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    DRAGONCHILDE   56,644
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My new secret weapon!

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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Okay, I've been hinting at my new secret plan, and today, I finally get to reveal what it is.

I was privileged enough to receive an advance review copy of Sparkpeople's new book, "The Spark Solution: A Complete Two-Week Diet Program to Fast-Track Weight Loss and Total Body Health."

www.sparkpeople.c
om/sparksolution/


You've probably seen it advertised around the site.

I've been stalled for a while, mostly because of self-control issues, and when I was offered a chance to check it out, well, who am I do say no?

The plan has been absolutely fantastic. The food is good (as anyone who has tried one of Chef Meg's recipes can tell you) and the plan is easy to follow; it's about education. It's a "diet" book, I suppose, because it provides you with specific foods to eat, but what it REALLY does is teach you how to make smarter choices. It provides specific foods you might eat, and then provides an alternate option that is better, and teaches you how to make clever substitutions that lower calorie count and boost nutrition. I'm sticking white cannelini beans in the weirdest stuff now, and I'm amazed at how much bulk I'm getting as a result. ;) Seriously, who would have thought to stick kidney beans in an enchilada?

Overall, I have really enjoyed this book. It's written in the upbeat, positive style that is Sparkpeople's unique voice, and includes tons of helpful tips that when applied, can result in big changes.

I will admit I didn't do much in the way of the exercises; I have an exercise plan I follow, and prefer more advanced strength training moves. But I have been following the plan, and have been thrilled. In the first week, I lost two pounds. I'm down 4, total! Given that my weight hasn't moved in months, that's what makes me happiest. The best part is how I am not hungry; these plans provide perfect nutrition to stave off cravings, and I find I don't even miss the stuff I'm skipping.

Now, you may ask, why in the world should you get this book? Well, for starters, the freebies that come with preordering (3 months of SparkCoach, a bucket of sparkpoints, and some DVDs) are well worth the cover price anyway.

But if you're just starting out on your journey, or are stuck and bored with the plan you have... I seriously think you should consider this. I mean, come on, a diet plan that includes cookies for breakfast? Seriously? (I'm not kidding. There are breakfast cookies.)

This isn't a diet like other diets. It doesn't promise to shed pounds with little effort, or "burn fat" more than others. It's about teaching you to make healthy choices for life. Teaching you to think about what you're putting in your body, and eat for energy. It's about mindfulness. None of these recipes are "diet food" - my favorite is the curried tuna salad sandwich. I used to make my tuna sandwiches with tuna, a splotch of light mayo, and a slice of cheese. This recipe uses curry powder, cucumbers, cranberries, and a bit of greek yogurt, and it's served warm. I added a little bit of shredded mozzarella for a cheesy addition. Stuffed into a sandwich round, it was honestly the best tuna sandwich I'd ever had. :)

Nearly every recipe includes veggies. Even things that you wouldn't expect to find veggies (like the aforementioned enchiladas) have added vegetable content in ways that aren't intrusive. It doesn't feel like you're sneaking them in, but it DOES make it much easier to get those vegetable servings in each meal.

Now, there were a couple of recipes that I got a bit frustrated with. Some of this may have been my lack of sleep, but one or two were too complicated for my liking. I couldn't afford a big trip to the grocery store for some of the ingredients. However, thanks to the information in the book, I felt comfortable swapping out things in the recipe for stuff I had on hand (no cucumbers? Dice some bell peppers instead!) because that's kinda the whole point.

Best of all, this is a two week plan, but the subtitle is very misleading. This isn't just a two-week diet plan. This is a handholding introduction to healthy living, and after you finish the plan, it arms you with the tools and resources to keep moving forward. One thing any of you who have seen or read anything I write now, I don't diet. I don't deny myself, I don't skip things I enjoy, and I refuse to disallow myself any food.

That didn't change following this plan. I averaged around 1600 calories a day (a little more than the plan recommends, but necessary for me) and still had days where I had takeout pizza, or even a bowl of ramen noodles. But I did stick primarily with the plan, and will continue to follow it for a while. I stopped for about a week, and found myself immediately feeling rough again... not tracking and ignoring the things I learned caused me to pay a price. I'm planning on doing it again starting this week.

This is a plan I like. And the cheesy chicken pouch? Dear lord, that thing is a sin, and no one who is "dieting" should ever eat it. At least, it tastes like you shouldn't. But that's what I love about the Spark Solution... you can have it, and eat it, too. Guilt free.

So please, if you're looking for a change in your routine, just getting started, or are plateaued and want a change, preorder the Spark Solution. If you do this plan, you won't regret it.

Besides, it's just two weeks. How long have you been fat? Two weeks is nothing. You have that kind of time. Try it. :)

Full disclosure! I received an advance copy of this book for free from SparkPeople and did not receive any form of payment for my review.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUPERSYLPH 8/2/2013 1:30PM

    emoticon I might just have to get it!

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DIAMNDSPRKLMOM 6/25/2013 6:03AM

    emoticon review. Those recipes look so good! I've got to purchase this book!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/25/2013 6:04:49 AM

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CFMOSS 6/24/2013 7:31AM

    Good job:)

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WHITEANGEL4 5/6/2013 11:32AM

    Thank you for sharing ont he Spark Solution. I have not ordered my as of this time as I was working and away from home I am free for another 6 months so I will be ordereing and working on my plan

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FRABBIT 5/5/2013 5:43PM

  Great review. Well written! Thanks!

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EFFRAYECHILDE 5/2/2013 7:33AM

    emoticon emoticon

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GEORGE815 5/1/2013 7:16PM

    Thanks for the review!

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SPARKBJOK 4/29/2013 6:16PM

    Thanks for your review. As an editor and book reviewer myself, I know how difficult it can be to give an honest review. Reviewing is NOT just about promoting a book - it's an honest evaluation for both seller and customer. Well done. Thank you.

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SHFELKEY 4/23/2013 11:24AM

    Thanks for your review of The Spark Solution!

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SHANNONY84 4/22/2013 9:22AM

    Great review! Thank you!

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223DAISY 4/21/2013 6:31AM

    Thanks for the review

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LISA_FRAME 4/19/2013 3:32PM

  emoticon

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KALEWINE 4/17/2013 1:46PM

    emoticon

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AMESCALBEAR55 4/16/2013 4:40PM

    Thanks for the great review, I might pre- order it. It sounds like a great book even for someone who is working out with advanced moves.

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KRISKAY1962 4/16/2013 3:36PM

    SOUNDS GOOD, MAYBE I WILL ACTUALLY GET PUMPED TO COOK. emoticon

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GRAMPIAN 4/16/2013 5:41AM

  Sounds great! emoticon

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RENATA144 4/15/2013 7:36PM

  Fantastic !!!

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111BUTTERFLY111 4/15/2013 5:02PM

    Thanks! I'm excited about getting mine. I'm glad you had such a wonderful experience.

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LIFETIMER54 4/15/2013 11:46AM

  emoticon

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SPARKBJOK 4/15/2013 7:56AM

    Thank you

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ANGELN325 4/15/2013 4:57AM

    Thank you for the honest review of the book. I liked how you shared that you still lived your life and the difference you felt when you stopped doing what the book recommends. Very helpful. I'm going to have to take a hard look at this book.

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PANIK257 4/15/2013 1:49AM

    emoticon

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SANDYLH1 4/14/2013 7:16PM

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BEESONAMY 4/14/2013 4:41PM

    I can't wait to read it!

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LEANMEAN2 4/14/2013 7:00AM

    Thanks for sharing

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RUNNERRACHEL 4/14/2013 4:26AM

    emoticon

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JSEATTLE 4/13/2013 2:02AM

  Right On!! Thank you for a wonderful share!

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THELINABEE 4/12/2013 5:04PM

    Ha! "How long have you been fat? Two weeks is nothing"

I LOVE IT! Great review writing, and awesome that you found such good value in it! Thanks!

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STATS2332 4/12/2013 4:25PM

  Thanks for the review! I 'll have to give it consideration. emoticon

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JGMARIE80 4/12/2013 10:24AM

  emoticon review. You don't have to convince me. I' m sold. I can't wait to have my copy-- I'm pre- ordering it now. I can't wait to start on those recipes and exercises, and I want to know what NEAT is all about. emoticon

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SLIMLEAF 4/12/2013 8:19AM

    emoticon

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SIZE8NOTSOMUCH 4/12/2013 7:45AM

    Thanks for sharing!!
J


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LIFETIMER54 4/12/2013 7:37AM

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ILIKETOZUMBA 4/12/2013 12:04AM

    Thanks for the review! Wow, that tuna sounds delicious! As does the idea of a "cheesy chicken pouch" - YUM! I'm intrigued...


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JUSGETTENBY42 4/11/2013 11:45PM

    emoticon

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MAKBABE 4/11/2013 10:27PM

    Thanks for Sharing

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SHOAPIE 4/11/2013 6:22PM

    emoticon

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AMBER461 4/11/2013 6:08PM

  Thanks for the review.

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JIBBIE49 4/11/2013 6:04PM

    I'll wait to get a copy from my local library. They just did a complete remodeling job downtown and expanded it so it is REALLY nice.

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JSEATTLE 4/11/2013 3:31PM

  Thank you for posting your review. I have been happy with Spark products in the past and this one sounds good too.

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SWIMLOVER 4/11/2013 3:19PM

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MARITZA_TIRADO 4/11/2013 3:04PM

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ABUFFKIN 4/11/2013 2:19PM

    Thanks for the info, I am thinking seriously about pre-ordering this book for myself.

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ERIECANALGAL 4/11/2013 9:56AM

    I pre-ordered it and can't wait to get it!! emoticon

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TSARITSA 4/11/2013 9:43AM

    Would you recommend getting a Kindle version? Or are there too many nice pictures and stuff for a plain kindle?

Thanks

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JLEMUS1 4/11/2013 9:22AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KNYAGENYA 4/11/2013 9:20AM

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WORKNPROGRESS49 4/11/2013 9:12AM

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PENNYPACKER3 4/11/2013 8:48AM

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TOKIEMOON 4/11/2013 8:04AM

    You should get paid to promote this book. Nice job! emoticon

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