Meet the Success Stories from 'The SparkPeople Cookbook'*

By , SparkPeople Blogger
One of the best parts about writing "The SparkPeople Cookbook: Love Your Food, Lose the Weight" with Chef Meg was tracking down SparkPeople Success Stories, getting to know them, and sharing their stories with the world.

The stories are a mix of follow-ups from "The Spark"--all those we interviewed had continued to lose and/or maintain their weight and they continued to improve their lives, one healthy step at a time--and new-to-you Success Stories. Today I want to share a few of their stories with you!

Amber, *AMBER512, lost 96 pounds and transformed herself from a no-cook junk-food fiend to someone who is passionate about the food she eats--it must be healthy, sustaining, and delicious for her these days! Gone are her favorites of mac-n-cheese from a box, pizza pockets and ramen noodles. In their place are black bean wraps, loads of vegetables, and quinoa or brown rice. She has banned flavorless, fat-free "diet" foods and loves every bite of her real, delicious food! (That's her above; photo by Elma Blum)
She wrote a wonderful motivational post about the cookbook. Go check it out!  

(photo by Adam Wiggall)
Birdie, DR_BIRDIE, is now the resident medical expert on and a blogger here on the dailySpark. She wasn't always a picture of health--and even after she and husband, Nick, lost a combined 260 pounds using SparkPeople, this neurologist and mother of five was relying on diet meals and healthy fast food more than she knew she should be. In "The SparkPeople Cookbook," she talks about how she and Nick started to make cooking a priority as a way to get even healthier, save money, and set a good example for their children. She says that cooking healthy meals doesn't require perfection--or ample amounts of time:

“I make the time. Sometimes I prepare dinner very late in the evenings and the kids have to eat separately because I can’t expect them to wait for me. I’m still trying to balance it all.”

(with her sister, who is also in the book! photo by her daughter, Michele Kranik)
Frances, CALIDREAMER76, lost 110 pounds using SparkPeople. She went from loathing vegetables to loving them. In fact, she ran up to me at the SparkPeople Convention in 2009 to thank me for sharing the tip that roasting vegetables is an easy way to add flavor without fat--and temper the strong taste of some veggies. Vivacious and full of energy and excitement, Frances was eager to share her tips for keeping off the weight:

"Make small changes that you can live with. If you don’t like salads, then don’t eat salads to lose weight, because that isn’t something you’ll stick with. Don’t have forbidden foods. I didn’t cut anything out—I just evaluated what I was eating. I have a goal to eat at least five fruits and veggies during the day. So if I’m doing that sometimes I don’t have room in my daily meals for other things that may have empty calories or just aren't as helpful to my body. I used to be a big bread eater.
I still have it, but not as much, and when I do I thoroughly enjoy every bite."


(photo by Harrington Photography)

Greg, KSIGMA22, shared his story in "The Spark." A whopping 165 pounds down, this busy dad is an athlete once more. As a runner, he knows how important it is to fuel his body with healthy foods and his wife and kids agree. For Greg, eating right and exercising is more than aesthetics or good health--it's his duty as a father:

"I lost the weight so I could be more the father I wanted to be—rather than the one I talked about being and thought about being."

(photo by Sarah Diebold)
Tara, HALLELUL, is one of the kindest, most sincere people I've ever had the honor to meet. She not only shared her story in "The SparkPeople Cookbook," but she participated in our "Ditch the Diet Taste Test" (exclusively in the cookbook!) and received cooking lessons from Chef Meg. She once jokingly referred to her penchant for treats as "sweet teeth" but now is satisfied with real foods. Tara and her mom now spend quality time together in the kitchen, and she's cooking her way through the book!

Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

The SparkPeople Cookbook is full of other great stories that are just as motivating as these are. Stories such as theirs make this work we do at SparkPeople so rewarding.

Other people are talking about the book as well. What are they saying? A lot. And it's good. Bruce, aka The Slowest Loser, spends his days as SparkPeople's director of communications and has compiled some of our best press hits into one page: From Woman's Day to Diets in Review, the Cincinnati Enquirer and the Dayton Daily News, we've had no shortage of coverage!

If you haven't bought a copy of the cookbook everyone's talking about, don't wait! Packed with 160 recipes, with 150 meal ideas and recipes that are ready in under 30 minutes, this book is a healthy cook's (or a wannabe healthy cook's) dream come true! Chef Meg creates dishes with ingredients available in your local supermarket that are both flavorful and healthy. In addition, you'll find chapters, sidebars, and extensive appendixes on stocking a healthy kitchen with both equipment and ingredients; getting kids excited about healthy eating and cooking; and sticking to a budget while eating right.

Whether time, money, or know-how is what's keeping you from cooking at home and improving your health, this book will help you overcome those obstacles and more.

Find five sample recipes, links to Chef Meg's videos, and info about purchasing the book here.  

Want more healthy recipes from Chef Meg, me and fellow SparkPeople members? Be sure to subscribe to SparkPeople's Recipe of the Day email. Click here to sign up!
*Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.