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!

Monday, March 28, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Why do I love this Biggest Loser Challenge?

"My doctor took me off ALL my medication. He said I don't need them anymore!"

"I'm no longer a diabetic."

"I haven't weighed this little since High School!"
(in tears)

These are just a few of the comments I listened to tonight. YOU all do this! Biggest Loser doesn't do it. YOU do. We give you a place to come in and step on a scale. We offer some accountability. We try to steer you in a healthy direction, but YOU DO THE WORK. And boy did you do it again during this challenge!

YOU lost over 1800 lbs as a group in 12 weeks!
YOU made a huge impact on your health!
50 of you lost more than a pound a week average!
35 of you lost more than 15 pounds!
27 of you lost 20lbs or more! (and I'm counting the couple of you that came in at 19.8lbs. You know who you are and you ROCKED it!)
18 of you lost more than 25 pounds!
14 of you lost more and 30 pounds!
8 of you lost more than 40 pounds!
One of you has lost more than 100 lbs since September!
Our top 3 all lost more than 65 lbs each!

1. Jenkins, Emmanuel -27.4%
2. Almarez, Martin -27.2%
3. Foreman, Maurice -24.0%
4. Jourdan, Stephanie -23.4%
5. Martin, Lynne -20.4%
6. Foreman, Amanda -17.6%
7. Giffen, Jacob -16.6%
8. Jerner, Kurt -15.0%
9. Larson, David -14.7%
10. Borrelli, Joseph -14.4%

Congratulations winners! (info will be coming to you tomorrow via email about how and when to pick up your prize $)

For the rest of you. I hope to see many of you again beginning on April 11th for our next Biggest Loser Turlock Challenge. (See info below for details). In the meantime, if you still owe penalty money from this round, you can bring it by the office at Monte Vista Chapel before 5pm on Thursday.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Next Round starts soon!

As this round of Biggest Loser winds down, we are already preparing for the next challenge!

The Biggest Loser Turlock 10-week "Get Ready for Summer!" Challenge kicks off Monday, April 11th. Same rules as this round, only it will be 10 weeks instead of 12 weeks. (see rules on left sidebar)

This challenge will finish up on June 20th, just in time for sleeveless tees, shorts, and of course, swimsuit weather! Get ready to look your best! RSVP today by emailing PATTI at ohiobuckfan@sbcglobal.net today!

CLICK HERE to view and print the flyer and share with family, friends and co-workers!

This will be the last round until the fall. When this round ends, we will be taking a break over the summer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to Survive Your Weekend Diet Blunders

I eat a healthy diet Monday through Friday, but on the weekends, it's no holds barred. How do I bring in the reins?
Stacey - About.com User

Answer: After working hard all week, you are ready for some rest and relaxation -- and that mindset seems to also extend to your diet. You start with cocktails and greasy appetizers Friday night with friends. On Saturday, you go grazing through the food court while shopping at the mall, then go out for a big dinner that night. On Sunday, you are feeling kind of lazy and lounge around on the couch watching television and snacking on chips and dip.
Your mindless weekend binge just ruined an entire week of healthy eating. Then the guilt sets in. You get back to your routine diet on Monday, feeling bad and vowing to eat right next weekend. But then Friday comes around and the whole cycle starts all over again.

This is a pretty common scenario. But don't despair. With a little thought and preparation, you can continue to eat healthy and still enjoy your weekends. Here are some tips:

Plan ahead
Don't load up your kitchen with lots of tempting, high-calorie snacks. Keep fresh fruit, vegetables, whole grain crackers and your favorite cheese on-hand for nutritious snacking.

Don't skip breakfast
Start Saturday and Sunday mornings with a healthy breakfast with plenty of protein and fiber. Good choices include eggs, whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk, or whole-wheat toast with peanut butter.

Use a food diary every day
A great way to stay motivated to eat a healthy diet is to keep track of the foods you eat. Print out your own food diary, or use Calorie Count, a free online tool that can help you track your eating and activity (you can even look up food labels).

Give yourself a small treat or two during the week
Any diet that leaves you feeling deprived will ultimately fail. Enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate or one scoop of ice cream during the week.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
They are low in calories, and high in nutrients and fiber. Fiber is key -- it will keep you feeling full.

Eat less at restaurants
Going out for dinner? Most restaurants serve very large portions. Choose a soup and a salad, or a salad and an appetizer for your meal. If you order a large meal, take half of it home for a delicious lunch the next day.

Be careful with shopping trips
Eat a healthy lunch before you go to the mall. If you go hungry, you are much more likely to give in to the temptation of unhealthy foods at the food court.

Get some exercise each day
Go for a walk. Not only will you burn calories, the exercise will improve your mood and may distract you from your cravings.

Once you learn how to continue your healthy diet on the weekends, you just might find that you have even more energy to do fun things with family and friends. Enjoy your weekend away from work. You've earned it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

What a Pound of Fat Looks Like!

Last week, Heather and I donned large backpacks filled with everything we needed to survive five days hiking through the Patagonian wilderness of Southern Chile. It was the first time either of us had attempted a trek hauling all of our own equipment – camping gear, food, clothes, and other supplies – and our packs weighed between 35 and 40 pounds each. By the end of the first day, our backs, shoulders, and hips were struggling from this extra weight. We thought back to a couple of years ago, when we were carrying this weight not on backpacks, but on our bodies as fat. How did we handle it?

How We Measure
Here at Calorie Count, we keep a number of interesting statistics on members’ weight loss, which you can follow on our statistics page. To date, a combined total of nearly 2.5 million pounds have been lost. Of course, we can measure weight loss in ways other than just pounds, stones, and kilograms. Think about it this way – Calorie Counters have lost the equivalent weight of 158 adult elephants, or 17 Boeing 737 aircraft, or 5.4 Statues of Liberty!

These numbers are certainly impressive, though it can be equally powerful and inspiring to apply the same concept to your personal weight loss progress. Have you lost (or do you need to lose) the equivalent of a gallon of water, or a bowling ball, or a large bag of rice? Imagine seeing and feeling these objects. You might be surprised by how large and heavy they are.

Oprah’s Fat Wagon
Of all the countless times spent publicly discussing her weight loss struggles, one remains unforgettable – in fact, it was the highest ranking “Oprah” episode ever. In 1988, after spending four months on a liquid crash diet, Oprah shocked the nation when she stepped on stage wearing skinny jeans and pulling a red wagon filled with 67 pounds of animal lard, symbolizing the weight she had lost. While she later fell off the wagon and gained it all back, this dramatic moment remains one of the most memorable from her 25 years of broadcasting.

Pounds of Potatoes
It’s not too practical for most of us to haul around a wagon full of fat – luckily, there are plenty of other ways we can measure, compare, and commemorate those pounds lost.

Next time you’re in the supermarket, pick up a 4-pack of butter (1 lb), or a 2-liter soda bottle (5 lbs), or a bag of potatoes (10 lbs), or a bag of dog food (15 lbs). Seeing and feeling these objects are a reminder of the strain we put on our bodies when we are overweight. If you’ve already lost a similar amount of weight, this can be a real motivator, especially if you haven’t noticed any visual changes to your body yet.

By Erik Fantasia on Calorie Count

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Last Weeks Mini-Challenge Winners & Other Stuff

We have 2 more weigh-ins! That's just under 2 weeks left in this challenge!If you currently still owe the penalty pot for any gains or missed weigh-ins, please come prepared to pay them next week.

Our winners for last weeks mini-challenge (to qualify, participants had to lose at least 1% of their body weight in one week)are...

Filomina Lopes
Shawnie Rodrigues
Mark Selee
Hannah Larson

Congratulation! You all had a great week. You can pick up your copies of Eat This Not That! at weigh-in next Monday!

This weeks mini-challenge is to lose at least 1.5lbs in one week. Those that accomplish this will be entered into a drawing for Starbucks Giftcards and a special basket from Starbucks!

What to Expect From Calories on the Menu

It’s no surprise that given out hectic schedules and on-the-go lifestyles, eating out has become a popular pastime. We currently spend about half of our food dollars—more than ever before—on foods and beverages from restaurants, retail stores, recreational places, and schools.

Although eating out is certainly not something we should have guilt over, studies do suggest that the more we do it, the more calories we’re likely to consume. And of course more calories in can contribute to unhealthy weight gain and negative health and other effects.

Truth in Menu Labeling

One initiative designed to fight obesity by helping consumers make lower calorie choices when eating out is menu labeling. Spearheaded in 2003 by the Center for Science in the Public Interest and supported by dozens of health and consumer groups including the American Dietetic Association and the American Medical Association, menu labeling was first passed in New York City in 2008 (several cities across the nation followed with similar measures.) In March 2010, the national health care reform bill, which included a menu labeling provision, was passed. By the end of March 2011, the FDA is expected to launch final menu labeling regulations that will trump local laws.

The new menu labeling legislation requires chain restaurants with at least 20 outlets nationwide to provide point-of-purchase calorie information to consumers. If requested, other nutrition information (for example, total fat, sodium, and sugars) and a short statement about how many calories the average person needs must also be provided in writing. Vending machines with 20 or more locations are also required by law to post calorie information.

Will the New Law Help?

Will knowing how many calories foods and beverages contain really lead consumers to purchase fewer calories? If so, will that help them lower their overall calorie intake? Unfortunately, few real-world studies have been done to show if and how calorie posting affects intake. Of those studies, some have shown modest reductions in calories purchased, while others have shown no beneficial effects.

Maybe Yes

•In an unpublished study by researchers from Stanford University, more than 100 million Starbucks receipts were collected in Boston, New York City, and Philadelphia 3 months prior to, and 10 months after calorie posting was initiated. After calorie posting, consumers purchased an average of 6 percent fewer calories (almost all from food purchases.) Those who purchased more than 250 calories prior to calorie posting reduced calorie purchases by 26 percent after calorie posting. The researchers concluded that calorie information helped consumers eat less.

•A study published in the American Journal of Public Health in December 2010 assessed consumer awareness of menu calorie information at 45 restaurants from the 15 largest fast food chains in New York City before and after calorie posting. 1188 surveys were collected before enforcement, and 1229 surveys collected after enforcement. 25 percent of customers before the enforcement, and 64 percent of customers after enforcement reported they saw calorie information. The researchers concluded that posting calorie information did increase awareness.

Maybe No

•In a recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity in February 2011, researchers collected receipts and surveys from 427 parents and teens at fast food restaurants before and after mandatory labeling began in New York City in 2008. They found that knowing calorie information did not affect purchasing behavior of teens or purchases made by parents for their children. Although the teens reported noticing calorie information at the same rate as adults, fewer of them (only 9 percent) said they used the information to purchase fewer calories compared with 28 percent of adults.
•Another study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine in January 2011 found no change in either total number of sales, or in number of calories per transaction 13 months after menu labeling was initiated at Taco Time in King County, Washington. The researchers concluded that mandatory menu labeling was unlikely to significantly influence the obesity epidemic.

Only time will tell if menu labeling will be an effective tool to help consumers curb overall calorie intake. Mandatory menu labeling may also encourage restaurants to offer smaller portions (that provide fewer calories), and create more healthful, lower calorie selections that can appeal to calorie conscious consumers.

by By Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN Calorie Count

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Why Am I Hungry All The Time?

If you find yourself thinking, "Why am I hungry all the time?" you may be confusing “head hunger” with “body hunger.” If you're someone who's sensitive to food cues, weight management will be challenging until you are able to recognize the overeating triggers in your environment and break the associations that lead you to overeat simply out of habit.

Let's take a look at just a few of the common overeating triggers and strategies for coping more effectively with head hunger.

BY THE CLOCK: Society programs us to follow a schedule, so like Pavlov's dog, you may have learned to salivate when the bell rings. The reality is that it's more convenient to eat at certain times than others so it takes effort to listen to your hunger cues.

Strategy: Though it's challenging to change this routine, you can adapt it to fit your own needs. Learn to pace yourself by observing your natural hunger rhythms. You'll probably notice that you get hungry every 3-6 hours depending on what and how much you ate last. Keep a healthy snack handy to satisfy hunger that doesn't conform to mealtimes. If you're consistently tempted to snack right before a meal, move your mealtime up. And remember, if you're only a little bit hungry, you don't need to eat a whole plateful just because it is mealtime.

HIGH RISK TIMES: Many people have times of the day that are high risk for overeating. For example, you may experience a late afternoon energy slump or a tendency to munch when you come home from work to transition into your evening.

Strategy: Know when you're most at risk and develop an alternate strategy. For example, create a Recharge Ritual or Transition Time that helps you relax or unwind. Save a favorite magazine or book to read, call a friend or walk your dog instead.

You can also print a one-page handout, “101 Things To Do Besides Eat.” Just highlight the activities that appeal to you and add some of your own. Keep your list (and any necessary supplies) handy and make a commitment to try one before eating simply out of habit.

‘TIS THE SEASON: Be aware of your seasonal and weather related cues for eating. Holidays can be especially difficult because of all of the social ties to certain foods and even certain people. Many of the foods you eat during this time may seem “special” and therefore, harder to eat in sensible quantities.

Strategy: These occasions repeat themselves year after year so you can anticipate what typically occurs and create a plan for dealing with your triggers. Make it a point to really listen to your body instead of the external cues when making your food choices. Also keep in mind that special foods will be even more special when you eat them mindfully when you're hungry, focusing on the appearance and flavors of the food, the ambiance, the other people and the reason you are all together.

TEMPTING DISPLAYS: Seeing displays of food like candy or nuts in dishes and tempting foods when you open your cabinet or refrigerator can trigger you to want those foods.

Strategy: Out of sight, out of mind. Don't use food as decorations or leave appetizing foods laying in plain view. Try putting tempting foods behind other foods in your cabinets and refrigerator. If a co-worker keeps food out, ask them to put it in a drawer instead.

MEDIA: Food is everywhere in television and magazines (ironically often right next to the articles about the latest wonder diet!)

Strategy: Get yourself a glass of water during commercials, avoid watching programs that focus on food and skip quickly over the food ads and recipes. Break the habit of eating while watching television—usually a mindless, high calorie activity.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: If you eat in front of T.V., in bed, or standing in the kitchen, you may have an urge to eat just from being in those places.

Strategy: Try to eat only while sitting at a table. Make it a family rule to limit the eating to one or two rooms in the house. This will decrease triggers like T.V. and reading and help you focus on enjoying your food without distractions.

BIGGIE SIZE: Restaurants often serve overly large portions to make their customers feel that they're getting value.

Strategy: Be prepared to have extra food wrapped up to go as soon as you feel satisfied or estimate how much you think you'll need and wrap up the rest even before you start eating. If you leave the food sitting in front of you, you'll be more likely to keep nibbling. Remind yourself that you'll get to enjoy that food again when you are hungry. You can also share an entrée or order an appetizer-sized portion.

FORBIDDEN FOOD SYNDROME: Although it's a popular topic of conversation, the mere discussion of dieting can trigger feelings of deprivation and cravings. Just thinking about restrictive dieting has been shown to increase food intake.

Strategy: Decrease the amount of time you spend talking about food, weight and dieting. Depend on your physical hunger cues to let you know when it's time to eat.

FOOD AND FEELINGS: Emotions are common triggers for eating. Food you eat to deal with feelings comes with strings attached—namely weight gain and regret. Most importantly, eating does not adequately meet your emotional needs so those unmet needs will trigger overeating again and again. Boredom, anger, anxiety and other feelings are a natural part of our lives and eating won’t make them go away. In fact, eating to cope with your emotions disconnects you from your intuition and interferes with your ability to discover and satisfy your true needs.

Strategy: The way to break out of this pattern is to stop judging yourself when you overeat and instead try to figure out what you needed that drove you to eat when you weren’t physically hungry. Examining your current eating behavior can be a powerful source of information about your inner self and your true needs and wants. Once you have identified the emotions that triggered the urge to eat, you can find ways to comfort, nurture, calm and distract yourself without turning to food.

So if you've wondered, "Why am I hungry all the time?" it's time to develop new strategies. By learning to recognize and decrease your overeating triggers, distracting yourself and coping effectively with head hunger, you'll soon break free from old habits. You'll find yourself eating less, feeling more satisfied and more fulfilled.

Discover what you need to know to change your destructive patterns for good in these nine “easy-to-read over a cup of coffee” e-book chapters from I'm NOT Hungry - What Now?

By Michelle May, M.D.
Michelle May, M.D. is a recovered yoyo dieter and the award winning author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle (download the first chapter free). She conducts corporate workshops and speaks throughout the country on mindful eating and vibrant living.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

3 Reasons You're Not Losing Weight

Why Weight Loss is Harder for Some People than for Others

You've been sticking faithfully to your calorie range and exercise plans for awhile now, but you're not seeing the results you want on your scale. Meanwhile, your weight -loss buddy is happily watching the pounds melt away week after week. Not fair!

Or maybe you're losing weight but not from the areas where you really want to shed some fat. (Skinny feet are nice, but not so much when your muffin top is still as big as ever.) And then you have that other friend who can eat anything and everything without gaining a pound, while just watching him or her eat seems to make you gain weight.

What's going on here? Why don't your efforts seem to be paying off while weight loss seems so easy for other people? Is there anything you can do to get better results?

Sometimes there is a simple, general reason why one person loses weight faster than another. For example, men tend to lose weight more quickly than women, mainly because most men naturally have more lean muscle mass (thanks to their higher testosterone levels), and more muscle translates into a faster metabolism. Men and women also tend to store excess weight in different places—men in the abdominal area ("apple" body type), which is usually easier to lose; women in the hips and thighs ("pear" body type), which is usually harder to take off.

People who have more weight to lose may also drop the pounds more quickly in the beginning of a weight-loss program. This is because the more you weigh, the more calories you burn during any given activity. (Walking with an extra 50 pounds on your frame is harder than walking with 20 extra pounds of weight.) A person who weighs more can also cut more calories from his or her diet without jeopardizing the body's ability to function efficiently. If you weigh 300 pounds, you may need 3,500 calories per day or more to maintain that weight; cutting 1,000 calories from your diet (down to 2,500/day) will let you safely lose 2 pounds per week. But if you weigh 150 pounds, you may only need 1,800 calories to maintain your weight, and if you try to cut the 1,000 calories from your diet (down to 800/day), your body won't have enough fuel and your metabolism will slow down drastically, making fat loss harder, not easier. Therefore a person with less weight to lose needs to aim for a smaller calorie deficit, which will translate to a slower rate of weight loss.

Likewise, factors like age and body type can affect how fast you can shed extra pounds. Older people, for example, often lose weight more slowly, perhaps because of hormonal changes and/or because they have less muscle mass or may be less physically active.

So, if you're comparing your weight loss to someone else's, make sure you're not comparing apples to oranges (or pears)—that's just going to be frustrating and won't tell you anything useful about your own efforts.

Sometimes, though, people who seem to share a lot of these factors—similar body size, weight, age and activity levels—just don't get the same results, even when they do the same things. A lot of individual factors, including your individual genetics and quite a few medical conditions (like hypothyroidism, PCOS,and insomnia) and medications (like corticosteroids, or antidepressants), can make weight loss difficult. If you're in this boat, you may need to work closely with your health professional to find an individualized approach that will maximize your weight loss results without jeopardizing your health.

But more often, slow or non-existent weight loss can be traced to very common problems that can be identified and overcome with the right kinds of changes in diet, exercise, or daily activity patterns. That's what we'll be looking at below.

The No. 1 Problem: Your numbers aren't right.
In a healthy, "normally" functioning body, weight loss occurs when you use (burn) more energy (calories) than you take in from food. This calorie deficit forces your body to take fat out of storage and turn it into fuel that your cells can use to maintain necessary body functions. A pound of fat represents about 3,500 calories of stored energy, so you can predict that a calorie deficit of 3,500 will translate into one lost pound, give or take a little.

By far the most common reason why weight loss seems to be going slower than people expect is that their calorie deficit is not as large as they think it is. Either they're not burning as many calories as they think they are, or they're eating more than they think they are, or a combination of both.

The formulas used to estimate how many calories people need to maintain their current weight aren't accurate for everyone—they can be off by as much as 30-40%, especially if your body fat percentage is pretty high, your physical activity level is significantly higher or lower than average, or you're counting almost everything you do (e.g., light housework, grocery shopping, walking up one flight of stairs) as "exercise" even though it doesn't actually meet the parameters of what counts as fitness (a high enough intensity to elevate your heart rate to an aerobic range; a duration of at least 10 continuous minutes for the activity; the moving of large muscle groups in a rhythmic way).

You can have the same problem on the other end of the energy equation: calorie intake. It's very common to underestimate how much you're actually eating, even when you're tracking your food consistently. If you just eyeball your portion sizes instead of measuring them, or if you tend to forget the little "extras" you eat during the day (like licking peanut butter off the knife while making your sandwich, or tasting your pasta sauce while you're cooking it), you can easily add a few hundred uncounted calories to your daily total.

To fix this problem, make sure your calorie numbers are as accurate as you can get them. Track your calorie intake carefully and diligently, until you can recognize portion sizes of the foods you eat often without measuring. And don't count the regular activities of daily life you've always done as part of your "exercise."

Remember that fitness trackers and cardio machines only estimate how many calories you truly burn, and these trackers and machines tend to overestimate how much you're really burning. For a more accurate reading, you could invest in a good heart rate monitor that better estimates your calorie burn based on how hard you are actually working during exercise.

The Second Most Common Problem: Excess muscle loss
We'd like to think that every pound lost is a pound of fat, but in reality, all weight loss involves some combination of fat loss and muscle loss. To get the best results from your weight-loss efforts, you want to maximize fat loss and minimize muscle loss. The best way to do that is to include adequate strength training in your exercise routine. Without strength training, a substantial amount of the weight you lose could be muscle (lean tissue), which can reduce your fitness and lower your calorie burning capacity. To avoid these problems (and make it much easier to keep the lost weight off), be sure to include at least two full-body strength training workouts in your weekly routine. You can get plenty of strength-training ideas from SparkPeople's workouts, videos and fitness resource center.

The Final Problem: WHAT you eat may matter almost as much as HOW MUCH you eat.
How your body handles the food you eat is governed by a very complex set of biochemical interactions that determine when and where any excess calories are stored, and how easily this energy can be retrieved for later use. For some people with certain genetic predispositions, a diet high in fast-digesting carbohydrates like refined sugar and refined grains can make it easier for their bodies to store excess calories as fat and harder to get that energy back out of fat cells later on when it's needed. It can also lead to increased appetite and more cravings for high-sugar foods. There aren't yet any easily available tests that can identify people with this problem, but if you've been significantly overweight for a long time and you struggle with appetite, carbohydrate cravings, and slow weight loss, it may be worth your while to experiment with a diet higher in protein and healthy fats, and lower in refined carbohydrates and sugar. Be sure to discuss this with your doctor first, especially if you have any medical conditions/medications that can be affected by your diet.

Weight loss seems so simple on the surface: Eat less than you burn and your body will drop pounds. But for many people, there's more to the equation than counting calories in and calories out. We are all an experiment of one; you cannot compare your results to someone else's, just as you can't expect to have the same results as another person, no matter how similar you may seem to be. Think of your weight loss as a continuous journey. There will be bumps in the road, along with times when the sailing is smooth, but no matter what, you'll just have to pay attention to the route and be open to making changes in your approach or direction along the way. When you follow those guidelines, weight loss will become that much easier!

-- By Dean Anderson, Fitness & Behavior Expert