Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Spark Solution - Metabolic Makeover

Today I want to share with you some portions of the third chapter from The Spark Solution. I have already given you a brief description of the Introduction and the first chapter, which can be found by clicking the links, below:

The third chapter of The Spark Solution begins with a story about a woman named Tina, who wanted to feel better about herself. She wanted her clothes to fit better and she wanted more energy. Tina worked hard and never gave up. She met her weight-loss goal and shared that her drive to succeed was no longer about willpower but about resiliency. She knew that even if she slipped up (and she did -- everyone does, to varying degrees), she knew she had multiple chances and strategies to make healthy decisions.

The Spark Solution gives you a solution to reach your weight-loss goals. They preface in this chapter that each day you'll eat three meals and two snacks for a total of about 1,500 calories give or take 50 calories. The daily meal plan would be divided as follows:

Breakfast: 325 calories
Lunch: 375 calories
Dinner: 400 calories
Two Snacks: 100 calories each

The Spark Solution believes that you should be having two servings of dairy per day as part of a meal or as a snack, 100 additional calories each. This provides you with a total of 1,500 calories for each day.

The thinking goes that if you cut calories and lose weight, you can cut even more calories and lose even more weight faster. The reality is different. Cut your calories too much and weight loss sputters and soon grinds to a halt, because you've exhausted your body, putting the brakes on your metabolism and your ability to perform daily activities with vim and vigor. That's why the Spark Solution plan centers on eating 1,500 calories a day. Your total calories should be low enough for weight loss yet high enough to nourish and satiate you. Their plan is designed to create healthy, steady weight loss while giving you the energy to work out and get through your busy day. 

According to the results published in the journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, those who follow a structured eating plan - with predetermined meals and snacks, plus a grocery list -- are more likely to lose weight than those who wing it. The Spark Solution wants you to be as prepared as possible, so they provide some meal plans for the first two weeks.

A new fact that I learned from this chapter is about fiber-filled whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. The Spark Solution says that those foods require the body to "burn hotter" as it digests these foods and converts them into energy, a process called themogenesis. Research published in 2011 in the journal of Food and Nutrition Research found that whole, unprocessed foods actually increase the calories you burn and can boost your metabolism. This means that if you eat unprocessed foods, you'll burn twice as many calories. Apparently, it is well-evidenced that eating fruits and vegetables can protect against a number of diseases and conditions, including heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, cancer, chronic obstruction pulmonary disease, diverticular disease and cataract formation. So what are you waiting for? Grab an apple, already!

As for protein, The Spark Solution says that protein is a triple threat when it comes to weight loss. Not only does it help maintain your muscle mass as you lose body fat, but as you incorporate more exercise into your daily routine, protein will help you build more muscle tissue and recover from your workouts. Plus, protein is your insurance policy against a growling belly and hunger-induced cravings, as reported in the 2004 Journal of Nutrition. That's because, compared with carbs or fat, protein makes you feel fuller longer.

The Spark Solution also says that if you eat too often, your body never learns to deal with reasonable hunger levels. If you go too long between meals, your energy level and blood sugar drop, which leaves your metabolism to suffer. Skipping meals can cause you to overate and burn fewer calories throughout the day.  One of the most common "diet" downfalls is skipping a morning meal, either because you're not hungry (usually in my case) or you want to bank calories for later in the day. Spark Solution says that's a bad idea! Having breakfast within the first two hours after you wake up provides your body and brain with the energy needed to function. Breakfast does just that: it breaks the fast your body endured while you were sleeping and it kick starts your metabolism.

Also, despite decades of diets telling us otherwise, carbs are not the enemy. You need them! They are brain food, afterall. Smart carbs are sweet potatoes, brown rice, beans, and even fruits and veggies, plus whole-grain breads, pasta and tortillas. These smart carbs are ideal fuel for your body and brain, and they provide the key nutrients and fiber to protect against disease and promote a healthy body weight. That's why quinoa or brown rice, for example, are better choices than white rice or a slice of white bread.

There's another kind of carb that helps keep hunger at bar: resistant starch. While commonly classified as fiber, resistant starch is a carb that doesn't digest in the small intestines the way other carbs do. Instead, it moves to the large intestines, where it ferments and is used as fuel for probiotics, the healthy bacteria in your gut that benefit your body. Resistant starch comes in four forms, three of which are naturally derived from foods like legumes, under-ripe bananas, raw potatoes, cooked and cooled potatoes and gain products. Fiber is a dieters best friend. It can't be digested, so it just passes right through you. It adds no calories to your day and it helps prevent constipation, which can be common when losing weight.

As for the sweets, The Spark Solutions knows that if they banned all desserts from the program, most people would throw their book down and quit before they even started. No food is inherently "bad" in their program, so they believes that as long as you're eating sweet treats in the right portions and staying within your calorie range, you can eat dessert daily.

Another quick tip that I learned is that calcium and vitamin D help fight the battle of the bulge. Something that I already knew is that skimping on sleep can seriously impact your weight loss and overall health. The Spark Solution also says that when you're just starting out, less is more. Too much exercise too soon can lead to exhaustion, over-training and even injury!

Finally, they provide some awesome side effects of regular exercise:
  • Your metabolism speeds up, thanks to added muscle
  • Your body adjusts to the stress of exercise and you feel rejuvenated
  • Your immune system improves, helping prevent illness
  • Your strength and endurance improve, making exercise and daily tasks easier
  • Your mood and energy levels stabilize
  • You sleep better at night
  • You look and feel better
  • Your motivation to keep going increases
So, if you're ready to experience any of those benefits, get moving right now. I know that I'm going to be moving today!

More overviews to come as I dig deeper into The Spark Solution!

1 comment:

  1. you are doing such a good job with all of this!