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Stage 1: Fast Break Overview


Mia Hamm warms up before every soccer game. Indy Car drivers take a few laps before every race. Opera singers and cello players practice notes before performances. Mountain climbers start their strenuous journey to the top by simply getting used to the atmosphere for a few days. Every big undertaking starts with a period of small steps and building momentum.

To perform at your highest level, to give weight loss your best shot, doesn’t it make sense to spend some time getting your mind and body up to speed? That’s what the Fast Break does. Stage 1 is your time to warm up.

Think back to other times you’ve tried to diet or get in shape. If you’re like most people, the experience was more like a Saturday night drag race than a Sunday morning cruise in the country. Pushing the pedal to the floor from the start, trying to change everything at once, you soon ran out of gas and out of speed. Maybe you even blew an “engine” and injured some parts. The whole thing was over before you knew it, and you ended up dragging yourself back to the starting line for another run.

You’ll get a lot further by watching your gauges and only pushing yourself as fast as you can handle it. At the beginning of your diet, you don’t have to go zooming forward. Building speed takes time. Try to engage too quickly and you’ll strip your gears and burn out. This page explains the Fast Break and how it can help you get off to a fast start without burning out.


Role of the Fast Break


The Fast Break Stage is a springboard that gives more power to the other three SparkDiet Stages. Just a little prep and practice give you a head start without the need for manic, life-altering changes. This Stage has three main purposes:
  • Create momentum before tackling “heavier” dieting Stages.
  • Build confidence and the knowledge that you can “make this dieting thing work.”
  • Allow you to get used to your dieting and website surroundings without pressure.


What you can Expect


Most diet programs simply tell you what to eat. Meanwhile, most exercise programs narrowly zoom in on butts, thighs, arms, abs, or building muscles. For a $40 billion industry, weight loss programs are surprisingly horrible at giving you the whole picture. In fact, hardly anyone even mentions how to overcome the most common dieting roadblock – lack of motivation.

As important as wheat germ and easy equipment storage are, they won’t do you any good if you can’t stick with the program. For a strong diet program, the SparkDiet helps you weave nutrition, fitness, and motivation together. These are the building blocks that make up a healthy lifestyle and are vital to your success.

To start working on these building blocks right away, the Fast Break hits on two major themes. First, during program setup, you chose three Fast Break Goals, one each in nutrition, fitness, and motivation. These goals are small enough to focus on and stay consistent with for a couple of weeks, but are still effective enough to impact weight loss. Meeting and tracking these goals, every day if possible, builds the habit of success. The more consistent you are during this early Stage, the more consistent you’ll stay as your goals grow larger.

Second, over the next two weeks, you’ll be introduced to six Fast Break Strategies. They will help you master Fast Break Goals now, and also set you up for success in future Stages. A strong start is important, but sustainable momentum is even more vital to achievement. In fact, without these six Strategies, reaching your weight loss goals will be tougher than it needs to be. If more people paid attention to these principles, the dieting failure rate would be a lot lower than its current 95%. You’ll see more about them on your MySpark Page and through e-mail.

Just like the Fast Break Goals, the six Strategies simply ask for small changes that have huge potential. Learning to incorporate them into your life will save time, frustration, and failure.


6 Fast Break Strategies


Do You Know What You Are Eating?
Do You Know What You Are Eating? Do You Know What You Are Eating?
Before you go much further, itís a good idea to start tracking and planning to learn exactly what youíre putting in your body.

Finding The Time
Finding The Time Finding The Time
Your permanent lifestyle change will happen in bits and pieces. Itís important to know how to fit these new habits into a realistic day.

Setting Up Shop
Setting Up Shop Setting Up Shop
Want to dramatically increase your chances of losing weight? From your kitchen to your closet, here are some ways to start smart.

Site Tips & Tricks
Site Tips & Tricks Site Tips & Tricks
SparkPeople.com is packed full of tools and resources that help keep you consistent and motivated. Learn how to use the site to the fullest advantage.

Keeping Goals Top Of Mind
Keeping Goals Top Of Mind Keeping Goals Top Of Mind
Seeing your goals anywhere and everywhere will build momentum for weeks to come. The more you see it, the more youíll do it.

Which Diet Strategies Will Work For You?
Which Diet Strategies Will Work For You? Which Diet Strategies Will Work For You?
A one-size-fits-all diet is destined to fail. Hereís how to develop a tailored program thatís as unique as your personality.



Common Sense Behind the Fast Break


When starting a new diet, it’s tempting to burst out of the gate at full speed like Secretariat. But, as you well know, sprints leave you breathless and tired. Focus and preparation are everything at the beginning of any goal achievement journey (especially dieting). These skills take time and concentration to be effective.

In this Stage, you’re encouraged to adopt just three small Fast Break Goals for a reason – so you can stay focused. There’s an old saying that “he who chases two rabbits catches neither.” In other words, by going after too many goals at once, you’d probably end up doing all of them poorly, or not at all.

In a recent poll, we found that 67% of dieters start to lose momentum within just a couple of weeks or less. The first two weeks of a diet are so critical that the goal for now is success – any success – no matter how big or how small. Having one small goal each in nutrition, fitness, and motivation lets you focus enough to really do well.

Two weeks is also a good time frame for focusing; any longer and attention may wander. At the same time, two weeks are long enough to help you get settled in and feel comfortable with your new goals and the site before picking up speed. It gives you a chance to learn before you need the knowledge. Take advantage of this prep time.

At the start of the Fast Break Stage, you created calorie and nutritional goals, based on weight, time frame and activity levels. Meeting these goals will make or break your weight loss success. So why, during this Stage, do we encourage you not to worry too much about meeting those goals every day? Why do we just ask you to learn how to use the meal planner and nutrition tracker to keep tabs on your current eating habits?

Again, it all comes back to starting small and practicing. Before you can fix the problem, it’s smart to know how bad the problem is. That means learning how to track this info every day without worrying about results. Simply being aware of what you’re eating is a huge step, and will likely lead to changed eating habits anyway. There will be plenty of time to meet your daily calorie goals in Stage 2: Healthy Diet Habits. Once you have a handle on what’s on your plate, you can concentrate on fixing it.


How to Approach the Fast Break


This can be an exciting, hopeful time. You may not be sure what to expect from your SparkDiet and you definitely don’t know what the future holds. One thing for certain is that you’re determined to make it happen and make it stick. This time will be different, you’ve decided. You will lose the weight and keep it off!

That’s fantastic, positive energy! The best thing you can do for yourself right now is to build on that excitement. Take that determination and turn it into success and momentum that will last for weeks and months.

How do you do that? By easing into it and setting yourself up for success. By practicing your program and organizing your life. By being patient and not risking disappointment with sky-high expectations. Most of all, by enjoying yourself! A struggle is not enjoyable. Neither are needless pressure or hasty discouragement. You wouldn’t purposefully create these troubles if you could help it. Through the Fast Break, you can avoid them altogether.

You’re doing something great for yourself. Do everything you can to keep your outlook positive and your momentum pushing forward.


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