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The Spark Solution

SparkPeople's complete two-week diet program to fast-track weight loss and total body health.

QUICK FACTS Start the Diet Now Advertisement
  • Established 2013 (SparkPeople.com launched in 2001)
  • Founder: Chris Downie
  • Accessibility: Book, website
  • Diet Type: Two-week, calorie reduction
  • Gender: Male, female
BACKGROUND

The Spark Solution compares the human body to a car. If you have a lead foot, slam on your brakes often and drive erratically on a regular basis, the car will be fine… for a while, but its overall performance will suffer as it ages under the same conditions. The human body reacts the same way the car reacts to poor upkeep. Living a sedentary life, overeating and not getting enough sleep will eventually lead to sluggishness, weight gain and poor health.

You have to take care of your body like you have to take care of your car to keep its performance at peak levels.

Developed by SparkPeople.com’s head dietitian Becky Hand and editorial director Stepfanie Romine, The Spark Solution teaches you how to take care of your body (not your car) through its all-inclusive two-week diet and exercise program. Designed to jump-start weight loss, The Spark Solution aims to remove the road blocks associated with weight loss, including mental road blocks, deliver immediate results and lay the pavement for your long-term weight loss success.

The Spark Solution outlines the weight loss information people need in the first two weeks of beginning a diet and exercise program, the time when failure is at its highest and the amount of time needed to commit to a lifestyle change. The authors claim that if you follow The Spark Solution program, you will be able to change your negative habits into positive ones in just 14 days.

The Spark Solution is divided into four parts:

  • First, you will learn how the 14-Day Jump Start will change your mind and your body.
  • Then, you will be introduced to the 14-Day Plan, the first two weeks of your weight loss success.
  • Next, The Spark Solution provides tools for success, such as recipes and exercise moves.
  • Finally, you will learn how to take the lessons learned in the first two weeks and apply them to the rest of your life.

Hand, a registered dietitian, is the head dietitian for SparkPeople.com. She had more than 25 years of experience helping people get healthy while still enjoying their lives. Romine is a certified yoga instructor and former journalist. Until she joined the SparkPeople.com team, she disliked exercise. Now, she runs half marathons and loves hiking. Romine has maintained an almost-fifty-pound weight loss for several years.

PRO
  • The Spark Solution is backed by SparkPeople.com, America’s leading weight loss website
  • Authors are experienced diet and nutrition experts, one of which is a registered dietitian
  • Additional resources for weight loss are provided for free at SparkPeople.com, including an online community where people can find support
  • Diet and nutrition is based on the ChooseMyPlate system outlined by the Federal Government
  • Recipes, meal plans and shopping lists are provided
  • Detailed workout routines with photo explanations of exercises are provided
CON
  • Reducing calories consumed to 1,500 or less a day is encouraged, less than the USDA's recommended 2,000 calories a day
  • RDAs exceed those set by the CDC and USDA
  • ChooseMyPlate, designed by the federal government, is controversial in that it allows for French fries and canned soda
  • Workout routines are completely customizable and might not be structured enough for people who dislike exercise or are new to working out
  • Weight loss amounts to more than the medically recommend 1-2 pounds a week
DIET and NUTRITION

The 14-Day diet and nutrition plan is divided into two weeks with each day’s meals and snacks completely outlined in the second part of The Spark Solution.

The first recommendation The Spark Solution makes is to start your day by drinking eight ounces of water immediately after you wake up. Your body “fasts” while you sleep, and your hydration levels are at their lowest when you first wake. By drinking water first think in the morning, you are energizing your body and replenishing the fluids your body used up while sleeping.

The Spark Solution meal plan allows for three meals and two snacks each day and adds up to approximately 1,500 calories. By consuming 1,500 calories each day, your total daily calories should be low enough for weight loss while still high enough to provide the nourishment your body needs and the energy you will need to complete physical activity.

A typical daily meal plans looks like:

  • Breakfast: Bacon-Swiss Scramble (recipe provided), slice of whole grain toast with 1 teaspoon of butter, a small orange and a cup of coffee with two tablespoons of skim milk (320 calories)
  • Lunch: Turkey and cheese sandwich on whole grain with light Dijon mayo, lettuce and tomato, an ounce of unsalted peanuts and flavored water (334 calories)
  • Snack: A cup of celery sticks with one and half tablespoons of natural, unsalted peanut butter (162 calories)
  • Dinner: Southwestern Chicken and Rice (recipe provided), a cup of diced pineapple and a cup of skim milk (457 calories)
  • Snack: A banana with a cup of low-fat chocolate milk (184 calories)

So the typical day described above on The Spark Solution diet and nutrition plan will provide:

  • 1,457 calories
  • 35 grams of fat
  • 2,701 milligrams of sodium (CDC recommends 1500 mg/day and no more than 2300 mg/day)
  • 205 grams of carbohydrates (CDC recommends 130 g/day)
  • 26 grams of fiber
  • 100 grams of protein (USDA recommends 50 g/day on a 2000 calorie diet)

The Spark Solution provides a chart for “Daily Reflection” after each day in the diet and nutrition plan so you can outline how you felt about your diet for the day.

Meals in The Spark Solution’s diet and nutrition plan can be modified for different body types, such as for a very short woman or a very tall person, which the book outlines for readers in the first section. Seventy-five recipes, shopping lists and meal plans are provided to support the diet and nutrition plan. In addition, The Spark Solution outlines what types of foods should be eaten and avoided and provides tips on preparing and cooking meals and meal plans throughout the week.

EXERCISE

The 14-Day Plan workout plan is also divided into two weeks with each day’s routine completely outlined. The fitness section directly following the diet and nutrition section so you do not have to switch between chapters.

The Spark Solution workout plan combines cardio and strength training, alternating each day for six days with one day dedicated to rest. During the first week, you will perform 20-30 minutes of cardio during your cardio workouts, increasing to 30-45 minutes during the second week. Strength training, depending on which exercises you choose will take 20-45 minutes.

A typical weekly workout plan looks like:

  • 20 minutes of cardio on the elliptical (250 calories burned)
  • Two sets of 10 reps of strength training (72 calories burned)
  • 30 minutes of cardio intervals by walking/jogging/running (390 calories burned)
  • As many reps as possible (AMRAP) for 45 minutes (100 calories burned)
  • 20 minutes of cardio, such as Zumba (150 calories burned)
  • Two sets of 12 reps of strength training (108 calories burned)
  • Rest Day

The weekly calories deficit produced by combining the workout and diet and nutrition plans should equal to about 7,949 calories.

Again, a chart for “Daily Reflection” is provided after each day in the workout plan so you can outline how you felt about your exercise for the day.

The Spark Solution outlines different types of cardio workouts and different forms of strength training, including how to perform exercises with photos, so you can customize your workout plan to fit your life.

CONCLUSION

The Spark Solution weight loss plan claims to increase metabolism through customizable workout routines, reduce cravings, blood sugar and cholesterol through its diet and nutrition plan and provide initial weight loss of at least four to six pounds of actual body fat in the first two weeks.

Both the diet and nutrition plan and the workout plan are completely outlined for you to use as is but can also be customized for your body type and physical fitness level. Additional resources, such as the recipes and “Menu of Exercises” allow you to pick and choose from favorite foods and workouts you can feel comfortable doing.

Overall, The Spark Solution provides a well-outlined plan for jump-starting weight loss based on the foundations of good diet and regular exercise, but the plan could be considered dangerous in that it promotes more than one to two pounds of weight loss a week. Consulting a medical professional will help you determine if The Spark Solution is right for you, but the basic principles it preaches will likely fall in line with whatever your doctor recommends.

Common Misspellings

Spark People Diet, The SparkPeopleDiet, Spark Solution Diet, Spark Solutions


Related Diets: Spark People, The Spark, The SparkPeople Cookbook


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