It’s getting to be New Year’s resolution time and many companies will try and “encourage” weight loss with a “Biggest Loser” type contest. Frankly, this is really a bad idea, as it can create all kinds of bad habits and damaging activities by the participants, as they starve, dehydrate and supplement themselves in an effort to win. On the other hand, winning can make you feel GREAT! So lets go over some strategies to help you win!
Learn the Rules
The contests usually take on one of several forms. Individual based on weight loss (actual weight or a % of starting weight), groups based on weight loss, or either of these combined with inches lost around the waist. You need to find out which of these your company is going to use and how the measurements will be taken, we will then create a strategy based on that. The next thing you need to know is the time frame, is it one month, six weeks, two months or more. If you get to schedule your weigh-in, schedule it for as early in the day as possible.
Initial Weigh-in is CRITICAL!
The competition can be won or lost based on the initial weigh-in. The last thing you want to do is minimize your weight and measures. About three days before the weigh-in, you need to start loading up on the water. You want a fully hydrated system. The standard recommendation for water intake is drink half of your weight in ounces of water each day. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink about 75 ounces of water a day, for the three days before the weigh-in we want to increase that to about 66% of your weight. (for the math challenged, whip out your calculator and take your weight and multiply by .66) For our 150 pound example person, that is 100 ounces of water a day, you will feel like you are sloshing, that is good. Also, soft drinks, tea and coffee don’t count, they all have ingredients that make you shed water (which is good for the beverage company that wants to sell you more to drink because you get thirsty quicker). Three days, drink water, lots of it.
The day before the weigh-in, ideally about 17 hours or less before your weigh-in time, you want to get you a good salty snack. A bag of chips, you know the ones that if you eat too many your lips hurt from all the salt and a nice tray of cheese and crackers. For your dinner meal you want to load up on the proteins and a big glass of whole milk, also, this is a day you want to skip the fiber. This is one day of eating like this, we don’t encourage it, but a binge day also sets up your metabolism to know that is not starving, and can help in when we start burning fat after the weigh-in.
Weigh-in day, if you are just in a weight-loss contest, then you don’t need to do too much here. Avoid the bathroom before weigh-in if you can, and minimize your activity, another big glass of whole milk with your breakfast that contains some salty options will help you retain more water. If you are also going to get your waist measured, drink about half a can of root beer. Sounds gross, but the carbonation and salt will give you are really good belly bloat. Dress with your heaviest clothes they will let you get away with. Denim, heavy wool layers, big clunky shoes or boots, a few extra ounces with each piece of clothing and you can add a pound pretty easy. If they are measuring your waist, wear some pants that are snug around the waist, or add a tight belt that hits below your belly button, this will create some fluid buildup in your belly area. At this point you should be a big bloated sloshing mess that needs to go to the bathroom really bad. This is the perfect time to get weighed and measured. If you are getting measured, poor posture can get you another inch and a half, so go for it.
Watch for Cheaters
Don’t let the contest organizers allow cheaters, convince them to have empty pockets, otherwise people will have rolls of quarters, keys, day timers and anything else they can get in their pockets.
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Watch for our follow-up post on what steps to take to lose weight quickly in a healthy manner and win your contest!
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