BIGGEST LOSER "12" WEEK ONE "IT’S NOT WHAT YOU EAT!"

Well the group just finished their first full week of training. The goal was to get them moving, and I think we accomplished that. After the weigh-in, we talked about how much they were eating.

It’s always a surprise to women when they learn they need to eat more. I got an email from one of the participants telling me how hard it was to hit her target—it just seemed like so much food. At the end of the week, though, she’d lost a pound. She ate more (including breakfasts) and lost weight.

She’s not alone in that. Most women aren’t eating enough. According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), women need a minimum of 1,200 calories a day just to live—without taking exercise into consideration.

Typically, the average woman will need to be up around 1,500-1,650 calories a day to lose weight, and feel good doing it. That’s important. You need to feel good too. You’d never think of driving your car to Terre Haute on an empty gas tank (not more than once), but that’s what you’re doing with your body if you’re not hitting your minimum.

Food is fuel for the body. You need it to live, for quick energy, long fuel, building muscle and bone, and to keep the body healthy. It’s just fuel. If you don’t get enough, your body won’t work right. In fact, too few calories and your body just might think its starving.

That’s the problem many women are facing. They’ve gotten scared to eat anything, thinking it’ll go right to their butt! But it won’t. If they eat the right amount of food, they’ll just feel better, and their body will take what it needs to build, and use the rest for fuel.

So the first thing was to find out how much they were eating. That was the purpose for giving them daily calorie logs that first day. After tracking it for a few days, it will become pretty clear if they’re getting their minimum or not.

Now guys tend to go the other way—we’re typically over-eaters. Put a plate in front of a guy, and not only will we clean it up, but we’ll go back for seconds, even thirds! We can eat our way right past full, straight through to gorged.

Of course, this isn’t healthy either, and explains the big guts and butts you see all over the place. What men need to learn is portion control, and the daily logs help with those, too.

If you write it down, you become more accountable. If you’re guessing, you’re usually wrong, because guessing makes you fat. But keeping a diary will keep you thin! Studies have shown that people who wrote down what they eat lose more weight than those who didn’t.

The ACSM minimum for guys is 1,800 calories, and most guys can lose a lot of weight and still be pretty comfortable if they stay around 2,400 calories a day. But if you want to lose more weight, quicker, than you can push it down closer to the minimum.

Personally, I think it’s better to be comfortable and not feeling like you are starving. That’s why I recommend that most women stick with 1,650 calories if you’re of average build. If you’re a little taller, you can eat a little more and still lose weight. Likewise, if you’re a little smaller, you can eat a little less and still feel satisfied.

The workout this week began with a 1 mile walk/run. After that, they moved to the mat room and did 5 rounds of 10 pushups, 10 body squats, and 10 sit-ups for a total of 50 of each exercise.

It’s a good example of what I call “active rest.” After doing the pushups, your upper body gets a break while you do the body squats. Then your lower body gets a break while you do the sit-ups, and so on. This way you can do more total work, and your body burns more calories because you keep moving.

Next week we’ll turn it up a notch. Meanwhile, they’re supposed to continue their daily mile each morning, and their regular routines later in the day: the weight machine circuit three days a week and cardio on the other days. We’re also going to look at how food is used in the body so they can start making better choices.

This week’s winner was Susan King, who lost 2.7% of her body weight and 6.4 lbs. I almost missed it because she weighed in Thursday night before going out of town and left me a note that I found after our Friday night workout. Good thing I found it!

Second place went to Michelle Clark, who lost 2.4% and 4.0 lbs, and Alison Raney took third by losing 2.3% and 4.5 lbs. Karen Brown and Carol Mitchell tied for fourth place, losing 2.2%. Karen lost 5.0 lbs and Carol lost 3.8. Fifth place went to Tom Dagley, who lost 2.1% and 3.8 lbs.

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