Energy and weight loss secrets from Biggest Loser contestant Jackie Evans

When FOF Jackie Evans was eliminated from Season 5 of the Biggest Loser, she was 90 pounds lighter and had more energy than she’d ever had her entire life. Now, four years have passed, and Jackie no longer has a crew of pro trainers and nutritionists to keep her motivated, yet she has kept her weight down and energy up. How does she keep charged? Here, FOF chats with Jackie Evans about her post-Biggest Loser weight loss and energy secrets.

How did you get involved with “Biggest Loser?”
I had watched Biggest Loser every season. I’d sit with a bowl of popcorn with a stick of butter on it and say, ‘why can’t I lose weight?’ I wished I could be on the show but thought they wouldn’t let anyone my age compete.. They were having an open casting in Chicago and I encouraged my son Dan to go. He tried out and made the show, but the producers said, ‘we have a twist, this season duos will compete, is anyone else in your family overweight?’ And he said, ‘yes, my mom.’ They interviewed me, then they interviewed us together and low and behold we made the show.

Before you competed on The Biggest Loser what was your energy like?
I had no energy. I’d come home from work and I was exhausted. I had chronic fatigue. I remember my first day on the Biggest Loser, they wanted us to run on the treadmill. I couldn’t even run twelve seconds. By the end, I could run 45-minutes straight non stop. This year, I’m running 19 half marathons with my son Dan as part of an initiative called Team Future.

What is Team Future?
Since Dan and I lost a combined 225 pounds, we’ve been lucky enough to share our story with thousands. Our goal has been to educate children and families on the importance of exercise and healthy eating habits. We established a non-profit with this mission called Kids Fit. Dan and I [Team Future] are running a total of 500 miles to raise money and awareness.

You really went from not being able to run for twelve straight seconds to marathons?
Yes, [but a secret is] that I do the run-walk which is different than just running. You make your own intervals. When I first started I would run for 1 minute and walk for 6. Now I run for a minute and a half and walk for 3. Nineteen half marathons aren’t good for your body at all. You’ll break your body down instead of building it up. The run-walk is an incredible challenge every time I do it. It’s cardio challenge, interval challenge and energy booster, yet I’m not destroyed and I don’t feel punished.

What was a day in your life like before competing on The Biggest Loser?
I’ve always been an early riser. I’d get up between 6 and 7 in the morning and have what I call ‘me time.’ I’d drink a cup of coffee or two, sit in my chair and ponder and plan. Then, about 9 a.m. I’d go into work and grab another cup of coffee on the way out the door. No breakfast. I’d work all day at my computer. I knew if I ate I’d get tired, so I didn’t eat until 3 p.m. I’d eat whatever we were ordering out, maybe a sandwich, a burger or barbecue chicken. Then about an hour later, around 4 p.m. I’d get so tired. I’d want to take a nap, I’d try more coffee. Finally around 5 p.m. I’d go home, turn on my Tivo get my shows going, and pretty much eat all night long. I’d tell myself, ‘I had a heavy lunch I’m only going to eat a little something.’ So I’d have some cheese, I’d still be hungry and then I’d eat a half a sandwich. Then, maybe I’d have some popcorn. Then it would be back to bed and I’d pick up the same thing the next day.

Were you always overweight?
I struggled with my weight all my life. I tried every diet, I own every weight loss gadget you can buy on TV. I never ate regular meals. I found out when I was on The Bigger Loser that my yo-yo diet destroyed my metabolism.

What is day in your life like now, almost four years after to competing on The Biggest Loser?
I still get up early and have my “me time.” I have one cup of coffee instead of four. I eat breakfast now — four egg whites and one whole egg and one cup of fruit. I do three 12-minute workouts before I leave for work–  abs, lower body and upper body. Once I’m at my office, I set an alarm on my phone to tell me to eat every few hours because I can get so caught up in my work and forget to eat. For lunch I have a sandwich with four ounces of turkey, mustard (only 5 calories!) and lettuce on Ezekial bread, the whole thing is 450 calories. I cut the sandwich in half and eat each half a few hours apart. When I get home, I’ll have a protein bar, then I go outside and run a minimum of three miles but sometimes up to six. After, I’ll eat dinner — usually just protein and vegetables. Then I’ll watch TV in my chair, not in bed like I used to and go to bed at around 11 p.m.

Do you still get sleepy in the afternoon?
No. I go a full day and don’t get tired anymore. Food is your fuel. That’s the biggest thing I learned as a ‘Biggest Loser.’

Your favorite energy boosting snack?
I absolutely love Power Crunch bars. I’ve searched high and low and tried every protein bar in the world and these are the most delicious. They are 200 calories per bar and 14 carbs. It’s the perfect snack. On the show, they taught us to eat a protein and a carb together to kick-start your energy. So sometimes I’ll eat an apple and some almonds. For me, it’s about is keeping my blood sugar stable all day. I don’t drink energy drinks.

Have you had trouble maintaining your weight after the show?
I lost about 90 pounds on the show and right now I’m within five pounds of my finale weight. I struggled when I first came off the show because it was a whole new challenge when I was back at home. I had trouble figuring out how to make what I learned on the show part of my life.

What’s advice do you have for keeping energy up and weight down?
The most important thing is to plan.  I plan out what I’d eat and how I’d exercise on a perfect day. I plan a different routine for each day, because I have different commitments every day of the week.

What’s the biggest mistake you think people make when it comes to their energy?
They confuse mental exhaustion with physical exhaustion. I’d come home after sitting in an office all day and be exhausted. But, I was mentally tired not physically tired. I didn’t know the difference. You just need to get active immediately, get moving.

{Fabulous Things of 2010} The results are in… Vote!

Last month, we asked FOFs to fill out a survey about the fabulous things they discovered in 2010, from foodie finds and beauty products to to exercise routines and tech gadgets. Hundreds of women responded, and we’ve got their top three picks in each category. Now it’s a run-off: the Number 1 winner in each group is up to you.  Vote now!

Plus, ENTER TO WIN a gift basket containing 6 of the nominees (including an e-reader, perfume and beauty product) by leaving a comment, below!

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Contest and voting close on March 26, 2011. See complete contest rules, here. See all our past winners, here.

{Giveaway} Secrets to a breathtaking bod

FOF Rosie Battista is giving away the secrets that transformed her body from this:

Thank you for entering. This contest is now closed.

Enter to win, by commenting below and answering: What part of your body do you love the most?

As she approached her 50th birthday last year, Rosie Battista experienced a true mid-life crisis:

“I had to sell my house in a bad housing market,” writes Rosie on her website. “I had a broken-up relationship, a lost, messy floundering business, topped off with seemingly insurmountable life issues… All of this toxicity evidenced itself in the most obvious symptom of a lifestyle gone awry, an overweight, uncomfortable body.”

In an effort to get her groove back, Rosie decided to tackle one long-held goal: Compete in a body-building contest. Over the next four months, she completely transformed her body through an intensive dieting and training program. She lost 35 pounds, toned up and placed 17th in the competition.

“I was the oldest one in the competition and my 19-year-old daughter who trained and competed with me was the youngest,” says Rosie. “At 50, I am finally comfortable in my own skin and have the confidence to say it. Confidence enables and entitles me to sleep naked!”

Now, Rosie spends her time spreading the love…teaching others how to love their bodies and enjoy their food. She authored three brilliant books: Sleeping Naked After 40, an e-book which includes Rosie’s weight-loss and confidence-boosting lessons, Cooking Naked After 40, a cookbook of the recipes that transformed her body and Mini-Treats, a collection of dessert recipes without refined sugar.

Bonus! Preview one of Rosie’s recipes from Mini-Treats by clicking here.

“I LOVE chocolate, but that doesn’t mean I have to eat chocolate bars, candy and sugar-laden layer cakes. It is possible to sweeten your life while reducing the sugar you consume.”

Chick Pea Brownies

These are a favorite in my house because they freeze so nicely and actually taste like fudge when you remove them from the freezer. With no white flour and no refined white sugar, these treats are delightful and your whole family will be amazed.

1 bag dark chocolate chips
2 cups of garbanzo beans
2/3 cups of agave nectar
1/2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
Walnuts/almonds (optional)

1. Melt chocolate in double boiler
2. Mix beans, agave, baking powder, eggs in a blender and mix in chocolate.
3. Pour in pan and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
4. Sprinkle with nuts if desired.

(These keep great in the freezer!)

Enter to win Rosie’s books, Cooking Naked After 40, Sleeping Naked After 40 and Mini-Treats plus a 30-minute phone consultation with her by commenting, below: What part of your body do love most?

(See all our past winners, here.)

(See official rules, here.)

Contest closes February 17, 2011

[Read more about Rosie here]

{Exercise} What exercise body type do you have?

Those group exercise classes? “Forget them,” says FOF Linda Taylor, President and CEO of Taylor Wellness Arts. “They can be a waste or even harmful for most FOFs because they are not custom to our individual body types and needs.”

In response to the exercise-related injuries Linda witnessed (and experienced herself when one ended her ballet career) she created the Taylor Method, a fitness plan based on 4 unique body classifications: Military, Flat Back, Sway Back and Kyphosis-Lordosis.

Do you know what type of body you have? Find out below.

A few weeks ago, FOF Founder Geri met with Linda Taylor at her studio. Linda classified Geri as a Kyphosis-Lordosis which means she has shorter ligaments, a rounded upper back causing her head to sit forward and an arched lower back. Geri’s posture problems stem from her Kyphosis-Lordosis body type. She has turned-in knees and the puts all her weight onto her big toe joints and her quads.

Until you know your specific body type, Linda believes you can’t exercise, stretch, walk or even sit properly. Once classifying Geri as a Kyphosis-Lordosis, Linda was able to help her begin to “unlearn” some of her bad movement patterns and habits and reteach her how to sit, stand, walk and eventually exercise properly.

“For years, people thought if you were born with a certain structure that was the way you were going to die. If you had a curve in your back, you’d always have a curve in your back. To the contrary, what we have  found is movement makes structure. You can move into a bad pattern but you can also move into a good pattern.”

The first step to breaking bad movement patterns and exercising properly is knowing your body type and correcting your posture, according to Linda.

Watch a video below to discover your own body type and start correcting your posture.

{Exercise} Watch These Now and Win!

Win the complete Yoga for Faboverfifty Women video. To enter, comment below and answer: How do you think Iyengar Yoga would help you?

A message from FOF Founder, Geri Brin:

One thing I know for sure: If I’m lucky enough to live to my eighties, I do not want to shuffle like my mother did.

Many older people shuffle because they’re unsure of their balance and worried they’ll fall. And they’re absolutely right. If we don’t work our muscles, they are going to atrophy and we will fall.

Beauty products, plastic surgery, great-looking clothes and jewelry may be a girl’s best friends. But balance, strength and flexibility—physical and mental—are what really keep us young.

We have the solution: Yoga for Faboverfifty Women, a new video we’ve created for the FOF Shop. It will calm your mind and strengthen your body.


FOF Founder, Geri Brin

Ready to practice Iyengar?
The complete video series, Yoga for Faboverfifty Women, is available for download in the FOF shop right now! We’re charging $14.99 to cover our production costs, but we promise it will be worth it!

Win the complete Yoga for Faboverfifty Women video. To enter, comment below and answer: How do you think Iyengar Yoga would help you?

{Exercise} 9 Top Trainers for FOFs

Meet the country’s best butt-kickers. Here are 9 trainers FOFs call on to get (and keep) in shape:

1. Erica Akemi Shepherd at The Pilates Company, Woodinville, WA
FOF KatieF says, “She’s beautiful inside and out and a tough and fun trainer. Her studio, The Pilates Company of Woodinville, offers a variety of programs: BASI Certified Pilates, a Pink Ribbon Program for Cancer Survivors, Mommy and Me Pilates, and Tracy Mallet’s Booty Barre.”

2. Laura Dixon at Harmony Mind Body Fitness, Chicago, IL
FOF Susan Dixon says, “Laura is a one-of-a-kind Pilates trainer. She has a background in dance and Stott Pilates Method as well as certification in Gyrotonics, Gyrokinesis, and XtendBarre. She is quick to understand your strengths and weaknesses and will work one-on-one with you to help you improve your physical condition.”

3. Sherry Stewart, St Louis, MO
FOF janis0314 says, “Sherry is an FOF, so she knows that there are special needs for women and men over 50. She takes extra special care to make sure you have a well-rounded workout within your limitations. Sherry is also the best personal example–not a ‘Do what I say, not what I do’ trainer.”

4. Donna Perone, New York, NY
FOF Terry Perl says, “I’ve been working with Donna for more than 6 years. What I love is, she doesn’t just do what’s trendy. She focuses on functionality, flexibility, balance and strength. She’s not trying to make you into a 100-pound teenager, she’s trying to help you stay moving and keep your joints and bones in shape. Thanks to Donna’s workouts I am stronger, I have muscles, I can go up and down stairs better and I don’t say ‘ooph’ when I stand up from a squat! Every woman could benefit from a trainer like her. Plus, she’s an FOF herself!”

5. Ernestine Shepherd, at Energy Fitness Center, Randallstown, MD
FOF elegantlady63 says, “This woman is incredible and the greatest inspiration ever. She is 74 years old with the energy and body of a 20 year old. She is a champion bodybuilder and has won trophies all over the world. She teaches classes at Energy Gym and several Senior Centers in Baltimore.”

6. Michelle LeFleur at St.Joseph’s/Candler Health System, Savannah, GA
FOF Susan H says, “I have always hated exercise even though I know it’s good for me. I’ve had other trainers but it was not until I met Michelle at Candler Wellness Center in Savannah, that I understand how a good trainer can make a difference. I started with Michelle to help lose weight and get strength back in my legs after multiple surgeries. She helped me develop a training program I like and feel good about. Knowing that she’s waiting for me at the gym makes me look forward to working out. Best of all, she’s introduced me to water exercise. When I’m in the pool, I can move my knees like there’s nothing wrong with them. Michelle is not only a trainer, she’s become a friend, motivator and cheerleader for every ounce of weight I lose and every ounce of strength I gain.”

7. Jane Trahan, Baton Rouge, LA
FOF sharon k says,Jane is amazing. She actually makes me laugh out loud while I’m working out. She has been my trainer for over two years now–the longest time I’ve ever stuck with a program–because she varies the routine and keeps it interesting. I have joint issues and Jane has adapted her program to work with my joints. She has kept me more active and healthy than I’ve ever been!”

8. Josh Simmons at Forma Gym, Walnut Creek, CA
FOF merrittinmartinez says, “Josh is a trainer and a massage therapist who has taken me from an injured lump to a long distance cyclist. He can ‘kick your butt’ kindly while modifying moves to accommodate injuries. Oh, and he’s not hard on the eyes, either!”

9. Pam Roth at Fast Track to Fat Loss, online
FOF mjk1256 says, “Pam is part of the Fast Track to Fat Loss team. She is always online to answer any questions and suggest great ideas for success with diet and exercise. She has really become a friend as well as a trainer for the past few months. I’m 71, I started out in size 12 jeans and now wear an 8.”

Do you have a trainer you love and want to recommend? Click here to add him or her to Fab Faves now!

{Exercise} Denise Austin’s 5 easy ways to get energy back now!

In her just-released book Get Energy! Empower Your Body, Love Your Life, 53-year-old Denise Austin–who “makes the Energizer Bunny look lethargic,” according to People magazine–shares the food and fitness plan that’s allowed her to maintain her booming body and her booming business for the past 30 years. Here she shares 5 easy ways for you to get your energy back now:

1. Expend energy. A sedentary lifestyle is an energy drain: ironically, the more you sit, the less energy you have. Regular exercise boosts your circulation and delivers much-needed oxygen to your body. And you don’t have to sweat buckets, either. I exercise just thirty minutes a day. I know how tough it can be to get to the gym when all you want to do is curl up on the couch. But research shows regular exercise can reduce fatigue by 65 percent. Just remember: to get energy, you need to expend it.

2. Stretch. Each time I take a break from working at my desk, I stretch. Presto! Instant recharge. Remember: energy begins with oxygen. Stretching enhances blood circulation, which brings fresh oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to your body. During a good stretch, your brain calms, your mood lifts, and your energy generator comes online again. Then you’re ready to jump back into the fray.

3. Go to bed earlier. It’s better to sleep and wake early (i.e., 10 p.m.– 6 a.m.) because your body’s functions—temperature, digestion, and restorative processes—are linked to its exposure to natural light. Research suggests that getting ninety minutes’ less sleep for just one night can reduce your alertness by 30 percent the next day. Can’t sleep? Make a list of worries and possible solutions in the early evening to avoid the fretting that keeps you awake; turn off the bedroom TV; create a soothing pre-bed ritual; get earplugs to drown out distractions, such as your partner’s snoring.

4. Breath deep! Renewing your energy can be as easy as breathing! I’ve always said that energy begins with oxygen. Take a deep breath right through your nose…and then slowly exhale through your nose. Repeat a few more times. With each breath, you delivered energy-giving oxygen to every cell in your body, from head to toe. When you breathe correctly, you can melt away stress and relax and unwind–and of course, it all benefits your energy level.

5. Savor a square of dark chocolate. To rev up and bliss out, indulge in one square of dark chocolate. It’s rich in anandamide, the so-called “bliss molecule” associated with post-workout euphoria, according to research conducted at the University of California — Irvine. Caffeine and another stimulant called theobromine are also at work.

This is adapted from Get Energy! Empower Your Body, Love Your Life by Denise Austin. Copyright (c) 2011 by Denise Austin. Reprinted by permission of Center Street, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

[Read FOF’s complete interview with Denise Austin]

{Poll} Worst workout wear trend?

A thong-leotard over biker shorts!? Unitards!? Leg-warmers!? Really…What were we thinking? We can’t take back the fitness fashion faux pas of the 80s but we can make sure they never happen again!

Take our poll: “Which 80s fitness fashion trend was the most ridiculous?” Then, see what other FOFs chose.

Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.

Images via So Shiny, American Counsel of Exercise, Tone it Up, and Style List

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{Excercise} Yoga at age 92!

Think you’re too old for yoga? Meet an inspiring 92-year-old yoga master, Tao Porchon-Lynch (age 87 at the time this video was shot). Neither her age nor a total hip replacement has stopped this FOF from teaching or practicing the ancient exercise.

Video via Huffington Post