The SparkPeople Blog

How to Embrace Your Exercise Shortcomings

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/17/2017  12:00:00 AM   :  30 comments   :  4,286 views

"No matter how slow you go, you're still lapping everyone on the couch." Susie Miller

I've always joked about the fact that I'm a slow runner. I remind my kids that even though they can beat me in a sprint, eventually my endurance will win out and I'll catch them. Just as the tortoise eventually caught up to the hare, it just takes me a little while longer.

Have you ever been intimidated to try new activities because you know there's a chance you'll finish last or can't keep up? Are you worried that people will judge you because of it? Perhaps there's a class at the gym you've always wanted to try, but you're not sure if you're fit enough. Maybe you'd love to take a walk or jog around the neighborhood, but don't want everyone to judge your form or pace. Have you ever stopped to think that maybe you're too focused on other's opinions when you should just be focusing on yourself?

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The Moment That Helped a Dad Lose 75 Pounds and Get His Life Back

By: , – hmr
10/16/2017  2:00:00 PM   :  0 comments   :  4,232 views

Kevin lost 75 pounds in 12 months.*

"If you do exactly what (HMR) tells you to do, there's no way you can fail...that's the great thing about this program."

Sometimes a single moment can make the all the difference.

For Kevin, that moment came when he was climbing a set of stairs with his son. At over 200 lbs., he had to stop and grasp the railing as he struggled to keep up. At that moment, feeling embarrassed and humiliated in front of his young son, he knew he had to make some changes.

His primary care physician was concerned about his health, and recommended that he join the in-clinic Healthy Solutions® program. The simple, structured plan was what he needed to get his life back on track.

As he was losing weight, he practiced new healthier lifestyle skills he learned through HMR, like:

  • How to fit exercise into a packed schedule
  • Ways to eat lots of fruits and vegetables for weight and health benefits
  • Simple strategies to reduce calories at each meal without going hungry

With the help of his HMR coach and HMR's nutritionally complete (and filling!) meal plan, Kevin lost 75 pounds in 52 weeks. Now, Kevin is grateful for his new life— and he doesn't worry about having to take the stairs.

Watch Kevin's Story

Healthy Solutions® at Home brings HMR's clinically proven diet and lifestyle change program to your doorstep. The plan is simple: Lose weight quickly using HMR foods plus fruits and vegetables. Along the way, learn the healthier lifestyle skills you'll need to keep the weight off, long after the dieting phase is over.


Conquer Your Moment: Join today to lose weight quickly and learn the skills to keep it off.

The Eating Disorder Hiding Behind One Woman's ''Perfect'' Body

By: , – Stacey Ferrari, Personal Trainer and Motivational Speaker
10/13/2017  12:00:00 AM   :  53 comments   :  4,651 views

About 12 years ago, a friend invited me along to Miami to celebrate a 50th birthday party in style. The celebration was as to be expected: enjoying the casual beach vibes, eating and drinking with nary a thought about health or fitness. It was all good. All good, that is, until an afternoon island hopping evolved into an attack on body image with me—or more specifically, my physique—at the center of the argument.

With everyone in their bikinis, one woman turned to me, loudly declaring, "If I had a body like that, I'd rule the world!" Rather than celebrating body differences and discussing fitness aspirations, the single comment resulted in the group ganging up on me, critiquing and chiding me for being fit—all over a comment I didn't solicit and found ludicrous.

While there are countless instances in which envy over how I looked caused people to react to me in a certain way, the above example is particularly poignant. The fact that alcohol was involved (which certainly played a big part in the petty behavior) didn't ease the shock I felt from my long-time friend joining in to ridicule me with comments like, "Well, what do you expect—look at how you're dressed!"  What!? In a bikini, like every other woman on board?

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Could Your Self-Esteem Be Undermining Your Wellness Efforts?

By: , – Elizabeth Babcock, Psychotherapist and Author
10/12/2017  12:00:00 AM   :  49 comments   :  9,555 views

Do you repeatedly get on track with your self-care, only to let it slip away again despite achieving good results? Your self-esteem could be the culprit, whether you realize it or not. 
It can be tricky to know for sure because self-esteem isn't something you simply do or do not have; it can be stronger in some parts of your life than in others. If you are confident and accomplished at work, for example, you might not realize that you are showing some low self-esteem when you feel guilty or selfish about prioritizing your health.

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8 Life-Changing Health Lessons I Learned in My 30s

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
10/9/2017  12:00:00 AM   :  81 comments   :  16,846 views

Earlier this year, a major milestone happened in my life, an event that I'm still working to fully process. Crazy as it sounds (to me at least), I turned 40.

I had a wide range of emotions leading up to the day, the biggest being disbelief since I clearly remember when my own mother celebrated her 40th birthday. Didn't I just graduate from high school and college a few years ago? Apparently not.

When I think back to my 30s, a lot of it is a sleep-deprived blur, best summarized by just a few words: kids, kids and more kids. I had my first child just before I turned 30 and three more within the next six years. I spent most of my time being pregnant, taking care of newborns and learning to juggle the needs of four children. I'm still working on that juggling act every day, and I don't think that will ever change. Don't get me wrong: My children are wonderful and I wouldn't trade them for anything. But it was a big adjustment to go from focusing primarily on myself for 29 years, to putting myself completely on the back burner within such a short period of time.

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Body Bullies and Happy Tears in This Month's Go Get It Guide

By: , – Alicia Capetillo, Editor at SparkPeople
10/6/2017  12:00:00 AM   :  78 comments   :  5,879 views

Every month The Go Get It Guide is your destination for motivation, musings on random goals and probably pop culture references. It's a space where we'll sort through the PR pitches and news, then share our honest thoughts on what's happening in the health and fitness world, what's on the horizon and just what we think of that video the internet obsessed over last week. Check in each month to Spark, Sweat, Smile, Savor and Shop with us!

Smile: Happy Tears

Sometimes life is scary and depressing and just plain sad. Whether it's a tragic event, a news story or just a bad self-esteem week keeping you down, we can all use a reminder that there are uplifting stories and beautiful people out there doing beautiful things for this world.
This month, Ellen DeGeneres delivers with a video montage of her favorite stories of everyday heroes. If you're an Ellen fan, you may have seen some of these stories (as a Saints fan, I have the Drew Brees and best friends story bookmarked for days when I need a good cry.). Watching these videos all at once, watching the kindness of strangers, of friends and of people for eight minutes is an important reminder that there are good, great and selfless people in this world. It's also a good reminder that you should always keep tissues at your desk because I forgot and ended up wiping my face with my shirt sleeve until it was drenched.


Spark: Celebrities, They're Just Like Us!

Perhaps you've seen it flipping through an issue waiting in the grocery checkout line or maybe you have a subscription so you never miss an edition, but you've likely seen Us Magazine's "Stars—They're Just Like Us!" feature. I used to have a mild obsession with the wordsmith behind their taglines for the sheer enthusiasm and excitement they were able to pack into just a brief caption, bringing the red-carpet-worthy, flawless, celebrities back down to Earth. There's just something about knowing that "They Carry Their Cords!" (Harrison Ford), "They Pump Gas!" (Heather Locklear) or "They Use Baskets!" (Alexander Skarsgård) that erases the glitz and the glamour and reminds us that they're just regular people, too.
Last month, two stories reminded me that, as many of us can relate, celebrities also endure harsh body image critiques. After the birth of her daughter, tennis superstar Serena Williams penned an emotional and powerful message to her mother, thanking her for all of the lessons and strength she learned as a result of her mother's influence. The letter focuses primarily on how her mother made her proud of her curves, her muscles and what her body is capable of achieving, rather than feeling insecure about being too big or too masculine.
She writes, "I am proud we were able to show them what some women look like. We don't all look the same. We are curvy, strong, muscular, tall, small, just to name a few, and all the same: we are women and proud!" She notes that her baby girl has her arms and her legs, which makes her fearful that her daughter might undergo the same body criticism she's endured since she came on the professional tennis scene in 1995.
Then, in a story in ESPN the Magazine, Seattle Seahawks running back Eddie Lacy opened up about years of internet trolls casually, often cruelly, reminding him of his weight via social media. For years, people commented on his love of Chinese food, calling him fat and doing things like photoshopping his stomach to make him look like Santa Claus.
"Ever since his weight became a public topic during his four years in Green Bay—which included two 1,100-yard seasons—Lacy had read those kinds of comments and brooded in silence, convinced he couldn't win," the article says of Lacy, who grew up in Louisiana and found food to be a comfort after losing everything in Hurricane Katrina. "Responding would only give his tormentors a smirk of satisfaction, knowing they'd wounded him. If he worked hard, got back in shape through yoga and P90X, maybe then the jokes would fade. Except they didn't fade. If anything, they multiplied."
It's easy to think you're the only one with body image issues. After all, with everyone's social media feed full of joyous photos and "Great news!" updates, it certainly appears that people seem to be more confident than you could ever dream. But those are pictures and words on the internet, not reality. Our bodies are with us forever and each one responds to outside factors—exercise, healthy eating plans, stress—differently. We stress that what works for one body doesn't always work for another it's the truth. There will always be those people who can eat whatever they want and somehow lose weight, and there will be others who look at a doughnut and have to buy bigger pants.
What the haters fail to see is what that body can do—including being one of the greatest tennis players of all time like Williams, a powerhouse running back like Lacy, a plus-size yoga inspiration, a mom who wears her tiger stripe stretchmarks with pride after three babies or a phenom female boxer who learned her thunder thighs are awesome.
So whether you're an elite athlete dealing with internet trolls and rude reporters, the girl next door who hears the boy next door commenting on a belly roll, or a confident-on-the-outside executive who still can't get over feeling like their thighs are too thick, it's good to remind yourself that most everyone has some big or small issue with their body. You're not alone. Trolls are usually trolls because they're hiding an insecurity themselves and feel it's easier to be mean than to own up to their issues. The next time someone makes you feel bad about the way you look, invoke the powerful beauty of Williams or the strength of Lacy or the confidence of any number of body positive ambassadors, cast their (wrong) opinions aside, smile and know that if Serena can be better than the digs and critiques, so can you.
How do you deal with body bullies? 

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