Biggest Loser: Bernie’s Book

By Carlene Helble-Elite Nutrition Intern

We are sending a big “Congratulations!” to Rebecca’s Nurture Principles speaking partner, Bernie Salazar! He just completed Monstercise, his first children’s book, which hits stores in 2011.  In an interview with Extra Bernie said “It’s about getting America’s children nice and healthy using their imagination, playing a lot more.” See his interview and get inspired to get you and your little ones moving!

We can’t wait to see more and hope you keep a look out for it in 2011!

FNCE Recap Day 2: Vitamin D, Biggest Loser, Social Media and Socializing

If you like food, nutrition, and helping people live well you should be at FNCE!

Day two (Sunday)  was so much fun! I love nutrition, talking about nutrition, and I really LOVE hanging out with other people who do too. My day started off with a wake-up workout with my two counterparts in my Peer Support Group Wendy Jo – Fuelin’ Roadie and Leslie Schilling. Now, these girls are married to some seriously athletic men. One is a Navy Seal and the other is a top exercise science speaker and professor. Bottom line: They know their way around a weight room. They gave this runner a serious butt-whooping.

We then headed for a full recovery breakfasts – eggs, bacon, toast, juice. It was so filling — and thank goodness because my lunch ended up being tiny exhibit floor tastes. They’re good, but at this event, you need energy to get your body and brain through the long day.

Vitamin D – Where is the Sun?

The first session I attended was the lecture on vitamin D. It was awesome. Here’s the bottom line outcome from the talk

  • Vitamin D deficiency should not be a problem in the U.S. but it is.
  • Increased use of sunscreen and decreased sun exposure are the main reasons for vitamin D deficiency over the years. (we make vitamin D from sun exposure)
  • Get a blood test to determine your vitamin D levels (you have to ask your Dr.)
  • If vitamin D is below 35 ng/dl Dr. Hollick recommends you need a supplement.
  • He suggested 2000 IUs a day for adults and 1000 IUs a day for kids.
  • Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risk for diseases and conditions

Companies, Companies Everywhere

Then I hit up the exhibit floor for a couple hours. I stopped by many of the booths. I loved that Laughing Cow worked with Patricia Bannan (an amzing RD who recently published a book “Eat Right When Time is Tight”) and California Strawberries worked with David Grotto, one of our rare male RDs. Yes, I played the booth game and I AM smarter than a GUY-it-itian! (lol). I enjoyed meeting with the dietitian for Welch’s and learning about their farmer-owned company and the latest research on grapes. My favorite was recording a video with Avocados From Mexico and Cheryl Forberg. Watch the video here.

I am looking forward to the exhibit hall again to meet some more great people at great companies.

Working the NE Booth

I spent a few hours talking up the benefits of Nutrition Entrepreneurs dietetic practice group. I can’t tell you how much the membership means to me. The listserv alone is worth the inexpensive $30 annual fee.

Social Media

I ended up getting to attend an afternoon session on social media with Health Castle and Patricia Bannan. I loved how they related social networking to being at a party. Don’t be a wallflower. They also said don’t be a nutrition robot. You have to be YOURSELF on social media. Good advice. I would also add. Show up and do something. You don’t have to have the perfect plan. If you want to know what RDs are saying on Twitter use #RDchat or join our live chats first Weds of each month. Thanks to Janet Helm for starting those.

Socializing with The Nutrition Twins

The night ended with a nice dinner to some awesome and successful RDs — The Nutrition Twins. They just launched a new website and they have a great book out “The Secret to Skinny”. We chatted about the nutrition field and opportunities for professional success. It was very inspiring and of course – fun!

Having a great time here at FNCE and wish YOU were too!




Speaking on a Big Stage

Yes, it’s true. Public speaking is feared more than death. Now, for me, I come alive on a stage. But don’t get me wrong. I’m really nervous and want to puke up until I hear the “Please welcome…”

In two weeks, my speaking partner and I, Bernie Salazar (NBC’s Biggest Loser Season 5 at-home winner) will be headed to New Orleans for some shrimp po’ boys and a major talk with families living with hemophilia.


See Us @ “Living Fit” Summit November 12, 2010 New Orleans

Sponsored By:

Thanks to Bayer for bringing the Nurture Principles message to families attending the National Hemophilia Foundation’s Annual Meeting.

Check out the postcards Bernie will be signing at the booth!


We’re also doing food demos and exercising with the whole conference room! Looking forward to meeting hundreds of people and changing some lives. Love me job!!!!!

Cheryl Forberg Discusses “The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You”

I had the great pleasure to sit down with superstar dietitian Cheryl Forberg, RD, who just so happens to be a professional chef and the nutrition expert behind the wildly successful weight loss on NBC’s The Biggest Loser! She talked with me about her latest book, The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You, which released yesterday. Plus, read on to see how you can win a copy for yourself!

Rebecca: Cheryl, you’ve authored several wonderful books for Biggest Loser so far and I was personally a big fan of Biggest Loser Simple Swaps, what makes The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You different than other books?

Cheryl: There are many books on the market catering to dieting and weight loss. One of the distinctions of The Biggest Loser eating plan is that the quality of the calories is as important as the quantity. Our eating plan has evolved since we began 10 seasons ago, and I’m happy to say that it’s continually improved in terms of including less and less processed food choices.

You won’t find any artificial sweeteners in the Ranch kitchen these days – no fat-free whipped toppings, etc. It’s all about whole foods/whole grains, lots of lean protein and good fats. The recipes in the new book reflect that. The other distinction is that this book includes 6 weeks of menu plans. It’s easy to tell/teach people which foods to choose, but it’s not so easy to put it into practice, especially when you’re busy, as most of us are. We’ve made it easy for you by providing 6 complete weeks of menus and recipes to help you with meal planning as well as shopping.

Rebecca: Wow, Cheryl! It’s like having you for a personal chef for 6 weeks! I see a huge value in that. I agree that it is about the quality of the foods you eat most of the time. I’m sure readers will be excited to know that the book will emphasize high quality whole foods.

I think a lot of people who are fans of the show watch and get inspired, but sometimes may feel like they won’t be as successful as contestants. How does this book help fans on the show with their weight loss journey?

Cheryl: You’re right, people sometimes hope for dramatic results as seen on the show. Though this IS a reality show, it’s NOT realistic to expect similar results at home. The contestants are sequestered away from their families, friends, jobs, school, etc. Their FULL TIME job is losing weight. They have the luxury of time, personal trainers, fabulous food, a registered dietitian, and our occasional guest chef, Curtis Stone, helps provide cooking instruction (as do I when I’m at Ranch for my assessments). This book reminds readers that a slower, more gradual weight loss is perfectly fine and not to expect the same results as what they see on the show.

Rebecca: That’s a good point. Viewers can get the book with the confidence that the meal plans are similar to the show and realistic for healthy weight loss, but they should not feel obligated to focus on nutrition and exercise full time. Slow and steady progress will still get them to their goal.

Is there something special about 6 Weeks to a Healthier You? Why not four or eight weeks?

Cheryl: Most books that provide menu plans may give you a week, 2 weeks, 10 days or a month! Six weeks is really an added dose not only of more menus to help you find your groove to stick with it, but each week also provides additional health tips and info. Overall, 6 Weeks to a Healthier You focuses on nutrient-dense high quality foods – but we also share the health benefits that these ingredients confer to make your choices and the recipes, even more seductive

Rebecca: Ohhhh…. seductive! I like that. I don’t know why people sometimes think eating healthy is boring! I also like that you give the education in weekly “bits” so they don’t have to take on too much, too fast.

As a successful chef and Biggest Loser nutritionist, what words of wisdom do you have for anyone who is struggling with healthy lifestyle changes?

Cheryl: Most people have fallen into an unhealthy rut over time, not overnight. Don’t place high expectations on yourself to reach your goals overnight either. Start with small approachable steps and build week by week. There’s less chance you’ll get overwhelmed and more chance that you’ll see slow, steady results making this plan seductive
and easy to stick with.

Rebecca: Excellent advice! Thanks for taking the time to chat with me and best wishes with this book and The Biggest Loser!

Eat Like Bernie: Southwest Turkey Burger with Avocado

Bernie Salazar, at-home winner of The Biggest Loser (season 5) delivers this guest blog and video. Together with our resident nutrition guru, Rebecca Scritchfield, Bernie motivates audiences to make positive changes through The Nurture Principles.

Hey, hey! Bernie Salazar here… I’m so excited to share this video blog with you on one of my favorite foods I’ve been eating since losing 130 pounds on The Biggest Loser, The Amazing Avocado!

Watch me turn one of my old meals – burger and fries – into a delicious and nutritious Southwest Turkey Burger.

I love the creamy texture of avocados on my burger. Three slices have only 50 calories! Find out how else I incorporate avocados into my well-balanced eating plan in this video. Then, leave a comment and tell me how you like your avocado

Read more: Eat Like Bernie: Southwest Turkey Burger with Avocado

Grilled Shrimp Salad with an Avocado Aioli with The Biggest Loser Dietitian, Cheryl Forberg

With season nine of The Biggest Loser wrapped up, you may be wondering where you can get your latest BL fix. Cheryl Forberg, RD, the show’s dietitian, has a book out — Six Weeks to a Healthier You — which focuses on quality foods that provide a powerhouse of nutrients for the calories.

In this video, Cheryl shares one of her recipes from the book, a Grilled Shrimp Salad with an Avocado Aioli The avocado aioli has over 20 vitamins and minerals and the “good” fats – heart healthy, unsaturated fats. With help from avocados and greek yogurt, the luscious and creamy quality of the aioli gives you a nutrient dense alternative to the typical bottled creamy dressing high in saturated fat.

The Avocado Aioli can even be used in several ways:

  • as a creamy sandwich spread — It would be delicious with a few slices of turkey, tomatoes, and cucumber. Yum!
  • a thick veggie dip — chomp on red pepper, celery, and zucchini strips
  • thinned out with water for an amazing salad dressing — try it with Cheryl’s recipe or your favorite salad

If you love BL or are just looking for a quality nutrition plan that focuses on good foods that do good for your body, Six Weeks to a Healthier You is a great pick up!

Watch Cheryl’s video demonstrating the avocado aioli.

Want to see Cheryl’s recipe? Visit

Want to learn more about Cheryl? Visit her website:

D.C. Air Show Saturday May 15 2010 – Come Try Fruit 2 o Essentials

I’m super excited to be working with Fruit2 on a campaign to educate women about the risks of diabetes — and ways they can prevent it. Even cooler, they are putting up some serious money for the cause! Fruit2O is working with the American Diabetes Association to help promote the fight to stop diabetes.  As part of its Small Changes>Lifelong Results campaign, the Fruit2O brand is asking consumers to pledge to make a small change in their life that will have a big impact on their health. For every “small change” pledged, they will donate $1 to the local American Diabetes Association chapter. Pretty cool, huh?

Come see me and Stacy Capers (American Diabetes Association spokesperson and former Biggest Loser contestant) at the D.C. Air Show May 15. We will tell you about the Small Changes campaign and how you can get involved.

If you know me at all, you know I’m a fan of the “small change”. When it comes to preventing Type 2  diabetes, I’m looking at managing a healthy weight and minimizing “added sugars” — you know what I mean. Most of the added sugars Americans consume are in the form of empty calorie drinks like sodas, sports drinks (when you aren’t exercising over an hour), sweetened teas, slushies, etc. If you’re drinking these beverages, consider the power of making a small change. Swapping out these drinks with beverages that provide zero calories is the way to go.

I’ll be talking about the Small Changes>Lifelong Results campaign, all summer long in various locations. I’ll be giving tips for making small changes and sampling the new Fruit2O Essentials. It’s a zero calorie water beverage with vitamins and minerals. This is a great drink to try because it has fruit flavor and when you’re used to drinking sugary beverages, you might appreciate the taste. Another good one to try is sparkling water with about 1/4 cup of 100% fruit juice added.

Nearly 24 million American children and adults have diabetes while 57 million have pre-diabetes (this means they are at risk for getting diabetes soon if they don’t make changes). Diabetes runs in my family. My mom has it and she used to guzzle sweet beverages. This campaign is especially important to me. But you can do something about your risk. By improving your nutrition habits and activity levels, you can help prevent diabetes (ask me how!)

Eat Like Bernie Salazar: Southwest Turkey Burger with Avocado

NBC Photo: Dave Bjerke

Hey, hey! Bernie Salazar here… I’m so excited to be working with Avocados from Mexico and share this video blog with you on one of my favorite foods I’ve been eating since losing 130 pounds on The Biggest Loser — The Amazing Avocado!

Watch me turn one of my old meals – burger and fries – into a delicious and nutritious Southwest Turkey Burger.

I love the creamy texture of avocados on my burger. Three slices have only 50 calories! Find out how else I incorporate avocados into my well-balanced eating plan in this video. Then, leave a comment and tell me how you like your avocado.

Watch me make and enjoy my southwest turkey burger with avocado!

Twitter: @AmazingAvocado

Facebook: Become a Fan

Web: Two chances to win!

When “Reality” Hits – Advice from Biggest Loser Mom, Mandi Kramer

Mandi Having Water and a Chat

Mandi Kramer

I am thrilled to bring you this interview with “mom” (and former Biggest Loser contestant) Mandi Kramer. Ever feel like you are superwoman? Trying to juggle the needs of your kids, spouse, friends, and other family members? It’s a wonder you get ANY work done. Exercise and eating healthy seem more like a pipe dream. Of course you “want” to do it, but who has the time? You put yourself last over and again and sooner or later your behaviors catch up with you… and you’re frustrated, scared, or worried that things have spun out of control and you’re not sure how to get your life back.

Chances are, if this is not you, it is someone you know. So make sure they get to read this interview with Mandi Kramer. You may remember from the finale that Mandi and her sister Aubrey both struggled with weight loss on the ranch and when they got back home. The truth is… there experiences were likely to be THE MOST REAL compared to other contestants. I hope this interview inspires you. She has some amazing insights… and you can tell they are practical and EASY! Thank you Mandi for helping to change people’s lives – especially moms.

1. Why was it a good time for you to take the huge step to apply for The Biggest Loser as opposed to a previous year?

You have to want it so badly that you can’t even imagine not doing it — you have to wait for that moment when the switch goes off and you want it more than anything!  Before this year I was happy living my life the way I was and then something just clicked to make this the year for me!

2. What three things did you learn on the ranch that most affected you and continues to influence you?

1. You have to eat to lose weight

2. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day

3. Don’t sit down — ever.

3. What do you think are the top barriers that get in mom’s way of eating healthy and exercising?

I think the top barriers are having easy foods for your kids to eat when they’re hungry and having no set schedule so you grab whatever is fast. When you grab what’s handy it’s usually unhealthy food. As far as being active goes, kids are really good at entertaining themselves so unless you force yourself to be active with them days will go by when you haven’t moved.

4. I’m sure now people come to you for diet and exercise advice – what are your top tips for struggling moms?

Always keep healthy snacks in your car like almonds, dried fruit, air popped popcorn in the bag, water bottles and chewing gum. Also — the “Sneaky Chef” book shows you how to make kid’s food healthy — go through cook books and make a list of what you need to buy to make specific recipes and stick to the list.

For exercising, I just had this same question from someone on my website, so I will borrow from my answer on my blog (

Incorporate your kids with your exercise – take them to the park or the walking path or green belt – it’s fun for the whole family – helps you all get closer together – and everybody gets exercise.

Be really active with your kids – don’t just sit on the couch but get up and go play with them. You will burn more calories than you think if you are active with the kids.

I used to sit on the couch and say to the kids, “Go get this for me, run to the kitchen and get that for me.” Just making the conscious decision to get up and get stuff for yourself will make a big difference.

Mandi at BL Finale - Healthy and Fit

Mandi at BL Finale - Healthy and Fit

5. Describe a healthy lifestyle teachable moment you had with your kids.

I was afraid to have my sons try asparagus and I made it for dinner one night — and they loved it!  If I just introduce a new food to them, they usually like it!

6. What day to day challenges do you face and how do you attempt to overcome them?

If I don’t get up and exercise first thing in the morning it is really hard for me to make the time later in the day.  It’s easier for me if I get it out of the way first thing each day. Every meal that I eat I consciously have to be aware of what I am eating — it’s so easy to fall back into my old habits.

7. What would you say to a friend who has kids and is “in denial” about developing a healthy lifestyle?

People with younger kids — think about your kids — you want to be healthy for them. Even if you think “Oh, I’m not that bad …” if you are lying around and eating unhealthy food then that is what you are teaching them.  If you have older kids, whether they say it or not, they are thinking it…a lot of kids don’t know how to say it to you without hurting your feelings. They know what’s going on — they are not dumb.

8. What would you say to a friend who has kids and finds it too difficult to change?

Think of your kids.  Be a role model — you are not taking time away from them you are adding quality of life to them.

Links for Mandi:

Biggest Loser page –

Blog –

Twitter -

Mandi’s ad:

Mandi is currently living in Boise, ID and as a part of her new healthy lifestyle she now includes in her health regimen a daily ounce of super anti-oxidant “Jus.” Mandi has noticed her sweet cravings are reduced, her hair is thicker and her skin has cleared up! Mandi is so excited about the health benefits she has experienced, in fact, that she has started representing Jus. For more information

Do You Drink and Diet?

If you do, you may not be getting the results you want. Not only does alcohol have more calories per gram than carbs and protein (7 cals per gram vs. 4) – and almost as much as fat (9 cals per gram), but also food and drink seem to mix too. Chances are when you booze, you also take in extra calories and sabotage all your hard work at the gym.

The best advice I can give is to keep alcohol off the daily plan, but if you enjoy a glass of wine or a nice cold beer you can fit it in to your diet plan. Keep it to 1 or 2 glasses and keep it to once a week. If you feel like you need alcohol to “unwind” – and I don’t blame you if you do these days. Try other ways of unwinding… like a nice hot bath or shower, deep breathing with a nice lavendar eye pillow over your eyes, meditation, or even a massage.

The dietitian for the Biggest Loser, Cheryl Forberg, wrote about drinking and dieting and why it is not part of the Biggest Loser plan. Read all about it on her blog.


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