exercise at Work

By: , – Edgar L., SparkPeople Contributor
8/27/2015  2:00:00 PM   :  4 comments   :  6,079 views

Having trouble staying fit while managing your career? A good workout doesn't require fancy machines or hours of free time. Lose weight, boost your metabolism and increase your energy with these six smart office exercise tips.

NOTE: To avoid injury, consult your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.

Take Advantage of the Commute

For many, the morning commute conjures up images of congested roads, angry drivers and fickle stoplights. If your office isn't too far, why not leave the car keys behind and rev up your lungs? A refreshing morning jog or bike ride has numerous health benefits. While it may be a struggle at first, a cardiovascular routine reduces bad cholesterol, improves stamina, and cuts down on the risk of heart disease. It will also leave you feeling energized and focused throughout the day. If your workplace is too far, consider taking public transit part of the way and jogging the rest. Still on the fence? Even small changes like parking further away or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can make a difference.

Use Your Lunch Break Wisely

Instead of squandering your one hour browsing the web, use it to get in shape. If your office has a fitness center, sneak in a quick session of weight training or work up a sweat on the elliptical machine. If you missed your morning jog, now's your opportunity to make it up. If it's raining or there are no gyms close by, do some calisthenics (bodyweight exercises) at your desk. These include push-ups, sit-ups, squats, and jumping jacks. Studies also show that a midday workout refreshes the brain, keeping you productive through the rest of the day.

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Check Out SparkPeople's New Challenges and Start Page!

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
8/26/2015  9:00:00 AM   :  56 comments   :  6,804 views

Hi, Everyone! 
This morning, we rolled out a new version of our member Challenges feature, which is available from both your Start page and the Challenge Central dropdown in our Community header. (If you remember, we gave you a sneak peek about a month ago.) We are very excited about this new Challenge format! We took what members loved most about our older challenges--including daily and weekly guidance on working toward a particular goal--and added in an easier-to-use interface, plus new features like a Team Wall. You can take any of the following Challenges to start with (we will be adding plenty more after launch!): 

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Cinnamon Health Benefits

By: , – Jason V., SparkPeople Contributor
8/25/2015  8:00:00 AM   :  9 comments   :  8,401 views

Cinnamon awakens the senses and makes people think of pumpkin pie, spiced coffee, and the aroma of the holidays. However, cinnamon doesn't just have a pleasing smell; many often fail to recognize how much of a positive impact cinnamon may have on health. Cinnamon carries many benefits, which include antioxidant and microbial properties. Take a look at how cinnamon can make you healthier.

Cinnamon and Diabetes

Cinnamon has been widely used throughout human history for a myriad of medical treatments. Among these ailments, cinnamon has been shown to improve the prognoses of those with diabetes. In October 2013, a comprehensive analysis of cinnamon and its effect on diabetes was conducted, reports the National Library of Medicine. Throughout the two-year study of 543 patients, the levels of fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins, and triglycerides decreased with the assistance of a cinnamon supplement. 

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A Full-Body Foam Roller Routine for Beginners

By: , – Jessica Smith, Certified Personal Trainer
8/24/2015  12:00:00 AM   :  4 comments   :  19,429 views

Foam rollers are excellent, inexpensive tools that can be used both for muscular warm up and recovery. Most gyms have a few of them available in the stretching area, but if you are an at-home exerciser you may want to consider investing in one of your own (they usually run between $7-$20—here's a link to the one I purchased on Amazon).
Studies have shown that foam rolling (also known as self-myofascial release) can actually help reduce stiffness, pain, and even improve your range of motion (aka performance) during your workout. Think of it like this—when you first grab a pair of jeans out of the dryer and put them on, they are super stiff and hard to move in, so you do your squatting ritual to help ''break them in'' and fit comfortably again, right? Utilizing a foam roller can help loosen up your stiff, sore muscles again so you can move comfortably and efficiently. Try rolling as often as you like—before or after a workout, and/or on your recovery day. 

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