SparkPeople is the largest free weight loss community on the web.
- Established: 2001
- Founder: Chris Downie
- Headquarters: Cincinnati, Ohio
- Accessibility: Online, book
- Diet Type: Free online weight loss community; low-calorie, low-fat, increased exercise
- Gender: Male, female
Check-out the new book by SparkPeople CEO Chris Downie, The Spark.
SparkPeople is a community. SparkPeople is a health site. SparkPeople is a fully-developed free diet plan. It incorporates a lifestyle-change approach to healthy living. It bases its nutritional components upon the food pyramid and its diet plan on the premise that you must take in less calories than you expend, in order to lose weight.
SparkPeople does not simply provide a one-line synopsis of what dieting should or shouldn't look like. Instead, it guides you through a four-stage program that you initiate and sustain through education, group support and motivation. All this is done online via a community that exchanges information through forums, shared recipes and stories of success or failure, from people who are navigating through the same journey as yourself.
SparkPeople began in 2001 as a goal-setting site. When it became apparent that nearly all of the contributors and community members shared the goals of wanting sound nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles, they flung themselves full-heartedly into providing the best information about health that they could find. This lead to a full-scale discussion about the kinds of dieting programs that consistently produced results. What they came to believe, after all the study and input was complete, is that there is no magic bullet when it comes to living healthy. Being healthy is about both daily and lifetime choices. The site that exists today is a collaborative effort and attracts nearly two million users. In 2006, SparkPeople was ranked as the 6th most visited site in the "Health and Medical-Wellbeing" category and 3rd amongst diet sites. Spark's mission is about creating support that translates into success and "sparks" the desire to pass "lessons learned" to others.PRO
- Providing our body with a total fitness regimen, including all the nutrients that a diet rich in variety can provide
- Provides exercise/fitness support
- Emotional support
- Complete four-step plan and educational tools to make each step understandable.
- Forums and support modules on-site to help direct and support each member's efforts.
- Email reminders that help you remain true to goals, or offer alternative methods when life gets in the way.
- Diagnostic tools for determining Base Metabolic Rate (BMR), age, weight, etc., which take into account the time frame you desire to reach your goal and help devise a weight-loss plan, accordingly.
- Thousands of user-suggested recipes and comments from those who tried them
- FREE. The plan, the support and the community remain one of the few free weight loss regimines in the world.
- May be more information than you can digest at one sitting
There are several tools available to help you eat a healthier diet. Spark members have access to Spark Recipes which offers over 200,000 different recipes. The web site also includes a calorie counter and meal plans. The beauty of the information available through Spark is that everything is free. When you are documenting your meals, there are thousands of common foods to choose from in the database. Meal plans can be printed out and you can also print your grocery list directly from the meals you will be eating each week. If there are any foods you don’t like that are showing up in your meal plan, you can simply remove them. Below is the sample day of eating with a Spark meal plan:
- Breakfast: Yogurt with fresh peaches; wheat bran muffin; tea
- Lunch: Spinach salad with cheese, shrimp and strawberries; roll; tea
- Dinner: Chickpeas and spinach with feta; roll; banana
- Snack: Bean dip with salsa; carrots
In October 2011, Chef Meg Galvin authored The Sparkpeople Cookbook for the popular weight loss brand. It includes hundreds of healthy, satisfying recipes that serve as healthier versions of some of America's favorite foods.
A sampling of the recipes can be found here at DietsInReview.com:
Exercise is a focal point with the SparkPeople community. Incorporating some fitness acivities will help lead you to a healthier life. It will also help you reach your weight loss goals faster. Once you sign up, you will answer some questions about your current workouts and your goals. This helps create your workout schedule which will consist of cardio and strength training exercises. Each day you log in, the site will tell you how much cardio or strength training you should do that day. There is a tutorial for how to work with the exercise component. If at any time the workout schedule you have doesn’t work you can easily change your options. You are in complete control of how long you workout, what days include certain exercises and what specific exercises you do. On your cardio workout days, the system tells you how many calories you need to burn. How you burn them is completely up to you. Some of the suggested cardio exercises include:
- Various house chores
- Circuit training
The SparkPeople fitness database offers a wide selection of workout activities to choose from. Once you’ve selected your activity, you type in how long you worked out and save your calorie burn to your SparkPeople profile. The process is the same whether you are recording cardio or strength training time. SparkPeople offers several demonstration photos and videos to help you maintain proper form in your workouts. Members can talk to each other on the various SparkPeople message boards for inspiration or help in finding the proper workout.CONCLUSION
The Internet now affords us neighborhood meetings from the comfort of our own home. For those brave enough to enter even one discussion group, the opportunities for growth are limitless. The SparkPeople have filled an enormous need by bringing some of the best information they can provide to the general site, and then, by offering varied groups of people at differing stages of the journey, who can share, encourage and enjoy one another. Spark is most likely for that person who is willing to take personal responsibility for their progress, while enjoying the obviously well-intentioned input of others who have met and overcome their own hurdles. By sharing what works and doesn't work among one another, no task seems nearly as daunting.Common Misspellings
Spark People, Spart People, Spark Diet, Sperk People, Spark Peeple, the spark