I absolutely ADORE Bob Harper and follow him in any way that I can. Just found this and thought some of you would like to read it too.
Diner's Journal - The New York Times Blog on Dining Out
February 5, 2009, 11:45 am
More From Bob Harper
By THE NEW YORK TIMES
Here’s a second and last set of responses to reader questions from Bob Harper, who has been training contestants on “The Biggest Loser” since the show began in 2004.
Q. I rarely see you angry on the show. The frustration with contestants that don’t give their all in the workouts and the ones who go home after the program and regain the weight must be high. How do you deal with it? — Mashell
Bob replies: I try to see the big picture, looking at all the people who’ve succeeded as well as the ones who slipped. In each season, I can tell the difference between people who are there to win the game and people who are there to change their lives. I have had my moments of frustration. I really did lose it one time this season, when nine people had just gone home. Joelle, who stayed on the ranch, was looking for an easy way out. There is no easy way out. You have to do the work.
Q. I really appreciate your whole person approach with the contestants. My question is: How does the food aspect work? Are the contestants provided meal planning tools, or is the kitchen just “stocked” and the contestants are left to their own devices? Do they get to request foods? (Not junk, but request veggies they prefer etc.) — Daisy L
Bob replies: I approve everything that goes into the kitchen, but it’s completely stocked. The contestants actually spend a huge amount of time learning different ways of eating, learning to make over recipes. We work out in the kitchen as much as we do in the gym: it’s a production decision not to show it.
Q. What do you think of low-carb diets in the long-term? Do you think these eventually lead to a “fall off the no-carb wagon,” and quick regain of weight (since much of the weight lost is actually water weight)? I would love to hear your thoughts on the best way to incorporate (or eliminate) carbs from one’s diet. — Tara
Bob replies: For many reasons, you can’t cut an entire food group out of your diet. For one thing, if you’re totally deprived of something, you’re going to rebel and fall off the wagon in a big way. For another, people who are exercising – which everyone who wants to lose weight has to do – need to eat carbohydrates. Low-carb diets might work temporarily for sedentary people but it is not sustainable for weight loss.
Q. It seems like every episode features at least one contestant crying. Sure, part of this is television, but why do you think this process creates such an emotional reaction? Do contestants receive counseling while on the show? — sam in canada
Bob replies: Jillian and I are the only counselors, and it’s a big responsibility. These people are pulled away from friends, family, homes — everything that all of us find comforting and familiar — and put through the emotional ordeal of changing everything about their lives. Normally, for comfort, they would be eating, but they can’t do that either. They are way outside their physical comfort zone in the gym, and the pain and stress of that is real. Plus, they know it’s a competition and a game and someone will be going home at the end of the week. There’s just a lot of emotion on that set.
Q. The product placement is getting over the top. I understand commercial television has to rely on this, but I think it hit a low a few weeks ago when you told the contestants to put away that oatmeal, and have some of this name-brand high fibre cereal. Huh?? Put away the oatmeal?? Likewise, someone was told to stop snacking on one food and you pulled out some name-brand pre-packaged snack. I don’t believe that you, Bob, eat all this manufactured food so I wonder how you feel about pushing it so hard on the show. — Slappy
Bob replies: I may not eat it but I wouldn’t do a product integration for something I thought was really unhealthy. Yes, oatmeal is probably the best choice, but no one can eat oatmeal every day. There has to be some variety; you have to give people healthy options. That cereal has 14 grams of fiber per serving and it’s crunchy, not soft like oatmeal: it might satisfy some cravings that would otherwise end up in a bag of potato chips.
Q. My job is 100% travel. Right now I am working with a doctor and have lost 60 lbs, but it means I pack all of my food for a week at a client site. Do you have any tips for going back to the “real world” of travel where I will not have access to a kitchen for meal prep? I will have access to a refrig in a suite style hotel so I can store fruits, but I will not have access to utensils such as knives and forks and other items needed to prepare even something as simple as a salad.— Mike S
Bob replies: You have to learn to be strict with yourself and be annoying in restaurants. You can go to any restaurant and order a healthy dinner: no sauce, dressing on the side, no bread basket. I know it’s hard but like working out, you get used to it. Travel with lots of trail mix – not the kind with chocolate chips and honey roasted nuts, which are basically all sugar. Raw or roasted nuts and dried fruit.
Q. In recent seasons TBL seems to reach out of its previous comfort zone and get bigger and older contestants. It seems those people need the most help but, because of age or size do not lose enough weight and get voted off quickly. Does TBL feel a sense of obligation to assist those people once they are off the show? — Ryan
Bob replies: Once the contestants are at home, they still have access to the medical staff from the show, and to me and Jillian. The gym company that is our sponsor gives them free memberships, but unfortunately that only helps if they live near one. The show does not provide training for them. Many trainers in the communities where they live have donated training sessions, and they get tons of cheerleading from family and friends. But ultimately, like everybody, they have to figure it out themselves.
Q. Hi Bob, love your warmth on the show. I was curious as to your take on faux sweeteners. I have a huge sweet tooth and drink a lot of diet soda. I also like the low sugar fudge pops, diet mocha drinks, 100 cal snack packs, etc. I worry that the trade off — lower calories in exchange for chemicals — is not in my favor. Do you think they are harmful or trigger more cravings, or what kind of moderation should one employ with them? — Adian
Bob replies: I absolutely think they are harmful. I used to drink a ton of soda, and the more I drank, the more I wanted. Sweet triggers cravings for more sweet, but you can cut a sweet tooth down to size by gradually cutting down, and the cravings will be less. For an alternative sweetener, I prefer xylitol, which has a few calories but is natural and minimally processed.
Q. A year after having my first child, by c-section, I am now bigger than right after I gave birth. I know part of it is eating out a lot, but I do not have time to go to the gym or cook. I work and go to school part-time and am a single mother. Is there one change I can make that will help me to lose the weight. — K
Bob replies: Here’s one first step for diet and one for exercise. Cut out all fast food and soda from your diet. Start moving around, even if it’s just following your kids at the playground, climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator, walking around. Just get more steps in the course of your day. It’s a start, but keep moving forward.
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Edited by: MJA716 at: 9/30/2010 (21:02)
** Mary Jane **
"If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought." ~ Peace Pilgrim
| current weight: 166.6