Meet Denise, A SparkPeople Member Turned Employee

By , SparkPeople Blogger
You said you'd love to know more about SparkPeople, so we launched the series Meet the SparkPeople Team. Over the coming weeks and months, we'll be interviewing various SparkPeople employees. The behind-the-scenes folks here are really excited to tell you a little about what they do at SparkPeople!
Read the entire series here!

Now meet Denise, one of SparkPeople's most inspirational employees--she started out as a member! She's a versatile and dedicated member of the team!

Name: Denise Tausig (also known as DENISE_SP)

Position at SparkPeople: SparkPeople Resident Expert and SparkTeens Community Leader

Age: 30

Family: I am married (to Matt, who is also a successful member!) with no children, but we do have two wonderful cats, Ares and Cora, who rule the house.

How long have you worked for SparkPeople? About 3 1/2 years.

Tell us your proudest accomplishment at SparkPeople or a fun fact about your job: I LOVE my job! I actually live in Missouri, not in Ohio where the SparkPeople office is located. I work from home instead of going into the office.

A fun fact is that I get to work from home or wherever I choose as long as I have an internet connection.

I not only work on the SparkPeople site but also on SparkTeens, and I love that we are able to reach out to teenagers, too! I feel like I have a great connection with most of the teens on the site and feel very proud of them when they reach a goal or make a healthy step towards their goal(s). It always makes me feel like I am doing my job well when I reach out to the teen members and something clicks for them that changes their life for the better.

How do you stay in shape? I do a variety of things to stay in shape. I get bored pretty easily when it comes to doing the same workouts, so I like to switch it up often. Some days I do workout videos, run on my elliptical at home, walk around the neighborhood when the weather is nice, or go to the gym. I prefer to do my workouts at home, but the gym offers more variety in equipment, so I go there a few times a week.

What's your favorite food? Definitely pizza!

What's your favorite indulgence? For a food-related indulgence, I would have to say chocolate. If we are talking non-food related, then that would be a long, relaxing massage.

How do you feel when you exercise? Energized! I don’t always feel like exercising or enjoy it, but once I get started, I feel much better and definitely have a lot more energy afterwards. There are times that I enjoy exercising, but that certainly doesn’t happen all the time. For the days that I’m really not feeling like exercising, I tell myself to go with the 10 minute rule--I make a commitment to exercise for a minimum of 10 minutes and if I still don’t feel like it, I can stop at 10 minutes. I would say 9 out of 10 times that I actually go beyond the 10 minute commitment and end up feeling great and proud of myself for pushing through it.

What do you do to de-stress? I do a variety of things--it really depends on what the stressor is and how I am feeling overall (besides stressed). Some of the things that I do include: taking a long, quiet walk, taking a bath, meditating, or sometimes if those don’t fit the bill, I will do some punching and kicking on the kicking bag I have here at home.

What is your passion in life? My passion in life is to help others. I have always enjoyed helping people and feel so lucky to be a part of a company that does just that! I can’t think of a better way to help others, than to help them gain healthy habits for life!

How has working at SparkPeople affected your life? Working for SparkPeople affects me in many positive ways, such as helping keep me in check with my goals and health overall. Also, because I post on both SparkPeople and SparkTeens message boards, I have talked with a lot of people around the world and have gained many great online friendships through my job.

Denise and Matt--two SparkPeople Success Stories! (What an adorable couple!)

Have you gained or lost weight since starting here? I have mostly maintained because I had already lost weight with SparkPeople prior to becoming an employee. I am not actually at my lowest weight from when I did lose weight, nor do I want to be because it was too much work to stay that low. I actually quit stepping on the scale because I got to the point that I was watching the scale everyday and noticed that for me, it was an unhealthy habit. So, at this time, I don’t know exactly what I weigh and I’m OK with that because I don’t want to be obsessed with a number. I now go by the way my clothes fit and how I feel rather than letting the scale dictate how I feel about myself because of a number.

Have you started any new habits? I was a member of SparkPeople for quite some time before I became an employee, so I already had a lot of new habits established by then. Although, I suppose one of the newer habits that I did start since working for SparkPeople is to drink less soda. I have a thing for Diet Pepsi and my longest streak without having one was about two months straight. I will occasionally have one, but it is not like it used to be.

What's your favorite breakfast cereal? I actually like quite a few cereals, but some of those toward the top of the list include Kix, Honey Nut Cheerios, Shredded Wheat Original spoon size, and my newest favorite is Kashi’s Cinnamon Harvest.

What did you eat for dinner last night? A salad and a mini homemade wheat crust pizza covered with a lot of diced bell peppers. Delicious!

Do you have any hidden talents? Does wiggling my ears count as a hidden talent?

What are some of your goals? Overall, my goals are to enjoy life with my family and friends and help others along the way. Also, I am going to school to finish getting my bachelor of science degree in Wellness. This is a major goal of mine as it will not only be something that I have been working toward for a long time and can use to fulfill my passion in life, but I will be the first in my family to graduate from college.

What's your favorite SparkPeople feature? That is such a hard question! To be honest, I think they are all my favorites. The site has grown so much from when I started as a member back in 2004. If I had to pick just one though, I would have to say the nutrition tracker because it helps keep me accountable for what I eat. It is so easy for me to lose sight of what normal portions look like if I don’t track my food from time to time.

Denise is one of our earliest Success Stories. Do you have any questions for her about her role at SparkPeople or how she stays on track while managing her busy schedule of school and work?