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The road to weight loss can be tough — and often discouraging. But beyond that, the bigger challenge for most is finding a way to keep that lost weight off.
Bob Harper, host of "The Biggest Loser," joined TODAY Friday to discuss a recent study that revealed several contestants on season eight of the weight-loss show have gained much of the weight back — and he shared how others struggling with weight gain can get back on track.
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"Our bodies want to be the weight that we've been for such a long time," he told Savannah Guthrie about why contestants can gain weight back. "That's why it's such a battle."
Harper recommends a new trend, intermittent fasting, which essentially means skipping one meal per day.
"You have to watch every single thing that you are doing," he said of making the conscious decision to eat and exercise properly after weight loss.
Following his segment, Harper joined TODAY fans for a live chat to answer their burning fitness questions.
Q: When you fast a meal, does that include drinks as well?
A: No. You can drink coffee. You can have green juice. Make sure that if you're having vegetable juice, it doesn't have any sugar or sodium. Get a natural one. Tea, plenty of water, that's what I drink when I'm doing my intermittent fasting.
Q: What's the best way you think to lose weight?
A: Don't focus so much on the weight that you're looking to be at the end. Think about what you have to do to keep that weight off. And that means completely changing your lifestyle, completely changing everything that you do. If you lost weight by cutting out sugar and processed foods, you're going to have to keep that food out of your diet.
Q: What got you into fitness?
A: I started working at a gym that was next door to my apartment many, many years ago. I started going there, met people — it became a very social thing for me. Next thing I know, I started working the front desk, then I got certifications to become a group fitness teacher, and it just escalated.
Q: Have any motivational words to share?
A: I'll tell you, the most motivation I can give you is - look at yourself in the mirror and decide that you are worth whatever goals that you have. You are worth it. And if you really start to give yourself that love and respect, you will get anything that you want.
Q: What's a trick to keep me on path to fitness after I'm sore the first day?
A: Embrace being sore. I'm sore right now, and when I leave you guys, I'm going to the gym and working out. You're going to be sore. Drink plenty of water, get a massage, do something but know that it's just going to be a part of it and some days will be better, and some days will be worse. But I'm just so used to always being sore!
Q: What's the longest you've ever held a plank?
A: I just did one yesterday with a coach. He made my hold it for three minutes. But every 15 seconds, I had to do five push-ups. So that was challenging. Try that!
Q: What's the first thing you eat or drink in the morning?
A: I don't eat breakfast, so I drink coffee. I work out on an empty stomach, I really like that. I tell people, if you can work out on an empty stomach and skip that first meal, I'm all for it.
Q: What's your favorite lifting?
A: I'm a CrossFitter, so we do a lot of Olympic lifting and we do a lot of power lifting. I love it. I think that weightlifting and weight training — I think they're the fountain of youth. Don't be scared to lift up some heavy weights every once and a while.
Q: What are the best exercises for senior citizens?
A: What I say about exercise is this: you find something that you enjoy doing, that can keep you active and keep you moving. If that means you like to jog, you like to take a group fitness class, whatever it is that you enjoy and that you will keep up. Talk to your doctor. Make sure that your body is ready, willing and able to do exercises and then incorporate it.
Q: What do you think about a bulletproof-type coffee?
A: Love it! I drink bulletproof coffee all the time. It really gets me going and keeps me on track.
His last words of advice: stay active, keep away from sugar, stay away from all those sugary drinks.