TODAY   |  April 30, 2012

Top tips from Joy Fit Club success stories

TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer’s new book, “The Joy Fit Club,” features some of the most inspiring success stories from club members who each lost more than 100 pounds. She shares some of these diet superstars’ best diet advice.

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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

>> all right, joy, thanks so much.

>> i'm excited to hear them.

>> i can't wait. the book