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!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Holidays Still Happen for Healthy, Thin People!

Why aren't we canceling weigh-in next Monday, you ask? Because really, who wants to come weigh-in on a holiday? Especially THE Holiday that ushers in the Summer BBQ season? The BBQ season that includes  potato salad, pasta salad, juicy fat steaks and homemade ice cream? WHY? WHY? WHY?

Because we need to stop making excuses for eating unhealthy. For eating too much. For throwing in the towel. The majority of people we look at admiringly, because they are thin and look faboulous in their shorts and tank tops, DO NOT simply have an over-active metabolism. Nope, the truth is, those folks we admire who are svelt and healthy are that way because they practice moderation. And if we only practice moderation during the week, when the distractions are few...what's the point? We are destined to fail until we can face these types of weekends and do them differently, right?

Think of yourself as a prize fighter, who is in training. Memorial Weekend is the Big Event. Are we going to throw in the towel, or show up for the fight?

Enjoy some boneless, skinless BBQ chicken. Juicy fresh strawberries. A big delicious salad. Some yummy roasted veggies... you can do this!

And YES, we are weighing in on Memorial Day. I'll be there to meet you at the scale. We can do this!

Sidestep Weight-Loss Sabotage

A good friend can make you laugh, cry, and, according to research, get fat. Who can forget the study published in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed if a friend is obese, your own fat odds go up 57%—a finding that resulted in newspapers splashing, “Obesity … socially contagious!” But what was under-reported in all the hoopla was what the heck you’re supposed to do about it.

The key: Stop blaming others and take charge, says Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Weight Management Center. “Sabotage is everywhere,” she says. “It’s never going to stop, so you need to find ways to stick up for yourself.” Check out these common diet saboteurs and how you can stop them from encouraging you to eat more.

The Food Pusher
Trademark line:  “I made these chocolate chip cookies just for you!”

What’s going on:  The pusher, often a mother or doting friend, uses food to show her love. (How about a hug instead?)

Do this:  If a food peddler offers you a treat, try to postpone rather than deny, suggests Denver-based weight-loss specialist Linda Spangle, RN, author of 100 Days of Weight Loss: The Secret to Being Successful on Any Diet Plan. “Say, ‘Not just yet. I’m going to wait a little while,’” Spangle advises. “Somehow that’s more comfortable than saying—or hearing yourself say—‘No, I’m on a diet.’”

The Critic
Trademark line:  “Just order the lasagna! You’ve been on a diet forever!”

What’s going on:  If she’s having trouble counting calories herself, this may be jealousy over your dedication.

Do this:  Brush all of her sneaky, insensitive comments off your newly toned shoulders. Try responding with a friendly but I’m-in-charge, “Sorry, but what I really don’t want is that cheese settling on my hips forever! You support me, right?”

The Enabler
Trademark line:  “C’mon, let’s go on a doughnut run!”

What’s going on:  If pigging out used to be a bonding thing for you and your girlfriend, your calorie-counting may be seen by her as a threat to your friendship.

Do this:  Take the fat out of your relationship without spoiling the spontaneous fun. Try: “What about a shopping spree instead? There’s this new boutique I want to check out. Meet me there in half an hour?” It’s up to you to find ways to spend time together without indulging in food.

By Leslie Goldman, Health.com

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mini Challenge Winners

Our most recent mini-challenge was to lose a total of 3lbs or more between weigh-in on May 2 and May 16th. Over 25 of you accomplished your goal! "WEIGH"-to-go! But we only have 3 prizes, so we drew names randomly from those of you who qualified and the winners of the Biggest Loser Daily Meal Planner magnetic dry-erase boards are:

Donnie Moore
Mark Selee
Lisa Pimentel

Make sure you all look at the challenge box to the left on the website here to prepare for the next mini-challenge!

Whole Grains are the Whole Package

These Natural Grains Pack a Nutritional Punch

Health experts agree that we need to eat more whole grains for optimal health. But most people don’t know what whole grains are. They have been shown to reduce the risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity, but knowing the health benefits doesn't help you find them in your local grocery store or learn how to cook with them.

The Definition of Whole Grain
Every grain starts as a whole grain when it grows from the earth. This whole grain (actually the seed or kernel of the plant) has three parts: the bran, the germ and the endosperm.
  1. The bran is the outer skin of the seed that contains antioxidants, B vitamins and fiber. (You may have heard of wheat bran or oat bran, which are available in stores and are common ingredients in certain cereals.)
  2. The germ is the “baby” of the seed, which grows into a new plant when pollinated. It contains many vitamins, along with protein, minerals and healthy fats. (You may have seen jars of toasted wheat germ in stores, which can be added to a variety of foods to boost nutritional content.)
  3. The endosperm is the seed’s food supply that provides the energy needed for the young plant to grow. The largest portion of the seed contains carbohydrates, and smaller amounts of protein, vitamins and minerals.
So a whole grain is one that contains all three parts of the kernel.

When grains are processed and refined (the most common practice for making breads, cereals, pastas and flours), the bran and germ are removed, leaving behind the white endosperm. During this process, grains become less nutritious, losing 25% of their original protein content and 17 other essential nutrients. While manufacturers then "enrich" the flour with some vitamins and minerals, a naturally whole grain is still a healthier choice. Compared to refined grains (white bread, white rice, white flour), whole grains pack more protein, fiber, vitamins (B vitamins and vitamin E), and minerals (magnesium and iron), as well as some antioxidants not found in other foods.

Types of Whole Grains
Common types of whole grains include:
  • Wild rice, which is actually a seed
  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat
  • Oatmeal and whole oats
  • Barley
  • Whole rye
  • Bulgur
  • Popcorn
Less common types include: amaranth, millet, quinoa, sorghum and triticale (a hybrid of rye and wheat).

Adding Whole Grains to Your Diet
New dietary guidelines established by the U.S. government in 2005 recommend that half of your daily grains servings should be whole grains. That's at least three servings of whole grains per day.

The easiest way to increase the amount of whole grains you consume is to substitute some processed grain products with their whole grain equivalent. This is as simple as having a slice of whole grain toast in the morning instead of using white bread, or using whole wheat flour in pancakes instead of white flour. If you’re making homemade soup, toss in a handful of brown rice or barley for added fiber. Make your dessert a healthy one, such as oatmeal cookies, and you won't have to feel guilty—you’re eating whole grains!

While at the grocery store, be extra careful reading food labels. Words such as multigrain, stone-ground cracked wheat or seven grain don’t necessarily mean the product is made with whole grains. And color doesn’t mean a whole grain either—some brown breads are simply white bread with added caramel coloring. The Whole Grain Council created an official packaging symbol in 2005 called the Whole Grain Stamp to help consumers find whole grain products. But until use of the stamp is used widespread, look for the word "whole" near the top of the ingredients list. (For example, the first ingredient of whole grain bread or cracker should be "whole wheat flour".)

Besides switching to whole wheat bread, you can easily add whole wheat pasta and brown rice to the menu to increase your consumption of whole grains. Whole wheat pasta comes in all shapes and sizes and appears to be a darker beige color than regular pasta. You can find it in the pasta section of both natural food and regular grocery stores. If you’re not going to eat it right away, you can store an unopened package for six to eight months in a cool, dry cupboard. Whole wheat pasta is prepared the same way as regular pasta (but usually takes a couple extra minutes to cook). To ensure that the pasta isn’t mushy, rinse it off under cool water to stop the cooking process. One cup of cooked whole wheat pasta has about 200 calories and 4 grams of fiber.

Brown rice is healthier than white rice and has significantly more nutrients. The refining process that transforms brown rice into polished, white rice strips away most of the vitamins and minerals and completely removes all of the fiber and essential fatty acids—basically leaving only the starch behind. White rice must be “enriched” with vitamins B1, B3 and iron, but at least eleven lost nutrients are not replaced at all. Brown rice is a concentrated source of fiber, which speeds up the removal of cancer-causing substances from our bodies. It is also an excellent source of selenium, which has been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. You can find quick-cooking "instant" brown rice, which are parboiled to speed cooking time. Because of this pre-cooked process, they are slightly lower in nutrients than regular, slow-cooking brown rice, which can take up to an hour to cook. However, look for microwavable pouches of brown rice on the shelf and in the freezer section. These are still high in nutrients and cook in minutes!

Studies Prove the Benefits of Whole Grains
A 2006 study by Tufts University showed that people who consume the most whole grains are 42 percent less likely to develop diabetes. Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that people with a diet high in whole grains showed a lower risk of both diabetes and heart disease. In 1997, the FDA authorized the claim that the soluble fiber in oats reduced the risk of coronary heart disease; this approval was extended in 2005 to include the fiber in barley as well.

Whether you want to reduce your risk of disease or you simply want to eat fewer processed foods, adding whole grains to your diet makes sense. So the next time you sit down to watch a movie, bring along a bowl of popcorn and snack with a clear conscious. Whole grains couldn’t be tastier!
-- By Leanne Beattie, Health & Fitness Writer

Monday, May 16, 2011

400-Calorie Spring & Summer Recipes!

Warmer weather brings cravings for light, low-calorie meals that fill us up and help us look sexy in the season's show-off styles. Welcome spring and summer by stocking your menu with recipes from Prevention's new 400 Calorie Fix Cookbook.
Each dish here uses simple ingredients and offers "make it a meal" suggestions for sides and desserts that keep your meal in the 400-calorie range. Remember: eating four 400-calorie meals is a no-fail way to lose weight and rev metabolism — just in time for sundress season!

Get inspired for breakfast, lunch, and dinner now! 

Frittata with Asparagus, Basil, and Romano Cheese

In-season asparagus stars in this brunch frittata while chopped potatoes make it a filling meal that curbs afternoon cravings. Ready to eat in under 30 minutes.
Calories Per Serving: 270
CLICK HERE for the recipe

Golden Roast Chicken with Lemon, Garlic, and Rosemary

Juicy, tender, and seasoned with simple ingredients, this chicken dish couldn't be more delicious.
Calories Per Serving: 150
See the full recipe — and what to pair it with!

Excerpted from 400 Calorie Fix Cookbook. For a listing of more "under 400 calorie meals, click HERE!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Resetting Your Stomach’s Internal Clock

It’s noon. Are you hungry? Many of us have become conditioned to eat “by the clock,” taking our meals at the same time every day, with little regard to our body’s natural hunger signals. While eating on a set schedule is generally more convenient and socially acceptable, relying too heavily on your watch instead of your stomach can lead to mindless eating and overeating.

The Evolution of Mealtimes

Thousands of years ago, before the Agricultural Revolution, humans roamed the Earth, hunting animals for meat and gathering edible fruits, nuts, and vegetables. Food was scarce and obesity was unheard of. Our ancestors ate whenever possible as if their lives’ depended upon it. Many times it did – starving to death was a very real threat.

Advances in agriculture, food production, storage, and preservation have drastically changed the way we live as well as the way we eat. Most of us no longer have to constantly worry about foraging together enough scraps to survive. Nowadays, food is usually never more than a few steps away in the nearest fridge, vending machine, or drive-thru. And instead of facing constant shortages, modern food production results in a huge over-supply; the USDA estimates that 3,800 calories per day per person are produced in the United States.

In short, eating has transitioned from an important activity necessary for our continued existence into a routine everyday task we give little thought to. Set meals – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – are a convenient way for us to meet our daily nutrition requirements in a method that fits well with our work schedules and time commitments (see The Main Meal of the Day).

Recalibrating Your Hunger Signals

With such easy access to food served in several meals throughout the day, it’s likely many of us don’t know what hunger – true hunger – is. That said, billions of people in the world still face severe hunger and malnutrition, even with our overabundance of readily-available food here in the US.

Eating three solid meals a day has quite likely skewed our definition of “hungry.” The human body is capable of going many days without eating anything at all. In fact, many other carnivores and omnivores in the animal kingdom eat only a couple of times per week, or less. Eating a few hours later than usual may make you “hungry,” but chances are you are not actually “starving to death.”

Why Do You Eat?

Learning to trust your body and listening to natural hunger and fullness signals are some of the basic principles of the Intuitive Eating movement. It can, of course, be difficult to trust your own body after so many years of conditioning by external influences, including eating at set times of the day. It may help to ask yourself the question, “Why am I eating?” Ideally, you are eating to satisfy your hunger and not eating just because you want to eat. It’s a subtle difference, but an important one. Are you hungry? Are you bored? Are you stressed? Is it “time” for lunch?

Calorie Count co-founder Erik Fantasia and his fiancĂ©e, Heather Curtis, are currently traveling around the world.  You can follow their adventures online with Facebook and their blog.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Pave the Way for Persistence

When it comes to permanent weight loss, persistence is where the tire meets the road. There will be many ups and downs along this road, and you'll have to keep yourself going even when things get tough. If you’ve been working the previous eight steps in this plan, you have already done much of the preparation necessary to cultivate and support persistence. You’ve developed some knowledge and skills to help you overcome common stumbling blocks. And you’ve articulated your vision, found your inspiration, chosen your direction, designed some specific goals and strategies, and given your beliefs and attitudes a good reality check.

The next step is practice—developing a set of daily practices or situations that promote persistence. Here are some key elements you’ll want to include in your daily practice:

Surround yourself with excellence.
  • Find success stories that inspire you and read them often.
  • Associate yourself with people who are actively pursuing positive goals similar to yours.
  • Share your Vision Statement with a few people you can trust to be supportive, and ask them to give you a good kick in the butt when they think you need it.
  • Give yourself permission to demote non-supportive friends to “I’ll check in with you later” status.
Give your physical environment a persistence-building makeover.
The old clichĂ© “out of sight, out of mind” is really true for human beings, as is its opposite, “in sight, in mind.” Your ability to persist to your final weight-loss goal will be much greater when you make sure that the places you spend most of your time are full of positive cues, such as objects, photos, inspiring quotes, and other visual reminders of your vision and your goals. You can also spare yourself a lot of grief by having several “go-to” strategies and tools for handling stress readily available: music to soothe the emotional eating beast, meditation, a journal to write in, candles, oils and scents for a relaxing hot bath, and so on.

Finally, make sure you eliminate as many negative cues and triggers as you can. Don’t keep foods you don’t want to eat in plain sight, put the exercise bike right in front of the TV so you have to sit on it to see the TV, etc. You get the idea.

Go public.
The more people who know about your goals, the more support you’ll get, and the harder it will be to find places where you feel comfortable NOT doing what you’ve said you want to do. Sometimes, embarrassment and peer pressure can be your friends.
Reward success, but don't punish yourself for failures. Find small, enjoyable rewards for yourself when you do well. And keep in mind that doing well means doing your part well—healthy eating, exercise and self-care—not just seeing a change on the scale. When you don’t do so well, make sure you don’t fall into the trap of beating yourself up. Just get back on track. Find someone else who’s having a bad day and see if there’s something you can say or do to help them out. That works like a charm for getting yourself out of your own negative state of mind when all else fails.

For more persistence-building ideas, see:

Sharing Is Achieving
Goal Buddies Are Golden
Weight Loss Journals: Hands-On Inspiration

-- By Dean Anderson, Behavioral Psychology Expert

Monday, May 9, 2011

Eat More, Stress Less, Lose Weight!

Most of us are getting less than 7 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night, which experts say is the minimum amount that a person needs to maintain a healthy weight. Most of us also face high amounts of stress as well.
Now a group of researchers reports that these 2 factors--not enough sleep and too much stress--could be one of the main culprits sabotaging our weight-management goals.
Increased sleep + reduced stress = more successful weight loss?
A study just published in the International Journal of Obesity shows that getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night, while at the same time managing stress effectively, may double your chances of winning at the weight-loss game.
The study, from the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research, involved almost 500 overweight men and women who volunteered to participate in a 26-week intervention looking at their diets and lifestyles. Here are the results:
  • The average study subject lost 14 pounds.
  • Sixty percent of participants lost at least 10 pounds.
  • Those who slept at least 6 to 8 hours every night and reported having the least stress were twice as likely to lose at least 10 pounds, compared to those who reported being sleep-deprived and experiencing the most stress.
How to get more sleep and reduce stress
While it might be easier said than done to implement this program, here are a few tips I give to my patients:

  • Check in with your stress throughout the day. Is your breathing deep or shallow? This is important to note because shallow breathing can often accompany stress. I'm a big fan of deep breathing, and sometimes use my training as a registered yoga teacher to demonstrate deep-breathing techniques to my clients. (Here are some deep-breathing exercises from the American Lung Association.) You might also consider gentle yoga, meditation, or Tai chi to help manage your stress.
  • Get to bed earlier. If you have a hard time getting to bed at a decent hour, think about buying an automatic light timer for your main light source in your living room (or wherever you hang out during the later hours). If you program this device to turn off your light at least 30 minutes before you want to get to sleep, you'll have no trouble "remembering" when you need to start heading p to bed.
  • Make your bedroom a calm and restful place. First, keep TVs, cell phones, and computers out of the bedroom. Next, block out bright lights that might keep you awake by hanging dark curtains on bedroom windows--or consider wearing an eye mask while in bed.
  • Avoid eating before bedtime. Avoid eating large meals within a few hours of bed time; this will not only help you to avoid gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), but might help you cut down on calories as well.
  • Don't exercise too close to bedtime. Exercise is a wonderful way to tire yourself out, true, but it also generates endorphins and adrenaline--2 biochemicals that disrupt sleep.
  • Consider getting checked for sleep apnea. If you keep waking up tired, no matter how much sleep you get, you might have sleep apnea--especially if your weight could be healthier. Treatment for this disorder could help you lose weight, as well as feel a whole lot more refreshed when you wake up.
The bottom line
If you're working on weight loss but at the same time you're living through some high-stress times and aren't getting enough sleep, why not give this "sleep-more-stress-less" plan a try?
To less stress and more sleep, dear readers!
By Margaret Furtado, M.S., R.D

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mini Challenge

This week's mini challenge...

This challenge is stretching over 2 weeks. Lose 3 lbs or more between weigh-in on 5/2 and weigh-in on 5/16 and you will qualify for the drawing! What's the prize? WE are giving away (3) Expo Biggest Loser Magnetic Dry-Erase Meal Planners! Good Luck!
Congratulations to our One-Mile Walk Challenge Winners!. Thee were almost 30 of you that walked a mile at weigh-in on Monday, but only 3 could win! And our winners, drawn randomly from the participation slips are:
Diane Aispuro
Marissa Ramirez
Jason Yonano

You each won a copy of Biggest Loser Power Walk DVD!

The Single Best Exercise for Weight Loss

Often people will ask me to share the best exercises for weight loss. They want to know what kind of cardio activity is going to help them lose weight faster than anything else. Even if they don't enjoy it, they are willing to try whatever is going to help them reach their goals more quickly. My response is always the same. So are you ready to hear what the magic exercise is? What's going to help you lose weight keep it off long-term, and get fit?

The answer is simple: Find the activities you enjoy doing and stick with them. It's true that some activities burn more calories than others. You'll burn more in 45 minutes of running than you will in 45 minutes of walking. But if you hate to run, chances are that you're not going to be able to keep it up forever. Exercise becomes a chore, something you dread instead of something that brings enjoyment to your life. I always cringe when I hear people say things like this: "I hate running and have no interest in doing it. But I feel like I have to run if I'm going to lose weight, so can you give me some tips for how to enjoy it?" My response is usually to try it if you haven't before, but don't be afraid to do something else instead of it's just not working for you. I've tried swimming before. It was a great workout, very challenging, but not something I enjoyed at all. So I decided that swimming just wasn't for me and moved on to other activities instead.

We all have those days when we don't want to exercise. Although I love running, I don't jump out of bed every single morning, full of energy and ready to go. There are some days when I'd much rather stay in bed. But for the most part, I've found something I enjoy doing, so it's easier to stick with it. And to keep things interesting, I like to train for different races, incorporate different kinds of runs and different routes into my routine. That way my body is continually challenged and I don't get bored.

Putting personal preferences aside, if you look strictly at what exercises are considered "best", you'll get a wide variety of professional opinions. Exercise physiologists will give answers based on what exercises burn the most calories, which ones provide the most strength benefits, which ones increase power or flexibility. It just depends on your goals and your body. Every body responds differently to different exercises, and everyone has different opinions about what activities we should be doing.

Regardless of the activity, the fact that you are exercising at all is most important. You don't have to train for marathons and spend hours at the gym to be healthy. "A recent meta-analysis of studies about exercise and mortality showed that, in general, a sedentary person’s risk of dying prematurely from any cause plummeted by nearly 20 percent if he or she began brisk walking (or the equivalent) for 30 minutes five times a week. If he or she tripled that amount, for instance, to 90 minutes of exercise four or five times a week, his or her risk of premature death dropped by only another 4 percent."

Jen Mueller - SparkPeople

Monday, May 2, 2011

Take the Stress Out of Weighing In

Regain Your Power Over the Scale

Does seeing the wrong number on the scale make you crazy? Many people find that a “bad” weigh-in ruins their mood and saps their motivation, making it difficult to keep doing what they know they need to do.

Things don’t need to be this way. You can learn to use the scale as a helpful tool, instead of giving it the power to dictate your feelings and your actions.
3 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Your Weigh-Ins
  1. Be clear with yourself about what that number on the scale really means. That number on the scale only tells you how much you weigh at that moment. It tells you absolutely nothing about what kind of person you are; what life has in store for you; whether or not you’ll ever look the way you want to look or feel the way you want to feel; or how other people see or think about you. If you experience thoughts or feelings like these just because you see an unwelcome number on the scale, then your expectations about what weight loss can do for you need a major overhaul. You may want to take the Is Weight Loss Stressing You Out? quiz to see if you need to do some work on that front—before you paint yourself into a corner you can’t get out of.
  2. Remind yourself that you are choosing to use the scale as a weight loss tool. It is NOT your judge, jury and executioner. It’s probably a good idea to post this reminder where you will see it each time you step on the scale. It can help to include a short list of the most important reasons why you are trying to lose weight in the first place, and some of the ways you can measure your progress towards those goals (besides the scale).
  3. Use the number on the scale to actually help your program work for you. If you’re going to use the scale as a tool, you might as well do it right. Try keeping a journal (or better yet a computer spreadsheet) where you track your weigh-ins (daily, weekly or monthly), your total calories eaten during that time period (from your Nutrition Tracker) and your calories burned through exercise (from your Exercise Tracker). Once a month, add the numbers up and see if things are going the way they “should” be. Figure out your total calorie deficit for the month, and see if your weight actually behaved according to the "3500-calorie deficit equals one pound lost" formula. If it didn’t, then try to figure out why, using a method like this:

    • First, go back to basics. About 90% of the “mysterious” differences between what should happen and what does happen can be traced to underestimating calorie intake and/or overestimating calories burned. For the next few weeks, double check yourself on your calorie counting, portion estimating, etc., and make sure you’re not leaving anything out of your nutrition tracking.
    • If that doesn’t solve the problem, figure that there may be something wrong with the estimates you are getting for your exercise calorie burning and/or your non-exercise calorie burning (your basal metabolic rate—BMR). Consider investing a little money in a heart rate monitor with a calorie estimating feature to wear during exercise, and/or having your BMR tested at a local gym with a device called the BodyGem (costs about $50). Use this info to adjust your calorie intake and/or your exercise, and see how this new plan works for the next month.
    • If all else fails, talk to a dietitian or your doctor to rule out any unusual metabolic problems, or medical issues. But again, 9 times out of 10, it's most likely a simple problem with getting the right numbers.
-- By Dean Anderson, Behavioral Psychology Expert