Sparkpeople is nothing less than a phenomenon. Many years ago I communicated with Chris Downie, when SparkPeople was in its infancy. He had set some big goals, and I’m sure he has now far surpassed them.After making a gazillion dollars selling his company to eBay, Chris Downie immediately put his vision of SparkPeople into motion, which is the result of what 4 million people a month see today. The Spark is based on some strong foundational premises, including:
- Behavior change
- Community Support
- Positive motivation
- Team building
- World-class technology
The Four Cornerstones of Living a “Sparked” Life
- Focus: The ability to set priorities, live a life according to your values, and become clear about your vision and goals.
- Fitness: A physical and mental springboard that provides you the energy to reach your goals and trains you to think on your feet.
- Fire: The passion that is created by your actions and momentum. When you live with fire, you see possibilities, not problems.
- Positive force: This is what happens when you share your energy and success with others. The more you give, the more you get in return
Downie goes into detail about the cornerstones, and gives some very striking examples of how to put these cornerstones into action. He intersperses some very powerful testimonies of people who have put these principles into action.
The SparkPeople Plan
- Fast break: Essentially re-emphasizing and expanding on goal-setting. This part gives some very good examples of the how’s and why’s behind setting attainable goals. It’s as good an overview as I’ve seen on the topic.
- Healthy diet habits: This is where things may get controversial. The SparkPeople way of eating is based on conventional USDA/National Academy of Sciences recommendations. The dietetic staff of SparkPeople may be a little behind on nutritional science here. Nevertheless, there are some sensible eating tips in there on how to incorporate healthy foods into the diet and caloric needs.
- Lifestyle change: This section serves as kind of a reinforcement of the previous sections relating to motivation and positivity.
- Spread the Spark: This part is about how to maintain a loss, pay it forward and encourage others.
The book is rounded out by “10 minute workouts”, some recipes, sample meal plans, calorie charts, and a “secrets of success” section based on some of the more successful SparkPeople adherents.
SparkPeople is something of a game changer in the online health community. This book certainly bottles up the main principles on which SparkPeople’s success is based.
In my opinion, SparkPeople excels in its concept of community, its emphasis on lifestyle and positive thinking and mindset change. It shows that even if dietary principles aren’t up to scientific speed – adherence and consistency are the most important components to any program. This is exemplified in the many testimonials of SparkPeople followers.