The SparkPeople Blog

Spark Spotlight: Sue (SOUTHTXXRNNR)

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/21/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  15 comments   :  5,023 views

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

This Week's Spotlight: Sue Robinson (SOUTHTXXRNNR)
Age: 51
Location: Corpus Christi
 

Sue's Small Success of the Week

Trying Zumba for the first time!

What's your overall goal? 

Having gone from 262 pounds to my current weight of 144, my overall goal is to tone and firm my body and build strength in order to make an easier transition to maintenance. 
 
How is SparkPeople helping you get there? 

SparkPeople helps me be aware of what I am eating, and the support and ideas I get from the community are invaluable on this journey. 

What's your biggest challenge right now? 

My biggest challenge right now is the same thing that has been my biggest challenge from the beginning: FOOD!

What advice do you have for someone who just joined SparkPeople? 

Reach out to the community that is available on SparkPeople. For me, tracking everything I eat is the most important key to success, but the support, advice and knowledge of others on the same journey is a very close second.

Want to be the next small success we spotlight? Share your successes on the goal feed or in the comments below, and you might be the next person we contact!

6 Yoga Poses That Can Soothe Menopause Symptoms

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By: , – Ann Green, Founder of BLiSS Yoga
5/18/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  33 comments   :  9,058 views

There is no question that the woman's body goes through a phenomenal series of changes. We are constantly evolving and growing into the next generation of ourselves. There is no other point in our life that this resonates as loudly as during menopause.
 
My experience with menopause began unexpectedly early. Due to extensive chemotherapy and radiation from my cancer treatment, I was thrown into artificially induced menopause. To say I was exhausted is an understatement. There were moments where I felt fully disconnected from who I was as a person—as if a stranger had invaded my body, hijacking my mental, emotional and physical being. 
 
It was during a checkup that I discovered that my body had rapidly been depleted of all hormones, and I was then beginning menopause. Together with my physician, I developed strategies to help bring my body and mind back in balance. Yoga was an essential piece of this puzzle for me.

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Now You Can Tag Your Friends in the Community Feed

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By: , – The official tagalong of SparkPeople
5/17/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  12 comments   :  4,458 views

Starting RIGHT NOW, all Android users of the SparkPeople mobile app can tag their friends and invite them into a Community Feed conversation. (Don’t worry website and iOS users--this function will be coming to you in the next few weeks.)

It’s easy: All you need to do to tag your friends is to type the @ symbol and start spelling out your friend’s username. After a character or two, we’ll start to suggest SparkPeople members you’re connected with--or members who have already replied to the conversation you’re taking part in--and you can tap to tag that member as quick as can be!

If your friend is also on Android and they have notifications enabled for our app, they’ll get a message that they’ve been mentioned in a conversation. If your friend clicks on the message they’ll be taken to the wherever in the discussion you tagged them, where they can reply right away.

It’s a great way to dig deeper into subjects you’re interested about and keep your friends accountable. And it’s also a great way to meet new friends, right there in the community feed: If you see an “@” symbol before a member’s username, you can click on it and check out their SparkPage, right there in the app. :)

We will be rolling out this functionality to iOS users toward the end of this month, and to all users by early June. (If you don’t use the app, we’ll send you email notifications whenever you’re tagged.) So make sure to turn your notifications on for our app so you don’t get left out of the conversation!

If you have any questions about this feature, ask away in the comments below, and we’ll be sure to get back to you!

10 Chain Restaurants with Diet-Friendly Options

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/16/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  102 comments   :  582,012 views

When you're trying to lose or maintain weight, it seems like "restaurant" becomes a four-letter word. When taken out of your kitchen (aka meal-prep headquarters)—with no measuring cup, food scale or nutrition chart in sight—it's as if you've been thrust into a food free-for-all, with no control over portion size, calorie count or fat content. But while you might not be able to actually prep your meals at a restaurant, you can do a little research beforehand to find smart menu options that won't undo all of your hard work.
 
Although these 10 restaurants certainly feature some unhealthy indulgences on their menus, they all offer at least a few sensible choices to keep you on track toward your goals.
 

Panera

Location: Throughout the United States

Toby Amidor, registered dietitian and author of “The Easy 5-Ingredient Healthy Cookbook,” recommends Panera to her clients as a good source of healthy food choices. Between soups, salads, sandwiches and broth bowls, the menu selections are wholesome and the calories are within reason. "I also recently lost about five pounds, and it’s so refreshing to be able to dine out and be able to select a meal that I know won’t sabotage my weight loss efforts," Amidor says.
 
Diet-Friendly Choices

Jason's Deli

Location: Throughout the United States (28 states)
 
Jason's Deli got our attention by being one of the first quick-casual restaurants to remove trans fats from their menu. Since then, they’ve continued to impress by also removing MSG, high-fructose corn syrup and all artificial colors and flavors. This ensures that there's plenty of room for the good stuff—like real, whole, clean foods. In addition to their standard deli menu, Jason's also offers a vegetarian menu and one for gluten-sensitive customers. It's easy to see why they've garnered so many awards.
 
Diet-Friendly Choices

LYFE Kitchen

Locations: 13 U.S. locations (California, Colorado, Illinois, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas)
 
Since launching in 2011, LYFE Kitchen has offered "craveable classics with a contemporary twist." All of the items on its American cuisine menu are prepared with sustainable ingredients with plenty of low-calorie options, making LYFE a perfect breakfast, brunch or lunch destination for diet-conscious diners.
 
Diet-Friendly Choices

Noodles & Company

Locations: 500 locations throughout the United States
 
Originally founded in Colorado in 1995, this fast-casual restaurant has expanded to more than 500 locations in 39 states throughout the United States. All of the meals in their core menu are made fresh from real ingredients, with no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors or colors. In addition to their namesake noodles, they offer hearty soups and fresh salads, with an abundance of vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. They also have a separate menu that contains only foods with 500 calories or less.
 
Diet-Friendly Choices

First Watch

Locations: Throughout the United States
 
The first meal of the day is an important choice when you're trying to lose or maintain weight, and First Watch helps to ensure that breakfast or brunch gets you off on a healthy start. Headquartered in Florida, First the original daytime café now has hundreds of franchises around the country. Although some of their menu items creep into high-calorie territory, there are plenty of options that won't endanger your diet.
 
Diet-Friendly Choices

Subway

Locations: Throughout the United States
 
This quick and convenient deli chain has become synonymous with healthy eating. While not everything on their menu is perfectly healthy, it's true that there are plenty of low-fat, low-calorie options—as long as you don't add extra ingredients that aren't on the nutrition fact sheet. Keep in mind that their calorie counts don't include items like condiments, extra meat or extra cheese.
 
Diet-Friendly Choices

Chick-fil-A

Locations: Throughout the United States
 
As a general rule, fast food has no place in a nutritious, calorie-controlled eating plan—but there are a few exceptions that serve up healthy options in a hurry. While it's best to steer clear of their original (aka fried) chicken sandwich and waffle fries, there are plenty of diet-friendly choices on their menu.
 
Diet-Friendly Choices

Bob Evans

Locations: Throughout the United States

Although much of the items at this homestyle restaurant are a bit heavy on the calories and fat content, they do offer some lighter fare that will keep your goals in check. Plus, the "Savor Size" section features their standard favorites in more sensible portions.
 
Diet-Friendly Choices

Applebee's

Locations: Throughout the United States

You might assume that a trip to Applebee's means your diet is doomed, but the chain restaurant offers more than just heavy, fattening foods. The key is to avoid supersized portions and to steer clear of anything described as battered, breaded or fried.
 
Diet-Friendly Choices

Outback Steakhouse

Locations: Throughout the United States

Who says you can't enjoy dinner at a steakhouse without sending your calorie intake skyrocketing? While the Bloomin' Onion and Aussie Cheese Fries should be avoided at all costs, this popular Australian chain also offers some healthier options that won't send your goals down under. They even have a menu dedicated to dishes under 600 calories.
 
Diet-Friendly Choices
What are your favorite "safe restaurants" where you know you can find plenty of healthy options? Share your smart selections in the comments!

Enhance Your Performance With These 15 Essential Running Items

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/15/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  81 comments   :  18,899 views

Nearly 64 million people in the United States alone consider themselves runners or joggers, meaning if you're not a runner, chances are you at least know one. Whether it's the elusive "runner's high" or pushing your pace, there's just something about running that hooks people.

Though technically all you need is a pair of shoes and some pavement to run, the truth is, required running equipment can get more nuanced than that. What you choose to run in, what you want to carry and what you might need along the way all depends on your personal preferences and the distance you are running. 

Whether for yourself or for a friend, there are many products designed to help you run more comfortably, make the time pass more quickly, keep you fueled and help to prevent injuries so you can enjoy many more runs to come.

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Spark Spotlight: Melissa "Milly" (MILLYMAE1)

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
5/14/2018  12:00:00 AM   :  27 comments   :  8,501 views

At SparkPeople, we love helping people accomplish big goals—but we believe it's equally important to celebrate the small successes along the way. Each week in the Spark Spotlight, we'll check in with a featured member about his or her proudest moments, biggest challenges and advice for others on living, thinking and feeling healthier. We hope these quick snapshots will help motivate you to keep moving steadily toward your own goals, week by week.

This Week's Spotlight: Melissa "Milly" Jones (MILLYMAE1)
Age: 45
Location: Webb City, Missouri
 

Milly's Small Success of the Week

Losing 15 pounds!

What's your overall goal? 

My overall goal is to reach a weight of 175 pounds. While still technically overweight at 175 pounds, I think I wold be able to maintain this weight easier than 155. At my heaviest, I weighed 243 pounds. I am currently at 213. 
 
How is SparkPeople helping you get there? 

SparkPeople is helping by making me accountable for my food choices, my exercise and even my attitude. I use the Nutrition Tracker every day and see when I make bad choices, and see how they affect my health and attitude later on. I track my exercise as a way to motivate myself to move.

What's your biggest challenge right now? 

My biggest challenge is my health. I have fibromyalgia, GERD, high cholesterol and several other health issues that seem to conspire together to keep me from exercising. My doctors tell me to keep active, and I have been doing better since my GERD diagnosis in 2017. I will be having surgery soon that will help my GERD, but I have been told that I still need to lose the weight or I run the risk of more health problems. 

What advice do you have for someone who just joined SparkPeople? 

Track your food and exercise. Know what portions are. These two are important, because you never realize how much you're really eating until you see it on the screen. And to see that your portions are larger than you believe is an eye opener. I would also advise them to ask for help. Get a buddy. You shouldn't try to lose weight by yourself. You need friends, family and Sparkbuddies! 

Want to be the next small success we spotlight? Share your successes on the goal feed or in the comments below, and you might be the next person we contact!

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