All eyes were on dietitian Jessica Marshall to kick off the fifth week of the Shape-Up Challenge.
Marshall presented part two of her three-part nutritional discussion, which was geared toward healthy lunch ideas, portion size, fats and fiber.
In regards to fiber, Marshall reiterated that the contestants should consume 35-45 grams of fiber per day.
“Fiber will make you feel full longer, which will make you eat less. It will keep you regular, and it also helps to take some bad cholesterol away from your heart,” she said.
It would be wise though, she added, to increase fiber intake gradually and with an adequate amount of water to avoid gastric distress.
When it comes to knowing which fats are good and which are bad, Marshall provided the contestants with a helpful hint. She told them to avoid four-legged fats, such as beef or pork. Two-legged fats such as chicken and turkey are OK, while no-legged fats are the best to consume. These include avocado, olives, fish and olive oil, among others.
Marshall also highlighted lunch ideas and passed out recipes for multiple salads, and suggested that the contestants should make their own salad dressings to avoid excessive fats. Other recipes included chickpea and kale stew and the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread. Marshall suggested that jelly be replaced with fruits such as a banana or strawberries, and peanut butter be swapped out for almond butter.
“It is very hard to find a good bread,” Marshall said. “It has to say ‘whole wheat’ on the front of the package. The very first ingredients listed make up the majority of the product, so you have to make sure the first ingredient is whole wheat.”
Marshall also said it is difficult to find a bread without sugar, but she prefers sugar over corn syrup. The fiber content listed must also be at least three grams for the bread to truly be whole wheat.
Also relating to the nutritional facts, Marshall said the 20 percent rule could be used as a quick reference. The contestants were told to aim for labels with 20 percent or less of the “bad stuff” such as sodium.
A few of the contestants expressed concerns for dealing with cravings.
“We’ve really been cutting back,” Larry Kumor said. “It’s an adjustment. Sometimes you just want to eat.”
Marshall sympathized and encouraged the contestants to continue to fight to change their eating habits.
“Eventually you won’t crave that stuff,” she said. “You really can retrain your taste buds. I promise it’s possible.”
For pop drinkers, Marshall suggested drinking sparkling lemon water to offset the carbonated craving.
The last time Marshall met with the group was during week four to discuss the importance of breakfast, the glycemic index and consuming nutrient-dense foods.
The majority of the contestants took her advice. The Kumors reported that they tried quinoa, the Leskinens gave kale chips a try and the Thorntons tried raw honey and ground flax seed. Marshall is scheduled for one more visit with the contestants to discuss dinner tips and suggest helpful kitchen appliances.
Following the presentation, the contestants met for their weekly group workout when they were introduced to PiYo. PiYo Live was taught by Laura Kearns who has worked at the YMCA for two years.
“PiYo is yoga- and pilates-inspired. It combines the muscle-sculpting and core-firming benefits of pilates with the strength and flexibility of yoga,” she said.
Kearns described the 30-minute class as low-impact and focusing on personal body strength to tone and strengthen the body.
“I think they did great,” she said. “They all stuck with it. They tried everything, even though some of the poses are challenging.”