#350 $250,000 Winner: Kristy McLean!

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Suppose the world were only one of God's jokes, would you work any the less to make it a good joke instead of a bad one?

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Kristy McLean: 2008 Team Beachbody Game® Winner

One man and one woman from four different age groups were selected as the best of the best of the 2008 Success Stories. And on March 14, 2009, at a gala ceremony in Los Angeles, California, Kristy McLean and Dallas Carter were each awarded the Grand Prize of $250,000! Read Kristy's story below. Find out what inspired her to transform her body and her life—maybe it'll inspire you to be the Team Beachbody Game winner in 2009!*

THEN: At 235 pounds, I had sciatica and low energy. While in satisfactory physical health, my emotional health was a nightmare. I felt hopeless, huge, and embarrassed. Somewhere inside me was a strong, confident person with amazing potential, but anytime she tried to surface, my self-conscious persona would squash her with negative self-talk and insecurity. Getting dressed was miserable, and I started every day feeling defeated. I began ignoring myself, avoiding the mirror or trying to look cute. From someone who started her life as a confident, self-assured girl, this was a sign that something needed to change.

NOW: I'm confident, inspired, determined, and in control of my physical and emotional well-being. As I make my own fitness [my] #1 priority, everything else in my life is falling into place. My entire family and community look to me as a role model, offering hope that they too can achieve their goals. I found my passion and a new career in fitness. Having conquered my biggest challenge in life (my weight and negative self-perception), I can accomplish ANYTHING—failure is not an option. I receive comments, emails, and Facebook posts daily from those who I have inspired with my story (please log on and read them for yourself!). This is my accountability, and [it] drives me toward continued results.

Two factors solidify my transformation: consistency and accountability. The consistency came with commitment to [doing] daily Turbo Jam workouts in my garage or at the gym. Missing a workout was not an option.

Accountability was the missing link in my previous attempts to maintain weight loss. Becoming a Team Beachbody Coach in June 2008 and winning the July 2008 MDB [Team Beachbody] Game was the one-two punch that added accountability to my plan and changed everything, starting a chain reaction from that point forward.

July 2008

  • OC SlimDown Challenge
    • Led 20 participants to lose [an] average 7 lbs., 7 inches in 10 days
    • Built my credibility as a Team Beachbody Coach
    • Enhanced my accountability and confidence, having revealed my story and inspired others
    • Launched www.OCSlimDownChallenge.com
  • Added Beachbody supplements, shakes, and new workouts. Result: Increased product awareness, more muscle definition, [and] finely tuned diet by incorporating techniques and recipes found in various Beachbody programs and [Team] Beachbody Club online resources.

August 2008

  • Turbo Camp
  • Turbo Kick Certification
  • Started private Turbo Kick program MWF 5:30 AM
  • 100 percent retention
  • Over 75 customers to date

September 2008

  • Identified fitness as my passion; decided that all of my future professional endeavors will be in health/fitness
  • Rated "Rock Star" (highest rank) at Chalene Johnson's All-Star Instructor Training

October 2008

  • Turbo Birthday Bash - Led 40 friends in Turbo class [to celebrate] my 34th birthday—best birthday party ever! No indulgent eating or drinking? Amazing.
  • Taste of Foothill Fundraiser benefiting FR Elementary School
  • Featured Fit Kids Club/Meal Replacement Shakes
  • Established myself as a fitness icon in my own community
  • Led 2 more 10-Day Fitness Challenges in Foothill Ranch and San Diego

November 2008

  • Launched TK [Turbo Kick] VIP monthly pass with unlimited classes, weigh-ins, [and] 1-on-1 coaching
  • Added consistency and accountability, the foundations of my continued success, to my Turbo Kick program
  • Members have lost up to 10 lbs. and 2 jean sizes in 3 months, and claim to have increased energy, motivation, and now find exercise fun!

December 2008

  • Obtained two contract jobs as a marketing consultant and freelance writer in the fitness industry. I remember thinking years ago, "I love working out and learning about fitness . . . If someone would just pay me to exercise and write about it, then I would be fit and happy." Is this really happening? My dream has come true.

January 2009

  • ChaLEAN Extreme 60-Day Challenge with Coach Monica Gray
    • Over 50 participants, including my dad (63 yrs. [old]; 100 lbs. overweight), mom (64 yrs. [old]; leukemia survivor with arthritis), husband (has lost 40 lbs. to date), brother, friends, and two of my personally sponsored Coaches—all achieving faster results than ever before. My sister (mother of three) has lost over 30 lbs. and exercises with her best friend (my personally sponsored Coach, Laura Carlton) to Beachbody programs at home. My ENTIRE family is involved and getting results!

Having accomplished all of this in just 6 months, I can only imagine what is in store for 2009. My goals include building my Coaching and Turbo Kick businesses, investing contest winnings in entrepreneurial fitness ventures and fundraisers, [becoming] Top Coach 2009, [getting] more professional fitness certifications, and continuing to inspire others to be active participants in their own lives. As I coach and inspire more people, my accountability grows and I become even more inspired myself. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that my personal transformation would result in the realization that one person truly can make a difference in this world.

There is no turning back . . . I have found my "WHY!"

Weight: 235 lbs. Weight: 157 lbs. Weight: 145 lbs.
Body Fat: 33% Body Fat: 24% Body Fat: 12%
Chest: 42" Chest: 36" Chest: 34"
Waist: 39" Waist: 31" Waist: 28"
Hips: 49" Hips: 39" Hips: 37"

Related Articles
"Dallas Carter: 2008 Team Beachbody Game® Winner"
"7 Tips to Prevent a Diet Catastrophe"
"10 Tips to Creating a Perfect Body Image"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, April 6th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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Nutrition 911, Part VIII: Pop Goes the Diet—The Worst Food in the World

By Steve Edwards

Since all great things come in threes (or is it celebrity deaths?), we're going to complete our sugar trilogy with a look at the worst food in the world: soda pop. Forget about brands; whether it's Coke, Dr. Pepper, or even Hansen's Natural, it's all junk. There are different degrees of "junkiness," but this is Nutrition 911, so we're sticking with the bird's-eye perspective. The taste might make you happy, but from a nutritional point of view, soda's only place in the world is to make people fat, sick, and unhappy.

Soda and Sugar

Alarming statistics

In America, we drink a lot of cola (or "un-cola"). A lot. On average, we each drank 52.4 gallons in 2005, and this figure includes infants, healthy folks, prisoners, etc., meaning that the average soda drinker actually gulps (their word) more than this. Carbonated soft drinks are the biggest single caloric source in the American diet. Teenagers in particular are hooked on the stuff and get an average of 13 percent of their daily calories from "pop." If this doesn't scare you, it should. In terms of sheer amount, these statistics could be alarming if it were any one food. A proper diet should have some balance and diversity. And soda pop is the antithesis of "any food." It's bad food.

"Empty calories"

We use the term "empty calories" for foods like soda that have no place in a nutritious diet. This term is ridiculously misleading. The calories in soda are far from empty. Most of them come from sugar. In the U.S., it's nearly always high fructose corn syrup, the cheapest, most processed sugar on the market. Other ingredients include caffeine, various phosphates and acids, and artificial colorings. We'll get to their effects on the human body in a minute, but first, let's stick to the simple stuff. Per day, the average teenager consumes between 10 and 15 teaspoons of refined sugar via soda—which, according to government standards, is about their daily requirement for all foods. This means that for the average teenager, his or her soda consumption virtually eliminates his or her chances of eating a balanced diet. There's nothing empty about that.

Weird science

Soda CansThe soda companies are a marketing juggernaut. They spend roughly $700 million a year on media advertising alone—not to mention hundreds of millions more sponsoring events, athletes, musicians, and such. This volume of cash makes it difficult for consumers to avoid them, by design. To avoid the temptation to drink Coke, you've got to be highly principled or living in the middle of the jungle. And even then, well, I once happened upon a soda vending machine halfway up Mount Yarigatake in the Japanese Alps, and a friend traveling in Guatemala found Coke in a rural area that didn't have running water. Let's just say that soda companies are going to continue making it easy for you to find the stuff.

This type of marketing machine won't go away quietly. With the stats listed above, you could certainly put two and two together and link soda companies to the childhood (and adult) obesity epidemic that is arguably the world's most serious health crisis. Yet, while researching this article, I came across a widely published "study" stating that "soft drink consumption has no effect on childhood obesity." Suspicious from the get-go (the word "no" being a huge red flag), it didn't take me long to find this statement: "The research paper was supported by an unrestricted gift from the American Beverage Association." Bingo. Remember those Phillip Morris tobacco "studies" that promised a long and healthy life from chain smoking?

What makes it so bad?

Obese Man with a Bottle of SodaBesides the simple caloric trade-off, sodas are formulated to give you a rush. The sugar is mixed with phosphates designed to speed it into your system. It's so good, in fact, that many cyclists prefer Coca-Cola to specific sports food when they need a sugar rush near the end of races. And while a sugar rush is a good thing when you're trying to exceed your anaerobic threshold and you're out of blood glycogen (never mind if you don't know what this is), it's a bad thing whenever you're not, which even for a competitive cyclist is 99.9 percent of the time.

Beyond the simple sugar rush, these acids and phosphates alter your body's pH levels and inhibit the absorption of other nutrients. Then there are the effects of certain artificial coloring agents. For example, yellow #5, commonly used in soft drinks, has been linked to attention deficit disorder, hives, asthma, and other allergic reactions in some children.

Then there is the nutrient trade-off to consider. A person who drinks one Big Gulp per day must go to great lengths to maintain a balanced diet. Otherwise, they will almost certainly be deficient in numerous vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and essential fatty or amino acids—none of which is found in soda. For this reason, soda is often linked to type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, dental erosion, and a higher risk of kidney stones and heart disease. And that's just a start. There's plenty of less scientific data linking soda to poor scholastic habits, which we'll get to in a later class.

Diet sodas and juices

JuicesIn an attempt to become thought of as healthier, soda companies have diversified into non-carbonated beverages and diet sodas. While these are an improvement in some ways, they are hardly a solution to the problem.

First off, most juices and other caloric non-soda alternatives are mainly just sugar and water without the carbonation. A quick label comparison between a commercial orange juice and a Mountain Dew would show a similar "bottom line" with regards to calories and sugar. The only improvement would be the lack of the non-caloric offenders.

But that's no small matter, as the true effects of these ingredients have not been thoroughly studied. Despite their no-calorie status, diet sodas have been linked to assorted illnesses. Recent studies have backed up my more anecdotal evidence that I've yet to have a client not lose weight by kicking diet soda. Granted, all of my clients drank an excessive amount, but regardless, there is little doubt that the pH balance of diet sodas hinders the body's ability to absorb nutrients, and that just may be the tip of the non-caloric iceberg.

A large-scale study in 2007 showed that men and women who had more than one diet soda a day were 31 percent more likely to be obese and 25 percent more likely to have both high triglycerides and blood sugar, and they had a 50 percent greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Never mind if you don't know what metabolic syndrome is. Just trust me when I tell you that you don't want it.

How can you help?

No to SodaIn my world, soft drinks would come with the same type of regulatory language as cigarettes and booze, at least. Actually, in my world, we'd all be educated and wouldn't require this language at all, but that's Politics 911, not Nutrition 911. Anyway, here are five ways you can help educate the public about the dangers of soda, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Contact your local government officials and/or the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and suggest that:

  1. National and local governments should require chain restaurants to declare the calorie content of soft drinks and all other items on menus and menu boards.
  2. The FDA should require labels on non-diet soft drinks to state that frequent consumption of those drinks promotes obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, osteoporosis, and other health problems.
  3. Local, state, and federal governments should provide water fountains in schools, government buildings, parks, and other public spaces.
  4. School systems and other organizations catering to children should stop selling soft drinks (as well as candy and other junk foods) in hallways, shops, and cafeterias.
  5. State and local governments should consider levying small taxes on soft drinks, with the revenues earmarked for promoting health and fitness. A national 2-cent tax on a can of soda pop would raise $3 billion annually.

Are you scared yet? You should be. Or you could just stop drinking soda. Sounds so simple, doesn't it? That's all the time we have this week. Next week, we'll take a look at water. We know we're supposed to drink that, right?

Related Articles
"Nutrition 911, Part VII: Sugar vs. Fat: Which Is Worse?"
"Nutrition 911, Part VI: Sweeteners"
"Nutrition 911, Part V: 5 Quick Steps to Mastering Food Labels"
"Nutrition 911, Part IV: What 'Fat Free' and 'Low Carb' Really Mean"
"Nutrition 911, Part III: Deciphering Marketing Jargon"
"Nutrition 911, Part II: What to Eat"
"Nutrition 911"

Got something to say? Chat with the writers and other readers this coming Monday, April 6th, at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PM PT, in the Beachbody Chatroom!

Steve EdwardsIf you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

Check out our Fitness Advisor's responses to your comments in Steve Edwards' Mailbag on the Message Boards. If you'd like to receive Steve Edwards' Mailbag by email, click here to subscribe to Steve's Health and Fitness Newsletter. And if you'd like to know more about Steve's views on fitness, nutrition, and outdoor sports, read his blog, The Straight Dope.

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Test Your Warning Label IQ!

By DeLane McDuffie

Warning labels and signs are everywhere. Some are unique to each of us. For instance, for years, whenever I visited a greasy spoon, I knew that the quality of the food was inversely proportionate to the number of teeth the head cook had. The fewer teeth, the tastier the food. Moreover, warning labels populate our grocery stores' aisles. Although they're necessary due to the litigious times we live in, some of these labels are more questionable than others. See if you can guess the products that bear these puzzling warning labels.

  1. Soy MilkSilk Soy Milk - Shake well and buy often. This mix of instruction and marketing advice is as subtle and smooth as its brand name implies.

  2. Kellogg's Corn Flakes - Corn used in this product. No, you're not reading a typo. It actually says that on the side panel. This ranks #2 in the "ehhh . . . obviously" department, barely beating out the tie between Hagan Ice Cream's reported on-the-nose disclaimer, "Caution: Ice cream is cold," and the "Warning: May cause drowsiness" disclaimer found on some sleeping pills.

  3. C&H Cane Sugar - Ingredient: Sugar. Here's your "ehhh . . . obviously" champion right here. At least there can be no claim of false advertising.

  4. Axe Body Spray - Avoid spraying in eyes. I don't know about you, but I'm not aware of any person with smelly eyeballs. And if there are any out there, then please inform them that maybe they should consult a physician now. Right now. Stop reading. Go!

  5. Allergy TabletsChildren's Benadryl Allergy Tablets - Be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery. It's hard to let this one slide when you realize that the medicine is developed for children and not adults, so the disclaimer seems a wee bit oddly placed. However, if you happen to see any drowsy 14-month-old construction workers operating cranes and forklifts, call the authorities . . . and tell that kid to be careful.

If you'd like to ask a question or comment on this newsletter article, click here to add a comment in the newsletter review section or you can email us at mailbag@beachbody.com.

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