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the Spark Solution - Book Review !

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Sunday, April 07, 2013

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.”

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    2006 days ago
    Thanks for your review of the new book!
    2130 days ago
    Great review! Thanks for sharing :)
    2142 days ago
    looking forward to getting my copy in the mail but don't want to wish my Spark coach time away either what a hard place to be in emoticon
    great review they picked a good person to approach for this difficult job get people excited about the book yet not give all the content away.
    2142 days ago
    emoticon Was wondering how the two week thing would be handled by Spark People.
    2143 days ago
  • KAB7801
    Thanks. I am going to order
    2143 days ago
    2144 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    emoticon emoticon
    2144 days ago
  • MARTY728
    emoticon for sharing your review. I value your opinion, so I will look into obtaining the book! emoticon
    2144 days ago
    2144 days ago
    I can't wait for my copy!
    2144 days ago
    2144 days ago
    Sounds great. and thanks. Going to order mine today emoticon
    2144 days ago
  • JACKIE542
    Great review. emoticon emoticon
    2144 days ago
    Thank you for the review. You did a great job with it. It gives me an idea about the book and what it is all about. I think it is really true BTW about portions sizes in America. I was stunned when I left the states and saw that the rest of the world (that I have seen) gives you just about the right amount of food for one meal on your plate at a restaurant. Not a value for your money kind of thing but ...a meal...a normal sized meal. At first I actually felt gypped but now I like it. It makes sense and it is healthy. I wonder what I will think when I go back in a few days...I am sure I will be eating out some.

    Thank you for the great review!
    2145 days ago
    Great review - I generally don't like weight loss books, but can definitely see how this would be helpful for someone just getting started.
    2145 days ago
    Thanks for the honest review. I know SP is more focused on the folks that are starting at the most basic point and trying to just lose all that weight and get healthier. I also know that while they do have many exercises that are more for men, they still focus more on women. This works for SP and I commend them on their success for most folks that stick with their plan.

    As far as a kick start program, I can see how that can work for all of us. Even the more advanced folks run into complacency or stalls in their journey. I can also see how this can work for those that "think" they have reached a plateau, but in all actuality, they are just not doing the SP plan correctly or following SMART.

    I have had a problem trying to talk my wife into following this plan and she just continues to do it her way. (which is taking much time at the gym, many missed meals, and no real goals met) This may just be the book for her if I can get it to her without her taking offense. LOL (WOMEN)
    2145 days ago
    Well heck, girlfriend. I'm just going to have to add book reviewer to the list of things I'm compiling for you to look into doing. The first one, if you remember our little visit in Boston, was TOUR GUIDE! You're such a multi-talented person! And THAT was a great book review!
    2146 days ago
    emoticon Great review! It sounds like this book is a great tool for everyone- even those of us who've been at this a while and seeing success [slow or not!].
    2146 days ago
    I have been thinking about pre-ordering for some time now. With this review, I have made my decision and am heading to to do just that. Thank you!
    2146 days ago
    emoticon Bravissima, Karen!!

    I'm a longtime peruser of Amazon's and Audible's reviews, and I always appreciate the thorough reviewer who provides me with a clear sketch of a book's contents. It's almost a brief "try-before-you-buy" tool which virtually ensures I won't be wasting my money, and you've delivered just that to us - tanks o' thanks!!

    I've always been a fan of the authors, too. Spark is unique in that it selects truly well-qualified professionals to write articles and even books, and I particularly appreciate the input of registered dietitians such as Becky Hand. Too many sites tout the work of "diet experts" with little to no foundation in nutrition - with no solid grasp of food chemistry - who espouse all sorts of zany, here-today-and-gone-tomorrow faddish strategies. The 'net is littered with such nonsense, and it has unfortunately garnered ill-deserved ballyhoo from people desperate to lose a few pounds - as of yesterday. Becky is a solid, reliable exception!

    And while we're at it, thanks for all *you* do for Spark, Karen! Your posts always stand on solid informational ground, and your compassion, candor, and tact make them unique. Thanks for the review, and keep on keepin' on!! - Susan
    2146 days ago
  • BEWELL48
    Thank you! Very helpful! May just go ahead and preorder!
    2146 days ago
    THanks for the review.....I am glad that I pre ordered it as it sounds like a good one!
    2146 days ago
    2146 days ago
  • no profile photo BIGDOG18
    2146 days ago
    Thank you for this thoughtful, well done review...I am thinking of getting the book now. So many of your points rang true for me...ESPECIALLY the slow weight loss portion!
    2146 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.