Tag Archives: Weight loss

My Thoughts on Bob Harper’s New Book: “Jumpstart to Skinny”

Several of you have asked if I have an opinion about Bob Harper’s new book, “Jumpstart to Skinny.” Yes, in fact I do. Here are my thoughts:

• I know Bob Harper personally. I believe these two things to be true about him: 1) He knows what he’s talking about. 2) He genuinely cares about people.
• I don’t believe the whole 800-calories-a-day concept is something you can live with permanently. But I don’t believe that’s what he’s suggesting. This is a jump start. And sometimes we all need a swift kick in the pants to help get us back on track.
• Consuming only 800 calories a day for three weeks won’t kill you. After all, these calories are coming from REAL FOOD. And don’t forget, you can eat all the fresh vegetables you want. (All of them! You don’t have to be hungry.)
• When I was on The Biggest Loser, I ate 1,200 calories a day normally. But as time got closer to the Finale, I went to 800 calories. It did jump start my metabolism and that’s when I started to see really significant results. (I was also running 14 miles a day too however. That part of the equation was impossible to keep up after leaving the show. Bob doesn’t mention exercise to this magnitude in his plan.  Obviously, if you are consuming 800 calories a day your exercise must be modified somewhat.)
• I think as long as you follow the formula: 20% of your calories coming from fat, 40% from carbohydrates and 40% from protein – you will be safe and not doing anything detrimental to your body.
• As far as gaining the weight back quickly, I was able to maintain a healthy body weight for five years (until getting pregnant) after using this technique initially (not permanently) to get to where I wanted to be. So as long as you keep proper perspective I don’t think re-gaining everything is unavoidable.
• Now when it comes to the word “Skinny”…let me go on the record as saying I would NOT be offended if anyone wanted to use that term to refer to me. 🙂 But I do agree “healthy” is a better choice.

So those are my thoughts. I welcome yours’.
~ J


Q&A with Julie: How Do You Combat the Negative Self Talk?

I know I say this a lot, but I really mean it – one of the very best parts of being on “The Biggest Loser” and the “journey” that has followed is getting to meet people from all over that I would have otherwise never known.  These people share their stories, their struggles, their victories.  I love it!

So I decided recently to start answering some frequently asked questions via my Blog.

The other day I got a message from a precious lady in Chatham, Ontario.  She shared her heart and at the conclusion of her email, she said:

“Could you reassure me that it is possible to lose weight and keep it off.  Also, how do you (did you) battle the negative self-talk?”

I have gotten variations of those questions many times.  So I thought it would be a great topic for today.

First of all, yes it is possible to lose weight and keep it off.  I maintained a healthy body weight for five years after being on “The Biggest Loser.”  Notice I said “healthy body weight.”  Not necessarily “my finale weight.”  I was running fourteen miles a day (yes, I said a day) prior to the Finale.  I couldn’t keep up that schedule.  But I found a healthy weight and a size I was comfortable with.  And through good nutrition and exercise it is possible to keep your weight under control.  Is it easy?  HECK NO!  It is a struggle every single day.  There are constant highs and lows in the battle…days of both victory and of defeat.

If you are like me, I am a food addict.  It is possible for an alcoholic to eliminate their addiction completely from their lives (not easy, but possible).  But who can stay completely away from food?  You have to have it to live.

So I in no way want to imply that there is anything easy about maintaining weight loss.  I think you must be determined and be realistic.  But as we’ve all heard many times before, anything worth having is worth working hard for.

During my pregnancy I gained weight and I am in the process of getting it back off.  I look at these women on magazine covers that pop a baby out and the next week are back in their skinny jeans.  Well, that has not been my experience (and I don’t own a pair of skinny jeans anyway).   I have discouraging days when the progress is slower than I’d like it to be…which leads me to the second question:  How do you battle the negative self-talk?

Negative self-talk got me up to 218 pounds and landed me on a reality TV show for the morbidly obese.  So I know quite a bit about it.  I was guilty of it my whole life.  And even now, I sometimes catch myself having a defeated or discouraged attitude.

What helped me initially, and still does to this day, is to acknowledge the source of my strength.  For me, it’s my faith that plays that integral role in my life.  I read in the scriptures all the magnificent things God has to say about me.  “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…”  I am “the apple of His eye…”  He calls me His “Beloved…”  And “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  This part of my life truly does help me combat the negative self-talk.  I mean, if the creator of the universe holds me in such high esteem…then I must be something special.  It’s all about feeling WORTHY…worthy of the effort it takes to live the life of your dreams.

I realize that some of you reading this don’t share the same faith.  But you can still drill down to whatever the source of your strength is.  Maybe it’s yourself.  Or your family.  Or your kids.  Whatever it is that motivates you to keep on trying and never give up…lock your mind around that thing.  BELIEVE you really are worth all the effort to make a change in your life.

I read this recently and I have said it to myself many times since then:   “Losing weight is hard.  Maintaining weight loss is hard.  Being fat is hard.  Choose your hard.”


Q & A with Julie: What do you do with all the loose skin?

“What do you do with all the loose skin after you lose a significant amount of weight?”

That may be THE question that I get the most. And my husband hates what he calls my “self-depricating” answer…but it’s true: for me, I didn’t do anything with it. It’s still there. And truthfully, my behind looks a little bit like a Shar Pei puppy. But that’s ok…because I never aspired to be a swimsuit model. SharPei

For me, my “Biggest Loser” experience was about getting healthy. (Which I did.) It was never about achieving physical perfection. (Which I didn’t.)

Now, don’t get me wrong – I am not in any way opposed to skin removal surgery. Some people opt for that and it’s a great choice for them. Some people have so much hanging skin after a huge weight loss that it is a physical impairment to their quality of life. I have had friends who opted for skin removal surgery or a tummy tuck or an arm or leg lift because they worked so hard to lose the weight and even after the weight was gone, when they looked in the mirror all they saw was “the skin.”

For them, surgery was the perfect choice.

Skin does have a certain amount of elasticity too. And so for me, some of my skin firmed up due to exercise. The doctors on the Show advised us to wait about a year to let our bodies settle into a normal body weight and let our skin get adjusted before electing to do surgery of any kind. I didn’t undergo any surgery because, even though I see the imperfections in my body, I view my loose skin as a “battle scar.” It’s a reminder of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.


Q & A with Julie: Do I keep up with Season 4 Biggest Loser Castmates?

Run

“The Biggest Loser” was a life-changing – once-in-a-lifetime experience to say the least. I am beyond blessed to have been a part of it.

I am very often asked if I continue to keep in touch with those I was on the show with in Season 4. And the answer is “Yes!” Many of them I am still in contact with.

There’s no way you can go through the kind of experience we all endured together and not forge a forever bond. The experience of “Reality TV” in and of itself is very unique. And the dynamics of “The Biggest Loser” are very unique. On my season, we lived in a dormitory type setting. The quarters were very close. And we lived life together. We cooked meals together. Ate together. Did dishes together. Did laundry together. Worked out together for hours on end. We faced challenges together and my “Black Team” members and I actually survived Jillian Michaels together. Any socializing we did was … together. It was as much like a family as any you could imagine.

I have such positive feelings for everyone on Season 4. And not just the cast, but the producers and all the crew. Facebook is a wonderful way to keep up with everyone. I keep in touch with Bill, Jim and Isabeau a good bit. But Nicole and I text back and forth all the time. And Hollie is one of my closest friends. Me and Hollie...love her.And every once in a while I’ll get an irreverant post on Facebook from Jez and I know that he still loves me.

And yes – for those of you who want to know – I do still keep in touch with Jillian. I think I will forever. She’s an amazing trainer and friend. Me and Jillian

The Biggest Loser “fraternity” also transcends well beyond the season we were on. For years after my season, I went back to every Finale. And made great connections with so many of the contestants that were on years after me. I also got the chance to meet those that were on the previous seasons. The ones I was “in awe” of…those like Suzy Preston Hoover and Poppi Kramer. Scheduling hasn’t permitted me to go back for the past couple of seasons, but each year Chef Devin Alexander hosts a wonderful dinner party for all the former losers. It’s a great time to get together and reminisce and socialize.

Some of you may remember that Kelly Fields (Season 5) lived with me for a while as she was preparing for her Finale. She is like a member of my own family. And Michelle Aguilar, winner of Season 6, is a dear friend of mine. I could go on an on about the fabulous friends I’ve made through the Biggest Loser experience. And I watch each season with equal parts enthusiasm and sympathy as I watch a “new class” of losers endure the beatings that will change their lives.

With Suzy Preston Hoover Nicole Mahalik, Bill Germanakos and Me Me and Michelle Aguilar The precious Kelly Fields