It was the day I had stepped on the scale to find that the number had crept up…again. So when I opened my mailbox and found The Spark: The 28-Day Breakthrough Plan for Losing Weight, Getting Fit, and Transforming Your Life, I was ready for it.
I’ve struggled with my weight ever since I met my husband. His family can eat whatever they want in massive quantities and not gain a pound. Me, on the other hand, can look at a piece of cheesecake and gain weight. I’ve tried many diets, Zoned, Watched the Weight, measured, deprived, limited. Noting worked for long.
The Spark Is Different
The Spark is not another diet plan, where it tells you what to eat and how to exercise. I was astounded at this new take on losing weight.
The first part of the book concerns itself with the Cornerstones. And these were different than I expected. After all, I know what to do – eat less, eat better, exercise more. What else is there? Quite a lot, it turns out.
The first cornerstone asked me why I want to lose the weight. It asked me to state that goal, and then set short- and medium-term goals with it. It backed it up with examples of people who have used the program.
Next, it asked me to make these goals concrete by putting together visual and audible reminders of the goals. I’ve used these tools with success in other areas of my life, so I know these work.
OK, I thought, here we go with the lecture and special exercises. Instead, I found information on stress management, emotional eating and sleep. Since I tend to overeat when I am tired, stressed and upset, this hit home.
The other thing was interesting: rather than insist on a regimented workout routine, The Spark recommends something that can be done anywhere. Since traveling destroys my exercise plans, this was a good thing to hear. I don’t have to join a gym. I don’t have to buy anything. In fact, it’s better if I don’t.
The third cornerstone is about the drive to get where you want to be. With topics on choices, journaling and character traits, you learn how to change yourself. The section on consistency and momentum gives some great ways to keep moving forward, as well as how to handle the inevitable setbacks.
This last section is about how you can be inspired by, and inspire others. By having positive role models in your life, you are more likely to succeed.
The Spark “Diet”
The second half of the book is entitled “The Spark Diet”. But it’s not a diet plan that lays out meals for you. Instead, it’s a plan to get you moving to better choices.
The Fast Break
This is the part that tripped me up with Weight Watchers. You were expected to do the whole plan from Day 1, and no exceptions. This is really hard! With The Spark, you get a better start in the Fast Break.
The whole idea of the Fast Break is to build up some easy successes. For instance, you can choose to drink more water and eat more veggies. Or commit to exercising three times during the week. The point of the Fast Break is to set goals low enough that you can do them, without being overwhelming.
By simply making the commitment to drink four glasses of water and eat three fruits/veggies a day, I started losing weight the first week…
Healthy Diet Habits
This next section didn’t contain anything new for me. What surprised me was the lack of insistence on following their “plan”. You can follow any healthy diet plan and still use this book. The habits section focused instead on portions, water, sleep and exercise — all healthy habits.
This section is more about keeping motivated, and dealing with issues that may be behind weight gain (like emotional eating). It gives specific strategies for moving forward.
Spread The Spark
This last section talks about maintenance, and using what you learned to apply to other area of your life that you may be stuck in. With specific suggestions on how to live a more fulfilling life, it encourages you to dream.
I was really impressed with The Spark. I need something other than an all-or-nothing approach to weight loss and lifestyle change, and this book provides it.
If you are looking to make a change this year, check out the book. It is well worth the time to read.
The Spark Information
Book: The Spark: The 28-Day Breakthrough Plan for Losing Weight, Getting Fit, and Transforming Your Life
Author: Chris Downie
Publisher: Hay House, 2009
Hay House Publishing provided me with a free copy of the book The Spark to enable me to write this review.