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    DRAGONCHILDE   56,724
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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:

KHALIA2 4/10/2013 2:56PM

  emoticon

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SCOTMAMA 4/10/2013 2:52PM

    You did a wonderful review! After reading your blog I'm sure dozens of members will rush to purchase it.

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NANABE 4/10/2013 2:35PM

    Thanks for the review! I already ordered the book. The Fit, Firm and Fired Up DVD is great I've been using that first thing in the morning. The only disappointment is the other DVD I received was the Cardio Blast which I already had 2 copies of. I won those on the Spark wheel.

Looking forward to receiving the book soon.

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FRAN0426 4/10/2013 2:22PM

    Thanks for the review

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ALMYEARTHLYBEST 4/10/2013 2:19PM

    emoticon Now I'm even more excited to get my copy!!!

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JIBBIE49 4/10/2013 2:10PM

    I'll wait to read a copy from my local library.

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BRITTTURTLE 4/10/2013 1:55PM

  awesome!

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KALISWALKER 4/10/2013 1:51PM

    Thanks for the info!

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TWILAQ1 4/10/2013 1:18PM

    Thanks! I'm waiting for my Kindle copy to appear.

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ISABELLE31 4/10/2013 12:44PM

    Thanks for the review. I already pre-ordered my copy, so now I'm even more excited about getting it!

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LRB444 4/10/2013 12:40PM

    Thanks for the review!

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REBECCATKD 4/10/2013 12:39PM

    I'm intrigued. May have to order for myself...

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LBRAUN5 4/10/2013 12:38PM

  Thank you for the honest review!!!! I am patiently waiting (becuase I have to) for my copy of the Spark Solution and have been wondering what it would include. So nice to have a "sneak peak" of what will be in there. I love you comment at the end of your blog "Besides, it's just two weeks. How long have you been fat? Two weeks is nothing". That one made me laugh! Glad you are seeing some changes!

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CLAYARTIST 4/10/2013 12:31PM

  emoticon mm emoticon

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DIBRN5 4/10/2013 12:05PM

    Nice review. It seems like I do good for a week then get off track. I need to commit. Maybe I could handle 2 weks. Best wishes.

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JAIMESIZED 4/10/2013 12:02PM

    Thanks for the review! :)

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TPETRIE 4/10/2013 12:01PM

  Awesome!! I have ordered my book and can't wait for it to come in. emoticon

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IMSUNSHINE 4/10/2013 11:55AM

    emoticon

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KLYNE00 4/10/2013 11:38AM

  Another good blog! I have been on the fence about ordering the book, but this review has pushed me to the "ordering it asap" side. Thank you for your awesome review! emoticon emoticon

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DRAGONCHILDE 4/10/2013 11:21AM

    The points for the pre-order are done manually. To get them, go here: http://www.sparkpeople.com/sparksol
ution/

Look for the orange button on the right that says "Click to learn more &get your gifts"

That will take you to this page:

http://www.sparkpeople.com/
sparksolution
/gifts-with-or
der.asp

There's an orange button there that says "Already ordered? Click here to get your gifts" - that'll take you to the page to get your points, DVDs, and SparkCoach time, and will also include your code for accessing Sparkcoach when you have signed up!

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LADYMARCIA1 4/10/2013 11:20AM

    emoticon

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FIRECOM 4/10/2013 11:17AM

    I have pre-ordered the book for my Kindle but I have not received the points for the order. Hmmm. Oh well, I will figure it out. If anyone has a suggestion re: this problem, I would appreciate it.

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CCBULLDOG 4/10/2013 11:12AM

    emoticon

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MISSBOOBOOKITTY 4/10/2013 11:06AM

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CHERYLHURT 4/10/2013 10:58AM

  Thanks!

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VBA2009 4/10/2013 10:51AM

    emoticon

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NEPTUNE1939 4/10/2013 10:49AM

    emoticon

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SUSIEMT 4/10/2013 10:47AM

    You wrote such a good review! You are good. Of course the book probably will sell itself but good job you! I didn't think I really needed the book but just from your description of the recipes from the book make me want to get it. Keep up the good work!

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CIROHIO 4/10/2013 10:41AM

    WOW ... what an awesome review. I am so excited.I have been counting down the days. I ordered this as my birthday gift to me. WHOHOO I can not wait! And good for you! Keep up the great job!

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SORLANDO21 4/10/2013 10:38AM

    emoticon

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GRIZ1GIRL 4/10/2013 10:36AM

    4 lbs--woo hoo! Good for you!

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GIRLINMOTION 4/10/2013 10:32AM

    What a great review!

SparkPeople does provide great information for a healthier lifestyle journey. It is up to us to take the journey and be guided by SparkPeople to avoid the detours.

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LAST20FORME 4/10/2013 10:29AM

    I've read tons of "diet books" in my 60 years but what I like about Sparkpeople is that theirs feels like a philosophy and not another gimmicky diet book. I pre-ordered the book and was able to download the first chapter with the others that pre-ordered. I was very excited with what I read and can't wait for the entire book to arrive.

I very much liked all the freebies you now get with the book that will most likely not be available once it hits the public market. I most enjoy the wonderful answers I receive when i e-mail a SoarkCoach and they reply. Very thoughtful answers.

It's also very nice to support Sparkpeople that developed this free web site that we all benefit from. That alone is a reason I think Sparkers should buy the book. It's the Christmas gift I think we owe SparkGuy, IMHO

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KATIEM929 4/10/2013 10:08AM

    Glad to hear it's working for you. Great review!

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STALEYK 4/10/2013 10:06AM

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LIZAPO 4/10/2013 9:56AM

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CEEMAY 4/10/2013 9:54AM

    emoticon

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SUGAR0814 4/10/2013 9:42AM

    emoticon review!

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KACEYSW 4/10/2013 9:39AM

    I have been intrigued by the ads for the new book, I may venture to get it now....

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TINY67 4/10/2013 9:35AM

    Thanks, good review.

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HENRYNOLAN 4/10/2013 9:34AM

    thanks for sharing... i had no plan to buy the book, since i get so much already from just using the site (and for free of course! ;), but i think i will pre-order just for the loot thanks to your recommendation :)

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TREE57 4/10/2013 9:32AM

    I'm so looking forward to getting my book!

I'm laid-up right now (day 6) from major ankle surgery. Therefore, the arrival of this book will be just what I need to get back in the action!

Loved your blog!



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JOANNHUNT 4/10/2013 9:31AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOMOSG 4/10/2013 9:28AM

    Great information. Thanks for sharing that.

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AUNTB63 4/10/2013 9:27AM

    Thank you for this review. I am anxiously awaiting my copy of the book. I have to admit I didn't know how different this book would be from others I have read and you have convinced me that it will be worth trying. Can't wait to try some of those recipes.

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MARYGOLD5 4/10/2013 9:23AM

    Thank you for the review of the book. emoticon

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SIMONEKP 4/10/2013 9:22AM

    thanks for the review

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SCRAPBECCA 4/10/2013 9:17AM

    Awesome book review. Very inspiring results and comments!

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FUNLOVEN 4/10/2013 9:16AM

    OMG, what a quick and helpful response emoticon

I am trying to figure out if I want to invest in one of these books and your reply will help me with that decision emoticon

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GRANDMASHUNGRY 4/10/2013 9:09AM

    Can't wait to get my book!

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