There are a lot of different community websites devoted to helping you come up with a weight loss plan, and one of the bigger ones over the past decade has been SparkPeople. The site has created a plan known as the Spark Solution Diet to help their community lose weight with a lot of different tools. There was even a book released in 2014 called “The Spark Solution: A Complete Two-Week Diet Program to Fast-Track Weight Loss and Total Body Health”.
Now one of the most popular diets out there, how does the Spark Solution Diet work? A lot of different people have offered up different information to compose the diet, so there is a lot to take in. Let’s take a look into the Spark Solution Diet to see if it will be able to help you lose weight like they say thousands have already done.
Understanding the Spark Solution Diet
There are some weight loss programs out there that last for a lifetime and some that last for a couple of days. The Spark Solution Diet, however, lasts for two weeks and is meant more to get you on track for long term weight loss than to guide you through your entire journey. One of the biggest advantages of the Spark Solution Diet’s short length is that the nutrition plan is completely laid out over that time.
A lot of the weight loss plans that are exclusively online and through mobile apps have a paywall or subscription that you have to sign up for, but that’s not the case with the Spark Solution Diet. While you can purchase the book (for under $10 typically), all of the costs involved with the diet are optional. Logging into SparkPeople allows you access to nutritional information for just about any food you can think of and also allows you to track exercise.
The Spark Solution Diet will provide you with an exact meal plan and what workouts you should be doing for the two week program so that you get into the groove of a healthy lifestyle. Once the two weeks are over, you can still certainly follow the community and maintain your new lifestyle, but the diet itself is a 14 day program that will lower your calorie count and get you moving.
During the two weeks on the Spark Solution Diet, you’ll be eating 1,500 calories per day, which will allow you to lose two pounds per week if you are around 200 pounds. Of those 1,500 calories, there will be an average split of 50 percent carbohydrates, 25 percent fats and 25 percent proteins, though the numbers can vary by day. The meals are also smaller and more numerous, with dieters eating up to five times per day.
The snacks are mainly up to you, but the Spark Solution Diet will give you suggestions on what to eat for those snacks. If you are craving a certain item, the suggestions that are called Spark Swaps tell you a healthier alternative that will allow you to satisfy those cravings. While you are eating between 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day with the Spark Solution Diet, you will also be encouraged (a lot) to exercise on most days to establish the habit of hitting the gym.
What’s on the Menu?
Breakfast – Cottage Cheese Pancakes (150 Calories)
Lunch – Rustic Italian Tortellini Soup (252 Calories)
Dinner – Lime Grilled Chicken with Cuban Salsa (374 Calories)
Snacks – Trail Mix (180 Calories), Strawberry Banana Smoothie (120 Calories), Apple (120 Calories)
Daily Total – 1,196 Calories
Breakfast – Cottage Cheese Fruit Bowl (520 Calories)
Lunch – Broiled Tilapia Parmesan with Green Beans (155 Calories)
Dinner – Beef and Bean Chili (300 Calories)
Snacks – Protein Bar (285 Calories)
Daily Total – 1,260 Calories
Breakfast – Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Banana Bread (190 Calories)
Lunch – Peanut Butter Banana Wrap (240 Calories)
Dinner – Clam Chowder (300 Calories)
Snacks – Whole Grain Blueberry Muffin (135 Calories), Chocolate Banana Smoothie (285 Calories)
Daily Total – 1,150 Calories
Breakfast – Apple Pancake Rings (250 Calories)
Lunch – Spicy Taco Soup (268 Calories)
Dinner – Balsamic Grilled Chicken Breast (210 Calories)
Snacks – Apple (120 Calories), Banana (105 Calories), Strawberry Smoothie (100 Calories), Almonds (100 Calories)
Daily Total – 1,153 Calories
Exercising on the Spark Solution Diet
The meal plan takes some of the most popular recipes from the SparkPeople community and are actually pretty low in calories. Even eating all of that is still only getting to the 1,200 calorie range, which is the lowest that’s suggested by professionals if you’re looking to lose weight. It should be enough to keep you full, and you will actually lose weight by eating that amount whether or not you’re exercising.
However, the Spark Solution Diet suggests that you exercise quite a bit, which means you can add some calories to your eating plan as long as it’s healthy and you’re not taking in more than you’re exerting. The book that outlines the diet itself has plenty of chapters on workouts, including which ones you should be doing and for how long.
For those that would rather stay away from the book and keep it online, you can access coaching through the app or website to get moving. Spark suggests that you should be exercising for at least 180 minutes each week while burning a minimum of 720 calories. For the two weeks to start the Spark Solution Diet, then it should be ramped up a bit more so you can feel comfortable with working out.
Remember, you don’t have to overdo it when it comes to exercise. Eating 1,500 calories in one day doesn’t mean that you have to burn 1,500 calories through exercise. This is a common misconception that people have when it comes to fitness and calorie tracking apps like Sparkpeople as you are burning calories even by sitting and sleeping. To see how much you should be burning to still lose weight, you have to calculate your TDEE, which is your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
Not everyone uses the calculator before getting into a workout program and tend to go overboard and burn off more than they eat. For example, a 6’0” man that weighs 200 pounds will be burning roughly 3,180 calories per day just from being moderately active and working out three to five times per week. Always check with your doctor to know how much exercise you should be doing before setting out on a weight loss plan.
Spark Solution Diet Resources and Losing Weight
As long as you are following the Spark Solution Diet throughout the entirety of the program, you should be losing an average of two pounds per week. If you want to take it slower and be able to eat a little more throughout the day, losing one pound per week is certainly possible and definitely a healthy way of dropping weight. It’s also a better long term solution as going into maintenance mode will be much simpler.
When it comes to both losing weight and maintaining it, there aren’t many better options that the Spark Solutions Diet. That’s because Spark has a massive online community that you can use to help track all of your progress, goals, food and exercise. You can also reach out to many of the people that are going through the same peaks and valleys through their weight loss, along with coaches and experts that can guide you through everything.
Outside of the book, the only expenditures for resources come from the premium setting on SparkPeople, which costs $5 per month or $30 for a lifetime membership. Premium gets rid of advertisements on their webpage and apps, a weekly e-mail from coaches, a free book for motivation and more detailed statistics for your weight loss goals.
Summing it Up
With the amount of people that have signed up for the Spark Solution Diet and have found success, it’s pretty hard not to suggest the plan because of the vast amount of resources alone. There also isn’t a lot of cost, but there are some minor downsides to the program. Throughout the first few weeks of the program, you won’t be able to eat out or drink alcohol at all, which can be a big concern for those that live a certain lifestyle.
Perhaps the biggest drawback for the Spark Solution Diet is how difficult it can be to follow. Since everything is laid out for you, you must stick to the plan for the first two weeks to really get rolling. The diet can be adjusted slightly for those with dietary needs, which include diabetes and gluten allergies, but doesn’t get high marks for helping those with diabetes as your options can still be rather limited.
Overall, the Spark Solution Diet is a solid plan that has been found in studies to help people lose more weight on average than those that used diet or exercise alone. When it comes to short term weight loss, you definitely get a leg up on the program. While it doesn’t have the highest marks for long term success, it at least sets you up to be accountable for how much you end up losing after the initial two weeks.