Wednesday, February 26, 2014

How Jilly's Losers Works...

Anyone who has ever read my blog knows about my weight loss group, Jilly's Losers. It's a competition that I run on Facebook for friends and family where they can become healthy and lose weight and have fun all at the same time.  

Yesterday we finished up season 10.  I can't believe I've done that many!  Time just flies.  This group has literally saved my life.  Since I began the group in 2011, I myself have lost 119.4lbs.  It has been such a blessing to have so many people that have come and gone...influencing my life and motivating me to keep going.  They are such an inspiration and I love that I am able to help others in such a wonderful way.  My life is completely different now than it was before Jilly's Losers and I hope there are other people who can say that same.  Since it's inception, Jilly's Losers has lost 1238lbs and I love watching that number grow more and more every time a season ends!!

Now it's time to start planning for season 11 and I would LOVE to have some new people join us for what will hopefully be the biggest season yet.  So I thought I would post the rules for season 11 here on my blog for those who are curious how it works.  Let me know if you want in and always feel free to ask questions!

1.     Season 11 will begin on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. It will last 8 weeks and our final weigh in will be on Tuesday, May 13.
2.     The buy-in fee this season will be $25. This is a singles season. Fees should be sent via Paypal to with the note “buyin fee”. All fees must be paid by March 25th.
This season will be a combination of the "biggest loser" format and the "diet bet" format.  Here's how it will work!  Everyone will have 8 weeks to lose 6% of their body weight.  Anyone who reaches this goal will win part of the prize pot.  However, this time around...the person who loses the highest % of their body weight will win the most!  The person with the highest % of weight loss at the end of 8 weeks will win 50% of the prize pot.  Everyone else who reaches 6% will split the remaining 50% of the pot evenly. So there is motivation to beat yourself but to also let others push you even harder!!  

NOTE:  For those of us who are current group members returning for season 11...your starting weight will be handled a bit differently.  There will be a 3lb gain cap between seasons 10 and 11. (Example: If your season 10 final weight was 200lbs and your season 11 starting weight is 207, you will have an official start weight of 203.) This is to discourage anyone from gaining weight in the two weeks between the end of season 10 and the start of season 11.  Both to try and keep us all on track as well as to discourage any binge eating that will make it easier to lose the 6%.

3. Regarding weigh-ins:  We will still have mandatory weekly weigh-ins every Tuesday.  As for strikes...since this is a longer season I will be changing the rule.. I will allow 2 missed weigh-ins per person. That's 1 per month (or 2 in a row). On the 3rd missed weigh-in, you will be disqualified and you will not get your $ refunded. (You may continue to stay in the group and weigh-in but you will not be eligible to win any $) Remember that weigh-ins must be a picture of the # on your scale. Not just a post of your weight.
4. Before and After pictures are MANDATORY. The pictures may be with or without a shirt (you'll notice more of a change if you do it without), but they must be full body pictures. If your before picture is not submitted within the first week of competition, you will be disqualified. (If you submitted an "after" picture for season 10, that will count as your "before" picture for season 11) Those who win prizes at the end of the season will not receive their prize money until their after pictures have been submitted. Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize.
NOTE: Newcomers to this group always worry that their pictures posted in the group will show up for the public to see.  This group is secret.  As long as you are on the group wall BEFORE posting your pictures, no one will see them but those in the group.  Your pictures will show up on your own feed when you view it, but I promise you no one else can see it!)
5. Since this season we are competing against ourselves as well as each other, I will only be posting weekly results instead of overall results.  It's more fun if we don't know who is winning until the end!  I will, however, remind everyone throughout the season...what their goal weight is to reach 6%.  Keep in mind you have to be at or above 6% on the final weigh-in day.  So if you lose it all in the first few weeks, you have to maintain it or keep going!  NOTE:  Just like on dietbet...starting and final weights will be confirmed with a KEY WORD.  This is to ensure that starting and ending pictures are truly taken on the day of the weigh-in and not before.  I will post the KEY WORD in this group the night before the first and last weigh-ins.  It should be written on a piece of paper or notecard and placed at your feet in the front of your scale before taking your picture.
6. We will continue doing weekly challenges. After 10 seasons, I'm sure some of you are getting tired of my ideas.  There is a Season 11 Challenges & Ideas doc where anyone is welcome to post any ideas they might have for a challenge!  However, I will be the only one posting official challenges so as not to confuse everyone.
7. Remember that this group is about gaining health and losing weight through eating right and exercising. Extreme/fad diets are not allowed. Weight Watchers and things like that are fine, but no pills/drops/etc.
8. This group is only for those who will be actively participating in the competition this season, so while I hope everyone will stick around, please know that if you choose not to join us this season, you will be removed from the group. You are always welcome to join us in later seasons :)

Monday, February 17, 2014

The search for the perfect protein bar...

Anyone who has ever tried a healthier approach to eating knows that one of the key things is getting enough protein in your diet.  This is probably the one I struggle with the most.  Not because I don't like meat or anything like's just A LOT!  It's hard to really know how much protein a person should get in their diet.  It can depend on various things like your current weight and the amount of exercise you get.  The more you workout, the more important protein becomes.  A few great ways to get protein are lean meats such as chicken (yum, but gets boring) and fish (which I'm not a huge fan of).  Red meats count too but take your body longer to process and should be eaten in moderation.  Nuts/seeds and a bit of dairy can be great too. But if you're aiming for 75-100g of protein a day it can start to feel like a daunting task.

This is where things like protein shakes and bars come in.  Shakes are a whole other topic to tackle, so today I'm just going to talk about protein bars...because I FINALLY FOUND THE PERFECT ONES!!!

I have tried pretty much every kind of "protein bar" that's out there. I put it in quotes because some of them are just glorified candy bars and you may as well eat a snickers.  The trick to finding a good protein bar is finding one that has a good amount of protein (20+ grams) but doesn't also have a bazillion grams of sugar. Fiber one and Special K protein bars do okay on the protein front but one look at the sugar content and you'll see them as more of a chocolatey granola bar.  But hey, they're cheaper than most.

When I first started trying to lose weight, my nutritionist suggested "Think Thin" bars.  They have 20g of protein and only 1 or 2g of sugar...but one bite and I wanted to hurl.  I had to force myself to finish them.  My dad then introduced me to Pure Protein bars.  After having the Think Thin bars, they were a welcome change.  But after a couple weeks of the chocolate peanut butter bars (the only ones I liked even a little), I was tired of them.

The Biggest Loser talks a lot about larabars because they're all natural, etc...but their texture was so nasty to me that I was done after eating a half of one.  No thanks.

After my trip to the BL resort last fall, I was introduced to Kind bars.  Now these really tasted like a treat.  They are made with just nuts and honey...with a bit of dark chocolate.  Health wise, if you want a candy bar they are great.  However, their protein to sugar content still wasn't what I knew I needed.  *sigh*  I was seriously becoming frustrated.  I can get pretty lazy when it comes to eating and I just want something that I can grab quickly that is healthy and filling and doesn't taste like crap!  Is that so much to ask?

Enter...the Quest Nutrition bars.

I follow a few of the Biggest Loser alumni from past seasons and more and more I began to notice that they were all raving about Quest protein bars.  I was curious about them, but from what I could tell they're really freaking expensive and only available online or at stores like GNC.  I put off trying them, telling myself that they couldn't possibly be as good as everyone was saying.  They're probably paid to say those amazing things, right?

And then I decided to just suck it up and spend the dough.  HOLY FREAKING COW!!!!!!!!!!  Where have you been all my life, Quest bars?  Seriously.  I tried probably 8-9 different flavors and not one of them was "ew gross get it out of my mouth" nasty.  But my 3 favorites...are truly like a dessert.  The best part?  They are everything you need in a good protein bar.  Most of them are around 160-190 calories, 20-21g of protein, 1g of sugar and LOTS of fiber!

These are my 3 favorites.  Cookie Dough, White Chocolate Raspberry...and my newly ordered (they're sold out EVERYWHERE) Cookies n' Cream.

And I am not even slightly exaggerating when I tell you that they taste like their names.  The cookie dough tastes like you are unwrapping a roll of raw dough and if you know me...I could eat raw cookie dough all day.  The white chocolate raspberry has chunks of white chocolate and you can even get the raspberry seeds stuck in your teeth!  And wow...the cookies n' cream was so worth the hassle of ordering online and paying shipping.  (A box of 12 bars (including shipping) was $30.)  I made the mistake of letting my kids try a bite when the box came today and had to hide the rest.

My search is finally over.  I love love love these bars and have zero problem forking over a little more $ to get them.  I have met one person who hates them (Yes you, crazy person!) but every other person I know who has tried them has raved about them.  So there you have it.  If you are looking for a good protein bar and don't want to torture your taste buds for 3 years like I're welcome.  Enjoy!!!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

On the move again...

Man I hate plateaus.  I'm sure that in the 3+ years I've been writing this blog...that I've mentioned this before.  But it bears repeating.  A lot.  I HATE plateaus.  And this one finally seems to be OVERRRRR!  Woohoo!  *happy dance*.  Today I weighed in at 214.8, which is 115.8lbs total lost! It was not my worst plateau by far.  I remember being stuck in the 260's for about 6-8 months and that had me ready to give up completely...but I didn't.  This one had me stuck in the 217-224 range for about 3 months and it felt just as long.  But when I realize that between the 260's plateau and the 220 plateau, I lost more than 40lbs...I guess it's not so bad huh?

I was feeling very frustrated a few weeks ago and I was ready to just accept 220 as my final weight and just maintain from there.  I didn't want to give up my treats or eating out.  I didn't want to have to "eat clean" for more than a day at a time. I was tired and I wanted to just do what I wanted when I wanted.  But I was miserable.  I knew I wasn't done.  My awesome sister Heidi told me, "Jill just look at it this way.  If you had buckled down and done those things you say you don't want to could have been done by now.  But you can do it NOW.  Work really hard, eat really well for the next 6 months and THEN you can maintain!  You can eat out once in a while and enjoy your favorite things and just focus on your workouts.  You won't have to lose weight anymore."  When I looked at it that way, it made perfect sense.  I could keep beating myself up and eating horribly more days than not and maybe lose 1 pound every 3 months or I could be a little more strict and get it out of the way NOW instead of in another 2-3 years!

So that's what I've been trying to do.  Instead of allowing myself an indulgence day, like I used to...I've reigned it in.  I would always let 1 day become 3-4 and then I was scrambling to get it all out of my system by weigh in time.  Now I'm trying it a little differently.  I'm allowing myself a little treat here and a little treat there instead of having a 24 hour period where all rules go out the window.  Take today for example.  It's my baby Ari's 10th birthday!  (Man I feel old)  Tonight we're going out to Pizza Pie Cafe for dinner to celebrate. Normally I would see that coming and just make the whole day a free for all, but not today!  Today I had my apple bran muffin breakfast and am eating a healthy lunch and snacks and will WAIT until dinner to have that treat.  And even then I'm not going to see it as a free for all.  I am publicly announcing this NOW so that I'm held accountable to myself.  But tonight, I am going to have a giant salad FIRST.  And then I will allow myself 2 pieces of pizza, a breadstick (or 2...they're amazing) and then a slice of her birthday cake.  It will be a fun indulgence and it won't spill over into tomorrow.  Tomorrow night, however, I know I'll be having dinner with my dad in the city so I will plan accordingly!  No more day long binges.  I'm done!

So yes, it's nice to see the scale moving again, but it's more than that.  In my Burn It class that I take on Saturdays, we've begun using a body composition scale to track our body fat and muscle mass.  After 2 weeks of that class (and 2 weeks of clean eating), I've lost 6lbs, over 1% of my body fat and gained some muscle!  That is so much sweeter to me than just the number on my stupid scale.  My clothes are finally loosening up again, my wedding ring (which I have to wear on my middle finger now) is starting to fall off...and I feel GREAT!

I know that eventually I will have another plateau.  I know that this amazing will power I'm feeling now won't last forever and that I'll have another bout of feeling miserable and stuck.  But blog entries like this one will remind me that it won't last forever.  I'll always come out the other side.  And when the will power and drive hits me like it has these last 2 weeks...I'm going to RUN LIKE HELL with it!!!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Healthy vs. skinny

(This past Wednesday I wrote this post to my weight loss group , Jilly's Losers, and thought I'd share it here. NOTE:  BIGGEST LOSER FINALE SPOILER ALERT!!!)

Seeing as how I run a weight loss group based off of the show "Biggest Loser", I felt I should address what happened on last night's finale. It honestly upset me to the point that I was having dreams about it last night. 

If you watched, you saw Rachel come out on stage and your mouth dropped open in shock/horror/concern as mine did. The poor girl looked like a skeleton with skin. My heart broke instantly. I had been cheering for Rachel since day one. I loved that she was a competitive swimmer as I was when I was a kid. I loved that she was genuinely kind and honest and she worked VERY hard on the ranch. She was a tough competitor, but she was humble. It was impossible not to like her. During her last week on the ranch, she was already at a pretty healthy weight...and at 19% body fat...which for a woman is close to professional athlete status. She was strong and confident and determined to win. But I don't think ANYONE realized how far she was willing to take it.

Now to be fair, none of us knows whether she just went 150% extreme to win the money and plans to regain some weight now that she's won....or whether she has developed some type of eating disorder and genuinely needs help. When she first walked out on stage, I turned to Nathan and said "Holy crap, she looks anorexic." He stopped me in my tracks and pointed out that me saying that wasn't any different than someone saying I look fat. And he was right. We don't know if she is anorexic. We don't know what her body fat percentage is and we can only go on how she looked on that stage. But I don't comment on it to judge her. I genuinely love and support that girl and it concerns me beyond belief that she would go that far to win money. 

At 5'4" tall, 105 lbs is still considered "underweight". And it wasn't just about her looks. Rachel seemed frail. She fell walking up the stairs to the scale...and after David weighed in and she had won by a landslide, she didn't even realize it until Ali said "Hey, you won!". She seemed disoriented and dehydrated and weak and it scares me to see that Biggest Loser has come to that.

Or have they? The looks on Bob and Jillian's faces told the world that they had NO idea she was in such shape. (In the days following, both of them posted on their social media pages that they were not going to comment on Rachel as they were not her trainers.) They were as worried as the rest of us. But why was it allowed to come to this? Doesn't the show keep tabs on their contestants while they're at home? We've had winners weigh in very thin before, but never quite like this. 

Once Rachel took the stage, all the live feeds on FB and Twitter went silent. Even the Biggest Loser twitter account didn't mention her name or congratulate her. (And they still haven't mentioned her by name on Twitter several days later) It makes me wonder how they are going to address this, if at all.  Millions of people...families...children watch this show. And last night they watched a girl risk her health and her life for $250,000. 

So now let me come to my point. I've said this before and I will never stop saying it. This group is not about losing weight. It is about learning to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, we weigh in. Yes, our weight counts towards winning a prize...but I truly hope that that is not why any of you are here. If you are here for the money then perhaps you should find another group to try. Our prize pot is no $250K, but I understand that sometimes money can make people do things they might otherwise never do. I don't want that. I don't ever ever want that.

I love this group and I love what it has done for me and for so many others. But it terrifies me to think that it could be the cause of something like what happened on the Biggest Loser last night. When I finally get to my goal weight, will I be able to stop or will I be so obsessed with losing and so scared to gain it all back...that I starve myself? I hope not. I hope that I have learned enough to know where my line is. And I hope the same goes for all of you. Change your lives. Eat healthier. Move more. But know that you are loved and supported AT ANY WEIGHT!!! What is important is how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself...not how the world sees you. Find that sweet spot where you are happy and healthy and living your life....and then stay in it.

Sorry for the novel, but I had to say something. I love you all and I am grateful to have you all in my group and in my life  Stay strong!