Here we turn to the newly minted diet experts from Season 3 of NBC's The Biggest Loser for free advice. And why not? After all, under the guidance of the show's ace team of doctors and physical trainers, 19 of this season's contestants lost more than 100 pounds in eight months — without surgery. Even more impressive, 11 of those people did it at home with no help from supertrainers Bob Harper and Kim Lyons, so they must be doing something right. If dropping a few is on your list of New Year's resolutions, consider the following:
Eat five or six small meals a day / Amy Hildreth, lost 106 pounds
Most of the BL3 dieters eat six or seven 300-calorie small meals each day because, as Hildreth learned, "You have to eat to lose." "That was something that I never quite wrapped my head around before," she says. "I thought when you're hungry that means you're losing weight. But that's not the case. You need to keep your body fueled to continually lose and to have the energy to work out and perpetuate the cycle."
Keep count / Jaron Tate, lost 160 pounds
"Know how many calories your body needs and how many calories you're actually stuffing into your mouth," says Tate, who now eats 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day. "A quarter-pounder with cheese is 850 calories. A large apple [which weighs about the same] is 100. And if you're having a salad, put salsa on it instead of ranch." Two tablespoons of ranch dressing: 220 calories. Salsa: 20.
Make tons of tiny changes in your routine / Ginnie Borque, lost 114 pounds
"I do a lot of little things," says Borque, one of the 36 Biggest Loser at Home dieters. "I don't like coffee without sugar and cream, so I switched to tea. I started carrying water bottles wherever I go, traded cocktails for Diet Coke, and I fill up on broccoli instead of French fries. Oh, I also tried to make working out a social event. It's a lot harder to skip a workout when you've scheduled it with a friend!"
Burn more calories, period / Ken Coleman, lost 161 pounds
"Even now that the show's over, I still work out six to seven days a week, three hours a day," Coleman says. Of course, you don't have to become a gym rat to slim down. But, as Coleman explains, you do need to increase your activity in as many ways as possible.
Drop the excuses / Mark Wiley, lost 129 pounds
"'Oh, I have back problems, work [to do] or I don't have enough time.' [Making] excuses: that's what's always held me back," Wiley says. "If you're short on time, do something to get your heart rate up. One morning I had a flight to catch, and I didn't have time to go to the gym. So I ran the stairs in my building. It's eight flights, and I did it about 20 times!"
Couple your carbs with protein / Jennifer Eisenbarth, lost 100 pounds
It's one of the biggest lessons the plus-size model learned during her only week on the ranch. [Eisenbarth was the first dieter eliminated.] "Whenever you eat a carb, always eat a protein with it because protein helps your body process carbs more efficiently," she says. "For example, "I love-love-love hummus. So I put it on egg whites."
Keep your diet a secret... or not / Poppi Kramer, who lost 117 pounds, debates Marty Wolff, who lost 126 pounds
"Just shut your mouth!" jokes New Jersey comic Kramer who, after being sent home from the ranch twice, went on to become one of its most successful graduates. (She dropped from a size 22 to a size 2 and won $50,000.) "Everybody always talks about dieting, but they never do it," Kramer says. "That was my problem. I would declare 'I'm on a diet!' then I would go and sneak-eat because I was telling everybody I was on a diet. So instead of talking so much about what you're doing, just freaking do it." Fellow Loser Wolf begs to differ: "I think you should let as many people know about your goals as possible," he says. "Get a support network around you — your doctor, a nutritionist, your friends, a trainer at the gym. They'll support you and help keep you accountable. That's been huge for me."
For even more tips — from Loser elite such as Erik Chopin, Kai Hibbard and Brian Starkey — watch for the Jan. 14 issue of TV Guide.
Send your comments on this feature to email@example.com.