Welcome to the Biggest Loser - Turlock's 12 Week Weight Loss Challenge.

Biggest Loser Turlock begins a new 12-Week Individuals Challenge on January 7, 2014! You’re making a commitment to lose weight, and we’re looking forward to supporting you along the way. Check in on our blog often for weekly results, mini - challenges, and tips to help you stay on track and lead a healthy lifestyle!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Soup on a Cold, Rainy (or foggy) Day

In general, soup ought to be a wonderful way to improve your nutrition, but many soups are high in fat and calories, and very high in sodium. While there are some good alternatives at the grocery store, you can make flavorful, healthy soups at home, without all the additives of the store-bought variety. Here are six delicious low-fat, low-calorie soups to get you started.

Add body to low-fat soups by using potato and some low-fat or nonfat milk, then purée the soup in a blender. This low-fat broccoli soup makes a delicious and satisfying lunch.

Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes


•2 tsp olive oil
•1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (about 3/4 cup)
•1 stalk celery, finely chopped
•1 medium Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cubed
•4 cups fresh broccoli, including stems, chopped
•2 cups low-sodium, fat-free chicken or vegetable broth
•1 1/2 cups nonfat milk

Heat oil on medium heat in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Gently sauté onion and celery for 3-4 minutes, until onion is softened. Add potato and chopped broccoli, followed by the broth and milk. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until vegetables are tender.

Allow soup to cool slightly, then transfer to a blender in 2-3 batches, and blend until smooth. Return soup to pot and heat gently until ready to serve.

Serves 6.

Per Serving: Calories 88, Calories from Fat 16. Total Fat 1.8g (sat 0.3g), Cholesterol 1mg, Sodium 83mg, Carbohydrate 13g, Fiber 3.1g, Protein 4.9g

For the other 5 recipes CLICK HERE

By Fiona Haynes, About.com Guide

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Choose Your Exercise Regime

Any exercise that gets your large muscle groups moving, like walking, running or biking, is excellent for managing your weight. These so-called aerobic exercises get your heart and lungs going, so they’re tops in burning calories and building your stamina.

We recommend walking as your main form of programmed exercise. Why? There’s no other exercise routine that’s quite as simple and accommodating to any lifestyle. In fact, it’s already part of your lifestyle. You already know how to do it, and you don’t have to buy any special equipment other than a pair of comfortable, supportive walking shoes. You can walk alone or with others, at any time of day, indoors or out. Mile for mile, it burns almost as many calories as running does, with less stress on your joints. How long you go is more important than how far you go.

Other good choices for aerobic exercise are jumping rope, cross-country skiing or using rowing machines or elliptical trainers. You might also choose organized activities, such as an aerobics or dance class. Just be sure you can attend them regularly, and that you’re moving continuously throughout your session.

Join the Team. (Again.)
Team sports like soccer, baseball and tennis are a terrific way to make a regular commitment to being active. Moreover, they make fitness fun and social, which just might be the incentive you need to get started. You’re also more motivated to show up when you know a team, or a partner, is waiting for you.

Don’t worry if you haven’t been on a team since high school; chances are, there’s a recreational league that welcomes participants at all levels. For information, check out your neighborhood recreation center or continuing education program, or the YMCA. Have fun!

Tick, Tick, Tick: The Power of the Pedometer
Need a little push to get you started moving regularly? Consider investing in a pedometer or step counter. This little wearable device tracks the number of steps you take daily—every single step, including walking down the hall to the bathroom and going to the mailbox. It can be powerfully motivating to see how many steps you’ve taken by the end of the day, and how easy it is to add a few more.

While most of us can easily fit in an additional thousand daily steps without having to become serious walkers, most step-counting advocates suggest aiming much higher. A good starting goal is about 2,000 daily steps—that adds up to about one mile. Work up gradually, increasing your steps by about 500 per week, until you’ve reached what many consider the ideal goal of 10,000 steps daily, the equivalent of five miles.

A good pedometer doesn’t have to be expensive; a reliable model will cost about $20 to $30. (Not long ago, a major fast-food chain was even giving them out for free with a “healthy” meal combo!) For the motivation it delivers, it’s well worth the investment.

Strength Training
While aerobic activities are most effective for calorie burning, another kind is also important for building fitness: strength training, or resistance training. This type of exercise involves using your muscles to push or pull weight by lifting weights, working out on weight machines or using resistance bands or stability balls. Resistance exercises like pushups and abdominal crunches also qualify, because the weight you’re pushing and pulling against is your own.

Strength training helps strengthen bones and muscles and improves your body’s sense of balance. It also revs up your metabolism; muscle tissue burns calories, so the more you have, the more calories you’ll burn. And, as you’re losing weight, strength training helps preserve some muscle tissue that might otherwise be lost along with the fat.

One of the best reasons to add strength training to your exercise routine, though, is that it produces satisfying results fairly quickly. No matter how old or sedentary you are, you’ll soon notice that everyday tasks, like lifting groceries, are easier to do. This can give your weight-loss plan a motivating kick start.

You don’t have to be a pumped-up bodybuilder or gym rat to benefit from strength training: as little as 15 minutes a day, two or three days a week, is usually enough to produce noticeable fitness gains. It doesn’t take a large investment in equipment—just a pair of inexpensive hand weights can be used for a wide range of strength-building exercises. (Instructional guides are available at bookstores and online.) To get started on a strength-training program, you may want to ask your doctor for a recommendation or check your local YMCA, neighborhood recreation center or health club. If you’re trying it for the first time, it’s worth investing in a few sessions with an exercise trainer; those that are certified as athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches or personal trainers are your best bet.

In case you need more convincing…
If losing weight, having more energy and looking and feeling great aren’t incentive enough to get you moving more, just think about how happy it will make your doctor. There are literally dozens of medical reasons why exercise is probably one of the most important things you can do for your health. Studies show that regular physical activity can:

•Keep your heart healthy by strengthening your heart muscle and making it more efficient, lowering blood pressure and boosting your levels of heart-friendly HDLs (high-density lipoproteins).

•Help reduce risks of some types of chronic diseases, including breast cancer and some aggressive forms of prostate cancer. If you have diabetes or are “borderline,” regular exercise can improve your blood-sugar control. Got arthritis? Strength training and aerobic exercise might help boost flexibility and strength.

•Keep your brain sharp. Regular exercise helps improve blood flow to the brain, and regular exercisers tend to do better in maintaining cognitive ability as they age.

•Help you live longer. A recent report from the long-term Framingham Heart Study—which has been gathering health data from more than 5,000 people for almost six decades—found that those participants who had moderate or high levels of activity lived 1.3 or 3.7 years longer, respectively, than those who were mostly sedentary.

By Dr. Jean Harvey-Berino, Ph.D., R.D., The EatingWell Diet (2007)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Free Morning Workouts...

What are YOU doing tomorrow morning (Wednesday) at 5:30am-6:40am? Join us in the gymnasuim at Monte Vista Chapel for THIS workout! It's FREE and it's killer!

4 Keys To A Smart Nutrition Plan

Think of the word "diet," and what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Visions of joyless eating, piles of pale lettuce, bored taste buds, more pale lettuce, meals that would starve a mouse, and mounds of food labeled "Off Limits" and locked away, never to be tasted again. Oh, and lettuce. In other words:


Boooring! Deprivation diets, fad diets and taboo-food diets send the wrong message. Your body is not an enemy that needs to be beaten and starved into submission. Building healthy habits can – and should – be fun! This is a positive thing you’re doing, making yourself healthy and happy at the same time.

Food was created for a reason. Each food has specific benefits and potential drawbacks. Even chocolate, in certain forms, is said to protect against high blood pressure and heart disease. On the other hand, if you eat nothing but grapefruits, you'll be loading up on certain vitamins, but missing out on a lot of other very important nutrients. The key is balance. Too much of anything can hurt. But not enough of everything can hurt even more.

How far do you think your car would go on watered down gas or without any oil? About 20 miles, probably. You’re no different. Deprive your body of what it needs and it’ll break down. The secret is to be conscious of the grades of "oil" and "gas" that you use. Some are more powerful than others, and help you run longer on less fuel.

To fuel your body for optimal performance while losing weight, SparkPeople strongly suggests 4 strategies to use when starting a weight loss program:

Control your food portions. Who really needs "Biggie" anything? Use our easy guide to portion control.

Make smart substitutions. Why not try mustard (11 calories) instead of mayonnaise (99 calories) on that deli sandwich? Who knows, you might even like it better. Compare calories in your favorite foods using this handy chart, and learn more ways to cut calories without deprivation.

Focus on "power foods. High protein, high fiber, healthy fats and good carbs give you the most punch for your lunch. Here are over 100 foods that fit the bill.

Watch your eating habits. Mindless munching, emotional binging, and twice-a-day trough feedings are sneaky habits that steal momentum and leave pounds. Overcome emotional eating with our 10-step action plan.

-- By Mike Kramer, SparkPeople Staff Writer

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

10 Tips for Eating Out on a Diet

Eating out on a diet doesn't have to be cause for panic. Sure, you hear about oversize restaurant portions and the plethora of fattening menu choices available all the time, but that doesn't mean dining out will doom your dieting efforts! Just use these 10 simple tips for eating out on a diet:

1.Cram for tonight's dinner. Many eateries post their entire menu online so you can print it out for reference. If you often eat at "mom and pop" type restaurants that aren't online, call and ask for the menu to be faxed to you, or pick up a takeout menu on your next visit. Highlight the healthiest options for each menu and store them all in a central location. Then, when you are planning your next night out, take the time to decide on your dishes at home before you've been tempted by the sight of other choices.

2.Order your main dish from the appetizer menu. Not only are appetizers more reasonably-portioned, they will save you some money as well. (This is a great way to save enough calories and cash to split dessert with someone!) Too peckish to be satisfied with just a starter? Order a side salad, too -- the fiber-rich veggies will round out your meal. Soup is super-filling, so it's an awesome appetizer add-on, too (just steer clear of cream-based ones).

3.Beware these high-fat menu buzz words: Cream sauce, butter, oil, au gratin, breaded, Alfredo, battered or batter-dipped, "with gravy," or smothered. Unless you've spared yourself treats for several days and snacked on salad greens all day, these little "extras" aren't worth the extra calories.

4.Modify the menu. In my neck of the woods, anything and everything can be batter-dipped and fried, so I make special requests all the time. Many restaurants will take your dietary needs into account so you'll be a happy customer and return. Don't hesitate to request anything on the menu to be prepared in a more diet-friendly and for sauces or dressings to be served on the side. It's not likely that you will be denied.

5.The meat is on. As tempting as that bucket of fried chicken looked on the commercial before you left home, order poultry steamed, poached, roasted, broiled, boiled, grilled or baked. Ask for skinless chicken whenever possible or remove it yourself. If you do treat yourself to fried chicken, choose white meat as it has fewer calories than dark. Of course, chicken, chicken and more chicken gets old after a while, so if you're asking, "Where's the beef?" allow yourself red meat a few times a week -- just be sure to choose leaner cuts of meat like loin or flank.

6.Keep tabs on that tubini.
Endless pasta at your favorite Italian restaurant may be carb-lovers' heaven (Darn near nirvana for yours truly!), but it's a waist-widening trap for those of us who tend to overeat (How are you supposed to know when to say "when" if they keep bringing more?). As tempting as the great "value" for your money that infinitely-refilling pasta bowl seems, it's certainly not a bargain for your calorie budget. Order a portion-controlled main dish instead. "Ixnay" on the endless breadsticks, too!

7."Wrap it up, I'll take it!" You know you're at a nice restaurant when the server takes your plate away and wraps up your leftover food for you at the end of the meal. (And if you're in a really nice restaurant, you'll get the eating out equivalent of a balloon animal -- the tin foil swan!) To ensure you don't leave sans swan, keep temptation at bay and ask the server to wrap up half of your as soon as it is served.

8.Take control of takeout. You don't have to swear off takeout when you're dieting -- there are many healthy options at ethnic restaurants. Portion control is key, though: Take out half of your takeout before dishing up your dinner, put the food in microwave containers and tuck it away in the fridge before you even start eating. (Instant will power and instant next-day lunch!)

9.Banish buffets. Portion control can become a foreign concept for even the most determined dieter at an all-you-can-eat buffet. (Who can practice moderation when there are new, clean plates just beckoning to be filled?) The sheer variety of foods available at buffets is also daunting -- studies have shown that when we're given more choices, we tend to eat more without realizing it. Simply avoid buffet restaurants and you won't have to face this temptation.

10.Mini meals are a must. It's smart to eat smaller meals during the day when you're planning to dine out. Just don't eat too sparingly, though -- you don't want to be so famished by the evening that you overeat. (It was a dark day when I ate too-mini mini meals and -- clearly ignoring my own tip number 9! -- visited a buffet in a ravenous state with a fellow waist-watcher ... the look of sheer horror on her face as I went for round number four is not something I will soon forget!) If mini meals don't tide you over, have a small, healthful snack in the afternoon to curb your appetite and you'll be much more in control come dinner time.

By Jennifer R. Scott, About.com Guide

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Last Chance Workout

Yes, even though tomorrow is a Holiday (MLK day) we will still be weighing in! Are you ready? Do you want one last chance to make a difference on the scale and to burn up some of those claories you indulged in over the weekend?

Monday morning at 5:30am come down to the Monte Vista Chapel gym (same place we weigh-in) and join us for the BIGEGEST LOSER: LAST CHANCE WORKOUT! This High Intensity Interval Training (HITT) DVD will have you sweating and burning calories like never before. If this is your 1st time working out in a while, there are easy modifications you can do to get through the entire workout! It's broken into 5 sections that total up to 1 hour.

• A 5 minute Warm-up
• 25 minutes of HITT
• 12 minutes of upper-body toning
• 12 minutes of lower body toning
• 5 minutes of cool-down

You can stay for the entire hour, or just come for the HITT portion of the workout. Believe me, you'll feel glad you did and you'll KNOW you burned calories! ANd I love this workout because it's not a bunch of skinny girls or muscleflexing men... this video features actual participants from the Biggest Loser show. This alone gives you the encouragement to think, "If they can do it, so can I!" Come try it out!

Here's a short clip of what to expect...

Thursday, January 13, 2011

8 Products to Make Measuring Serving Sizes Easier

Tips to Make Sure You Get the Proper Serving Size

#1: Measuring Cups
If you want to get the proper serving size, measuring cups are essential. Measuring cups ensure that you get an actual cup, rather than a cup and a half. When measuring serving sizes, you cannot just guess, you must use the proper tools.

#2: Scales
If you want to be even more precise, scales are the perfect product for measuring serving sizes. Scales will give you the exact weight of the item you about to eat. This is important because many snacks state that an ounce is the perfect portion. Scales will allow you to portion out exactly one ounce and not one potato chip more.

#3: Cereal Dispensers
Cereal dispensers are a great way to measure several different types of dry foods, not just cereal. While different dispensers will put out a different amount of product, with each turn, you can still use this for measuring serving sizes. Simply measure what one turn yields and then you will know how many turns will give you the portion that you need. For example, if one turn equals a half of a cup, and a serving size of your favorite cereal is a cup, simply turn the knob twice.

#4: Ziploc Snack Bags
Ziploc snack bags hold the perfect serving size for many of your favorite snacks. Filling these snack bags with dried fruit, nuts, carrot sticks, etc. ensures that you always have a snack available. Fill several snack bags and have them available at work or in your pantry without the hassle of measuring out your favorite snacks.

#5: 8 Ounce Drinking Glasses
In the morning, the last thing you want to do is measure out a serving of juice. That's why 8 ounce glasses are perfect for measuring out your favorite drinks. Because let's face it, you aren't going to measure juice out in the mornings and you'll probably overestimate if you use a larger glass. If you use an 8 ounce drinking glass you'll be getting the perfect serving of juice.

#6: Proper Dishes
Using the proper dishes is an easy way to measure out serving sizes. For example, the bowls that came with your dish set will more than likely hold a cup of cereal with milk, which is the proper serving size for many cereals.

#7: Custard Cups
Custard cups make measuring serving sizes child's play. You can find custard cups in 4oz., 6oz., and 8oz. sizes. This means you have the perfect serving dishes for snacks that have serving sizes of a half a cup, three-quarters of a cup, and a full cup. Using custard cups makes serving sizes seem larger, leaving you more satisfied with you snack.

#8: Disposable Containers
You can purchase disposable containers in several different sizes. These are perfect for measuring out meals and snacks. For example, containers that will hold one cup servings would be perfect for side dishes.

By Amy Brantley

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tracking Calories on the Go!

I've had several people email me to reccomend an app called LOSE IT. I've heard great things about this...it's easy to use and can track everything for you. If you have an iphone, check it out by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Single Best Way to Lose Weight!

It’s scientifically proven: The key isn’t just what you eat, it’s what you write

If you’re anything like me, you have no idea how much food you inhale on a day-to-day basis. Thanks to multitasking, grabbing grub on the go, parking myself in front of the TV while munching, and various other weight-loss crimes, I often barely register that I’m eating. Take last week: I was totally oblivious that I was popping jelly beans into my mouth until my nephew complained that I was about to polish off his bag (sorry again, Jake). It’s tough to watch every mouthful you eat, even if you’re an expert. Researchers at Louisiana State University asked dietitians to estimate their daily caloric intake — and even the professionals lowballed the number by 10 percent. That may explain why it’s so hard to shed pounds, no matter how good the plan is.

But there’s a simple solution: Keep a food diary. Studies show that a journal doesn’t just aid weight loss — it turbo-charges it. When researchers from Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research followed more than 2,000 dieters who were encouraged to record meals and snacks, they found that the single best predictor of whether a participant would drop weight was whether the person kept a food diary. It trumped exercise habits, age, and body mass index. The number of pounds people lost was directly related to the number of days they wrote in their log. (It’s no coincidence that Weight Watchers, one of the most successful diet programs, asks participants to track what they eat.)

Here are five more reasons to start a journal today — even if you swore off diaries in middle school.

1. You’ll get a reality check about how many calories you consume.
Americans typically underestimate their daily intake by about 25 percent, reports nutritionist Carrie Latt Wiatt, author of Portion Savvy. The situation gets even more complicated when you eat out. In a 2006 study led by Cornell University, 105 diners in fast-food restaurants were asked how many calories were in their orders. For the small items, almost everyone guessed correctly; for the larger orders, the diners underestimated the calories by a whopping 38 percent. It may be an issue of perception, says study author Brian Wansink, Ph.D. The larger the quantity, the harder it is to make an accurate guess — the same is true for distances and heights.

Even professionals can be tricked by hefty portion sizes. When an NYU researcher asked 200 dietitians to estimate the calorie count of four popular restaurant dishes, the experts lowballed the number for each by a whopping 250 to 700 calories.

So stop assuming and start calculating. A good manual, like the classic Calorie King Fat & Carbohydrate Counter, makes it easy by giving you the calorie counts and fat grams for a huge number of foods. Or try nutritiondata.com, which also lists the stats for many foods. If you are going out to eat, check out the website for the restaurant. Many also have the nutritional values for meals if you simply ask.

2. You’ll cut back on between-meal munching.
Make a mental checklist of what you ate yesterday. Sure, you can probably remember breakfast, lunch, and dinner — but what about that mini Snickers you snatched from your coworker’s stash? Or that spoonful of mashed potatoes you took off your husband’s plate?

It’s easy to overlook bites, licks, and tastes (known as “BLTs" to professionals). But that’s a huge mistake — there are 25 calories, on average, in each mouthful. Translation: Six little bites a day add up to around 15 extra pounds a year.

“I remember one client who was keeping a diary and couldn’t understand why she wasn’t losing weight," says Bethany Thayer, R.D., spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “We were discussing the problem when she took out a peppermint. I asked her how many she ate every day, and she said, ‘A bag.’ They’re nine calories each, but the whole bag is several hundred."

Writing everything down can also help you make smarter food choices. If you often order a Starbucks Grande Dulce de Leche Latte, entering the data will bring you face-to-face with the fact that your beloved drink packs 440 calories, versus 23 calories for the same-size regular coffee with milk.

3. You’ll discover where your diet detours.
“I thought I ate a lot of vegetables — it seemed like I was constantly cooking spinach, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts," says Melissa Smith, a 32-year-old mom from Omaha who’s been keeping a food diary for the past 18 months. “But looking back over a few weeks of my journal, I was surprised to realize that I was only eating veggies once or twice a week." So she made salads a regular part of dinner and noticed that it helped her eat less of her entrée. Her analysis and follow-up action paid off: She’s lost more than 27 pounds.

A balanced diet is the key to weight loss, says Suzanne Farrell, R.D., who owns Cherry Creek Nutrition in Denver. “Whole grains, low-fat dairy, green vegetables, orange veggies, beans, nuts — science shows that we need to eat these regularly to reach a healthy body weight. So when I flip through my clients’ journals, I always look for what I’m not seeing."

To find out how many servings of each food group you should be eating, go to mypyramid.gov. This tool will calculate the correct portions based on your age, gender, height, weight, and level of physical activity. It’ll also tell you the number of calories you should aim for daily to lose weight.

4. You’ll learn why you pig out.
Experts suggest that, to help break bad habits, you record not only what you eat, but the circumstances that prompt you to eat. For example, maybe you indulge in more sweets at work because you sit close to the vending machine. Maybe you have a milkshake several times a week because you pass Wendy’s on the way home. Or maybe every time you worry about money, you retreat into the kitchen for chips.

When you begin to notice these patterns, you can figure out ways to change them. If the vending machine is a constant temptation, stock your desk drawers with fruit and granola bars. If you can’t resist a fast-food sign, MapQuest a new route to work. If you eat when you’re under pressure, steer clear of snacks and take a short walk instead (it’s a scientifically proven stress buster).

Another bonus: “When you increase awareness of what’s going into your mouth," says Thayer, “you’ll feel fuller sooner than if you were just mindlessly munching."

5. You’ll see real results — quickly.
Your food diary can be as revealing as the one you kept in fifth grade. For example, to get a glimpse into how much you’ve improved your diet, compare the entries in week one (Twinkie-filled) to week four or five (ideally, veggie-filled). You can also discover which decisions translated into pounds lost — for instance, that week you had fish for dinner twice might’ve helped you lose weight.

Food journals also let you give yourself credit where credit is due (personally, I reward myself with a gold star each day I resist eating candy). And that positive reinforcement is essential for shedding pounds.

HOW TO WRITE OFF POUNDS: A Cheat Sheet to Get Your Food Diary Started

Choose Your Medium
If you’re using pen and paper, buy a regular spiral notebook. Or go for a pre-organized book like the DietMinder. Computer addicts should check out online journals, such as myfooddiary.com ($9 per month) and nutrihand.com (free for a basic plan; $10 per month for extras). We reccomend the following FREE sites... www.caloriecount.about.com or SPARKPEOPLE. If you can’t live without your PDA, visit weightbydate.com and download the software (starting at $19).

Start Recording
The crucial info to write down: the time you ate, what you ate, and how much you ate. Make a habit of jotting notes right after you eat. “If you wait until the end of the day, it’s too easy to leave things out," warns Suzanne Farrell, R.D. Tracking your diet online? Remember to take paper with you to restaurants, so you can write down every ingredient and calculate its nutritional content afterward.

You may also want to invest in measuring cups — they’ll help you learn what a one-and-a-half-cup portion looks like (it’s a lot less than you think) — as well as a calorie-counter book and a calculator. Armed with these tools, you can track your calories like a nutritionist would.

Get Personal
Customize your diary so it reflects the info that’s most useful to you. For example, if you’re someone who eats whenever food is in front of you, create columns in your journal to rate how hungry you were before and afterward. If you snack your way through hard days, add a column to describe how you were feeling when you ate. Trying to figure out when you’re most drawn to junk food? Record where you were when you indulged and what was going on at the time. Also, if you’re trying to break a specific habit, like scarfing down ice cream at night, create a column for that, so you can give yourself a star for each day you resist the urge.

Be Honest
Include every single bite, lick, and taste (anything larger than a crumb counts). And don’t forget to keep track of your sips. Even the most diligent diarists often forget to include the glass of white wine they had at dinner (120 calories) and their 3 p.m. can of Coke (155 calories).

Find Your Favorites
Counting calories is easier for creatures of habit: If you have a bowl of cereal for breakfast almost every morning or a turkey sandwich three times a week, you won’t have to look up the number each time.

Keep Your Diary Close
“I’m forgetful, so I always need to put the journal where I can see it — on my kitchen table, on my desk at work. I carry it a lot in my hand, too, as a reminder," says Melissa Smith, 32, of Omaha, who lost 25 pounds keeping a food diary.

You can also try this trick from Maryellen Mealey, 42, of Chicago, who lost big (188 pounds) keeping a journal: “I made a deal with myself that I wouldn’t eat anything unless I wrote it down first. It’s obsessive, but I’m a mindless snacker and putting everything in the book really helped me be more conscious," she says.

Examine the Evidence
No matter how diligent you are, a food log won’t help in the behavior-changing department if you don’t analyze it. At night, sit down and calculate how many calories you consumed. Tally up what food groups you’re eating, and make adjustments. (A big plus of online tools is that they do a lot of the analysis for you, totaling everything with a click of a button and often giving you charts to show what you can improve.)

You may also want to consult a registered dietitian. A professional may see things in your diary that you don’t (cost: usually $50 to $300 for an initial consultation). This coming Monday, January 17th, Karin Plett, RD will be available at a table here at our weigh-in site and will offer FREE mini-consultations! A two-year study from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle showed that participants who consulted a dietitian had better success keeping off weight than those who followed their usual diet.

Reward Yourself
“I read that it takes 28 days to build a habit," says Mealey. “So when I have a new goal — like eating veggies more often — I do it for a month, then treat myself by shopping or going to a movie with a friend. Rewards give me an incentive to keep going."


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Top 10 Strategies for Success

1. Start Small
Quite possibly the biggest mistake people make is pushing the accelerator too soon. You can’t lose 20 pounds in a week. But you can lose one. Taking small bites and chewing slowly have as much to do with goal achievement as they do with your mom’s dinner table scolding.

2. Get It On Paper
Whether setting your first goals, tracking daily progress, or sharing your deepest thoughts with a journal, writing things down crystallizes your ideas, exposes underlying fears, and paints an accurate picture of real life.

3. Focus On Everyday Habits
The building blocks of a healthy lifestyle are forged in the smallest of actions you take every day and every week. Healthy choices can become as natural as brushing your teeth or locking the front door. Build one habit, one action at a time.

4. Always See Your Goal
Goals need attention. They need to be seen and heard and thought of often if they ever hope to come true. So surround yourself with as many reminders as possible.

5. Be Consistent
Imagine a plane taking off. In the beginning, a lot of energy is spent to simply get moving down the runway. But as speed and momentum take over, the plane is pulled forward and up into the sky, faster and further by the second. Consistent action, no matter how small, has more power than you ever imagined.

6. Never Stop Learning
A healthy lifestyle is a process—a journey more than a destination. You can always learn more about nutrition, fitness, and even yourself that can help you be just a little bit better tomorrow.

7. Come Out of Seclusion
Has anyone ever achieved anything of real value all alone? Probably not many. Most receive some form of help from other people. Support, information, a sense of shared experience, encouragement, advice, and a well-timed pep talk are all invaluable as you set off on your adventure.

8. Allow For Setbacks
Accept the fact right now that you will make mistakes, and that it can be a positive thing. We are usually harder on ourselves that we are on anyone else we know. Be your own #1 fan. That means being supportive (instead of critical) when you stumble, and enjoying your wins (rather than ignoring your accomplishments) when you succeed.

9. Trust Your Plan
You’ll have up weeks and down weeks, and frustrating weeks that make no sense at all. The tools and strategies you’re learning will help you build a plan that makes a healthier lifestyle almost inevitable. If you consistently make the right choices and build healthy habits, weight loss is literally just a matter of time.

10. Have Fun!!!
Who says getting healthy has to be a chore, a burden to be endured or suffered through? Probably a very unhappy person, that’s who. This is an exciting adventure of self-discovery and building a meaningful life. Enjoy the ride!

-- By Mike Kramer, Staff Writer, Sparkpeople

Friday, January 7, 2011

FREE WORKOUT MUSIC from the Biggest Loser & Subway!

Click HERE to download The Biggest Loser and SUBWAY Workout Mix – Wake Up and Workout for FREE. This download includes 6 songs that should get you moving in no time!
May be a limited time offering, so take advantage now!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

10 Reasons it's Hard to Lose Weight

Do you believe it's simple to lose weight? If you listen to the weight loss industry, you've been told over and over how easy it is--just take this pill, follow that diet or buy this piece of equipment and everything will melt away in a flash. In fact, we spend over billions each year on weight loss products and services and yet we're still overweight. In light of this, is weight loss really that simple?
Complex Problems, Simple Solutions

The idea behind weight loss is simple--burn more calories than you eat. This can be accomplished by replacing a couple of sodas with water and adding 20 minutes of walking each day. Sounds simple...and it is. If it's that simple, why can't we seem to do it?

There are a number of factors that contribute to our weight gain that you already know. But it's not just about finding time to exercise or choosing the salad over the burger--it's about genuine commitment to make healthy decisions every day....REGARDLESS of what's happening in your life. If you're not ready to make some changes, losing weight will be hard. Below are 10 things you'll need to look at in order to get yourself on a healthy track.

1. Your Attitude. If you're only on a health kick to lose weight or look a certain way, it will be hard to lose weight permanently. Why? Because, what happens if you don't see results quickly enough? You give up. Weight loss is a great goal, but unless you have something else to motivate you, what's to keep you going if the scale doesn't budge? It takes time to lose weight--how will you motivate yourself in the meantime? Find more reasons to be healthy--having more energy, dealing with health problems or wanting to live longer to be around for your kids. Those are some darned good reasons, if you ask me.

2. Your Workouts. If you don't workout consistently enough, it's hard to lose weight. Yes, it's possible to lose weight through diet alone, but you'll likely hit a plateau. You don't need to spend hours in the gym, you only need to set up a reasonable workout schedule that you can follow each week. It's not about killing yourself with workouts--it's about finding something you like and that you'll continue with for the rest of your life. You have to be willing to be more active on a regular basis--not just for a week here and there.

3. Your Eating. Changing the way you eat is another thing you're going to have to do for long-lasting weight loss. You need to be willing to replace unhealthy foods with healthier choices--every single day. This might mean:

•Keeping a food journal
•Spending more time in the grocery store reading food labels
•Spending more time preparing meals
•Saying no to extra portions
•Making conscious choices about what you put in your mouth.

For permanent weight loss, you need to pay attention to what you eat and make good choices more often than not. Maybe a structured diet eventually ends, but healthy eating never stops...there will never be a time when you're done eating healthy. You might feel you're sacrificing the good stuff (pizza, fast food, etc.) and your life won't be fun if you can't have those foods. Guess what? You can still have them...just not whenever you want. Are you ready to make these changes? Are you ready to stop giving your body the most convenient thing available (and often the most fatty) and, instead, spend time planning what and when you'll eat? Because that's what it takes to get healthy...permanently.

4. Your Lifestyle. If you want a healthy life, you have to be willing to change how you live. It doesn't mean changing everything overnight, but simply being open to new ways of doing things. Some things you might need to change for a healthy life are:

•Daily Routines. You may need to get up earlier to prepare your lunch or squeeze in a workout, use your lunch hour for exercise or go for a walk after work instead of watching TV. Are you willing to do this?

•Limits. You might need to set new rules for yourself limiting how much TV you watch or how long you sit at the computer. You'll need to pay attention to how you spend your time and where you're out of balance so you can add more movement.

•Your Pantry. I'm the kind of person who will eat an entire bag of Doritoes if they're in the house. That means I don't keep them in the house and if someone (ahem...husband) brings them home, he must immediately re-locate them elsewhere. If you want to be healthy, you may need to get rid of those foods you just can't resist.

•Your Schedule. If you're not willing to sit down and change the way you live each day to include exercise, time to prepare meals and time to nurture yourself with sleep, it's hard to lose weight. People use busy schedules as an excuse not to be healthy...are you one of them? If you're not ready to take responsibility for the schedule you've created, it will be hard to lose weight.

5. Your Surroundings. Sometimes, you can't control the things around you. At work, you may be surrounded by temptations--donuts, vending machines and the like. That's just one thing you have to deal with...but what about your home? Surround yourself with things that will support you in your efforts to get healthy. That might mean spending some money on home workout equipment, setting up a corner of the house for your gear or commandeering the TV a few nights a week to do an exercise video. Set up an environment that encourages those healthy choices and reminds you of them--just walking into my kitchen and seeing that bowl of fresh fruit is often enough to remind me of all the healthy choices I'll need to make that day.

6. Your Support System. While getting healthy may be something you're doing on your own, it's a big help to have a support system. At the very least, family members who understand what you're doing and are either willing to participate or help. If you have a spouse who wants to continue eating the kinds of foods that tempt you, you need a plan to deal with that so you can still reach your goals and keep your relationship together. Try to surround yourself with people who support what you're doing and avoid those people (like that co-worker who always offers you a donut even though you refuse on a daily basis) who don't. A workout buddy is also an excellent idea for support.

7. Your Spiritual and Mental Health. If you have other reasons for being overweight--past hurts that you've used food to deal with, depression or other problems, it's hard to lose weight. For many of us, food is a comfort and something we've relied on all of our lives to help us deal with emotional problems. If that's the case for you, pinpointing those behaviors and what drives them is important for becoming aware of what you're doing and why. A counselor can help you with this or take some time to read about emotional eating. Be willing to learn why you make the choices you make and to confront them.

8. Your Goals. If you've set impossible goals, you are guaranteed to fail. Weight loss becomes hard to achieve if you feel like a constant failure...who wants to feel like that? If that's how your weight loss experience is, it's no wonder you keep quitting. The key is to set reasonable goals. So what is reasonable? That's going to be different for each person depending on your genetics, eating habits, exercise, and metabolism to name a few. You're better off setting a long-term goal (whether it's to lose weight or compete in a race) and then focusing your attention on daily or weekly goals. Your weekly goal might be to get in 3 cardio workouts, minimum. Pick things you KNOW you'll achieve so you're always successful. It can be as small as you like, as long as it's reachable.

9. Your Flexibility. You hear a lot about lifestyle changes, but it's daily choices that really test you. What happens if you have to work late and you can't get to the gym? Or what if you get stuck in traffic and miss your fitness class? Any number of things can happen in a day that may throw you off track. The trick is to be flexible. It helps if you're always prepared--keep some workout shoes in the car so you can stop off at the park for a quick walk. Keep some food handy so if you get stuck in traffic, you get a snack in before your workout. Often people skip workouts because something comes up and they simply aren't ready for it or they aren't willing to give themselves other options--can't do 45 minutes? Why not just do 10? Something is always better than nothing.

10. Your Willingness to Fail. You will not be perfect every day. As a perfectionist, I have to say that is a frustrating concept for me but, the truth is, everyone (even perfectionists) has good days and bad days. On the good days, you'll eat all your fruits and veggies, say no to that pizza and do your workout even though you're tired. On the bad days, you'll wake up late, forget to bring your lunch, have an extra piece of cake at your friend's birthday party and skip your workout. The bad days will happen if you're a human being. The trick is to never give up, even when you mess up. You're not a loser just because you make some mistakes...you're simply a person trying his or her best to make good decisions.

By Paige Waehner, About.com GuideUpdated June 11, 2009

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

And We're Off and Running...(or walking if that suits you!)

Wow, what a night! We registered over 150 participants for our New Turlock Biggest Loser 12-week Challenge! To those of you that are new... WELCOME! To those of you who are returning.... GOOD TO SEE YOU AGAIN! If you missed the registration, you can still come next Monday and we can register you then! It's never too late. (though you will have lost a week in the challenge)

It will take me a few days to input all of you into our database and get a confirmation letter out to you. So sit tight. You should receive an email from us by Thursday morning. If you do not, look in your spam or junk mail folder. Sometimes those pesky e-mail servers forward our emails there. If they do, make sure you mark it as not junk so in the future it goes into your inbox.

Either way, everything that goes out by email will also be duplicated here on this blog, so you wont miss a thing. Plus our blog will offer additional tips, recipes and motivation throughout the week, so check back often!

We have lots of fun things in store for you the next few months and I personally can't wait! More to follow...

In the meantime, check out some of our previous posts below!

The 10 Worst Foods of 2010

If 2009 was the year of cutting back, 2010 was the year of adding on, at least when it came to food. The year's top catch phrase: More cheese, please!

On menus from Taco Bell to the Cheesecake Factory, cheese was piled on, in several varieties. Melted, fried, sandwiched, stuffed and slathered on anything and everything, it's safe to say that, if you're eating these foods, you're meeting your dairy quota.

SparkPeople, a wonderful website for helping you stay on track with your new healthy goals, rounded up the worst new foods of the year and compiled some fun fitness facts to help put these caloric monstrosities in perspective!

CLICK HERE to see the list!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Today's the Day!

Our next Biggest Loser Turlock challenge begins TODAY, Monday, January 3rd! The participants fee is $30.00 per person. CLICK HERE to view and download our flier for this challenge and them spread the word! The more people sign-up, the larger the prize pot gets! Remember, weigh-in is at Monte Vista Chapel in the gym (1619 E. Monte Vista Ave.) anytime between 4pm-6:30pm. Person with the highest % of weight lost during this 12-week challenge wins 50% of the prize pot, with the other remaining 50% be divided up between 2-5th place. If more than 100 participants sign-up, top 10 get paid! Contact Patti Allen at ohiobuckfan@sbcglobal.net before 4pm or at 209-405-1073 between 4-6:30.

How to Grocery Shop on a Diet

Start your week off right with a HEALTHY trip to the grocery store to stock up on everything you need for your new lifestyle. Staying slim starts at the grocery store. Here’s how to make it easy.

Meat and fish
Shoot for 95 percent lean or higher. If it’s only 90 percent lean, a 100-gram (about 3.5-ounce) portion of meat would still have 10 grams of fat per serving—not exactly low-fat. When buying poultry, choose breast (whole or ground) only.

Splurge on shrimp. This high-protein, low-fat, low-calorie option feels decadent, so pick up a shrimp cocktail ring.

Don’t buy a brick. Cheese is way too easy to overeat if you’re faced with a big hunk of it. If there’s a block you love, take it to the deli and ask them to slice it into 1-ounce portions. Otherwise, look for string cheese.

Go Greek! Buy a tub of plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt. At home, mix in some fresh fruit and high-fiber cereal for a delicious low-cal parfait.

Fruits and veggies
Grab a rainbow. To get a variety of nutrients, try to include every color of the spectrum—red, green, orange, yellow, purple, white—in your diet.

Shop on delivery day. Ask your grocer when the store receives produce. Fruits and veggies lose nutrients and flavor the longer they sit out in the air and light.

GrainsExperiment with grains. Try quinoa, bulgur, barley, and brown-rice pasta to add new elements to your menu.