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!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

NEW Biggest Loser Challenge starting on TUESDAY, January 7th from 4:30pm-6:00pm.

Thursday, December 19, 2013


Our 12-week New Years Challenge will start TUESDAY, January 7th. Weigh-ins will be held every TUESDAY from 4:30pm - 6:00pm. Note that Biggest Loser will be on Tuesdays from 4:30pm-6:00pm this round.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


NO WEIGH-IN next Monday, November 11th

Since next Monday is Veterans day I have decided to not have weigh-in. Our FINAL weigh-in will be the following Monday, November 18th.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Week Six Mini-Challenge WINNERS!

Here are the 5 people that lost the highest percentage this week:

Huiskens, Carrie       -1.95%
Wright, Sallie       -1.95%
Pettit, Cherie       -1.61%
Larson, Dave       -1.30%
Willey, Laura       -1.13%

Great Job!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mini- Challenge this week

Keep track of what you are eating! Next Monday bring in a copy of at least 3 days of your food journal to be entered in a drawing to win a prize. 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Why Indulging at the Memorial Day BBQ Can Help You Stick to Your Diet

Memorial Day Weekend s finally here! While we can't wait to eat, drink and play, the temptation can be kind of overwhelming. All those hot dogs! All that pasta salad! All that beer! How can you say no? We don't think you should. Here's why:

"If you sit in the corner at the Memorial Day barbecue and feel sorry for yourself because you can't enjoy anything, you'll get depressed and overcompensate with unhealthy foods when you get home, or even later in the week," says Tara Gidus, a registered dietitian and nutrition consultant in Orlando, Fla.

But before you go hog wild devouring everything from chili cheese dogs to strawberry cupcakes, we have a few tips for indulging healthfully:

-    Eat before you party. Don't arrive at the party starving. Have a fiber-rich snack (think an apple with string cheese or carrots dipped in hummus) about an hour before the barbecue. It will fill you up without completely squashing your appetite, so you still have a little room left (but not too much) for the really tasty, fat-laden stuff. 

-    Take inventory before you dive in, instead of loading up your plate as you go. Take a lap and preview the goods. Spot your favorite chocolate cake? Maybe you want to forego the cookies. Is the potato salad calling your name? Ditch the Caesar. "Choose one thing from the party spread that looks the best and indulge," says Gidus. "A little healthy, controlled indulgence is definitely OK!"

-    Watch the condiments. Ketchup has about a teaspoon of sugar per tablespoon. Keep that in mind when slathering it on burgers and hot dogs, or when using other sugary condiments, like BBQ sauces. Better yet, load up your dogs with crispy onions and peppers for an antioxidant and flavor boost.

-    Park yourself away from the food. Enough said. 

-    Get your sweat on. "Definitely increase exercise and get a good sweat each day of the weekend so you can feel less guilty about indulging," says Gidus. 

-    Be careful with the booze. Avoid downing drinks before eating since alcohol stimulates appetite and lowers inhibitions. A buzzkill, yes, but you'll thank us later. So indulge in a virgin Mojito or sip on club soda with a little OJ.

Still jonesing for a "real" drink? Make sure you imbibe with food. That slows the entry of alcohol into the bloodstream and helps you recognize when you're full. If you're in it for the long haul and plan to have more than one, chase every cocktail with a glass of water ... and do your best to stop at two.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's getting close!

1st of all, just a reminder that there is NO WEIGH-IN NEXT MONDAY, May 27th due to the Memorial Day holiday. Final weigh-in will take place on Monday, June 3rd. If you owe any money for gaining weight penalties or missed weigh-ins, please bring it with you to final weigh-in on June 3rd.

2nd, we have 6 winners from last weeks mini-challenge! The challenge was to lose as much as you could in one week. The top 6 losers in one week (May-13-May 20) based on % of weight lost are winners! Congratulations Cynthia Londo on winning a FitBit! The other 5 people will win various prizes they can pick up on June 3rd!

1. Londo, Cynthia-1.4%
2. Pettit, Cherie-1.3%
3. Paul, Sherri-1.2%
4. Virtue, Cyndi-1.1%
5. Nieuwsma, Deb-1.0%
6. Virtue, Mark-0.9%
And finally, we will be offering a Summer Maintenance Challenge, beginning Monday, June 3rd through Monday, Sept 9th. The cost to participate is $20 and there are no weekly weigh-ins. We simply will weigh you on June 3rd and then again on September 9th. If you maintain your weight over the summer (must weigh the same or less on Sept 9th than you do June 3rd) you get your $20 back and a portion of the money forfeited by those who do not maintain. See Darla at weigh-in on June 3rd for all the details

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

10 Tips For Breaking Through Your Weight-Loss Plateau

It drives you nuts. All of a sudden, the scale won’t budge. You’re exercising, eating better, and you’ve lost a bunch of weight over the last few months, but now you've hit a weight-loss plateau.
What do you do?
The really good news is there's plenty you can do to break through your weight-loss plateau.
“First of all,” advises Dr. Jay Kenney, Nutrition Research Specialist at the Pritikin Longevity Center® & Spa, “it’s vital to remember one basic rule. Weight loss happens when we take in fewer calories than we burn. In other words, our calorie ‘input’ is lower than our calorie ‘output.’
“A plateau that’s been going on for two to three weeks is usually a pretty strong indicator that ‘input’ is now equal to ‘output,’ which means you’re at a standstill. You aren’t gaining weight, but you aren’t losing any either.”
So you’ve got to make a change. You can’t expect that you’re going to somehow magically break through. “The only way to break through your weight-loss plateau and lose more body fat is to cut calorie intake further and/or burn more calories through exercise,” advises Dr. Kenney.
“The only way to break through your weight-loss plateau and lose more body fat is to cut calorie intake further and/or burn more calories through exercise,” advises Dr. Kenney. Easier said than done, we know.
Easier said than done, we know. Especially cutting more calories. The key question is: How do you cut calorie intake further without feeling chronically hungry?

Perils of Chronic Hunger

“Few people can live with chronic hunger for long,” states Dr. Kenney. All too soon, your brain starts taking you places you don’t want to go – a U-turn into the drive-through lane at Taco Bell, a mad dash to the cookie aisle at the store. Oh, how quickly 1,000 calories of Oreos can go down, especially if you’ve been starving yourself.
To break free of temptation – and break through weight-loss plateaus – you’ve got to keep your mind off food. “And the best way to keep your mind off food is to keep hunger at bay,” advises Dr. Kenney. Sure, you’ve got to eat calories to feel full, but you don’t have to eat a lot of calories. The right types of foods can curb appetite and calorie intake.

Satiety = Success

Your secret to success? Get as much satiety as you can for every calorie you eat.
Satiety is the flip side of hunger. The more satisfied, or satiated, you feel after eating a meal or snack, the less hunger you feel. Without hunger nagging away at you, it’s easier to reduce your overall daily calorie consumption, lose weight, and keep it off.
Satiety is also a measure of how long it takes for you to become hungry after you’ve eaten. Does your meal fill you up for one hour? Two hours? Three? The longer it “sticks to your ribs,” the more satiety that meal has.
Interestingly, you don’t need a higher calorie intake to get a higher level of satiety. Certainly, if you ate an eight-ounce can of nuts (about 1,400 calories) or a pound of Oreos (2,200 calories), you’d feel full – and you probably wouldn’t need to eat again for a few hours. But you can achieve thesame level of satiety on a lot fewer calories.
To choose foods that give you the most satiety on the fewest number of calories – and help you break through your weight-loss plateau – follow these 10 tips:
  • 1. Eat Water-Rich (Not Fat-Rich) Foods.

    Fill up on water-rich, fiber-filled foods like vegetables, fruits, beans, hot cereals, potatoes, corn, yams, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice. Foods with a lot of water usually provide a lot of stomach-filling volume, but not a lot of calories.
    A pound of vegetables, for example, adds up to a mere 65 to 195 calories. Yet it’s one whole pound of food. A pound of fruit is only about 200 to 400 calories. A pound of beans, hot cereals, potatoes, corn, yams, whole-wheat pasta, or brown rice ranges from just 400 to 750 calories.
    By contrast, a pound of dried cereal, fat-free chips, or white sugar (no water in any of these foods) is packed with 1,600 to 1,725 calories.
    Talking in terms of pounds is important because the storage capacity of your stomach is two to three pounds, and your stomach really doesn’t care whether you eat 500 calories to fill it up, or 5,000. Once it’s filled to capacity and its stretch receptors have alerted you that it’s full, you’re pretty much done eating.
    So you can fill up on a big platter of water-rich, fiber-rich pasta topped with marinara sauce and lots of grilled vegetables for about 400 calories or the same size platter heaped with fatty, fiberless fare like a pastrami on rye, potato chips, and cookies for a whopping 1,400 calories. For both meals, satiety is the same, but calorie input is drastically different. Soon, your waistline will be, too.
    Nicely, water-rich, fiber-rich foods offer one other priceless bonus – they’re the best foods for your health. Scores of studies have found that the populations of the world whose diets are based on whole, natural foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans have the longest lives and the lowest rates of heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and many cancers on earth.
  • 2. Ditch the Dry Stuff.

    Steer clear of dry foods, particularly high-fat choices, like chips, crackers, candy bars, trail mix, and cookies and other baked goods. These are among the lowest satiety-per-calorie foods you can eat. They force you to choose between being fat or being chronically hungry.
    Dry but healthier options like bagels, pretzels, dried cereals, fat-free chips, and dried fruit should be limited, too, because all dry foods pack a whole lot of calories into very small packages. It’s shockingly easy to swallow literally 1,000 to 2,000 button-popping calories long before you’ve ever begun to feel satiated.
  • 3. Start Out With a Big Satisfying Salad.

    Start lunch and dinner with a huge salad full of fresh vegetables. In restaurants, especially, big salads will help fill you up so that you’ll eat less of the more calorie-dense fare that follows. At salad bars, go back for seconds, even thirds!
    “Use a dressing with lots of vinegar but little or no oil,” advises Dr. Kenney. “Beans and whole grains are good additions to salads, but leave off croutons, fatty meats, mayonnaise salads, creamy dressings, and cheese. They can dramatically increase the calorie density and undo most of the benefits of eating a salad.”
    Three cups of salad full of fresh veggies add up to a mere 100 calories. Three cups of salad with cheese, full-fat dressings, and bacon bits tally up 600 calories and more, yet provide little extra satiety for all those extra calories.
  • 4. Make Good Use of Your Soup Spoons.

    Every day, if possible, enjoy soup, stew, and/or chili (yes, more “wet” food) rich in whole grains, beans, vegetables, and a little lean animal protein like fish or chicken – or no animal protein at all, if you prefer. Soups, stews, and chili can “provide a whole lot of satiety per calorie if they are low in fat and high in fiber-rich foods,” says Dr. Kenney.
    In several studies at Penn State University, scientists found that people who ate veggie- and grain-rich soups and stews tended to eat fewer calories overall by day’s end than people who did not eat any soups or stews for the day.
  • 5. Don’t Drink Your Calories.

    Cut out calorie-containing beverages like soft drinks, alcohol, milk shakes, and even fruit and vegetable juices. “When you drink your calories, you get cheated on satiety,” explains Dr. Kenney. “Whether you drink a diet coke or a regular coke, you’ll likely eat the same burger and fries. And you get hungry about the same number of hours later. A regular coke adds calories, but not satiety, to your meal.”
    The same goes for fruit and vegetable juices. After a glass of orange juice, you’re far more likely to consume more food (and more calories) than if you’d eaten a whole orange. What’s more, the glass of orange juice alone is double the calories (100 to 110) of a medium-sized whole orange (50).
    And every calorie does count. Just 100 extra calories per day can easily translate into about 10 added pounds per year.
    So rather than drinking fruit juice, eat your fruit. Peel an orange. Finish off a big crisp apple. Snack on carrots. For the calories in one kid-size box of apple juice, you can enjoy an apple, an orange, and a slice of watermelon. Now that’s satiating.
  • 6. Get Simple.

    Watch out for buffets and other places with increased variety of tastes, textures, colors, and flavors. Variety stimulates appetite. “Look what happens at a restaurant,” points out Dr. Kenney. “We’re so full we can’t eat another bite, but then the dessert cart rolls around, and all of a sudden, there’s something new to taste and smell, so we cram that dessert right down.”
    When you’re satiated, the only foods that may tempt you to eat more are those that are low in satiety yet high in calories, like rich desserts. “Rich desserts are great for packing on the pounds but a disaster if you want to lose weight and keep it off,” warns Dr. Kenney.
    “If you’re limiting your variety of choices at each meal, you’ll actually feel full on fewer calories. That’s how you’ll lose weight.”
  • 7. Get In Touch With Your Stomach

    Eat only when you’re hungry. That doesn’t mean you wait till you’re famished and lunging for every cheeseburger in sight. Rather, listen for those little hunger pangs that tell you, “Time to eat.” Then go ahead and eat.
    By waiting to eat till you’re hungry, you’re getting more satiety out of that meal than if you’d eaten the same meal when you weren’t hungry. More satiety means less calorie intake overall. “Research shows that people who were told to wait till they were hungry to eat an afternoon snack ate fewer calories at dinner than people who ate the same snack earlier in the afternoon, when they weren’t hungry,” says Dr. Kenney.
    There’s another nice bonus of eating only when you’re hungry. Food’s tastier. Yes, there’s a lot of truth to the old saying, “Hunger is the best sauce.”
    Hunger makes everything tastes better. “If you’re really hungry, a plain baked potato, a little piece of fish, and some steamed vegetables tastes pretty darn good,” laughs Dr. Kenney.
    By contrast, food like baked potatoes and veggies will seem unappealing if you’re constantly eating (hungry or not) low-satiety, high-calorie foods like fatty meats, croissants, and chocolate. A low satiety-per-calorie diet results in a vicious pattern of eating mostly fattening foods, which lead to increased body fat stores and increased risk of heart attacks, many types of cancer, and numerous other ills.
  • 8. Skip Dessert – Or Opt For Healthy Choices

    If you’re still hungry after dinner, enjoy fresh fruit. Splurge at the market or restaurant on the choicest, most delectable of seasonal fruits – raspberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches, mangoes, guavas. “Sweet” doesn’t get any better! If fruit seems unappealing, you’re not really hungry.
    So at day’s end, what’s really going on? Cravings for calorie-rich desserts happen, not because of hunger, but because of bad food habits. “The only way to get free of these cravings is to not give in to them,” counsels Dr. Kenney.
    It’s tough. Evening is the witching hour, that time when other feelings take over, like boredom, anxiety, anger, or the need for a reward, driving us to indulge. Many of us eat the most fattening foods of the day at nighttime – when we’re not hungry.
    Do your best to search out noncaloric rewards – an evening massage, a yoga class, a walk at sunset, browsing through your favorite bookstore, a good movie, a phone call to a favorite old friend. What started out as a distraction may in fact turn into your nighttime diversion of choice. (And you’ll like yourself a lot more come morning.)
  • 9. Pump It Up – But Not Too Much

    There’s no question that boosting your calorie burn from exercise can accelerate loss of excess body fat. That’s why the Pritikin Program recommends a comprehensive plan involving about 60 minutes of aerobic activity at least six days a week, resistance training two to three times weekly, and stretching, optimally every day, explains Scott Danberg, MS, Director of Exercise.
    “If you’re falling below these guidelines, do your best to get back on track,” encourages Scott. “And don’t forget interval training – one to two minutes of high intensity aerobic exercise alternated with one to two minutes of low intensity exercise. Intervals really can burn extra calories and help you break through weight-loss plateaus.”
    Just don’t go overboard with exercise. With bouts that burn more than 500 to 600 calories, you may be reaching a point of diminishing returns, explains Dr. Kenney. “Moderate amounts of physical activity will not increase appetite, but large amounts will. You’ll burn more calories, but you’ll eat more, too.”
    And, of course, no amount of exercise makes up for a lousy diet. “I don’t care how long you go for a jog in the morning if you do what Bill Clinton used to do and stop off at McDonald’s for an Egg McMuffin. This plan won’t produce weight loss. It’ll produce heart disease,” warns Dr. Kenney.
  • 10. Keep Your Eye On the Prize

    It really is true: Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels. Nothing feels better than going down a dress size, and another, and another – or cinching your belt tighter and tighter.
    “What’s more, the thinner you get, the more you enjoy eating healthy foods,” says Dr. Kenney. “Eating is more pleasurable when it is driven by hunger rather than by boredom, anxiety, or the clock.”

Monday, May 6, 2013

Appetite Suppressants that Actually Work

Everyone is searching for that magic bullet when it comes to weight loss, but adding an exotic ingredient to your pasta carbonara won’t miraculously melt away the fat. That said, there are certain foods and eating strategies that, when used together, can naturally help dial down your appetite. Take a look at what works—and why.  

Eat an Apple a Day If you do one thing to regulate your appetite, eat a high-fiber diet, notes Judy Caplan, R.D., spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Fiber-rich foods break down slowly and turn off your brain’s response to food,” she explains. Plus, fiber stabilizes blood sugar levels, which determines how hungry you get. Adding 14 extra grams of fiber to your daily menu can reduce calorie intake by 10 percent. The fiber inapples and citrus are especially effective in helping the stomach feel full. For a snack that will tide you over until dinnertime, Keri Glassman, R.D., nutrition expert and author of “The New You and Improved Diet: 8 Rules to Lose Weight and Change Your Life Forever,” recommends apple slices with all-natural peanut butter.

Choose the Right Carbs
What do beans, lentils, green bananas and cold potatoes have in common? They’re rich in resistant starch, a carbohydrate that skips through the stomach undigested and gets fermented in the large intestine. This process releases an acid that makes the body use stored fat (i.e., love handles) for fuel. What’s more, resistant starch deals a debilitating, temporary blow to the appetite, keeping you full for about an hour afterwards. By the way, if you’re curious as to why cold potatoes are the way to go, that’s because when they’re chilled, potatoes form tight crystals of resistant starch, but if you heat them up, those crystals get broken up. Other good sources of resistant starch include yams, peas, chickpeas and barley.      

Add a Splash of Vinegar
To thwart between-meal hunger pangs, add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar to a carbohydrate-rich meal. Acetic acid lowers the glycemic index of carbs, which will keep them from spiking your blood sugar levels. “This will reduce the urge to snack in between meals and prevent cravings,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., author of “The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear—With Fiber!" One study found that dieters who drank one and a half tablespoons of apple cider vinegar at their morning meal ate about 250 fewer calories.

Indulge in Dark Chocolate
Seeking solace in comfort food? Choose dark chocolate. According to Zuckerbrot, dark chocolate tones down emotional food cravings because it floods the brain with endorphins, a chemical that elicits feelings of happiness and calm. In one study, women who ate or even smelled the confection reported less hunger. Eating chocolate also lowered levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone, which boosts the mouthwatering appeal of high-calorie foods. Just don't use this as an excuse to go to town on dark chocolate. A one-ounce square has 170 calories and 12 grams of fat, so popping a piece every time you feel a craving can turn into hundreds of extra calories, warns Zuckerbrot.

Pick Red Hot Chili Peppers
Spicing up your daily diet with chili pepper can help you eat less, but it’s no panacea, notes Glassman. Research shows that red pepper dampens the appetite in relation to how uncomfortably hot you think your food is. If you regularly eat spicy food and are immune to its fiery properties, it won’t help. It’s the burn on your tongue that makes it effective, so forget popping pills. As for the claim that dousing your food with cayenne will magically melt away fat? Don’t count on it, says Glassman. The active ingredient, capsaicin, may boost the metabolism slightly, but only to the tune of 20 extra calories a day.

Bulk Up (Your Plate, That Is)  The secret to feeling full while eating less: tricking your brain into thinking you ate a big meal. According to Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., one of the preeminent experts on satiety and author of “The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet: Smart, Simple, Science-Based Strategies for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off," size matters. Instead of shrinking your portion sizes, eat foods that take up a lot of room on your plate but have fewer calories per bite. These are foods with a high water content, such as broth-based soups, salads, fruit and vegetables. Eat these foods first, before your main meal, notes Rolls. Because they take a long time to eat and occupy up a lot of space in your belly, your brain will register that it’s full before you’ve eaten many calories. Sound too easy? Rolls’s research shows that people who follow these principles end up eating 800 fewer calories per day—without missing them.

Go Nuts for Pine Nuts
Dial down your appetite with a sprinkle of pine nuts. According to Zuckerbrot, their heart-healthy oil, pinolenic acid, packs a one-two punch for weight loss: It stimulates the release of a hormone that suppresses the appetite and slows down how quickly food leaves your stomach, keeping you full for longer. One study found that pine nut oil decreased hunger by 36 percent over a four hour period. Pine nuts are high in fat and calories, so eat no more than a handful a day.

By Jill Provost  

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Take the Cinco De Mayo Fitness Challenge

One of my favorite holidays is Cinco De Mayo. Growing up in Houston, Texas, the rich Mexican-American culture allowed for elaborate celebrations, with great food, dancing, and beautiful costumes year after year. To commemorate the day, I thought I’d challenge myself in the next seven days to add more fun-filled physical activity, with a focus on the number 5. My aim is to add 5 hours of additional movement leading up to next Sunday. The aim is not to overdo your current workout, but rather to seek out a play-based physical activity. While you can make yours Latin-themed, any activity that helps you keep 5 in mind should be motivation enough to keep moving. Here are my ideas:

Five Latin-Themed Workouts
This week I’m going to enjoy Latin dance and music through fitness, and I’ll also use the entertainment to stay moving. Today’s 24th Annual Fiesta Broadway Festival in Los Angeles will be the kickoff. You too can use a festival or outdoor event to burn extra calories. This event will run across 10 blocks in Downtown LA. My aim will be to walk, step, lunge, and squat(not all at the same time of course) around the perimeter of the event at least 5 times. How many miles can you add to during a festive outdoor event. The people watching alone will make the time fly by. No matter the venue, make it a point to circle the premises a few times. Next up, I’m skipping Zumba class, and instead going to a nightclub that offers a salsa lesson, before allowing the music to continue through the night. Of course, a fitness DVD will work as well. But who says you can’t pick any of your favorite dance movies to dance along to while you’re watching. I’ll also be purposefully adding Reggaeton, Cumbia, and Samba to my regular workouts. For my yoga session, I’ll add some Spanish guitar-infused music.

Five New Fitness Trends
I worked out alongside tennis phenom Venus Williams this week at Jamba Juice’s FiTrends event this past week. The highlight were the innovative fitness trends demonstrated. While I’m already a CrossFit convert, the other workouts introduced were new to me. This was my first time trying out Piloxing, a mish mash of Pilates and Boxing, BlogilatesBroadway BodiesLaBlast, and Bokwa. Group class lovers are primed for Broadway Bodies, LaBlast and Bokwa. The first two are dance-inspired Zumba-like classes that are driven by choreography and popular music. The latter, Bokwa, was the most interesting idea I’d seen… it’s a dance workout(though the website says it isn’t) where participants draw letters and numbers with their feet to music in free form. I’m already thinking of how I can turn Happy Birthday from just a song over a cake, into a minute long choreographed display. For those of us who are short on time, or always online, Blogilates may be the ticket. Cassey Ho, a Pilates trainer who blogs fitness routines can help you add a little extra movement with just a computer or smartphone, no equipment needed.

Daily Challenges with the Number Five
If you’re looking for something a little simpler to get more physical activity simply add 5 to your existing exercise regimen. Here are five daily options for you to try this week.

Add 5 Rounds of Tabatas
Tabatas are high intensity intervals using 20 seconds of extremely intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest repeated 8 times for a total of 4 minutes. Seems easy enough, but these extra 20 minutes of activity will add an intense burn. If you do a round when you wake, a couple hours before bed, an hour after lunch, and a few more during your break, you’re in for some fitness gains you hadn’t even bargained for.

Add 5 Minutes of Sprints
Another high intensity workout, that won’t put much of a dent in your day time-wise is adding sprints into your day. Before, during, or after your regular workout, push yourself to the max with 5 minutes of sprints. Break the 5-minutes into 30 to 60 second-dashes depending on your fitness level.

Five of Five for Five
A great set of exercises that isn’t so hard to get done is five reps of five of the most popular exercises. If you can do this 5 times throughout your day, you’ll feel stronger after this week passes. That’s 5 push-ups, 5 jumping jacks, 5 squats, 5 lunges, and 5 sit-ups. It’ll only take a few minutes to do each time, but if you can get it done, your body will thank you.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Consider What You Eat BEFORE Workout

Eating Before Exercise for Maximum Results
Everyone knows that athletes must plan and time their meals and snacks very carefully to reach their performance goals. But what about the rest of us? You try to squeeze in 30-60 minutes of exercise most days of the week. Do you have to be careful about what you eat before and after your workouts, too?

Usually not. If you’re eating a healthy diet and getting enough calories to support your activity level, you can probably rely on your own appetite, energy levels, and experience to tell you whether you need to eat anything before or after exercise and what it should be. The basic rule here is: Find out what works best for you, and do that.

There are some advantages to knowing how your body works and what it needs to perform at its best. The bottom line for healthy weight loss and fitness sounds simple: You have to eat fewer calories than you use up—but not fewer than your body needs to function at its best.

The size, timing, and content of your pre- and post-exercise meals and snacks can play an important role in your energy levels during your workout, how well your body recovers and rebuilds after your workout, and whether the calories you eat will be used as fuel or stored as fat. Here’s what you need to eat and drink to get the results you want!

Your Pre-Exercise Fluid Needs
Being well-hydrated will make your exercise easier and more effective. Try to drink 16-20 ounces of water during the 1-2 hours before starting your workout.

Your Pre-Exercise Meal or Snack
News flash: Most of the fuel you use during exercise doesn’t come from the food you’ve recently eaten! It actually comes from the carbohydrates (called “glycogen”) and fat that’s stored in your muscles, liver, and fat cells. That’s enough to fuel 1-2 hours of very intense exercise or 3-4 hours of moderate intensity exercise.

This means that if your overall diet is adequate to keep your fuel tanks topped off, you may not need to eat anything before you work out. So, if eating before exercise upsets your stomach or you like to exercise first thing in the morning or at a time when eating first isn’t convenient, don’t feel like eating first is a must.

Some people do have a hard time exercising without eating first, especially if it’s been a long time since their last meal or snack. These individuals often are more sensitive to changes in their blood sugar levels, which fall during the first 15-20 minutes of workout. That drop in blood sugar can cause tiredness, mild dizziness, or even faintness—especially if your blood sugar was already low, but eating something beforehand can help prevent this. If you have health issues like diabetes or hypoglycemia that can cause low blood sugar, you’ll probably want to eat before your workout. If you get very hungry during a workout (and it interferes with your energy levels or focus), or become so ravenous after an exercise session that you end up overeating, try eating before you hit the gym to avoid these problems.

If you are a moderate exerciser who tends to perform better with a pre-exercise snack, there are two ways to handle your needs:

1. Eat a small (100- to 200-calorie) snack about 30 minutes before you work out. This snack should include fast-digesting (high glycemic index) carbohydrates and very little fat (which digests slowly), so that you digest the meal quickly and the fuel is available during your exercise session. Here are some ideas:
  • Fruit juice
  • Fruit smoothie
  • High-glycemic fruits like pineapple, apricots, banana, mango, and watermelon
  • Sports drinks
  • Pretzels or bagels (but not whole grain varieties, which digest slowly)
  • Energy bars (look for 3-5 grams of protein, at least 15 grams of carbs, and very little fat)
2. Eat a nutritionally balanced meal 1-2 hours before your exercise. This is the best option for many people. The larger the meal, and the more fat and protein it contains, the longer you may need to wait before exercising. Ideally, try to eat enough calories to equal about half the calories you expect to burn during your upcoming workout. So if you burn about 600 calories during your workout, aim for at least 300 calories during this meal — or a little more if your exercise is “high intensity” (over 75% of your maximum heart rate). At least 50-60% of these calories should come from carbohydrates, which should keep your blood sugar and energy levels fairly stable during your exercise session. Include some protein to help prevent the breakdown of muscle for fuel and give your muscles a headstart on recovery after exercise. Some good food choices and combinations for this kind of meal include:
  • Fruit and yogurt
  • Nuts
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereals (with more than 3 grams of fiber) and milk
  • Trail mix with nuts and dried fruit
  • Hummus and raw veggies
  • Hard boiled eggs (or egg whites)
  • Cottage cheese and fruit
  • Half a peanut butter or turkey/chicken sandwich on whole grain bread
  • Whole grain crackers with nut butter or cheese
  • Whole grain fig (or fruit) Newton cookies
  • Milk (especially chocolate milk)
  • Tomato or vegetable juice
  • Yogurt smoothie (with added protein powder, if desired)
  • Most protein/energy bars
As a moderate exerciser, you have a lot of flexibility when it comes to timing your meals and choosing your foods. The most important things are getting to know your body and how it responds to exercise, so that you can give it what it needs to perform at its best. Eating the right foods at the right times before you work out is essential to keeping your energy up, your workout performance high, and your body in fat-burning mode.

  -- By Dean Anderson, Fitness Expert

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Keeping a Food Diary

There are many reasons to keep a food diary, the most common being to watch caloric intake versus expenditure. However, you also may be interested in identifying what emotional triggers result in overindulging in unhealthy foods or recording the types of food you ingest. This article will guide you through the practical steps needed to create an effective food diary tailored to meet your specific needs.
What to write in your daily food log
What you write in your food diary will depend on the purpose of your diary. Not everyone keeps a food diary for the same reasons. The following are different types of food journals and suggestions for what types of things you might write in that kind of food log:
Overcome emotional eating
If you are concerned that you are an emotional eater, a person who copes with unpleasant emotions by eating unhealthy amounts of food or unhealthy food, you may want to keep a food diary monitoring your mood and your food choices. This kind of food diary does not need to include calories or nutrition details, but rather should cover your daily experiences with food. If you ate healthfully that day and were in a great mood all day, this should be noted. If you were doing fine both mood-wise and with your food choices until dinner and you found yourself eating a carton of Ben and Jerry's ice cream because you felt so lonely, you will want to make a record of this experience. This kind of a journal requires room for note taking about emotions, events, choices, and possible solutions for the future.
Some emotional eaters overeat when they are celebrating or rewarding themselves for overextending themselves, and some have the converse problem. Some people with emotional eating issues cannot eat when they are distressed, lonely, angry or otherwise upset. These people can also benefit from keeping a emotional eating (or not eating) food journal, making note of when they need to nurture themselves with healthy meals instead of starving their anxiety or sadness by starving their bodies.
Engage in more healthful eating
If you need to change your dietary habits in order to make more healthful choices, you will want to keep a different type of food journal. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes you may need to eat more vegetables and proteins and avoid foods with high sugar index ratings; likewise if you have discovered you have high cholesterol, you may want to change your diet to lower your cholesterol. Perhaps you simply want to switch from unhealthy food choices to healthier meals and snacks and you need help seeing the nutritional values of the foods you eat.
This kind of journal will focus on the nutritional values of the foods you eat. You will want to make columns in your food diary to record values such as calories, fat grams, types of fat, grams of fiber, and sugars. You'll want to keep track of what foods helped you move towards your eating goals. When you find yourself eating foods that go contrary to your eating goals, you can look up substitutions for those foods that might satisfy you. For instance, if you ate a plate of French fries, you might write down that next time you'll spray some potatoes slices with Pam, sprinkle some sea salt on them, and roast them in the oven as healthy French fries.
Weight loss
If your goal is weight loss, you may want to combine parts of both of the journals listed above for your journal. Keeping track of caloric intake versus expenditures in exercise may be the most important aspect of your weight loss food diary, but noting the other aspects mentioned above may help you in your choices.
What kind of daily food diary will work best for you?
What kind of daily food journal you choose to use will depend on your lifestyle and what works best for you. If you are at your desk most of the day and have privacy in your office, you may want to keep your journal online or on a spreadsheet on your computer. If you have a laptop, perhaps you'll want to create a daily journal on your laptop and use it throughout the day. Some people like to use their Blackberries or notepad on their phones, and some people like to handwrite their food log in a journal or tiny notepad small enough to fit inside a purse or computer bag.
You also need to consider how much time you have to invest in your food diary. If you have a lot of time to write in details and look up alternative strategies for the future, you'll want a more complex diary. If you're very busy and need something quick and easy, a tiny notebook in your purse might be the way to go for you. Consider what will be easiest for you to actually use and don't overwhelm yourself with too much obligatory information to record in your food diary.
Consider paying for an online food diary 
There are several online food journal services available for low monthly fees. These services allow you to enter your meal choices and even calculate out calories consumed and calories burned through exercises. An online food diary service will most likely provide charts for measuring your progress, online support groups and forums for moral support, and articles about healthful eating and exercise. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Stop Binge Eating in Its Tracks

How to Prevent a Binge and Regain Control-- By Lauri Watson, Registered Dietitian

We’ve all heard the lunch room chatter about people's latest diets and weight-loss escapades. Maybe you’ve even led the discussion by saying something like,"I am going to be ‘good’ today and only eat salads and fresh fruit and avoid the sugar and junky stuff." Or maybe the conversation went more like, "I ate so bad this weekend! Now I have to go to the gym for two hours after work to burn it all off." Sound familiar?
As a dietitian, I often get asked "What do you think about the [fill-in-the-blank] diet?" My response is almost always the same: Diets do not teach healthy lifestyle changes that can be maintained over many years.
Unlike small and sustainable changes you can live with, diets are usually restrictive in nature and short-lived. While some people do find success on a variety of fad diet plans, most of the initial weight loss is simply water weight that comes right back once the diet is over or once you’ve cheated or given up on the eating plan that you simply couldn't take anymore.
Unfortunately, many people will not only gain back every pound they worked so hard to lose on a short-lived diet, but they can actually gain even more than they lost. Many times, dieting can lead to out-of-control binge eating episodes in which the dieter gets so fed up with restricting herself that she overindulges in every "sinful" treat she had been avoiding. However, these binges can also be on "healthy" or diet-approved foods, too.
If you're reading this article, chances are that you've experienced binge eating and may be wondering things like:
  • Is it ever OK to binge? Is the occasional binge normal?
  • Is it better to eat "right" Monday through Friday and then to throw caution to the wind on the weekends or plan for one cheat day per week?
  • Will I ever find a happy balance between eating the foods I crave and maintaining a healthy lifestyle?
  • I’ve heard of "intuitive eating," but what exactly does that mean and how do I apply it to my daily eating habits?
Let's explore some of these thoughts a little further.
Instead of defining "normal" eating here, this article will focus on how to prevent binges and get back on track after them. To read more about whether your eating habits are "normal" check out this three-part series on the topic by SparkPeople's behavioral psychology expert, Coach Dean.
What is binge eating?
Binging is an uncontrolled ingestion of large quantities of food within a short time period, often accompanied by feeling out of control over the eating taking place. 
We have all overeaten at one time or another, most notably around the holidays or on a special occasion. I think we have all gone back for seconds (or thirds) on Thanksgiving, or had an extra slice or two of cake at a birthday party. So when does the occasional overindulgence cross the line into the realm of real binge eating?
That isn't always easy to define. But if your days and weeks are becoming more filled with sessions of overeating and guilt; if thoughts of "bad" food and "good" food are constantly on your mind; and the lines between enjoying a small piece of cake on occasion and eating the whole pie are becoming more obscure, it might be time to step back take notice.
Keeping Binges at Bay
I’ve had many conversations with co-workers and friends about their post-weekend-binge guilt. Most often they say something like, "I was good all week! No sweets, no candy or cookies, and I even passed on mom’s mac & cheese at dinner the other night! But I just couldn’t help myself on Saturday when I opened the pint of ice cream to just take a bite and before I knew it, the whole carton was gone. Now I feel so guilty. I have to be extra good this week and go to the gym every day to work it off."
My response usually seems to surprise people: "Instead of eating the whole carton of ice cream on Saturday night, why not enjoy a small serving a few times throughout the week?" A half a cup of ice cream will likely set you back around 150 calories—maybe 200 for a really rich variety. But the whole carton will do much more damage than that! Not to mention the havoc all that sugar intake in one sitting will have on your blood sugar levels! Small amounts of sweets or high starchy foods over time are more likely to keep those cravings at bay and help prevent the cycle of binge eating and guilt.
For those of us who struggle with occasional binges that are more annoying and guilt-providing than obsessions or compulsions, there are a few tricks you can implement to keep yourself on track and avoid bingeing. <pagebreak>
  1. NEVER eat directly from the whole carton, bag or box. Take out your portion and put the rest away.
  2. For sweets and treats, use small (4 ounce) bowls and cocktail spoons or forks. A half a cup of ice cream or pie will look like a lot more food if you put it in a small bowl, rather than a large bowl with lots of extra empty space. Using smaller spoons and forks will make smaller portions last longer and slow down your eating.
  3. Set a kitchen timer or monitor the clock and try to extend meal times to 15-20 minutes. Take small bites and put your fork down in between bites. Have a conversation, chew slowly, etc. These strategies will allow your body to have enough time for its fullness cues to kick in. It takes about 15-20 minutes for your tummy to send a single to your brain that you are full. Remember last Thanksgiving when you gobbled down 2-3 plates of food in about 5 minutes and then regretted it 10 minutes later because your tummy felt like it was going to explode? It’s a miserable feeling, but eating slowly is the best defense to preventing it from happening again.
  4. Learn to differentiate between hunger and cravings.  Cravings are usually for something specific (brownies, French fries, bread, candy, etc.). However, if you are truly hungry, you will most likely eat anything, including raw veggies dipped in hummus or a small handful of nuts. The lines between hunger and cravings are often blurred, especially with the abundance of food options we have in America. Listen to your body and learn to decipher between cravings and hunger.
  5. Sometimes, we can confuse hunger with thirst. If you find yourself staring into the fridge looking for something to eat, but don’t know what you want, you are most likely experiencing boredom cravings. Grab a glass of water and walk away.
  6. When a craving for a specific food strikes, have an answer for it: Go for a walk, read a good book, take a hot bath, whatever you have to do to get your mind off of the craving.
  7. Sometimes binge eating isn’t really about the food or the craving at all. Instead it’s more of a stress reliever after a really bad day or a difficult breakup. Often without realizing it, we eat the whole bag of cookies or that entire bowl of pasta as a coping mechanism for stress or personal struggles. One of the most important things to prevent these types of binges is to stay present. Slow down and savor each bite of food. Better yet, seek out stress relief by going for a walk around the block or taking a hot bath.
  8. DON’T skip meals! This is very important. Skipping meals and snacks can cause you to overeat at the next meal, and eating just one (or two) big meal per day can wreak havoc on your blood sugars and hinder weight loss. Aim for three meals per day plus one or two (based on your calorie needs) healthy snacks
  9. Stay present while eating. Be aware of what you are eating and how much. Focus on your food and minimize any other distractions: Avoid eating in front of the TV or computer. Clear off the kitchen table. Don't read, study, write or talk on the phone while you eat.  By eating more mindfully, you will enjoy your meals more, notices fullness, flavor and satisfaction better than ever before, and feel less of a desire to overeat.
  10. Know how you respond to trigger foods. You'll hear differing opinions about whether people prone to binge eating should keep their trigger foods in the house or far, far away. I think this depends on the person. Only YOU know your own limits. If you are the type of person that simply cannot stop at just one cookie or one serving of ice cream, it might be best to keep these foods out of the house for a while. However, I think the goal would be to work towards enjoying a small serving of a trigger food whenever a craving strikes in order to avoid the inevitable binge that usually follows bouts of restriction. For some, allowing a small serving of a trigger food throughout the week can prevent binges—because you allow it versus labeling it off-limits. Others have a harder time staying in control.
And remember, it's okay to enjoy a sweet treat or a hearty side item every now and then. Depriving yourself is usually worse in the long run and can lead to out-of-control eating episodes that add up to far more calories than the food you initially wanted to eat. Enjoy life’s simple pleasures in small amounts a few times per week.
Coming Back from a Binge
So let's say it's been a rough week and you binged on one or more foods. It doesn't matter whether it was your favorite flavor of ice cream, healthy foods from your "approved" list, or anything you could get your hands on. Now what? Here's a list of dos and don'ts to get you back on track:

  • DON'T beat yourself up over it. We’ve all had those days at some point, and you can't change what happened in the past.
  • DO move forward and make your next meal or snack a healthy, portion-controlled one.
  • DON'T overly restrict your diet over the next few days to "make up for being bad." This will make you more likely to continue the cycle of deprivation dieting and binging.
  • DO focus on making the best food choices you can each day, focusing on lean proteins, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water. But continue to allow yourself to enjoy that small piece of dark chocolate (or other portion controlled treats) on occasion.
  • DON'T punish yourself at the gym after a binge. Stick to your usual exercise routine. Maybe go for an extra walk or do some other light activity in addition to your workouts, but try to avoid the mindset of "working off" the calories you consumed. This, too, can lead to an unhealthy cycle of binging and over-exercising.
Remember, the overall goal is to seek balance. A healthy lifestyle is not defined by one single meal or eating episode. Even the healthiest eaters in the world aren't perfect all the time. It's the combination of your choices over time that will create an overall healthy lifestyle. 
Please note: Overeating on occasion, such as your birthday or Thanksgiving may very well be considered normal. However, if you are experiencing purging behaviors, such as self-induced vomiting, taking laxatives or enemas, or excessive exercising to prevent weight gain OR if you’ve noticed that you are overeating very frequently, please seek professional help. On the same note, if every "sinful" bite of food or any overindulgence episode (big or small) leads you straight to the gym for several hours to work it off, you may be dealing with abnormal food and exercise issues, such as clinical binge eating disorder (a real eating disorder) or compulsive exercise, which can be a form of bulimia—another serious disorder.  Learn more about recognizing eating disorders and getting help.
Elsevier USA. "Dorlands Online Medical Dictionary," accessed March 2011. www.dorlands.com.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Why is the 2nd week SOOOOO Hard?!

With two-thirds of Americans currently overweight, it is evident that losing weight is not an easy task to accomplish. During the first week of weight loss, motivation is high and the pounds seem to roll off. Week two is often a different story. Understanding why weight loss can slow down will keep you from getting discouraged as you continue along on your weight-loss journey.


It is common to lose 3, 4 or even 5 lbs. the first week when changing your diet. However, a large percentage of this lost weight is water. When you decrease caloric consumption, your body starts to burn glycogen for energy. Glycogen is the storage form of carbohydrate and tends to hold onto large amounts of water. When it is burned for energy, this water is released. Because each gram of glycogen holds onto 4 g of water, there is a significant weight loss when it is burned. That is why week two's weight loss won't match week one's weight loss.


Refined carbohydrates like sugar, candy, soda and chips tend to have an addictive quality to them. For most people, the more you have of them, the more you want them. When you change your diet and cut down on these foods, your body goes through a kind of withdrawal, and you get intense cravings for these foods. If you are eating a healthy diet, these cravings will dissipate after a short time, but they tend to be really bad in week two. This is something you just need to try to tough out until the cravings become more manageable.


When you first start a diet, you are really excited to make changes, and your focus and adrenaline get you through the first week easily. In week two, you start to realize that this whole weight loss thing is going to take some work. The realization that your life will have to seriously change to accomplish your goals becomes apparent. In other words, reality sinks in. This can be a challenge for many.


Most weight-loss plans include an exercise component. It is common to overdo it the first week and experience delayed onset muscle soreness. Delayed onset muscle soreness occurs after 24 to 48 hours in response to either aerobic or resistance exercise. Eccentric muscle contraction leads to structural damages to the muscle that tends to result in an inflammatory response. This soreness can sap your will to exercise because it is uncomfortable. It is a good idea to gradually increase your physical activity over a period of weeks to decrease delayed onset muscle soreness. This will help to keep you motivated in week two and going forward