Cooking and Nutrition Tips to Help You “Lose Big” at Home
Whether you’re watching the show for the first time this season, or you’ve been a loyal viewer for the past fourteen seasons, you’re in for a lot of surprises this fall. You may have read about the new cast already - and like every other season, they are all absolutely amazing. In the spirit of second chances, our Season 15 theme, I want to share even more info with our viewers in hopes of inspiring you and your family to eat healthier than ever. Whether or not you have weight concerns, the Biggest Loser eating plan is for the entire family. The main point is that the quality of your calories is just as important as the quantity. With an emphasis on no processed foods, no sugar, no artificial sweeteners, no junk - the Biggest Loser eating plan is an effective way to maintain healthy blood sugar levels, strengthen your immune system and help you achieve or maintain a healthy weight. We didn’t become the most obese nation in the world overnight and the damage won’t be undone quickly either. But the road back to health is made up of many small steps you can take at home to lead you back to wellness. As the chef and nutritionist for “The Biggest Loser,” I’ve had the opportunity to play a part in some remarkable transformations. And while not everyone faces the extreme challenges that the “Biggest Loser” contestants do, the mistakes they make are the same that many of us fall into. When I’m asked, as I often am, “What can I do to help myself lose weight and/or improve my health?” I definitely make my recommendations based on a list of common denominators that have helped hundreds of overweight contestants win a place on “The Biggest Loser.” Over the course of 14 seasons, I’ve identified the key factors that have led America to earn its top ranking among obese nations of the world. I found that most of our contestants:
1. Had absolutely no idea how many calories their body really needed (and how many more they were actually taking in)
2. Skipped breakfast and often many other meals
3. Didn’t eat enough fruit or vegetables
4. Didn’t eat enough protein (specifically lean protein)
5. Didn’t eat enough whole grains
6. Ate too much white stuff: white flour, white pasta, white sugar, white rice and simple carbs
7. Didn’t feel they had time to plan ahead, so they found themselves grabbing something quick for a meal - often consumed standing up, at their desks or in their cars
8. Often had enough calories in beverages alone to meet their daily caloric needs - but didn’t drink enough water
9. Didn’t exercise enough (if at all)
10. Prioritized their spouse, partner, children and/or their jobs over their own health and well-being
Does any of this sound familiar? These 10 factors helped me to co-write an eating plan - the same plan I’ve shared with contestants (and my own clients) since the show premiered in 2004. I believe that this weight-loss plan works - and it’s based on an ambitious exercise regimen and the following basic recommendations:
1. Learn your body’s calorie needs - you must burn off more calories than you are taking in.
2. Don’t skip meals; you must develop a regular eating schedule of three meals and two or three snacks per day.
3. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables.
4. Eat plenty of lean protein.
5. Eliminate the white stuff (white flour, white rice, white bread, white pasta and white sugar).
6. Choose whole grains.
7. Plan everything ahead: your meals, your snacks and your exercise. As Jillian once said, “If you don’t plan ahead, you plan to fail.”
8. EAT (don’t drink) your calories, with the exception of milk.
9. Include exercise as part of your weight-loss plan.
10. Prioritize your health and well-being. If you don’t have your health, you can’t take care of your loved ones.
This season, I look forward to sharing many recipes and tips with you on how you can lose big (and stay healthy!) at home.
Cheryl Forberg, RD, is a James Beard award-winning chef and nutritionist for NBC’s The Biggest Loser. A New York Times best-selling author, her latest book is “Flavor First”. She lives on a farm in Napa, California.
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Or visit her website at www.cherylforberg.com
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