Recipe of the Week



As the dreary, gray and bitter cold Wisconsin weather seeps into my bones, I was thrilled to re-discover Chef Curtis Stone's recipe for Turkey and Vegetable Chili that was shared on a previous episode of my favorite weight loss reality show, The Biggest Loser.

It definitely perks me up and helps put some warmth back into my body!

But then again, just gazing at Chef Curtis Stone's dreamy-ness does wonders for a girl too! :)


Chef Curtis Stone's Turkey and Vegetable Chili

INGREDIENTS

For the chili:
  • 1-½ tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, medium diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 small red chili, seeded and small diced
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and small diced
  • 1 large celery stalk, medium diced
  • 1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and medium dice
  • 12 ounces 1% lean ground turkey
  • 4 medium size ripe tomatoes, medium diced
  • 8 oz cooked white or black beans
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup plain fat free Greek style yogurt
  • Micro cilantro to garnish, (can substitute with chopped chives or chopped cilantro)


DIRECTIONS

  • Place a large saute pan over medium high heat, then drizzle with the oil.
  • Add the onion, garlic, and red chili and sauté for 2 minutes, or until tender.
  • Sprinkle the cumin over the onion mix and stir well, then add the carrot, celery, and bell pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the vegetables begin to get tender.
  • In a separate saute pan, brown the turkey in the remaining oil over medium high heat, then transfer to the vegetable mix.
  • Add the tomatoes and the beans and cook for a further 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the tomatoes have broken down and most of the liquid has evaporated.
  • Stir in the spinach and remove from the heat.
  • Season the chili to taste with freshly ground black pepper
  • Spoon the chili into serving dishes
  • Spoon a tablespoon of the yogurt onto each garnish with the micro cilantro and serve.


Nutrition Facts:
Calories 280
Total Fat 7g
Sat Fat 1.5g
Cholesterol 35mg
Sodium 120mg
Total Carb 28g
Dietary Fiber 9g
Sugar 7g
Protein 29g


xo,


"You can sit around and wait for the good things to happen to you, or you can go out and make them happen." Unknown

The Biggest Loser Diary

Thank heavens for Laura at NBC! I don't know what I'd do without the exclusive Biggest Loser clips she sends me every week!

Today's clips include Bob-alicious on The Jay Leno Show last night! I'll take whatever clips of Bob-alicious I can get! ;)

Also, recap or rewatch tonight’s elimination and catch up with Migdalia after her time on the show in the “Where Are They Now” clip! And get a tip to help in your own battle to keep the weight off from Jillian in this week’s “Trainer Tip”. Plus, we also have a whole bunch of bonus scenes that you didn’t see in the episode for even more drama (oy vey!) from Week 4.

Preview next week’s episode, which has a team returning to the ranch to continue the competition in the “Next On” clip! Remember you can cast your vote on which past competitions you’d like to see on air this season – head over to the official site and vote now!

The Biggest Loser trainer Bob Harper is here.
Biggest Loser’s Bob talks about the red team controversy.



Week 4 Elimination
The players are forced to choose who to eliminate.



Where Are They Now: Week 4 – Migdalia
Check out Migdalia looks today!



Trainer Tips (1/26/10)
Jillian shows you the perfect afternoon snack.



Bonus Scenes: Week 4 - Red Team's Defense
Jillian tries to teach The Red Team a lesson.



Bonus Scenes: Week 4 - Migdalia's Concern
Migdalia turns to Jillian for encouragement.



Bonus Scenes: Week 4 - Melissa's Plea
Melissa reaches out to Jillian for help.



Next On: Who's Coming Back?
Find out which team will be returning to the ranch to compete in Tuesday's Biggest Loser.



xo,

Mental Monday

Okay ... we're 25 days into 2010. How's them resolutions coming? I think by now, sadly, most resolutions have been broken and tossed out the window. If your motivation is lacking, here's a great article from SparkPeople.com that may help you get back in the groove!

xo,


"Go the extra mile. It's never crowded." Executive Speechwriter Newsletter

9 Hidden Reasons to Stay Motivated

Ways to Rediscover Your Drive

Everyone tells us to stay motivated. Our friends, our co-workers, our relatives say to keep going, don’t quit. Sometimes, though, you ask, "Why? Why try my hardest when it ends in disappointment? Why go through something when it’s going to hurt? Why?"

Because it’s going to be different this time! Because you can’t accomplish anything that you give up on. Disappointments and failures happen to everyone. The difference between those who reach their goals and those who don’t is staying motivated. If you’re motivated, you’ll keep going. If you keep going, eventually you’ll reach your goal.

Need more reasons? Here are 9 of our ‘hidden’ reasons to stay motivated. Use one or all of them to keep the fire burning inside you.

1. Confidence

How did it feel after that first jog around the block? Or when you finally walked the stairs at work without losing your breath? The more you accomplish, the more you’ll believe in yourself.

2. Fit into that dress

It’s been hanging up in your closet for two years now, just waiting to be thrown on for a night on the town. All it takes is for you to go that extra mile and stay on track. Before you know it, those two years will be ancient history.

3. Make the week easier

Ever felt like a week was taking forever? It feels like Friday, but it’s only Tuesday? This happens when you’re not working towards anything. When you have a goal in mind, you’ll want to cook that healthy dinner or go to the gym. The week will not only go faster, but be more enjoyable.

4. Gives you purpose

Every once in a while, we need a good reason to get out of bed. Here it is, right in front of you. Eat the healthy breakfast that’s going to jump start your day, go for your morning jog, or walk to the driveway and grab the newspaper. When you’re motivated, you have a reason to do what you do.

5. For your kids

And your grandkids. And their kids, too. The healthier you are, the longer you’ll be around to watch your kids grow and to spoil your grandchildren. They’ll want you to be around as long as possible; consider this just another present.

6. Power of momentum

It’s a scientific fact – something in motion tends to stay in motion. Momentum builds quickly and can lead to great results. Suddenly, you’re not only working for the goal, but also to keep your streak alive. Even more reason to reach your goals.

7. The ‘wow’ effect

Picture this: Walking into a restaurant, you run into someone from high school, and their eyes light up. They gasp, "Wow, you look great!" By sticking with your goals, this can happen. Watch the "wows" add up.

8. Spread the spark

When friends and family see how hard you’re working, they’ll wonder how they can reach their own goals. Guess who they’re going to look to for help? By staying motivated, you’ll not only help yourself, but others too.

9. Keep gaining experience

The more you do, the more you will learn and understand. You’ll discover which tactics work best for you and which ones don’t. It’s like weeding out the garden - not the most enjoyable job in the world, but when you’re done, all that’s left are beautiful flowers. Keeping sticking with it and soon it will be all flowers for you.

Written by Zach Van Hart
from Sparkpeople.com

Former Fat Girl of the Week

Former Fat Girl of the Week is a place for us to come to celebrate and learn from the success and achievements of one another. Former Fat Girls of the Week are regular women like you and me, living normal lives, but are extraordinarily inspirational. This is their time to shine, and I hope you are as inspired by them as I am.


Name: Marlena Beck
Age: 31
Occupation: Quality Manager
Blog: www.freewebs.com/marlena78

What's your weight/fitness story?

My weight story begins 31 years ago when I was born. Being a chunky kid, fat teenager, an obese adult...it’s the story of my life. I’ve tried all sorts of diets & programs. Some of them resulted in a measure of success; others were complete failures. The ones that were somewhat successful didn’t last long. I mostly gave up because it wasn’t a lifestyle that I could sustain.


Marlena, Before

What was your turning point and/or "Ah-ha!" moment?

There were a couple "Ah-ha!" moments during this last attempt at weight-loss. The first one was reaching my 10% goal from Weight Watchers. For once, I was able to reach a goal that someone had set for me. For the next several months, I was on a weight-loss high. I lost weight almost every single week. But the BIGGEST turning point for me was seeing a picture of myself with 40 pounds gone.

Although I saw myself daily in the mirror, and although my weight booklet told me I was 40 pounds lighter, my brain still pictured myself at my starting weight. It wasn’t until I saw a picture of myself riding a bicycle that I realized that my body was changing. It nearly brought me to tears! After that, my weight-loss journey was unstoppable. I could do this! For the first time in my LIFE, I was doing something good for myself; this journey was real!


Marlena, Before

How has losing weight/being healthy & fit changed your life?

It’s changed it 180 degrees. I’m happier, more confident, energetic…the list goes on & on. There’s NO WAY I’m going back to the old me!!


Marlena, Now!

How often do you exercise?

Now that I’ve joined a gym I workout 5 days a week. On the weekends I take it light, maybe run a couple miles (run, HA!) or walk the dogs.

What is your favorite workout?

Right now it’s running, just because I can. I’m amazed that I can actually run, let alone the speed & distance. I also tried cycling/spinning for the first time. It’s awesome!!

What 5 food items are "must haves" in your kitchen?

  • Bananas
  • yogurt
  • granola
  • eggs
  • Starbucks Lite Mocha Frappucinos (in a bottle)
What is your favorite motivational/inspirational quote?

“If you want something bad enough, you make it happen. If not, you make excuses.”

How do you find balance in your life?

I realize that this is a journey. So I have to be able to live like this for the rest of my life. Depravation isn’t an option because I love food so much. So I try to work it into my lifestyle without going off the deep end. I do have to be careful, though, and not allow my old habits creep in again.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

1.) Losing 65 pounds and maintaining that loss for over a year.
2.) Running for 30 minutes straight.

What do you love most about your body?

I love that it’s smaller, obviously. But I love that it works, it’s getting healthier, & that my heart is stronger than ever.

Are you working towards a particular goal we can support you in (upcoming races, events, etc)?

There are a couple 5Ks coming up in the next few months, which is something I’ve never done nor had I planned on doing even when I first started running. But now I’m seriously thinking about doing it. Just gotta sign up!

What are the last 5 songs played on your iPod?

  • All American Rejects “Swing, Swing”
  • Lisa Loeb “Stay”
  • Weezer “Pork & Beans”
  • Lost Prophets “Last Train”
  • Mary J. Blige “Real Love”
What weight loss/fitness tools do you use that you rely on in your weight loss/fit life journey?

Food scale, food journal, stability ball, pedometer/HRM, reading blogs of others who are on a healthy journey


Marlena, now. What an inspiration!

Anything else you'd like to add?

To those of you reading this who are on a weight-loss/fitness journey, please realize there is no turning back. There isn’t another option. So whatever plan you choose, make sure it’s one you can live with. Because once you reach your goal, your journey continues; you don’t revert back to your old eating habits. So whatever changes you make, make sure they’re changes you can live with.

Marlena, it is such a pleasure to feature you as my Former Fat Girl of the Week! Marlena and I found each other through Twitter, and she has been a constant source of motivation and inspiration to me (and all of her followers!) Please be sure to visit Marlena's blog and follow her on Twitter!

xo,

Recipe of the Week

Biggest Loser Simple Swaps: Veggie Lasagna

Swap out pasta and add more veggies in this new twist on an Italian favorite from The Biggest Loser Simple Swaps.You'll never miss the pasta in this scrumptious, cheesy Italian favorite. Wrap and freeze any extra servings individually to thaw and warm for lunch in a hurry. Eggplant can be substituted for the zucchini.

Makes 8 servings

Ingredients
  • 2 large zucchini (about 1 pound), ends trimmed, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 3 links (about 4 ounces each) lean turkey Italian sausage
  • 1 red bell pepper or roasted red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup low-fat marinara sauce
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 (15-ounce) container fat free ricotta cheese
  • 2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup shredded low-fat mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly coat an 8" x 8" baking pan with olive oil cooking spray. Set aside.
  • Lightly spray a baking sheet with olive oil cooking spray. Arrange the zucchini slices in a single layer on the baking sheet. Spray them lightly with olive oil cooking spray. Broil (or grill) the zucchini for about 8 minutes, or until tender and very lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
  • To prepare the meat sauce, cook the sausage in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to break up any clumps. Add the bell pepper, onion, and garlic, and cook for about 4 minutes longer, until the meat is no longer pink. The juices should be cooked dry. Stir in the marinara sauce and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. The sauce will be very thick.
  • Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, combine the egg whites, ricotta, Italian seasoning, and black pepper until well combined.
  • To assemble the lasagna, spread half of the meat sauce in the bottom of the prepared baking pan. Layer on half of the zucchini slices, followed by half of the ricotta mixture and half of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat with the remaining meat sauce, zucchini slices, ricotta mixture, and mozzarella. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until bubbly and lightly browned. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.


Per serving: 210 calories, 18 g protein, 17 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat
(2 g saturated), 45 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 340 mg sodium


xo,


"I've been trying to find the word that says what I need to be in life. 'Brave' is the only word. It's the only thing that I ask myself to be." Sandra Bullock

The Biggest Loser Diary

I have to admit I haven't watched a full episode of The Biggest Loser yet - my daughter has tumbling classes on Tuesday nights, so we aren't home to catch it. Thank goodness I can get all the details from these exclusive video clips from NBC!

2 Minute Replay Week Three
Curtis Stone stops by the ranch. Catch up fast with the Two-Minute Replay.



Week 3 Elimination
The players decide who to eliminate in the third week.



Where Are They Now: Week 3 – Maria [2:28]
Check out how Maria looks today!



Cooking Tips (1/19/10) [0:30]
Curtis Stone gives you a tip on making a meal extra-sweet without sugar.



Trainer Tips (1/19/10) [0:20]
Bob shows you how to incorporate water into your workout.



Next On: Integrity on the Line [0:31]
Jillian suspects a contestant is lying. All-New Biggest Loser, Tuesday 8/7c.



xo,

The Biggest Loser Diary

Here's an exclusive sneak peak of tonite's episode! Don't watch it if you don't want to be spoiled!

Turning Point (Preview for Tonite!)
A team challenge leads to a distressing result. All-New Biggest Loser, Tuesday 8/7c.



xo,

Mental Monday

Make Family Mealtime More Pleasant - Instill Healthy Habits in Your Kids

As a parent, your days are probably pretty stressful. You get the older kids off to school, run errands, keep the household running smoothly, and maintain your career. At the end of a hard day, you just want to relax and spend some quality time with your family.

But if you’re like most busy parents, relaxation time is nothing more than wishful thinking. As the house fills up again at night, there’s noise, tantrums, and disorganization, which seem to last until everyone falls asleep.

Mealtime, whether it’s breakfast together or a family dinner, doesn’t have to be as stressful as the rest of your day. Here are some tips to handle picky eaters, set an example of healthy eating (which children learn from their parents), and make your meals together a more positive experience:

Try to serve food in a comfortable, relaxed, and unhurried atmosphere.
  • Encourage a child’s participation in meal preparation (measuring, stirring, decoration, cutting and arranging)

  • Food should be warm or cool, (not hot or cold); a child’s mouth is more sensitive than an adult’s

  • Flavors should be mild, not spicy; a child has more taste buds than an adult

  • If the child is able, give her a small, mini-shopping list to look for a few items on the lower shelves. Make sure the foods are nutritious and easy to handle.

  • If you want to avoid waste, serve smaller portions. Don’t encourage overeating or fussy eaters by forcing a child to eat everything on the plate.

  • Let your child learn to feed her or himself. Be patient. To ease the mess, put newspaper under the chair and have a towel ready to wipe up spills.

  • Serve food with child-sized plates and cups.

  • If possible, plan rest or quiet time before meals. A tired or overly excited child may be less hungry at mealtimes.

  • When introducing a new food, try serving it during the same meal as a favorite food.

  • Make pre-meal hand washing a pleasant event. Allow time for the child to enjoy the splash of soap and water. A quick, forced washing, particularly after the food is served, may make a child too upset to eat well at the meal.

  • Set a good example. If other people at the table enjoy a variety of foods, your child will learn by copying what you do.

  • If your child appears to have lost interest in the meal, or to dawdle, give him/her a reasonable time to eat (20-30 minutes) then quietly but firmly remove the food. Most children will eat when they are hungry. Do not force the issue.

  • Likes and dislikes may appear suddenly. Be casual about these new food notions. If no one pays special attention to these quirks, they will soon be outgrown.

  • Do not coax, play games, or force your child to eat. You are not teaching good food habits. Make a wide variety of nutritious foods available to your child, and then let your child decide what to eat.

  • Small children prefer to eat with their fingers. Give them small sandwiches, raw veggies, meat cut into bite sizes, fruits and cheese cut into small pieces, and crackers spread with peanut butter or cottage cheese.

  • Be casual about desserts, and make them a part of the total meal plan when they are served. Placing special attention on desserts, or using them as rewards only makes them more desirable than other foods.

  • Let your child be the judge about how much to eat. Appetite may vary from one meal to another, and from day to day. Never make an issue of food acceptance. You provide the nutritious choices…then let the child choose among them.

Written by By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
From SparkPeople.com



xo,


"One of the most courageous things you can do is identify yourself, know who you are, what you believe in and where you want to go." Sheila Murray Bethel

Former Fat Girl of the Week

Former Fat Girl of the Week is a place for us to come to celebrate and learn from the success and achievements of one another. Former Fat Girls of the Week are regular women like you and me, living normal lives, but are extraordinarily inspirational. This is their time to shine, and I hope you are as inspired by them as I am.

Name: Tracey Gessner
Age: 31
Occupation: Stay-at- home-mom, wife, wannabe writer, marathon runner!
Twitter: @tmgessner

What's your weight/fitness story?

I've always been active. I studied modern dance in college (a really useful major, right?) and had attended group fitness classes on and off for years before I decided I wanted to transform myself in to a runner.

I joined a gym and started running on the treadmill with the goal of eventually running a 5K. After I ran the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in 2008 I decided that the following summer I would double my running distance to a 10K. However, by the time May 2009 rolled around, I was convinced by my friend Anne to train for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon and I thought I had surely lost my sanity. Turns out it was the best thing I could have done for myself.

I'm now planning to run two marathons in 2010 and one day hope to complete an ultra-marathon. The Crazy: It's contagious!

Tracey - the marathoner!

What was your turning point and/or "Ah-ha!" moment?

I always say it was harder to get my body to run that first 3 miles than it was to train from 3 to 26. It sounds nuts but just building a solid base is the most difficult thing and it takes a lot of time and dedication.

My "ah ha" moment was one day on the treadmill when I finally realized I was trying to run too fast. I was stuck at running 5 or 6 minutes before I felt like i wanted to walk so I dropped my speed from 5.8 - 6mph to around 5.2mph and suddenly I found myself jogging for 15 minutes nonstop. Now that may sound pretty darn slow but it worked for me in the beginning and over time I was able to build up speed and now my average pace is around 6.5 - 7mph.

How has losing weight/being healthy & fit changed your life?

Recently, my attempts to be healthy and fit more publicly have brought me closer to the Milwaukee community. I've lived here for four years now but it wasn't until I started chatting with people via Twitter and Daily Mile about my training that I became connected to a core group of people with similar fitness goals.

I feel that proclaiming my goals on the internet has held me more accountable and it's also allowed me to meet some really incredible people - online and in real life!

How often do you exercise?

Right now I tend to work out in some shape or form about 6 days a week. This could be running, riding the elliptical, strength training or even an exercise dvd at home. Sometimes I tell myself I need to take another rest day but I usually always end up doing something. :)


Tracey, now


What is your favorite workout?

A loooong, slow, indulgent run. Right now I'm working on getting my speed up so I love the days when I get to relax and take it slow. There's just something so satisfying about it.

What 5 food items are "must haves" in your kitchen?

  • Tons of fresh fruits and veggies. I've recently changed my diet to include more fresh food over processed foods and carbs and my body is feeling awesome. I haven't cut out all carbs but I find that you can eat so much more when you stick to a veggie based diet and you never feel like you are starving.
  • Harvestland boneless, skinless, chicken breast - Most of the meals I make revolve around chicken. There's so just so many different ways you can dress it up and it's good for you too.
  • Skinny Cow Fudge bars- I have such a sweet tooth and if my kids are having hot fudge sundaes I don't feel like I'm depriving myself so much if I have one of these. Sometimes I have one in the middle of the afternoon too. Shhhhh.
  • Fiber One cereal- I start every day with a bowl of this and a piece of wheat toast. A small bowl really fills me up and gives me energy to start the day.
  • Coffee and Red wine. (Ok, that two but a girl's gotta have a few vices. Sorry!)


What is your favorite motivational/inspirational quote?

"This is how you get better." My running buddy Anne told me this during our marathon training and I think about it whenever I particularly need a push.

How do you find balance in your life?

Wow, this is always a struggle. I have bad days. I get lazy. I eat poorly sometimes. But somehow I always pull myself together the next morning and work to get back on track. You have to keep thinking long term and realize that eating half a bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough one day doesn't mean you're a failure or a weak person overall.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Completing the marathon was pretty big but I'm going soft and saying my two awesome daughters. They are still a work in progress though so check back with me when they are teenagers.


Tracey completes her marathon!


What do you love most about your body?

I don't look like it but I am strong. Call me if you need any furniture moved. Also, after years of dance training I feel like I can be pretty graceful when I want to be. I can pick up sequences of movement really fast as well.

Are you working towards a particular goal we can support you in (upcoming races, events, etc)?

Right now I'm planning on running two marathons this year. First up is a marathon in Rockford, Illinois this May. I'll also be running the Lakefront Marathon again here in Milwaukee in October. I'm hoping to get progressively faster with each race but I haven't settled on an exact time yet.

What are the last 5 songs played on your iPod?
  • Wake Up - The Arcade Fire
  • This is Not a Test - She & Him
  • Your Ex-Lover is Dead - Stars
  • In the Aeroplane Over the Sea - Neutral Milk Hotel
  • Fidelity - Regina Spektor

What weight loss/fitness tools do you use that you rely on in your weight loss/fit life journey?

I have realized that I have the best discipline in the world when it comes to working out but my eating habits are another story. I find that I absolutely have to keep track of what I eat - whether I'm trying to lose weight or maintain.

Right now I'm using Calorie-count.com to log my meals and I'm having a lot of success with it so far. When I started running long miles I kind of went overboard rewarding myself with food so having a food journal really helps keep me in check!

Anything else you would like to add?

I can't say this enough: 3 years ago I couldn't even run a mile. Anything is possible!



They say you may be a hero (or an example) to someone, although you may not know it. Tracey is that person for me. As a mom with two children, I am in awe of Tracey and her accomplishments, and from my point of view - a very balanced life. She is an outstanding mom, amazing contributor to the Milwaukee community, and thinspirational individual, and juggles it all with poise and grace. Tracey, thank you for being a wonderful inspiration, I am very proud to feature you as a Former Fat Girl of the Week! Please be sure to follow Tracey on Twitter, check out her blog, Tracey's Space, or get motivated at Fit Milwaukee.

xo,


"The big secret in life is there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you're willing to work." Oprah Winfrey

Recipe of the Week



xo,


"Always concentrate on how far you have come, rather than how far you have left to go. The difference in how easy it seems will amaze you." Heidi Johnson

The Biggest Loser Diary

Enjoy the following exclusive clips courtesy of NBC! :)


Week Two – 2:00 Replay
The teams see if they can beat the second-week curse. Catch up now!



Week 2 Elimination
The players come to a decision on who to eliminate from the ranch.



Week 2 - Patti
Check out how Patti looks today!



Training Tips (1/12/10)
Dr. H gives you advice on how to make a change.



Week 2 - The Red Team's Wake-Up Call (Bonus Scene)
Dr. H is forced to deliver a harsh wake-up call to the Red Team.



Week 2 - The Pink Team's Surprise (Bonus Scene)
The Pink Team get a look into the future.



Week 2 - The White Team's Harsh Reality (Bonus Scene)
Dr. H shows the White Team just how much their weight is damaging their lives.



Week 2 - Challenge Update (Bonus Scene)
The trainers find out how Maria injured herself.



Week 2 - Trainers' Desperation (Bonus Scene)
Jillian and Bob argue over how to keep Michael on the ranch.



Week 2 - A Message from The Pink Team (Bonus Scenes)
The Pink Team have too much fun filming a message to The Biggest Loser Club.



Shay's Excitement
Shay shows you her brand-new wellness room.



Brand New Day
Shay shares with you how she starts her mornings off.



xo,

Mental Monday


Get the Most out of What You Eat


Feeling satisfied may be your ticket to successful weight management.

What is satiety? It’s that lasting feeling of fullness at a meal's end, the feeling that you're no longer hungry or deprived. It can be a hard feeling to achieve with some diets. But satiety isn’t a luxury when it comes to weight loss—in fact, it may be your ticket to successful weight management.

"To get more satisfaction out of food, the idea is to fill up on foods that give you a lot of volume for relatively few calories," says Karen Miller-Kovach, MS, RD, chief scientist at Weight Watchers International. For example, 1/4 cup of raisins and 1 2/3 cups of grapes have the same number of calories, but with the grapes, you obviously get to eat much more, and you're apt to feel more satisfied when you're through.

Besides fresh fruit like grapes, other satiating high-volume foods include complex carbohydrates that are high in water, air and/or fiber, such as air-popped popcorn, vegetables and whole-grains like brown rice, says Miller-Kovach. But lean protein-rich foods, such as a skinless chicken breast, low-fat or nonfat yogurt or skim milk can also contribute to satiety, she adds. That's why, for maximum satisfaction, you might want to make sure your meals also contain some lean protein, says Miller-Kovach.

Super-Satisfying Temptation Tamers

Other mealtime tricks for pumping up the volume in your food to maximize your satisfaction on fewer calories:

Start meals with a first course of broth-based soup, vegetable juice or a salad with reduced fat or low-fat dressing. One caveat: "Make sure that first course isn't more than 100 calories," says Barbara Rolls, PhD, Guthrie Chair of Nutrition at Pennsylvania State University. Otherwise, you could end up eating too many calories at that particular meal.

According to Rolls' research, which has been published in her book Volumetrics (Harper Collins, 2000), subjects who began their meals with a high-volume, low-calorie starter like soup or salad ate 100 fewer calories over the course of the entire meal compared to those who started their meal with the entrée.

Eat more vegetables, such as leafy greens, lettuce, tomatoes, green beans, summer squash and onions. In fact, stash them in stews, soups, pasta sauces, pizza and meat loaf. They're high-volume, high-satisfaction, low-calorie superstars because they're loaded with water and fiber, Rolls says, two top filler-uppers.

Limit very dry foods, such as pretzels, crackers and chips. Dry foods lack water and thus are low in volume. "Dry foods pack a lot of calories into a small portion and are easy to overeat," says Rolls.

You can also make it second nature to gravitate toward healthy foods that fill you up. When you follow the Weight Watchersfood plan, we can help you learn to naturally seek out these foods, while still being able to enjoy the treats you love.

Eventually you might find yourself gravitating towards these more satisfying, less caloric choices, making your healthy eating habits a way of life, not a chore.

Written by Leslie Fink, MS, RD
From WeightWatchers.com



xo,


"No one will ever see me quit, because I simply won't. If I start something, I will finish it and do it well." Steve Belmarsh

Former Fat Girl of the Week

Former Fat Girl of the Week is a place for us to come to celebrate and learn from the success and achievements of one another. Former Fat Girls of the Week are regular women like you and me, living normal lives, but are extraordinarily inspirational. This is their time to shine, and I hope you are as inspired by them as I am.

Name: Anne
Age: 29. No, really!
Occupation: Product Development Manager
Blog: FitMilwaukee

What's your weight/fitness story?

I've done the yo-yo like most everyone. I was a fat kid and a 'chubby' teen so I desperately wanted to know what it was like to be "normal". At age 23 or so I began to diet and exercise. I lost weight a few times but never kept it off, and fluctuated wildly between 140 and 240 pounds on my 5'5" frame for many years. I tried Weight Watchers, Overeaters Anonymous, and every crazy thing in between.

I stopped weighing myself many years ago because I became obsessed with the number and was weighing myself multiple times a day! I won't let a number dictate my happiness anymore. My doctor knows what I weigh and she told me I've lost about 30 lbs, and that it's "a good number". However, I've been keeping track with the tape measure and I've gone from a 42-36-43 to a 36-28-37. Clearly, I'm still obsessed with numbers because I just referenced a spreadsheet complete with a colorful chart to obtain those measurements!

Anne, before

What was your turning point and/or "Ah-ha!" moment?

I realized that the problem was that I was TRYING to lose weight. I inevitably overdo it, and put myself on the 'white knuckle diet'. I know from experience that all that restriction is like holding my breath: it can't last. When I finally come up for air at the end (ha! the 'end'!) of a diet, I binge and binge til I gain it all back. So I approached it differently last year, when I asked a personal trainer to help me. I told him I didn't want to lose weight, I just wanted to be able to run again. If I happen to lose weight in the process, that's fine. And I did!

Anne, then and now

How has losing weight/being healthy & fit changed your life?

I changed my attitude! Getting in shape has changed my whole outlook on life. I'm not just dieting in misery, saving calories for an elusive cookie at the end of a long week. I made exercise something I enjoy by choosing to to make running my hobby! Imagine -- something I like to do, that I'm good at! I've never had that. Training for and running my first marathon made me realize I'm capable of so many things that I never thought possible. It has brought me out of my shell because I realize I inspire others with my story. That's a wonderful feeling.

Anne, now. Yes, that's snow on the ground
(I had to point that out because I've been using the snow
as an excuse not to run outside!)

How often do you exercise?

I work out 5-6 days a week. It's usually 4 days of running, and two days of cross training or strength training. I do a long run with a group of friends every Saturday, usually between 9 and 13 miles.

What is your favorite workout?

I truly love running, especially those runs where you feel like you could run forever! But I have a blast when I meet up with my trainer every other Monday and he makes me do all these crazy, super-difficult exercises. It's really a test of my fitness and I enjoy the challenge. He also believes in me and helps me set goals that are just beyond what I would set for myself. He's so awesome.

What 5 food items are "must haves" in your kitchen?

  • Almonds
  • oatmeal
  • sweet potatoes
  • apples
  • raisin bran
These are all there so that I can make a good choice when I want a snack. My new 'trick' is to have a small sweet potato and glass of milk before dinner so that I'm not tempted to have have a huge helping and seconds.

What is your favorite motivational/inspirational quote?

"Try not. Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda.

This quote resonates with me because when I tell people I ran a marathon (or any distance) they always say "I could never do that." But I like to tell them, "Yes you could!" The only difference between me and you is that I DID it. If that makes any sense.

How do you find balance in your life?

The thing that's been difficult is the time it takes to train all the time. I have to turn down a lot of invitations because it would cut into training. I hate to miss a workout! In fact missing a workout is not even an option for me, unless I'm ill or injured. I have alleviated the problem a bit by making some new friends that love to run as much as I do, so we can talk and run at the same time. Running with a group of great people has made getting up at 6:30 am on a Saturday something that's actually enjoyable to me.

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Running a marathon is so far my greatest accomplishment. I received such an outpouring of support from my boyfriend, friends, family, and even Twitter -- they were all at the finish line holding signs and cheering. I couldn't have done it without them!


Anne, running her first marathon!

What do you love most about your body?

I love my strong, defined arms and shoulders. I can finally do a pullup! It's these little milestones that keep me going. I complain about my big legs but I love that they can get me through running so many miles each week!

What are the last 5 songs played on your iPod?

  • The Killing Lights - AFI
  • Gold Guns Girls - Metric
  • Old Yellow Bricks - Arctic Monkeys
  • Earthquake - The Von Bondies
  • A Kiss to Send Us Off - Incubus
What weight loss/fitness tools do you use that you rely on in your weight loss/fit life journey?

I've been using Dailymile.com to log all my workouts since March 2009. It's like a training journal with a social element thrown in. Anytime I need a boost I can check out what my running friends have been up to. If I have questions the answers are in the forums. When I finish a tough workout I log it and check back to see lots of positive encouragement. It's also a really well maintained, beautiful site that you can log not only running miles but also walking, biking, elliptical, spinning -- anything! I highly recommend it.

I also recently started logging calories with Calorie-Count.com. It has the same elements that I love about Dailymile: bright, pretty, and easy to use. And last but not least: Twitter! The people on Twitter are the best motivators! (PS: Follow me - @bananza)

Are you working towards a particular goal we can support you in (upcoming races, events, etc)?

I'm running a few shorter races this winter, but I'm really looking forward to running the Rockford Marathon in May. A bunch of my friends are doing it too, and I think it's going to be a really special event. I'm also doing the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon again in 2010. For my first marathon I crossed the finish line in 4:26, and next October I hope to finish in under 4 hours.

Anne, now.
A shining example of how to live
a balanced, healthy, fit & FUN life!

Anything else you'd like to add?

We've recently kicked off a new blog in our fair city. It's called FitMilwaukee (http://www.fitmilwaukee.com/) and we offer relevant articles, encouragement and tips for not just Milwaukee but anyone looking to get into shape. Check it out, I promise you'll enjoy the content!

I'd also like to offer this: We all start somewhere. We are on a journey to find what works for us, and that may be ever-changing. Don't give up. Set goals for yourself, work toward them, and you will be pleasantly surprised!
I have to give a quick shout of thanks to my friend Megan for introducing me to Anne on Twitter. I live for Anne's tweets every day, because I can count on them to make me smile, laugh out loud, or give me inspiration to keep moving on my journey. Thank you Anne, for allowing me to interview you, I loved learning even more about you, and will definitely meet up with you for a Saturday run. One day. Soon. I promise! Please be sure to follow Anne on Twitter, and check out her new blog, Fit Milwaukee!

xo,


"It may be that those who do most, dream most." Stephen Leacock

Believe

Today's post is dedicated to my children, Nick and Meghan. They are my reason for everything, and I am so proud to be their momma. They are incredibly supportive of me and have been my biggest cheerleaders in my weight loss journey. They've given me the strength to stop being afraid, and to believe. My biggest wish is that by living this journey with me, they learn to believe in themselves and to dream BIG!

Believe by Suzie McNeil



One minute's fading
One minute's passed
But I've got this moment
To make it all last
And I'm standing before you
Taking my chance on everything
I never thought that I could be
Cause you can do almost anything

If you just Believe
You can move mountains with dreams
The higher you climb
The better it gets
Cause you will see things
You'll never forget
If you just Believe

It's like I'm falling
Through my own fears
They used to haunt me
But now they're not here
There's no looking back
My future is clear no giving up
And I'm holding on when it gets rough
Cause you can get through most anything

If you just Believe
You can move mountains with dreams
The higher you climb
The better it gets
Cause you will see things
You'll never forget
If you just Believe

No one says it's easy
And no one says you have to be perfect
But as long as you try
You're always gonna find it was worth it

xo,

Recipe of the Week

Tosca Reno's Spring-Cleaning Smoothie

Feeling sluggish? A little spring cleaning is in order! I've created this yummy smoothie to scrub you from the inside out. Don't let the green color scare you off - it's a combination of hemp protein powder and spirulina powder. Spirulina is blue-green algae bursting with protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins B, C, D, E, and minerals. Drink up to clean up!

SERVINGS: 2

Nutrients Per Serving

Calories: 260
Protein: 14 g
Carbs: 43 g
Dietary Fiber: 12 g
Fat: 4 g
Sat. Fat: 0 g
Sodium: 78 mg
Cholesterol: 2 g
Spring-Cleaning Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Spirulina powder
  • 1 serving hemp protein powder
  • 1 Tbsp coarsely ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup dry oatmeal
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • Handful of ice cubes
  • 1 kiwi, peeled and sliced (Optional: save 1 or 2 slices for garnish)
  • 1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk of your choice
  • Juice of 1/2 orange
Preparation

  • Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pour in a chilled glass and garnish with kiwi. Serve.
xo,


"Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what is still possible for you to do." Pope John XXIII

The Biggest Loser Diary

Enjoy the following exclusive clips from tonite Biggest Loser Season 9 premiere, courtesy of NBC, including a two-minute replay from last night’s premiere, the “Where Are They Now” segment for James, the Elimination, and several bonus scenes featuring a very “tough love” oriented Jillian!

Also included is Jillian’s appearance from The Jay Leno Show last night. Watch as the two take shots at each other, especially when Jillian tells him how much weight to lose. Also, she admits to being a fat kid and making the decision to change her life!

Week One (1/5/10) – 2 Minute Replay
After a public weigh in, the contestants all journey to the ranch and meet Bob and Jillian.



Week 1 Elimination
The players have to decide which player will be the first one eliminated.



Where Are They Now: Week 1 – James
Check out how James looks today!



Bonus Scene - Week 1 - Ashley's Breakdown
Ashley leans on her mother for support while on the ranch.



Bonus Scene - Week 1 - Jillian's Warning
Ashley pushes Jillian to her limits.



Bonus Scene - Week 1 - Jillian's Patience
Ashley is determined to make Jillian proud.



Bonus Scenes - Week 1 - Jillian's Request
Jillian needs Maria to push herself for her son's sake.



Bonus Scenes - Week 1 - Meeting Miggy
The Green Team's Miggy shares her story with the rest of the players.



The Jay Leno Show
Jillian confesses to eating cheetos and slams Jays weight.



xo,


The only person that expects you to be perfect is YOU! We all like you just as you are!

Mental Monday

4 Keys To A Smart Nutrition Plan - D.I.E.T.

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

Don’t
Imagine
Eating
This

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Written by Mike Kramer, Staff Writer
From SparkPeople.com



xo,


"There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other." Douglas Everett

We Can!

I came across this song last night, and wanted to dedicate it to my friend Melissa. She's an amazingly strong woman that has touched so many lives, and is doing what it takes to change her life for the better. Thank you Melissa, for being my friend, and an unending source of inspiration to me!!

We Can by LeAnn Rimes



They'll try to stop the dream we're dreamin'
But they can't stop us from believing
They will fill your head with doubt
But that won't stop us now
So let them say we can't do it
Put up a road block
We'll just run right through it.. Cause...

We can, do the impossible
We have the power in our hands
And we won't stop 'cause we've got
To make a difference in this life
With one voice, one heart, two hands, we can

They say the odds are stacked against us
But that can't hold us back, we will be relentless
There's a voice they're gonna hear
A voice so loud and clear
So let them say we can't do it, give us a mountain,
and we're gonna move it.. cause..

We can, do the impossible
We have the power in our hands, and we won't stop
Cause we've got to make a difference in this life
With one voice, one heart, Two hands, we can

We're gonna make a change today (make a change today)
Because we've got the faith it takes
To win this race, so let them say we can't do it
Put up a road block
And we'll just run right through it cuz..

We can, do the impossible
We have the power in our hands and we won't stop
Cos we've got to make a difference in this life
With one voice, one heart, two hands, we can

I can (oh I can)
Do the impossible (do the impossible)
I have the power in my hands, and I won't stop
Cause I've got to make a difference in this life
With my one voice, one heart, two hands, we can

xo,

Former Fat Girl of the Week

Former Fat Girl of the Week is a place for us to come to celebrate and learn from the success and achievements of one another. Former Fat Girls of the Week are regular women like you and me, living normal lives, but are extraordinarily inspirational. This is their time to shine, and I hope you are as inspired by them as I am.

Name: Amanda Kean
Age: 28
Occupation: Unemployed x-ray tech who is going back to school for my bachelor's in Healthcare Management
Blog: Food Exercise Express

What's your weight/fitness story?

I had always been overweight as a child. I grew up in a house where there was if you put it on your plate you have to eat it. My family would celebrate everything with food. Soon after highschool, I joined the army and was boardline of allowable weight and body fat percentange. In the army my weight flucated between 177-193 due to having congential hypothyrodism (I was born without a thyroid). I reached my heaviest weight of 205 after getting out of the army. My husband and I drove truck over the road for over 6 months which lead to little activity and poor eating choices. We decided trucking wasn't the right thing for us so we both went back to college. In August 2005, we joined Weight Watchers and the rest is history.

Amanda & hubby before

What was your turning point and/or "Ah-ha!" moment?

I had always wanted to join Weight Watchers but my husband would never do it with me. I knew I need the support in our household to do it. One day my husband came home from the doctor and he discovered how big he got. He agreed to join Weight Watchers with me and we both lost weight. It was amazing to see the weight fall off of both of us.

Amanda, before

How has losing weight/being healthy & fit changed your life?

I have more self confidence in my appearance. I also crave knowledge about eating healthy and learning how to exercise the "correct" ways.

How often do you exercise?

I am sorta an exercise manic and since I am unemployed I have chosen this as my outlet. I normally do between 2-3 hours a day. I do a kickboxing/boxing class 5x a week. I also try to run between 30-40 miles and sprinkle in beachbody exercise videos, weight training, and the elliptical trainer. Saturdays and Sundays are normally my "lighter" days

What is your favorite workout?

Currently kickboxing

Amanda, now. WOW!

What 5 food items are "must haves" in your kitchen?

What is your favorite motivational/inspirational quote?

It is cliche but NIKE- Just do it!

How do you find balance in your life?

I am currently unemployed but even when I wasn't I would always find time to workout. I would also make sure lunches were made the night before with healthy snacks. I also allow for "cheat" days.

Amanda, looking good!

What is your greatest accomplishment?

Losing over 50 plus pounds and keeping it off. Plus more recently was my first half marthon time of 1:52:25

What do you love most about your body?

My strong muscular legs

What are the last 5 songs played on your iPod?

  • Boom Boom Pow - Black Eye Peas
  • Feel Good Inc. - Gorillaz
  • Loser - Beck
  • The Distance - Cake
  • We Made You - Eminem
What weight loss/fitness tools do you use that you rely on in your weight loss/fit life journey?

Garmin Forerunner 305 and my digital food scale

Are you working towards a particular goal we can support you in (upcoming races, events, etc)?

I am starting back to school in January but planning to do another half marathon sometime in 2010.

Amanda and hubby now,
a wonderful example of hard work and determination,
and an inspiration to us all!

Anything else you'd like to add?

I think it was easier for me to lose weight than it is to maintain it. However with the help of exercise I can eat more and still enjoy my life.
Amanda, I am so honored to feature you as a Former Fat Girl of the Week! It is simply amazing how something so simple like Twitter could have brought us together! You are an incredible inspiration, and I loved your interview! Please be sure to visit Amanda's blog, Food Exercise Express, and you can also follow her on Twitter.

xo,


"The world is blessed most by men who do things, not by those who merely talk about them." James Oliver

Advertise on Secrets of a Former Fat Girl!

Secrets of a Former Fat Girl was established in June 2009 and increases its readership and page views daily. I've received over 30,000 hits in my first year alone.

This blog focuses on finding, creating, and living a healthy lifestyle - physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. My goal is to empower my readers to dream big, and believe they are capable of not only dreaming big, but achieving those dreams.

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Rates will vary depending upon a multitude of criteria, let's chat and work out something we can both agree upon! Yes, I'd love to generate a little income, but I'm not out to be the next Bill Gates or Donald Trump!

Intrigued Yet?
My email address is michelle@secretsofaformerfatgirl.com. Let's figure out what is going to work for both of us and go from there. We can discuss all the nitty gritty details like payment and other partnership opportunities.

Other Advertising Ops

•Want to sponsor a giveaway for my readers?
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•Have some other really juicy and creative idea?
Let's connect. I'm open to being as creative as you are. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

I love my sponsors & partners:

Chef Devin Alexander
NBC's The Biggest Loser
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Can't wait to hear from you!

xo,

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