Megan Patrick

Megan Lane Patrick has been a professional writer and editor for the past 16 years, and was a chronic dieter for at least 30. A combination of weight-loss surgery, mindful eating and daily exercise finally allowed her to maintain a weight loss of more than 100 pounds. When she's not lifting weights at the gym, you can find her walking shelter dogs as a volunteer for the SPCA.


Read More of Megan's Blogs:

9 Body-Positive Quotes to Boost Your Self-Esteem

No matter how much time you put in at the gym or how thoughtfully you nourish your body, everyone suffers from body-image issues from time to time. When you need a little boost of self-esteem (and who doesn't), here are 9 of our favorite quotes and mantras. (Each quote is a separate image so, if you find one you really like, you can right click it to open in a new window and print it out.) Be sure to "Pin" this page to revisit when you need to be reminded that you're good enough as you are (right now) no matter what!

Posted 4/15/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 89 comments   377,363 views

Read More ›

10 Motivational Twitter Feeds to Follow Today

Looking for some extra motivation to keep your New Year's Resolutions afloat? Keep those goal fires burning by tapping into some of Twitter's most inspiring feeds. We've gone beyond the obvious and compiled a list of lesser-known deep thinkers, innovators and motivators. Follow these encouraging streams to ensure that your 2016 goals don't fizzle by February:
 
SparkPeople (SparkPeople)
 
If you like the articles on our site, follow our Twitter feed for a steady stream of recipes, exercise tips and daily motivations.


Greatist (@Greatist)
 
Don't just live well—live great. Greatist is a prolific feed filled with healthy recipe ideas, effective exercises and other tips for achieving head-to-toe health. 

Fit Bottomed Girls (@FitBottomedGirl)
 
From inspiring quotes to workout soundtracks to drool-worthy gear, this fitness-focused feed is packed with motivating tidbits that will get you off the couch and to the gym, the sidewalk or wherever it is you like to sweat.

RunKeeper (@RunKeeper)
 
Whether you've been running for a day or a decade, Runkeeper's steady stream of tips, quotes and success stories will make you want to lace up and see just how far you can go. Discover running routes, informative articles, Q&A and more.

Nia Shanks (@NiaShanks)
 
One of the co-founders of Girls Gone Strong, Nia Shanks is committed to empowering women to discover their inner badasses—not through self-starvation, fad diets or endless treadmill sessions, but through building strength, confidence and knowledge.

Kris Carr (@kris_carr)
 
Best known for her "CrazySexy" nutrition books, this New York-based wellness expert dishes out healthy eating tips, inspirational quotes and lighthearted humor. Positivity abounds in this uplifting stream.

Jeanette Jenkins (@Jeanette Jenkins)
 
Celebs pay her big bucks for personal training sessions, but you can get Jeanette's inspiring pep talks, nutrition tips and fitness routines for free on Twitter. 

Kid President (@IAmKidPresident)
 
Although this isn't a fitness-focused feed, everyone can benefit from 11-year-old Robby's daily doses of joy and insight. Laugh, cry and get inspired to make your world—and everyone else's—a better place.

Gabby Bernstein (@GabbyBernstein)
 
Dubbing herself "the Spirit Junkie," this best-selling author encourages her followers to chart their spiritual journeys and maximize their personal growth. Gabby also throws in the occasional fitness tweet.

Ruth Reichl (@RuthReichl)
 
This food writer's Twitter stream serves up plenty of cooking inspiration, sprinkled with poetic descriptions of her surroundings that will leave you feeling peaceful (and maybe a little hungry).

Do you have a favorite motivational Twitter stream we should know about? Please share it in the comments.
 
Follow SparkPeople on Twitter: @SparkPeople

Posted 4/4/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 28 comments   117,457 views

Read More ›

Add Some Whimsy With These 10 Adorable Garden Tools

Gardening season upon us. Whether you want to start your first herb garden or expand on the number of veggies you grow this year, now is the time to take stock of your tools and accessories and see what you need. And there's no reason why you have to settle for typical hardware store gear. It's easy these days to find cute gardening tools, hats, stools and more. Here are just a few of our favorites:

Posted 4/3/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 23 comments   47,579 views

Read More ›

Calorie-Free Treats for Your Valentine

Isn't it time we all start to figure out how to celebrate holidays, birthdays, promotions and other special occasions without always focusing on food?

Yes, Valentine's Day only comes around once a year, but if the person you love has been working hard to prioritize healthy eating, why tempt him or her to stray from those goals with an abundance of candy and sweets? Instead, show how much you really love your partner by choosing a gift that isn't bursting with sugar and fat.

Here are 16 creative alternatives to treats that will make your valentine's heart beat a little faster. There's something for everyone in this gift guide!

Posted 2/3/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 13 comments   37,238 views

Read More ›

5 No-Fail Motivational Quotes

Bookmark or "Pin" the graphic below so that the next time you need a little motivation, you'll have 5 great quotes handy. Find even more words of wisdom on our Healthy Inspiration page!

Posted 1/31/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 56 comments   84,634 views

Read More ›

16 Winter Workout Clothes & Accessories You Need Right Now

Updated by Melissa Rudy 11/29/16

The key to comfortable outdoor workouts during the winter months is layering. (Check out our handy layering chart to match the temperature with the appropriate clothing options.) We've done some post-holiday window shopping to discover great winter workout gear to keep you warm, whether you're headed out for a long hike, a run around the park or just want to stay toasty before and after yoga class.

Posted 1/23/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 22 comments   40,515 views

Read More ›

Nutrition Tracking: New Recent Foods Tab

If you use the Nutrition Tracker regularly, you probably already know that you can save foods you eat frequently to your "Favorites" list. This makes it much faster to add foods to your tracker every day. But now it's even easier to keep track of what you eat most often.

The new "Recent" tab on the Food Tracker automatically generates a handy list of all the foods you've recently tracked so you can add them in an instant. Since so many people eat the same foods day to day, this is another option for making it easier and faster to track your calories and nutrition.

Posted 1/20/2014  4:00:00 PM By: Megan Patrick : 21 comments   10,336 views

Read More ›

Essential Weight-Loss Tools

While it's true that all you really need to lose weight are good information and determination, there are plenty of helpful tools that will make the path to health and fitness a little easier and a lot more fun. I've gathered a list of the kinds of things that have helped me in my own weight-loss journey. You'll need different tools at different stages, but these are great when you're just getting started.

Posted 1/9/2014  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 25 comments   45,573 views

Read More ›

Gear Up for the Perfect Tailgate

Once you've planned the perfect tailgate party, you'll want to stock up on gear to help you celebrate your favorite team and serve up delicious snacks in style.

We've rounded up 10 of our favorite products to make your party even more fun.

(We're showcasing Bengals gear here, since SparkPeople's hometown is Cincinnati, but all the team products listed are available for your favorite NFL teams.)

Posted 11/15/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 8 comments   15,252 views

Read More ›

Festive Football Food Accessories

Whether you're having a get together to watch the big game, a Super Bowl bash or a party for your kid's football team, there are tons of great themed accessories available to help bring your appetizers to life.

Posted 11/13/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 8 comments   22,356 views

Read More ›

Be Aware of Your Diabetes Risk

Since November is Diabetes Awareness Month, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you about all the tools and content you can find on SparkPeople to help you successfully manage your diabetes whether you've been diagnosed as pre-diabetic or are living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. According the American Diabetes Association, nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes, while another 79 million Americans have pre-diabetes or are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Many diabetes complications can be prevented or delayed with careful attention to diet, exercise, medication and blood glucose monitoring.

Posted 11/8/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 2 comments   18,118 views

Read More ›

16 Seasonal Supermarket Treats Worth Trying

Which flavors come to mind when you think about fall? Apple, caramel, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger? Probably no flavor is more closely associated with fall than pumpkin. It seems as though every food company and restaurant under the sun is offering limited edition pumpkin delights these days—you can find the flavor in just about everything from yogurt to granola bars to tea.

But just like a lot of the foods found year-round that may sound healthy, many pumpkin-flavored treats are high in calories, fat and sugar (or all three). (Check out our list of fall's most fattening foods here.) In many cases, you'd be better off having a slice of pumpkin pie, than that "innocent" impulse item tempting you from the checkout line!

So which pumpkin treats are worth trying this fall? We scoured supermarket shelves to discover seasonal offerings that will let you indulge—without breaking the calorie bank.

There are actually more supermarket options than you might think, some of which even contain real pumpkin (instead of artificial pumpkin flavor). Pumpkin, along with the rest of the winter squash family, is packed with beta carotene, vitamin C, niacin, phosphorus, potassium and fiber.
 
The top supermarket pumpkin treats worth trying fall into three categories:

Pumpkin-Flavored Drinks
While you won't find any actual pumpkin in most pumpkin-flavored drinks, they can still offer a low-calorie way to enjoy fall's most popular flavor.

Pumpkin-Flavored Bars
You always have to be careful in this aisle, as snack and energy bars are often just candy bars wearing a "healthy" halo. But the right bars can be a convenient, on-the-go choice when you're busy.

Pumpkin-Flavored Breakfast Foods and Snacks
Pumpkin makes a great complement to many breakfast foods. It's easy to find pumpkin donuts and pastries at the grocery store, but there are low-calorie, high-flavor options, too.












This tea offers lots of flavor with zero calories. 

If you have a Keurig brewer, you can try this flavorful brew.  

If you use a regular coffee machine, Trader Joe's offers this fall coffee flavor.


To punch up the flavor of pumpkin or regular coffee, use this syrup.  


If you like your coffee with cream, International Delight offers this tasty creamer


If you crave a cold, pumpkin-flavored drink this beverage could be just the thing to quench your thirst.  


This coconut milk contains some real pumpkin and only 1 gram of fat. 


These granola bars are 170 calories per serving (that's two bars per
package).


These nutrition bars would be appropriate before or after a strenuous workout.


This Alt bar is also workout-worthy with 220 calories and 10 grams of soy-free protein.


This cream cheese spread is offered every fall—and it’s made with real pumpkin.


Pop two of these waffles into the toaster for a filling breakfast at home or on the go. 

For a protein-packed option, this yogurt flavor comes with a whopping 14 grams of protein per serving.

These cereal bars are not a bad choice to satisfy a pumpkin craving without going for a pastry.

Swap out your usual breakfast cereal for one serving of these for a tasty choice to keep you full through the morning. 

To add protein, healthy fat and some fun pumpkin flavor to yogurt or oatmeal, try these almonds.  

 

 Food
Serving  Size  Calories  Fat  Carbs  Sugar  Protein  Contains Pumpkin
Bigelow Pumpkin Spice Tea 1 cup brewed 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
Califia Pumpkin Spice Latte Cold Brew Coffee 8 oz 90 3 g 15 g 12 g 1 g yes
Clif Spiced Pumpkin Pie Bar 1 bar 240 4.5 g 45 g 25 g 8 g yes
Green Mountain Coffee Pumpkin Spice K-Cup 1 cup brewed 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
International Delight Fat Free and Sugar Free Creamer 1 Tbsp 15 0 g 3 g 0 g 0 g no
Kashi Crunchy Granola Bars Pumpkin Spice Flax 2 bars 170 6 g 26 g 10 g 5 g yes, seeds
Kellogg’s Pumpkin Spice Mini-Wheats 25 biscuits 190 1 g 46 g 12 g 5 g no
Larabar Alt Pumpkin Pie Bar 1 bar 220 6 g 30 g 18 g 10 g yes
Nature’s Path Pumpkin Spice Waffle 2 waffles 210 7 g 35 g 6 g 2 g yes
Planters Pumpkin Spice Almonds 28 g 160 12 g 9 g 5 g 5 g yes
Siggi’s Pumpkin & Spice Yogurt 1 container 130 2 g 13 g 11 g 14 g yes
So Delicious Pumpkin Spice Coconut Milk Beverage 1/2 cup 70 1 g 15 g 14 g 0 g yes
Torani Sugar Free Pumpkin Pie Syrup 1 oz 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
Trader Joe’s low-fat Pumpkin Bars 1 bar 140 2.5 g 27 g 1 g 15 g yes
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Cream Cheese Spread 2 Tbps 70 5 g 6 g 4 g 0 g yes
Trader Joe's Pumpkin Spice Coffee 1 cup brewed 0 0 g 0 g 0 g 0 g no
 
 
More Food Ideas for Pumpkin Lovers
  • These sweet treats feature the goodness of real pumpkin, which adds moisture and flavor while lowering the fat in the recipes.
  • For a festive fall twist on hummus, try this pumpkin bean dip.
  • To warm up a fall evening, fill up a bowl with delicious spiced pumpkin soup (that can be made in just 20 minutes)!
What your favorite healthy way to enjoy fall's favorite flavors? Have you tried any of the fall foods above?

Posted 11/1/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 52 comments   83,900 views

Read More ›

Nutrition Tracking: Now Even Faster

People who keep a detailed food diary (like the SparkPeople Nutrition Tracker) lose twice as much weight as people who don't track what they eat. Are you using your Nutrition Tracker every day? Are you recording everything you eat and drink? Are you measuring your portions for accuracy? If you've gotten stuck on your weight-loss journey, this is the best place to start looking for small changes you can make to your eating habits.

Posted 10/31/2013  11:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 83 comments   18,757 views

Read More ›

What People Are Saying about the Spark Activity Tracker

Everyone in the SparkPeople office has been wearing and using the Spark Activity Tracker during the beta testing phase so we were very excited for it to finally release on October 1. While we love its small size, fun light-up display and ease of use, we were anxious to hear what SparkPeople members would think about this tiny tool that tracks steps, miles and fitness minutes (and automatically syncs the data with your SparkPeople Fitness Tracker). We’re finding new reviews from members daily, and we're delighted to see how much they're enjoying the Spark! (Learn more about exactly what the Spark Activity Tracker can do for you.) 

Posted 10/16/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 55 comments   56,845 views

Read More ›

Fun Fitness Halloween Costume Ideas

Since your closet is full of workout clothes anyway, why not use this Halloween as an excuse to celebrate your healthy lifestyle by dressing as your favorite fitness personality? There are tons of possibilities, but here are 10 that are pretty easy to pull off.

Posted 10/10/2013  6:00:00 AM By: Megan Patrick : 34 comments   79,335 views

Read More ›

Read More Entries ›