Biggest Loser weight loss tips
By Dana Leigh Smith
It may be the laziest timesuck ever, but Facebook saved Sonya Jones’ life. As the Illinois-based PE teacher scrolled through her newsfeed one March afternoon in 2014, she came across an open casting call for season 16 of The Biggest Loser. Weighing 283 pounds and suffering from high cholesterol, hypertension, arthritis and low self-esteem, she thought “what the heck” and decided to apply for a spot on the show. What she didn’t know then was that her snap decision would change her life forever.
“I had watched The Biggest Loser since season one, and secretly always wanted to be a contestant, ” Jones tells Eat This, Not That!. “And here I am, six years later, 104 pounds lighter, having completed one of the greatest journeys of my life. I feel like I could conquer the world.”
But Sonya didn’t just experience rapid weight loss and pile it all back on, she’s kept it off—which is arguably the hardest part. Jones and the other season 16 finalists, Rob Guiry and Toma Dobrosavljevic (who ended up taking home the crown) had their final weigh-in nearly a year ago. And Sonya is only slightly heavier than she was on the season finale. “When we taped the finale, I weighed 139 pounds. That’s about 20 pounds lighter than what the show’s medical team recommended, but I was trying to win the competition. I knew that I would never maintain that weight. I’m 179 pounds now and I feel great. I’m healthier and happier than ever, ” says Jones.
Curious how Sonya maintains her trimmer, healthier figure? We sure were! Her 15 go-to tips below are sure to help you lose weight and keep it off for life! And once you see how simple it can be to stay lean and healthy, be sure to check out these 44 Ways to Lose 4 Inches of Body Fat!
With the help of a friend, counselor or journal, get to the root of your weight issues and how they make you feel. Once you understand your emotional connection to food and how you became heavy to begin with, it will be easier to keep the weight off long term. “The hardest part of my weight loss journey was discovering how I let myself get to 283 pounds and talking through that, ” says Jones. “It was hard for me to verbalize how much I actually disliked my physical appearance and how I let the effects of being overweight control how I viewed myself for so many years. But working through these issues helped me see how I relied on food for comfort and to break free of my food addiction.” For more out-of-the-box diet hacks, check out these 20 Weight Loss Tricks You Haven't Tried.
Diet is everything when it comes to weight maintenance and weight loss, says Jones. “Although your favorite boot camp class can help you build muscle and improve your cardiovascular health, it cannot undo a bad diet. In fact, you can undo two hours in the gym with one bad snack or meal. If you’re trying to maintain your weight loss, recognize that it’s a daily battle, but always remember that you’re worth the battle! No piece of food will ever compare to how well you feel when you’re healthy, ” adds Jones.
Since her big television debut, Sonya dines out far less often than she used to: “I cook at home so that I have more control over what I put into my body, ” she says. If you like to dine out on occasion, consider it a “cheat” and stick to healthy homemade meals like these 20 One Pot Dinners for Weight Loss to stay on track and satisfied throughout the week.
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And speaking of cheat meals, if you want to maintain your newfound flat abs, don’t go overboard. “I have concentrated times when I am 100% on course with my diet, but even when I’m not so on track, I don’t let myself go crazy, ” says Jones. If you’re going to indulge in a cheat meal, make sure it still has some redeeming nutritional qualities that your body can benefit from. If you’re craving ice cream, for example, top your scoop with some fresh fruit. And don’t forget to stick with a kiddie-sized serving. All you need is a little taste of your go-to treat to kick a pesky craving to the curb. Looking for even more cheat clean inspiration? Check out these 21 Healthy Cheat Meal Ideas from Amazing Chefs.
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