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Boeing Center for Children's Wellness (Lean Team)

Biggest Loser

Rules and Flyer

Weekly Suggestions

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Week 1: Start Tracking!

One of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight is to keep a journal of your diet daily!  If you're tech savvy, there are several apps available.  We like Myfitnesspal best.  There's also LoseIt or Weight Watchers (if you're a member) that are helpful as well.  The companion site to MyPlate, SuperTracker, is great for computer users (they don't have an app for it).

Another idea is to create your own spreadsheet to keep track or use a template.


Week 2: Cooking vs. Convenience

The most common excuse for entering the drive-thru at any fast-food restaurant is “no time to cook.”  Living in a fast-paced culture, this can be a very valid reason for downing a cheeseburger and fries.  An increased consumption of these high-fat, high-sodium “foods” could potentially lead to obesity, leading to chronic diseases.  According to the National Institute on Aging and scientists from the International Longevity Center, the average American could see his/her life expectancy reduced by five years due to obesity.  Moreover, are the few minutes we save in the drive-thru worth the reduced life span? 

If you answered “no,” to that question, then here are some tips to help you find a balance between convenience and cooking.

1.     Plan ahead

  • Designate a day once a week where you utilize resources like cooking magazines and the Internet to plan a week’s worth of meals.  Look for recipes that sound flavorful and contain similar ingredients for convenience.
  • This will eliminate the chance of having an “I’m hungry and don’t know what to eat, so I’ll just pick something up” moment.

2.     Make a list

  • Once you’ve planned out what you’re going to eat for the week, create a grocery list.  This will help you avoid buying unnecessary items, and stick to your budget.

3.     Keep it simple

  • Buy all food items in their simplest, most natural form to avoid preservatives, chemicals, and added calories.  You should be empowered to know exactly what you’re putting into your body!

4.     Cook once, eat all week

  • Cook large quantities of your recipes, divide the portions out, and place in containers to save time throughout the week
  • You don’t have to eat the same thing every day: get creative and adapt your leftovers to make a new dish

5.     Cook with a companion

  • Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a chore, it should be fun!  Utilize your support system and find a cooking buddy or a group to swap recipes. 

6.     Shop in-season

  • Fruits and vegetables each have specific growing seasons.  Therefore, when you buy produce that is “in-season” it will be cheaper and tastier!

7.     Frequent the farmer’s market

  • A wide variety of the freshest produce can found at your local farmer’s market, helping you stay in-season and within your budget.  Locally, they run from April to December.

8.     Fresh, canned, frozen?

  • Fresh and frozen are best!  When choosing frozen, just chose frozen fruits and veggies with no added sauces or flavorings – these are just as nutrient dense as fresh.  Canned foods can be a good choice, just always be on the lookout for “low” or “NO” sodium options.

9.     Check the ingredient list

  • If you can’t pronounce any of the words in the ingredient list on a packaged food item, your body probably doesn’t know how to process it.  Challenge yourself to stick to food items that are composed of 5 ingredients or less.

10.  If it comes from Whole Foods/Earth Fare/Trader Joe’s…

  • It does NOT necessarily mean it is healthy.  Be aware of the fact that the pre-made salads or ready-to-eat frozen meals still contain more calories and preservatives than their home-made counterparts.

Here are some simple recipes to try out:

Spicy Stir-Fried Broccoli & Peanuts - EatingWell has wonderful recipes!

White Bean and Turkey Chili - Cooking Light has a great selection!


Week 3: Hydration and Eating for Training (pdf form)


Week 4: Eating More Veggies 

We know the deal - vegetables are amazing, right?  Sure, vitamins, nutrients, minerals, antioxidants, FIBER, and more.  Don't forget another major benefit of adding more vegetables to your diet - bulk or volume!  This benefits everyone, especially those of us trying to trim some pounds!!  In fact, take a look at the diet of a slim person, and you'll find a lot of vegetable servings.  This is because vegetables are full of satiating water volume and fiber.  Together, these factors let you eat more (in quantity but not in calories), feel fuller and stay satisfied longer.  The nutrients are just an added benefit when you look at it that way!


Week 5: Take Charge of Added Sugars!

First, let's be clear on what "added sugars" are. Many foods contain naturally occurring sugar. For example, consider a peach and a glass of skim milk. Both of those wholesome products contain naturally occurring sugar. So if you were to read the label on a container of skim milk, there would be a value of about 11 grams. This was not added to the milk.  BUT, perhaps you have seen some milk products that are marketed to kids, flavored milks. These have from 16-22 grams of sugar on the label. What does that mean? Well, subtract out the 11 grams we know occurs naturally by reading the label of plain milk, and that means that 5 to 11 grams of sugar is added per 8-oz (1 cup) servings. That's about 1 to 3 extra teaspoons!

Added sugars are those sugars added (of any kind) to a product during some form of processing that did not naturally occur in the food before processing. Here's the tricky part though - nutrition labels state total sugar, so it's tough to distinguish what's added and what's naturally occurring. Like the milk example above, you must compare products to understand. **If sugar is listed in the ingredients in any of it's forms, there is added sugar in that product**

The American Heart Association has released recommendations based on well-formed scientific studies, which state:

No more than 150 calories of added sugar per day for men = 37.5 grams = about 9 teaspoons
No more than 100 calories of added sugar per day for women = 25 grams = about 6 teaspoons

It goes without saying that there is no room for regular soft drinks, and those shouldn't be part of anyone's daily diet anyway:) (1 can of soda is 13 teaspoons!)  On the flip side, there is inherently no added sugar in fresh produce, whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, etc), fresh seafood and poultry and meat, or most cheese and milk.

So, I have some go-bys to share for a couple high-profile foods.

  • Cereal (adults) - pick a cereal with less than 10 grams of sugar at the most (this is higher than my taste - my cereal is 5 grams/serving). Cereal is surprisingly one of the heavy hitters in the added sugar game. I think this is mainly because people don't expect it to be, so they don't notice on the label that many, many cereals have over 20 grams of sugar/serving.
  • Cereal (children) - also choose a cereal less than 10 grams/serving. There are plenty of examples of cereal marketed directly to children with sugar in the range of 35 grams/serving and were found to contain more than 40% sugar by weight!! Far more than a day's worth just in the dry portion of their breakfast.
  • Yogurt - choose a yogurt with less than 14 grams sugar/6-oz serving (10-12 is best). This is another instance where you can compare products to get an idea of the added sugar. I have compared and found non-fat plain varieties in the range of 11 grams of sugar for 6-oz (or about 14.5 grams for 8-oz). Amazingly, though, there are flavored varieties and children's varieties with upwards of 26 grams of sugar per 6-oz serving!

Lesson: Compare products and be nutrition label-empowered and read the ingredients! There is a wealth of information out there about the importance of limiting intake of added sugars, so pay close attention to the foods and products you and your family purchase! And, of course, it is never appropriate to drink soda daily or regularly. It is the #1 source of added sugar in the American diet.

Here is another resource on this topic!


Week 6: The Easiest, Most Affordable, Effective Exercise! 

This video is a MUST SEE!  You can all achieve your health goals.  No marathons or Body Attack or spinning classes required:)


Week 7: Getting Real!   

For week 7, I’m going to get real with you as a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist.  I haven’t yet “heard it all,” but I sure have heard a lot.  Excuses, misperceptions, investments in fads, avoidance of the simple but valuable truths in weigh maintenance and loss, and successes, breakthroughs and motivational stories.

Let’s break down what’s holding you back.

“Someone or some TV show told you that this supplement or that miracle food/drink will make it easy to loose weight.”

  • Never in the history of weight loss has one of these fads worked in a sustainable safe way.  Literally, never.  If weigh loss were that easy, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic.  Indisputable scientific evidence states that we must burn more calories than we take in.  Period.
  • One way to take the age-old proven recommendation to the next level is to choose your calories wisely.  Nutrient dense foods (think fiber, fruits and vegetables, protein, whole grains, etc) provide a lot more satiety.  This is sort of the concept behind “volumetrics.”  If you eat 100 calories of blueberries (1 ¼ cups!), you’ll be a whole lot more satisfied (full) than if you eat 100 calories of Doritos (which is a puny 8 Doritos).
  • Never, never, ever drink your calories.  Given this calories in/calories out idea, there is no place for non-satiating calories.  Studies have proven that calories consumed from sugary drinks DO NOT reduce the number of calories eaten at meals or snacks.  This means that these calories provide no satisfaction.  That goes for soda, sports drinks, juices, energy drinks, etc.

“I could lose weight/be more active if I had a different job/lifestyle/place to live/income/personal trainer, etc.”

  • If, if, if…is no way to live.  Create your own destiny and work within your circumstances to create a healthy lifestyle.  Even if you don’t have an hour a day to exercise, I bet you could find 3 or 4 10-minute segments to take a brisk walk, do jumping jacks, walk up stairs, run in place, hop on a bike.
  • Surround yourself with truly healthy food.  It’s easy to make the healthy choice when that is the only choice.  Healthy groceries at home and healthy snacks and meals at work will make a huge difference.  Just because someone brings donuts in to work, doesn’t mean you need one on a regular Tuesday:)

“I eat healthy/healthier than my friends, so I must be programmed to not lose weight.”

  • I would suggest you keep a food diary using or Super Tracker to get real with your diet.  Weigh and measure everything and record it for a week so you can have an accurate picture of what you eat.  You may be surprised that either a) some of your choices might be sabotaging your efforts or b) (and this is a really common one) you’re eating a whole lot more portions of generally healthy food than you though leading to too many calories


Week 8: Going into the Final Week 



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