An Interview With The Biggest Loser Nutritionist: Cheryl Forberg, RD and Giveaway!

August 4, 2010   54 Comments

The Biggest Loser, a reality TV program on NBC, is about losing weight. Obese contestants go on the show and compete to become healthy. Whether or not you like the premise there is a lot to learn from the program.

Cheryl Forberg Interview

I was lucky enough to catch Cheryl Forberg, RD, The Biggest Loser nutritionist, for an interview. She advises and monitors the contestant's daily food intake and teaches them about healthy choices. She is clearly a FORCE in the world of healthy eating.

Her latest book is "6 Weeks To A Healthier You" and it features menus for readers to follow - and I am giving away a signed copy!

Interview with Cheryl Forberg, RD

Snack Girl: Why don't we see what the contestants actually eat on a daily basis on the program?

Cheryl: I really wish there was so much more time for nutrition and cooking tips on the show. That is exactly why I started blogging, Facebooking, and Twittering because everybody wants to know that. Unfortunately, there just isn't enough time to show all those things. If I had my way, the show would be a course on nutrition. I have a lot to say!

See Cheryl Forberg's Blog for her updates.

Snack Girl: Do you feel many of the contestants are addicted to food? What happens as you help them break their addiction?

Cheryl: Personally and professionally I am not in the position to call anybody an addict so I don't use that word. But, what I do say is that everybody (myself included), we are all emotional eaters whether we eat when we are sad, happy, or depressed. Some people have a little bit more of an emotional eating issue than others. We do have a psychologist on our medical expert team who meets with the contestants during the physicals. The psychologist meets with the contestants individually and in a group format to really dig deep and see what the underlying problems are that precipitated emotional eating.

Even if you follow a perfect nutrition plan and exercise and get down to your optimal weight, if you don't address the underlying psychological issues when a stressor presents itself the weight will come back. We take a very comprehensive approach to that on The Biggest Loser.

Snack Girl: What is in the fridge at ranch?

Cheryl: Other than the temptation challenges, there really aren't any choices but healthy choices at the ranch. The kitchen and the pantry all are just stocked with really fabulous food. That is something that I tell people at home. Even if you can't be on the ranch, if you keep your refrigerator and your cabinets stocked with only healthy ingredients, when you have a craving for something that is not so great for you the ONLY choice you will be able to make is a good one.

Snack Girl: I bet a lot of people who watch the show (like me) believe they could lose the weight if they were on the ranch. Can we do the same things at home as on the ranch?

Cheryl: People are overwhelmed when they see all the dramatic changes that they see happen at the ranch and they wonder, "How on earth can I do this at home!". I tell them that they have to start out with small simple changes like putting a few slices of avocado on your sandwich instead of an unhealthy sandwich spread. Or switching to a glass fat free milk from whole milk. Just really simple things that people can do one at a time.

I have learned that what readers really love are menus. You make all these recommendations for the types of food to eat, the food journaling, and the timing but they don't know how to begin at home. They don't know where to go shopping, how to put a meal together, or what portion sizes for 1200 calories a day looks like. So, I started doing menus for the this book.

"6 Weeks to a Healthier You" includes 42 days of 3 meals and 2 snacks per day. So that is a HUGE tool that people really love. And the other thing, one of the corner stones of this eating plan that really distinguishes us from all the other eating plans out there:

This is all about the quality of the calories being just as important as the quantity.

There are no empty calories here. There is no junk food, no processed 100 calorie snack packs. This book gave me the opportunity to talk about the vitamins and nutrients contained in all the different foods in the ranch fridge and pantry. And also discuss the health benefits that they confer.

Snack Girl: Do you think artificial sweeteners have a role in weight loss?

Cheryl: I am not a big fan of artificial sweeteners or anything artificial period. One of the things that the contestants learn when they come to the ranch whether they were drinking a lot of diet soft drinks or having a lot of desserts is that the first couple of weeks are detox for them. They aren't having the desserts or fast food or whatever. And it really kind of cleanses their palate. They kinda wake up to new flavors, fresh flavors, healthy flavors.

We really try to teach them to enjoy the sweetness of a piece of fruit! To really steer clear of any dessert things, especially people on the ranch, until they are closer to their maintenance weight - which takes a while.

Snack Girl: What is your favorite snack?
Cheryl: My favorite is a Grilled Prawn Salad that has turkey bacon, fresh tomatoes, lettuce, grilled prawns, and then the sauce is an avocado aioli. So instead of making a spread that is really high in unhealthy fat, I used an avocado which I pureed with greek style yogurt and garlic and basil. The initial recipe is thick like a spread but you can also thin it out.

Here is Cheryl on NBC talking about her Grilled Prawn Salad: Today Show with Cheryl Forberg, RD and she sent me the recipes (below).

Thanks for talking with me Cheryl!

Comment in the box below about your favorite piece of advice from The Biggest Loser for a chance at winning a signed copy of her book. (if you haven't seen the show - just your favorite piece of weight loss advice!)

This book giveaway is courtesy of Avocados from Mexico.

This book was received for review consideration. No other compensation was provided.

What will I win?
A copy of "6 Weeks To a Healthier You" signed by Cheryl Forberg, RD (nutritionist for The Biggest Loser)

How do I enter?
Comment in the box below about your favorite piece of advice from The Biggest Loser.

Additional Ways To Enter:

  1. Follow Snack-Girl on FaceBook.
  2. Comment on our wall about about your favorite diet plan.
  3. Follow Snack-Girl on Twitter
  4. Tweet this post (use the Tweet Button in the Share Box at the top of this post).
Snack-Girl can follow and count all the additional entries using magical website tools.

Am I eligible to enter?
Anyone with a valid e-mail and a U.S. mailing address is eligible.

When do I find out if I am the winner?
The winner will be announced on August 11th, 2010. You will have 2 weeks to e-mail us back with your home address so we can mail the prize.

Grilled Prawn Salad and Avocado Aioli

8 large fresh prawns, peeled and deveined
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed garlic
4 slices (2 ounces) lean turkey bacon
4 cups mixed salad greens
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
4 tablespoons Avocado Aioli (below)

Season the prawns with the oil and garlic. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Heat a grill or nonstick skillet to medium high. Cook the bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel. Grill or sauté the prawns for about 1 minute on each side, until pink. Drain on a paper towel until cool enough to handle and cut in half lengthwise.

Layer the greens with the prawns, bacon, and sliced tomatoes. Top each salad with a 2 tablespoon dollop of Avocado Aioli.

Makes 2 servings

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 140 calories, 14 g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat (1 g saturated), 79 mg cholesterol, 3 g fiber, 200 mg sodium

Avocado Aioli Recipe

1 medium very ripe avocado
1/3 cup plain, fat-free Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon chopped basil
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine the avocado, yogurt, basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and black pepper in a food processor and process until just smooth. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator. Makes about 1 cup, or 8 (2-tablespoon) servings

Nutrition Information Per Serving: 35 calories, 2 g protein, 2 g carbohydrates, 4 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 150 mg sodium

Recipes from The Biggest Loser: 6 Weeks to a Healthier You (Rodale Books). Courtesy of Cheryl Forberg, RD. Published with permission.

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My favorite BL advice is to get rid of processed foods from my diet. Love the idea of an avocado slice in a sandwich instead of less healthy spreads.

I retweeted

I follow on twitter

My favorite piece of advice on the show came from one of the contestants talking to another "You will learn here that you can do more than you think you can."

This is great advice..... "I tell them that they have to start out with small simple changes like putting a few slices of avocado on your sandwich instead of an unhealthy sandwich spread. Or switching to a glass fat free milk from whole milk. Just really simple things that people can do one at a time. "

"This is all about the quality of the calories being just as important as the quantity."

Quality is so important so that would be one of my favorite pieces of advice!

I like the advice of changing one thing at a time. If you try to change everything all at once, it's just too overwhelming for most people.

My favorite BL advice is gum. Sometimes after I eat I need a hit of sweets. Instead of dessert a piece of gum works great!

Once it clicks in the brain it will all fall in to place! You have to be in it mentally to get the whole picture of what it is you are doing and why! "I have now reached my AHA moment!!!"

The best advice from the show is that small changes matter.

My favorite piece of advice from the BL is to drinks LOTS of water

My favorite advice is always to think about the quality of the calories, avoiding 100 calorie packs!

My favorite advice is to avoid processed foods and packaged 100 calorie packs. You can get a lot more for your calories that way!!

Like on Facebook (Stephanie Smith)

Follow on twitter (@godawgs428)

My favorite is a quote from Jillian: "Why choose failure when success is an option?"

My kids and I now eat at Subway when we crave fast food. I'm amazed at the few calories and great flavor you can get there. Teaching my kids good eating habits is very important to me!

I don't watch BL, but as you know, I'm addicted to her 30 Day Shred video lately! I love her quote from there, although I can't remember it exactly - "when you realize your potential, you realize your capabilities, that will transcend into every part of your life." So true! When you feel like you are strong, you start to realize that you can do anything. What a confidence builder.

I tweeted!

I love having the double meat from Subway on my sandwich which feels a lot more bad than what it really is.

My favorite tip is the gum. It really helps when all I want is something sweet!

The best advice I think is to take it step by step and make small managable changes. From excercising 30 minutes every day to having that apple instead of doritos, baby steps but important nonetheless.

I follow Snack Girl on Facebook!

That recipe sounds soo good!

Maura, the gum tip is what I like best too! Something about having peppermint taste in your mouth makes you not want to eat anything.

Making small adjustments to your every day life is probably the most important. I've added walks to my day (sometimes once a day, sometimes three times a day spread out) or go to the gym for weight lifting for just 15 min. Even if it's not a dramatic change, at least I AM working toward my goal!

also commented on your wall on FB! :D

Eat slow and as organic as you can.

I like the fact that Cheryl was so upbeat and encouraging through the interview. She gave great tips and a delicious Avocado recipe (I love avocados!). I firmly believe that stocking your kitchen with the right kind of goodies is the best piece of advice.

I'm trying hard to stick to whole, fresh foods, this book would be a big help!

Oh, I want a copy! I was just thinking about that book last night. fav piece of advice? Hm. Everything is motivating to me! Just seeing other people do the difficult helps me push through certain blocks. My favorite piece of dialog, though, came from Losing It with Jillian, not Biggest Loser. Close enough? It was when she was talking to one of the family members, and the member said, "It's so hard to say no!" Jillian said, "Hard to say no to what? Diabetes? Obesity?" etc. I am sure that's not exact, but close enough. It made me really think about why it's so hard to say no to those kinds of junk food, and now when I am tempted, I think about it harder.

I tweeted your giveaway:

I follow you on Twitter :-)

I like the overall inspiration of the show--no matter your size, if you just get moving and start making better choices, you'll succeed.

Stay hydrated
Dump processed food from your pantry
Make healthy food choices

And you don't have to deny yourself all of the time. You can have a cookie, just don't eat the entire sleeve in one sitting!

I like the tip about gum because there is something about having a sweet taste after a meal that reminds me the meal is over. Chewing gum instead of something calorie laden is a great tip!

My favorite is that you can keep going even though your body wants to stop. I remember that when I'm working out and don't think I can go any further.

I have a favorite tip and a favorite quote! BL really opened my eyes to not eating the highly processed foods designed (or disguised) for dieters! I have really taken away from BL nutrient dense food, not just junk packaged differently! My favorite quote is "Believe in yourself, Trust the process, Change forever"~Bob Harper. I have found that once I believed I could do it, things changed! I would love to own this book!!

I tweeted!

My favorite thing about the show was the concept of dealing with the issues that caused me to over eat. I am happier because the issues are resolved and I've lost weight!

Use only foods with the highest nutritional value and best health punch to be sure calorie for calorie you are getting the most benefit out of your food. Use Cheryl's menu plans to get the most awesome 1200 calories/day I have ever eaten.

I tweeted.

I liked you on FB.

My best weight loss tip is eat well. Foods full of flavor that you really enjoy. Oh, and purge the house of junk.

The most basic and most important tip I have learned from Biggest Loser is to eat breakfast. This meal is the foundation for a successful day of healthy eating and positive self care

My favorite tip is eating lots of veggies. I love when the contestants cook their own food in the BL kitchen.

"It's all about calories in verses calories out."

I think the most important thing I've learned from years of watching the show is to not give up. Never, no matter what. Losing weight it hard, and learning to keep it off is even harder!

I think the best piece of advice I learned from watching the show was from Jillian and mostly dealing with the fact that if you can't allow yourself to get to the "why" of your weight, no amount of calorie counting and fitness will help you stay healthy.

Like SnackGirl on facebook as Mare S

tweeted about interview/giveaway -

I NOW follow on Twitter!

Eat natural, fresh, "real" food!

My favorite advice is to drink water! Has no calories and it's something your body needs. So drink up and say no to sugary drinks and soda!

I follow you on twitter as 4HSGLRY

The best advice from the show is when people say "you have to find what works for you". It is a very general statement but it really works for me. For example, I don't like a lot of "diet" foods so I find recipe subsitutions that work for me. I don't like diet mayo, so I mix a little bit of real mayo with a larger amount of fat free yogurt. I love cream cheese (hate the less fat/calorie versions) but farmer cheese is healthier. I flavor it with herbs and such, then use it as a spread instead of cream cheese.

“The first thing you need to understand is how your emotions and your behaviors affect your weight. You need to commit all your mental resources toward change. Learn how to take control of negative self-image and poor self-esteem through journaling, positive affirmations, visualization, and behavior-modification techniques. It's also important to build a support system and communicate with your family and friends so they know what you need and how best to support you.”


My fave advice was to do some form of exercise at each commerial break i do that alot now

I like the fact that nothing is empty calories in either the meals or the snacks.

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