The Spark Diet

By Jim F


The Spark is a book from the Chris Downie, the creator of It details the origins of Sparkpeople, its philosophies, and a 28 day plan for transforming your life.

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:

  • Goal-setting
  • Behavior change
  • Community Support
  • Positive motivation
  • Team building
  • Accessibility
  • World-class technology

The Four Cornerstones of Living a “Sparked” Life

  1. Focus: The ability to set priorities, live a life according to your values, and become clear about your vision and goals.
  2. Fitness: A physical and mental springboard that provides you the energy to reach your goals and trains you to think on your feet.
  3. Fire: The passion that is created by your actions and momentum. When you live with fire, you see possibilities, not problems.
  4. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Lifestyle change: This section serves as kind of a reinforcement of the previous sections relating to motivation and positivity.
  4. 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.

Overall Impression

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.

Filed in Diet Reviews


  1. tiana

    you don’t need a book to tell you how to lose weight Okay.from Tiana

  2. tiana

    you don’t need a book to tell you how to lose weight Okay.from Tiana

  3. Susan

    I don’t know about the book, but the website has been the best thing I’ve ever found (except my husband) – been on it since Jan. 2007!!

  4. DJS-Debbie

    I am also a success story. I have lost over 120 pounds since the end of May and still going strong. This book is all I hoped for and more. It is a great introduction to the program for newcomers and a great complement for current members. I would recommend it to anyone and everyone.

  5. Rhonda Zamora

    I recieved the “Spark” as a Christmas gift. I am loved!!

  6. Leah

    This book is AWESOME!!! Not only am I one of the biggest fans, I am also a success story! I hope others can benefit from the book (which is helping to take my life to the next level) but also get the knowledge, tools, and support on their weight loss journey to be successful and transition into a full blown lifestyle!

    Thank you for the publicity and your help in spreading the spark!