Peoria's Biggest Loser contestants find ways to nutritionally prepare for long-term weight loss

By WEEK Reporter

February 11, 2014 Updated Feb 11, 2014 at 8:42 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- This is week five of Peoria's Biggest Loser competition-- almost halfway through the 12-week weight race. There are ways we can all nutritionally prepare to shed the pounds for good.

Monica and Bob Stuart are not racing for themselves.

"We have three children, my husband and I are both doing this together," said Team Gold member Monica Stuart.

"I have a history of heart disease," said Bob, who is also a Team Gold member. "I'm just taking care of myself so I can make sure to be there for them."

Exercise is not their only plan of attack. They have got the power of good food.

"More fruits and vegetables--that's huge," said Monica.

However, the battle is at the dinner table--especially when considering what they crave.

"Fried chicken and mashed potatoes," said Monica.

"Icecream," said Bob.

So contestants log everything they eat. They attend weekly nutrition classes to assess how nutrition plays a huge role in long-term weight loss.

"Our society today is about huge portions, but if we trust all of those external cues, then we're going to end up overeating," said Biggest Loser Head Registered Dietitian Liz Eells.

"If i don't pay attention to it, I just eat and eat and eat and don't pay attention to it," said Bob.

It is important to watch out for those creeping calories. Four cashew nuts or a tablespoon of creamer are an easy 50 calories.

"Eating just a hundred extra calories than what your body needs can lead to a 14-weight gain in a year," said Eells.

Also, how you eat deserves attention. The slower--the better. Even plating helps. You can trick your body to think you're eating more.

You can have the same amount of food on a small and a large plate. Studies say you are more likely to feel more full eating from the smaller plate because it seems like the plate is more full of food.

But, the Stuart's biggest advantage is their attitude.

"There's choices out there you can make without eating really bad," said Monica.

It is a mindset that may earn their team the gold.

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