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Video: Top tips from Joy Fit Club success stories

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    >>> this morning on "look at me now, the joy fit club " success stories. over the last four years we've welcomed more than 104 people into the club who each lost 100 pounds or more and kept it off. "today" nutritionist joy bauer celebrating the secrets of their success with a great new bag

    "the joy fit club: a collection of inspiring stories" and a nice picture of joy on the front.

    >> thank you, al.

    >> so let's get started. first of all, i mean these stories are really amazing, really inspirational. we'll start with kim . now here's a before look at kim .

    >> so kim here weighs 258 pounds and she tried every single quick-fix gimmick in the book and it wasn't until she realized that she maded to make this weight loss stick with realistic lifestyle changes. she lost 110 pounds.

    >> wow. it's like a different person.

    >> it's stunning. actually she's a personal trainer now and she had a lot of tips. but one of her most clever tips that we include in the book is to crush cravings with a bag of chips. literally. she has a brown paper bag filled with note cards and lists random activities. when she starts craving chocolate chip cookies , she reaches in the bag and it says walk for ten minutes or call a friend or read a chapter of a book or polish your nails and by the time she's done with that distraction activity the craving is gone.

    >> she's moved on then.

    >> she's moved on.

    >> let's move on to cheri. this is another stunning transformation. there's her photo.

    >> i think a lot of people will relate to cheri in that she gained a tremendous amount of weight with each of her two pregnancies and she decided to really do it for her and her two boys. she lost half her weight in pounds. look at this. she is a bombshell. so she was 282 to start. she lost 141 pounds by eating smart and by exercising. and her tip, which she still does --

    >> of course now some of our -- our sponsors might not like this, but it's not a bad thing as long as you do it in front of the tv.

    >> so it's a great idea. she gets up during the commercial breaks of per favorite shows, like the "today" show, just saying, and she moves. she exercises.

    >> in front of the tv?

    >> in front of the tv. she walks in place, does push-ups, crunches and burns about 20 calories per commercial. so if you're in to a one-hour show that's about 100 calories at the end of the show . if you have small kids it's fun to get them up and moving, too. a lot of hoopla in the living room.

    >> in the -- our television.

    >> right, right.

    >> let's take a look at april.

    >> okay. so april struggled with weight her entire life and it wasn't until she was taking care of her mom, who had a serious health condition, that she realized she needed to make her own health a priority. she lost 109 pounds. again, look at that. no pills, no potions.

    >> literally a transformation to completely different people.

    >> you can't even recognize that that's the same person. she is so filled with energy. and her big tip is just to jazz up your salads. because really that same old bed of greens gets so boring.

    >> you're bored.

    >> so you add on one or two tablespoons of nuts or seeds or fresh fruit like grapes or strawberries or mandolin oranges. and she also uses flavored straight vinegars as a dressing like blueberry or raspberry vinegar. they even have fig infused vinegar. gives a robust flavor for very, very few calories. i love that tip.

    >> and now let's check out nicole. again, this is probably the most amazing.

    >> this is unbelievable. so, nicole describes high school as an emotional agony. she was teased and bullied by insensitive kids her entire life.

    >> let's look at her now.

    >> she lost 300 pounds. could you imagine, 300 pounds?

    >> she lost two people.

    >> again, just through eating the right foods and exercising. and her big strategy is creating comfort, slim-down versions of her favorite comfort foods like pizza. her and her husband were and are huge pizza holiks. now they make it on a whole wheat tortilla, reduced fat cheese, lean turkey sausage, vegetables, you name it.

    >> you have a challenge.

    >> in honor of the book we're having this big recipe challenge for anybody who's lost weight, send us your slim down versions of your favorite comfort foods . macaroni and cheese , chocolate cake , and we'll feature them on today.com.

    >> all right, joy, thanks so much.

    >> i'm excited to hear them.

    >> i can't wait. the book

By
TODAY books
updated 4/28/2012 12:10:32 PM ET 2012-04-28T16:10:32

The Joy Fit Club: Cookbook, Diet Plan & Inspiration, by TODAY nutrition and health expert Joy Bauer, is a one-of-a-kind book that offers powerful encouragement and manageable, effective strategies that have helped countless Joy Fit Club members completely transform their lives. In addition, you’ll find an easy-to-follow diet plan that maps out what to eat for optimal results, 75 delicious, slimming recipes, and all the tools you need to reach your happiest, healthiest weight.

WELCOME TO THE JOY FIT CLUB

This is the story of aha! moments that led to lasting transformations. It’s about courage, persistence, humility, and grit in the lives of ordinary people from all parts of the country who broke free of the bondage of obesity—and did it their own way. Any one of the 30 men and women featured inside these pages would walk up to you in a heartbeat and say, “If I can do it, anybody can.” And they’d be totally believable because of the methods they used to achieve lasting weight loss without pills, potions, or surgery.

Try Joy Bauer's recipe for chicken with creamy garlic pasta from "The Joy Fit Club"

The idea for this book grew out of the phenomenal success of The Joy Fit Club, my series on TODAY, which has been running for four years. I feature an individual who has lost 100 pounds or more using his or her own strategies. We picked the number 100 because it was a barrier-breaking change, but many of our members—including some featured here—have lost 200 and even 300 pounds. We never imagined just how amazing the shows would be—and how much our viewers would love them. They’re especially thrilled by the big reveal—seeing the before and after transformation on the split screen and hearing the happiness firsthand from the losers.

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One of the most surprising aspects of my Joy Fit Club segments is how meaningful they’ve become for viewers who want to lose only 20 to 40 pounds. People with ordinary weight struggles watch the 100-pound-plus losers and they think, “If they can drop such a huge amount of weight, what’s stopping me from losing 20 pounds?” These stories are pure inspiration. I’ve also discovered that the strategies used are much the same as those anyone would employ—just on a larger scale. In the segments I always go out of my way to make sure there are strong takeaway lessons that work for everyone. There are also emotional, psychological, and physical commonalities among overweight people, so even if viewers have only a fraction of the weight to lose as The Joy Fit Club member, they will almost always relate to some elements of the story.

Have a great healthy recipe? Enter TODAY's Home Chef Challenge!

The Joy Fit Club represents a transformation in the way people view losing weight. The dieters I work with are turned off by the idea of potentially risky surgery, and they’ve usually tried every quick fix in the book and don’t want to fail again. They actually summon up the nerve to stare down the $60 billion weight loss industry, with its potions, pills and surgery, and say, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’ll do it my way.” The good news is that realistic and balanced eating and exercise plans work (now and for the long haul) if you have the right strategies and the core motivation.

Every time we do a Joy Fit Club segment, our mailboxes are crammed with responses and the phones ring off the hook.

Video: Diet S.O.S.: Cut fat with low-cal dressings

Because television segments are relatively short, our viewers are always clamoring for more details. They want to know more about the individuals we feature—how they really coped on a day-to-day basis, how they overcame the obstacles on their long journeys, what they ate, where they found support, how they got back on track when they slipped up—questions literally pour in with each feature. Once we bring a Joy Fit Club member into the viewers’ homes in such an intimate way, they feel as if they know the person and want to continue to draw inspiration. In the following pages, I will take this winning concept a step further by expanding on the stories and strategies and providing a level of content that simply isn’t possible on television.

Wiley

The Joy Fit Club profiles grandparents, college students, husbands and wives, and moms and dads from all walks of life who conquered the battle of the bulge triumphantly. Here are some of the commonalities that weave throughout all of their stories. Whether you have 5 pounds to lose or 500 pounds, these smart strategies can help you follow in their footsteps:

Find your meaningful reason for losing weight. It may seem like an obvious first step, but I have found that the people who are most successful at losing weight are those that have a strong, clear purpose for wanting to make a change. Do some serious soul-searching and identify a significant and lasting source of personal motivation for finally shedding the extra weight.

Set up a tracking system. Monitoring and documenting your progress is a terrific way to celebrate and reinforce positive behavior on a daily basis. Most long-term losers weigh themselves at least weekly and log their calories or food intake to keep their eating in check.

Forgive your slip-ups. Nobody eats perfectly all the time, and it’s fine—totally normal, in fact—to occasionally stray from your plan. The trick is to shake off your mistakes and get right back on track at the next meal or the very next day. Don’t let one binge or “off day” spiral out of control into a full week, or month, of splurging. Mastering this one key strategy can help you finally break the cycle of yo-yo dieting.

While you’re reading, I hope you find points of commonality, areas you want to pursue, and individual strategies you want to follow. I think you will. You can use this book as your personal inspirational blueprint, knowing that every time you start to falter you can draw strength from Cari or Jodi or Rosie or Gregg or Tamara or Howard or Lynn—or one of the other terrific people you’ll come to know from the inside out.

For more weight loss tips and advice, visit joybauer.com and follow Joy on Facebook and Twitter .

Copyright © 2012 Joy Bauer. Reprinted with permission from, "The Joy Fit Club: Cookbook, Diet Plan and Inspiration" by Joy Bauer (Wiley)

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive

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