Good morning, Spark Buddies !
This is a book review of the Spark Solution - a complete Two-Week Diet Program to Fast Track Weight Loss and Total Body Health by Becky Hand with Stephanie Romine.
About a month ago, I received an email from SP_STEPH (Stephanie Romine) asking if I would be interested in reviewing a new Spark People publication. I jumped at the opportunity. I love reading new books ! So, I was sent an advanced copy to read and comment on.
What did I think ? Like SPs two previous books (the Spark and the Spark People Cookbook), this is a well done book with a lot going for it. Many of you may have noticed, there has been a growing trend in two week programs that "jump start" a person's weight loss. Now, Spark People has written its own two week dietary program to help people adopt healthier habits that will lead to long term success.
We all know that there is no fast way to lose weight. We know that weight loss is a slow steady process that takes time. So, what can a person do in two weeks ? You'd be surprized to learn that there is quite a bit a person can do and that is what this book is about. I've been a member for several years now. One thing I've noticed in my time reading and replying to the forums and member blogs is that many people get discouraged and frustrated when the weight doesn't seem to come off in the first week or two. They wonder what they did wrong. They get frustrated with their bodies and lose motivation. They give up. They want to know what they can do to lose weight. What happens next is one of the high points of the Spark Solution as well as the Spark People forums. The Coaches and members respond with great advice to help that person stay motivated. They want you to know that you aren't alone. They want you to know that they too experienced similar frustrations. They want you know that you can still make a change for the better. They want you to stay motivated and not lose hope.
Now, let's talk about the book a bit more. The two week program is broken up into 14 days. Let's take a look at what happens on Day 1. First, you get your insider tip. From the book,
Slow and Steady Works - "I told myself that I would change two habits every week;not as a diet, but as permanent lifestyle changes so that they weren't temporary. I compounded the effect by continuing to add two new healthy habits every week". - Solomon, 139 pounds lost.
Every day starts with an insider tip from fellow members to keep you motivated. Next is the Mind Set Makeover that encourages you with simple things you can do during the day to make that day more healthy. Focus on the positive. Drink a glass of water first thing in the morning. Take a walk at lunch.
Next comes the Metabolic Makeover. You're presented with a chart that swaps a typical SAD (standard American Diet) with a healthier Spark meal option. You're given options (swaps) for breakfast, lunch, snack, dinner and even dessert. As you know, Spark People has never been about deprivation. It's all about moderation and portion control. Yes, dessert can be a part of a healthy lifestyle.
The next part of the day, Fitness That Fits. Here, you're given a selection of exercises for cardio and strength training.
The last part is the Daily Reflection. I know, it's been a long day. But, at the end of the day, there is a small chart and you're asked to grade your day. How did you feel today ? The question, I made healthy food choices based on the Spark Swaps meal plan. The choices are numbered 1-5 going from poor to excellent. I think that many people neglect their feelings when they start a weight loss program. Weight loss isn't just about taking off the pounds and changing your body. It's all about changing your HEAD too. Because if you don't change your head, you may take the weight off, but you might not keep it off.
Can a person change their life in two weeks ? Of course, not. But they can make some simple changes that can last a life time. And that's what the book is really about. Yes, you might lose 2-4 pounds by creating a caloric deficit. What you'll really GAIN in those two weeks is a start towards a healthier lifestyle. I thought the book was very well done and I think many people will enjoy reading it because it does have a lot to offer. However, I do have one caveat. I'll be honest, I don't like the strength training exercises that are presented. (I LOVE Coach Nicole !) The squats and lunges are fine, but the rest of the exercises do require a bit of core strength and balance. I feel that these are exercises the guys won't do because they do seem more targeted towards women. I also feel that some of the exercises could be uncomfortable for members with a lot of weight to lose. My personal advice would be to substitute other strength exercises that the person feels more comfortable doing. Because it's important for a person to do some strength training as part of their exercise routine.
That one caveat aside, there is a section I think everyone will like and that's the Food for Life section towards the end of the book. Here you will learn some basic information about the role carbs, protein, fat and fiber play in our bodies. You'll learn about portion sizes. If Americans suffer from anything, they suffer from portion distortion. Food for Life has a chart that describes what a portion should be for a typical person.
There is more great information in that vein dispersed through the book. I do have to save something for you folks to read !! LOL !!
If you'd like to learn more about the Spark Solution, you can check out this link.
Now, as part of my blog, I have to make a disclosure to you all.
“I received an advance copy of this book for free from SparkPeople and did not receive any form of payment for my review.”