The Spark: The 28-Day Breakthrough Plan for Losing Weight, Getting Fit, and Transforming Your Life

The Spark: The 28-Day Breakthrough Plan for Losing Weight, Getting Fit, and Transforming Your Life

by Chris Downie


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From the experts who created, America’s #1 diet and fitness site, comes The Spark. This groundbreaking book outlines the best of what has worked for millions of members who have lost weight, kept it off, and reached other goals. Driven by positive energy and proven results, The Spark outlines a breakthrough formula that combines nutrition, exercise, goal setting, motivation, and community, which has helped people change their lives beyond the scale. • Discover the 27 Secrets of Success—the best action steps, foods, and proven medical advice that have helped tens of thousands of members lose from 2 to 200 pounds. • Special tips from people who lost 100 pounds or more—see what these people had in common and what they did and didn’t do to make huge transformations in their lives. • A step-by-step 28-day program that brings together the most effective, medically accepted nutrition and fitness practices from SparkPeople experts in an easy-to-follow plan, including flexible mix-and-match meal plans, fully illustrated workout programs, full-color before-and-after success stories, and more! • New to this edition! Breakthrough survey results have been used to create a Strong Start Guide to help you jumpstart your weight-loss efforts. Based on what tens of thousands of successful SparkPeople members did to lose weight and change their lives, this guide tells you what to do in the first two weeks to make you five times more likely to reach your ultimate weight-loss goal! Whether you want to fit into your "skinny jeans," improve your health and fitness levels, change your outlook and mood, or reach all new goals, The Spark can help you transform your body and your life. What are you waiting for? Spark your life today!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401926465
Publisher: Hay House Inc.
Publication date: 01/01/2011
Pages: 328
Product dimensions: 6.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Commonly known as "SparkGuy," Chris Downie is the founder and CEO of, the largest healthy lifestyle community online. Chris and his team have led SparkPeople to become the most active diet and fitness website in the U.S. according to comScore, garnering the attention of media outlets including The New York Times, ABC News, FOX TV, The Today Show, and many more. As SparkPeople’s resident motivation expert, Chris corresponds directly with members everyday. He has written over 10,000 personal messages offering encouragement and congratulations. With more than five million members, SparkPeople and its associated websites (,, and gain nearly 175,000 new members each month.

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The Spark: The 28-Day Breakthrough Plan for Losing Weight, Getting Fit, and Transforming Your Life 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 292 reviews.
Echo741 More than 1 year ago
This is a great book for anyone who is needing to lose weight. It has a lot of information on how to start and how to maintain once the reader has reached their goals. I, myself, have been using the same techniques for the past 2 years and have lost 150 pounds, and have been able to keep it off. The associated website is a wonderful forum for gaining help and support, and it's free! I highly recommend those that need to lose weight, to both read the book and join the website.
K9Claudia More than 1 year ago
In response to this part a comment I read: "What do I need to eat dude? I need a plan that tellS me what to eat daily to shed my weight without going hungry, not to tell me to go on line. Do not lose your money." Obviously this critic is an irresponsible person who does not want to accept accountability for himself or his actions. That way, when he fails, and he will, he can point his judgmental little finger at you and say, 'you're wrong, it didn't work.' When you set-up a profile on SparkPeople, you give them some info on yourself, and they will give you YOUR recommended daily calorie range, which is broken down into calories, carbs, fats, and proteins, and anything else to want to track. It is up to you to track what you eat. This IS NOT A DIET!!! It is a tool to help you to learn to eat and live healthy. You are also encouraged to exercise at least three times a week; I mean, come on, who cannot find 10 minutes out of their day, no matter how busy they are, for exercise?! I have been a member of SparkPeople since June 2009. I am in the US Air Force, 54 years old, and I have passed my annual Fit test with an Excellent score, thanks to the help of the SparkPeople website and members there who have given me encouragement. I FAILED my first test in Sept 09, then came back 8 weeks later, to score an EXCELLENT. All I was doing was eating healthy, which included tracking my food (so I knew EXACTLY WHAT I was eating), and moderate exercise; walking the dogs 1.5 miles each day. I only RAN about once every 7-10 days. I have since stopped tracking my foods, because it is now a HABIT for me to know WHAT I am eating, and I am working out intensely each day, including running 1-2 times a week. Baby steps, persistence, and accountability is what it will take to reach your goal. You cannot, and should not, expect someone else to do your work for you. If you want someone to tell you what to eat to lose weight, email me, I'll glady set-up a program for you and monitor your progress; but you should expect a bill for that service! Nothing in life is free; you must either WORK or pay for things! SparkPeople gives you the tools to make healthy living a habit. Ultimately, it's up to you, your RESPONSIBILITY to make it work! Oh, and by the way, the SparkPeople website is completely FREE of charge. So the only $$ you may have spent, is to purchase "The Spark" book. Check out the website and give it a try!
Cassioepia More than 1 year ago
"The Spark" by Chris Downie truly is a road map to transform your life, from the inside out. The book shows us how to start small, and take ownership of achieving "FastBreak" goals. These things make this a program that anyone can fit to their own lives. It doesn't matter how hectic your work schedule is, or how many activities your children are in -- there are always ways to incorporate small changes into your own daily life. By making these small changes and celebrating the successful achievement of them, we are encouraged and motivated to continue along the path towards a healthier life. Everything is related, and success builds upon success. This program has changed my life, and has given me the power to know that I can do anything - by first starting with a goal and some small steps toward that goal. "The Spark" has been transforming my life, in many more ways than nutrition and exercise. I am setting goals in all areas of life now, and taking the steps I need to move forward to achieving them.
teachermrsleader More than 1 year ago
Let's be very clear here. The Spark as well as the online support and tracking functions available on are NOT a diet. If you are looking to drop 10 pounds in one week while still scarfing your greasy fast food lunch and extra-large caramel macchiato every day, please feel free to read one of the thousands of quick-fix diet books which promise a nearly-overnight transformation. When those gimmicks inevitably let you down in the long term and you're right back to the unhealthy weight where you started, come back to The Spark. Reputable physicians and nutritionists have been telling us for decades that there is no mysterious secret to weight loss, no magical food or chemical that will make pounds vanish overnight and stay away forever. Permanent weight loss and the acquisition of a healthy lifestyle requires more than eating less. Those with the best permanent success with weight loss can thank five things: 1. Healthy eating, 2. Regular exercise, 3. Tracking food eaten & exercise completed, 4. Reading motivational articles, books & messages from other people who are working on their health, 5. Support and encouragement from close friends & family. If you are willing to undertake such a comprehensive life change, you will find wonderful long-term success with The Spark. I should know-- I've lost 40 pounds in the last 9 months, and I know it will last because the new habits I've formed are NOT a quick-fix gimmick!
MaryJonesokcity More than 1 year ago
I got this book after much anticipation. It is pretty much the same information with nothing new; eating right, living a healthy lifestyle and tons of boring stories. I highly recommend another book that I just got "The Perfect 10 Diet".
Livetobrowse More than 1 year ago
I was blown away by this book. I thought "inspiring weight loss book" was a contradiction in terms. I was not a SparkPeople member when I read this (I have joined) and I found it incredibly inspiring, fresh and different. ALL the other major weight loss books this season seem to be just about what to eat. The world doesn't need another diet book. All these "Lose 10 pounds in 14 days - effortlessly!" are full of bull, either a recipe for failure or yo yo dieting. I know from painful experience. The Spark has great and sensible food information but it reminded me that dieting isn't just about knowing what to eat. It's about keeping motivation high to stick to it, getting fit and getting encouragement from other people, which the community aspect of SparkPeople seems to do, among other things. The Spark and Sparkpeople have all of these things. SparkPeople is a whole system (and a simple one at that) that helps you with your mindset as well as what to eat. It has certainly altered my mindset, inspired me, and taught me what I need to know. It also got me thinking about other goals in my life, and says that the success of losing weight can be a real springboard for reaching other goals. The success stories of members in this book and what they've accomplished beyond drastic weight loss are mind-boggling. I won't spoil them for you. Bottom line: This book lives up to its name. It has sparked a fire in me that I know won't be extinguished. Don't walk; run to the bookstore on this one.
Dacius More than 1 year ago
I have followed Sparkpeople and it's book The Spark for 6 months. I went from 343lbs to 241 (at the moment). I am not on a diet. I am not on a 90 day plan. I have a new life. This book and website will change your life. Read the book. Take it's small lessons to heart and I can assure you, your life will improve. Whether you are 450lbs to 150lbs to 105lbs. This book can help you look at your life and how you can live a healthy life with small baby steps. This book is like an avalanche of knowledge. You start small with a single snow flake and the flood of knowledge you end with is immeasurable. Chris Downie is a world changer. Their is no way I can thank him enough for changing my life and giving me tools I never knew I had. I am stronger, healthier person today. A better more positve person because I took the 4 cornerstones of healthy living and used them in every facet of my life. My wife says I am a new man. My boss says I am a younger person than I was 6 months ago. BUY THE BOOK!!! Join the website. Come see how anyone can do this.
mjrow2004 More than 1 year ago
This book and the corresponding website has been a saving grace for my figure and self-esteem. I have recommended this book several times to many people for various reasons. This book is more than a weight loss tool. Any obstacle that you are facing can be overcome with the tools outlined in the book. It is all about setting small measurable goals and reaping the rewards of success over and over again!
Amberglows More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be encouraging, insightful and a partner in making my lifestyle changes. It opened my eyes to things I already knew but didn't know how to implement.
Kokoaponi More than 1 year ago
I bought the book for its 28 day program; however, The Spark is more than I imagined. It motivates and inspires readers not only in losing weight but in your personal life. One of the best investments in a book I ever made.
deej4fitness More than 1 year ago
I can't say enough about The Spark, a book I highly recommend to anyone wanting to live a healthier life. As a (nearly 4 year) member of the Sparkpeople site and a self-confessed fitness fanatic, I have reaped the multiple benefits of following the principles outlined in The Spark and can attest to the positive results anyone can achieve who puts into place the practical and "doable" steps laid out in the book and on the Sparkpeople website. The Spark not only addresses the need for physical, emotional, and mental health, but provides many "AHA" moments for the reader to grasp and a step by step plan on how to become a more balanced person where weight loss and good health becomes the side effect of making all around healthier choices in EVERY area of life! I've been challenged to not only set up goals for myself, but to examine whether my life philosophy and the daily choices I make align with those goals. That's very cool and was incredibly huge for this "thought she knew it all" fanatic to grasp. Last but definitely not least, I cannot provide a review of the book without testifying to the incredible benefit of COMMUNITY that the book recommends and the website offers. People need people, point/blank/period! I believe this, above all, sets Sparkpeople apart. For anyone, like myself, having experienced the pitfalls of yo-yo dieting and temporary fixes only to feel disappointed and defeated when the weight comes back, the Spark is like a roadmap to permanent lifestyle change and following the plan laid out in this book can make the process an adventure!
MzSPB1 More than 1 year ago
The Spark book is applicable to the average person's life, and applicable to the very aspects of the working and business classes. It provides a platform for any individual to catapult from and succeed in his or her on fashion; in his or her own time. The Spark book emphasizes individuality and acceptance of failures, but not wallowing in self-pity. Own the mistake or error, and move on. It happens, but don't let things manifest within. The Spark book is motivating and self-propelling. I am glad I read it and bought it. I will share it with my daughter, later. Play it forward! MzSPB1
Pumpkinface73 More than 1 year ago
I have been a member of Spark for almost two years. The Spark book is a great aid and companion to the on-line site, in the time I have been on Spark I have lost over 100 pounds and have been maintaining my loss for over a year now. I recieved an early copy of the book last month and I can't say enough about it. It is easy to follow & packed with so much useful information. Spark has changed my life in so many ways and I am so excited for this book to be released so it can reach so many more people.
Mick37 More than 1 year ago
I've read that the book has a 28 day plan, which is a great amount of time to make changes, not too long, not too short. I love the SparkPeople philosophy, so I am sure it will be inspirational.
tat2edcare_bear More than 1 year ago
This is motivational book that is life changing. I use it daily to keep me on track.
Anne52 More than 1 year ago
My girlfriend introduced me to the website "". I played with it for a few months, then this book came out by the founder, Chris Downie. It's about weight loss, but more than that, a lifestyle change that is easy (baby steps) and rewarding. It's about goal-setting, eating right, being healthy, but more than that. It's the most positive influence you could ask for. This book breaks down life and weight loss. and the maintenance that goes with it, into small steps that can be done by ANYONE. We will never be able to lose the weight like they do on Biggest Loser (TV), but that's so unrealistic. This is real, slow, steady, healthy weight loss. But losing weight leads to other things in life: goals for things you want to accomplish in other areas of your life. Inspirational and motivational - especially with the website to use in tandem with the book. Wonderful. Everyone should read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book from the SparkPeople website folks ostensibly pushes a 28 day weight loss plan but actually deals with lifelong lifestyle changes which improve all aspects of life. Weight loss is almost side effect. I found the book inspiring, inspirational, motivating, and--no hyperbole here--life-changing. Check it out if you want to end yo-yo dieting.
NHStitcher More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book. It is THE BEST book for helping get to a healthy lifestyle. Chris is truly an inspiration. is a GREAT site to go along with the book.
SeanM More than 1 year ago
After being on more than I care to remember I've finally realized that diets don't work. And after reading The Spark I've realized why, and what was always missing. This book "spoke to me" like no other book of this type ever has. It revealed in an understandable way, just how and why I can make permanent healthy changes to my life, and actually enjoy doing it! It has already put me on a new path that doesn't feel like fact it feels like quite the opposite. I'm already losing weight, sleeping better and actually looking forward to exercise. It's crazy...and it is great! Get this book and devour it!
jcorycma More than 1 year ago
A chronic yo-yo dieter, I have owned every popular diet book ever published! Finally, I found and learned how to break that cycle of losing and gaining, losing and gaining once and for all! I've been at my goal weight, after a weight loss of 70 pounds, for four years now and attribute my success at maintaing my weight loss to the life changing strategies outlined in this book. The focus isn't on what we shouldn't do but rather positive steps we can take to conquer obstacles such as emotional eating, lack of motivation, and difficulty exercising. It covers goal setting, nutrition, physical activity, and motivation. The free website uses a social networking framework similar to My Space and Facebook to provide a community of "Sparkers" who inspire and motivate each other through teams based on personal interests, opportunities to blog and journal both publicly and privately, make friends literally all over the world, and challenges and rewards that make success fun! I would encourage you to read the book as well as joining the website. Personally, I went from an overweight 49 year old "couch potato" to a healthy 53 year old woman who now runs and completed a 5K race this year! If I can accomplish this using the Spark formula -- anyone can!!
MarathonMom26_2 More than 1 year ago
The Spark is an easy-to-read, easy to follow comprehensive 28 day plan to change your life and your weight. Not a specific diet, The Spark is a guide to living life better! Incorporating tools and techniques to help you change your life, the benefits of reading and following the plan in this book are far more than weight loss alone. I have been using, the free online community for weight loss and healthy living, for one year. In this time, I have lost 25 pounds, run 7 half marathons and 1 full marathon and have found my life to be richer, happier and better lived than ever before! The Spark is the perfect companion to the website but it also stands alone. If you never buy another diet or self-help book again, buy this one - it will be the last one you'll ever need!
Travelnista More than 1 year ago
The book is amazing and is an excellent addition to anyone's personal library of diet and/or health related books. I have only been following Spark for a short time. I never made a better decision in my entire life. The Spark gave me back my life. I started at the end of May but did not get serious until the middle of June. In Spetember I had my bloodwork done for my Type II Diabetes. My, A1C ( blood sugars ) improved 2% going from an 8.1 to a 6.1 in 3 short months. My Doctor feels I may be off all of my medicines shortly. I attribute all of this to Spark. I have had my "lightbulb" moment so to speak because of Spark. I know realize that we can not be on a diet to become healthy. We must change our entire lifestyle. I am a work in progress and am continuing to get healthier and stronger everyday. The Spark is so much more than a Diet Book. It shows you how to improve the quality of your life on many levels and not just diet. There is no magic cure but if you are looking for a magic bullet to get you on the right track, please buy the book. I am a much happier, healthier, stronger person because of The Spark and the online Community. The Spark is the best present you can give to yourself and/or a loved one.
Godsemma More than 1 year ago
This is a great resource book to keep on hand. Not only is Chris quite knowledgeable his subjects are vivacious, lively and encourage you to do something "good" for you. KUDOS!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Frankly I've always been a bit confused by the Spark web site -- but this book brought the concept home like the web site never has for me. This life style plan is great and seems to be easy to follow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is essential to anyone trying to change their lives. It is not just about weight loss, but about changing your whole attitude towards your life.