Are you already aware of the Discovery Health National Body Challenge and The Biggest Loser Million Pound Match-Up? Are you participating in either of these challenges? Are they helping you stay motivated to lose weight?

If you’re not familiar with them, they both started last week and are aimed at helping you lose weight and get fit. I signed up for each to see what they are all about, especially in regards to the eating portion of their plans. Both are free to sign up for (you can still start them), and the National Body Challenge gives you a free 8-week pass to your local Bally’s Fitness Center as part of your sign up.

The National Body Challenge maps out your daily meals and gives you recipes to follow. You can pick and choose different recipes and meals that fit your specific plan (you answer some questions to set that up), and a space where you can enter and track your completed daily exercise. It’s all very handy and organized, but in my opinion I do see a problem with the recipes.

The problem is that many of the daily meals you’re offered include sugar, flour, and salt. It’s been my experience that when I eat refined sugar (and flour, as well as excess sodium) that I then have to try and manage the cravings for more sugar, which leads to overeating. That then leads to me going off plan and regaining the weight I lost and turns into a free-for-all of eating whatever I want (that’s where I was recently).

Now if you don’t have any problem with sugar cravings, and/or cravings that ensue from flour and salt, then I think that you could really benefit from Discovery Health’s National Body Challenge. However, if you’ve struggled for years with trying to lose weight and keep off what you do lose, then you might want to consider if it’s worth it to keep the refined sugar, flour, and salt in your diet. Yes, I know it tastes good, but is it worth the cravings, not to mention the sugar drag and the overeating?

What you could do is follow along with the challenge and alter or avoid the recipes that include any refined sugar or flour. I also found a dessert recipe listed that included dessert wine as an ingredient, which is very high in sugar, however if you cook with regular wine (not cooking wine which has a high sodium content), then that can work. If you do alter the recipes to take out those ingredients that set up the cravings, then I think the challenge could be very helpful.

Then there is The Biggest Loser Million Pound Match-Up. For this one, you need to have a partner: a friend, spouse, neighbor, someone who is committed to getting fit right along with you. Once you have a partner, you set up a Windows Live Space (similar to MySpace), which you will need the URL (internet address) of when you sign up. From what I learned on their site, the object is to be one of the couples that, 1) updates your progress the most often and, 2) who has the most interesting tale to tell. They will select 5 couples to attend the finale of The Biggest Loser Couples edition in L.A., based on that criteria.

You don’t have to be the couple that loses the most weight to get selected to go to the finale, but you do have to post about your progress at least once a week. I bet that if you really wanted to be in the top 5 that it would be better to update your progress at least 5 times a week., and be very creative so that you stand out. 😉

A major difference that I found between the two is that Discovery Health is giving you recipes to use, which again you can alter to take out the sugar and salt, and avoid the recipes containing flour. However I didn’t find a recipe resource on Million Pound Match-Up. I could be wrong and I just didn’t see it (if so then this challenge isn’t as easy to use as the Discovery Health challenge), but it looks like you are encouraged to sign up for The Biggest Loser Club, which entails a monthly subscription fee. I’ve never been a member of the Biggest Loser Club but if it helps you to stay motivated, lose weight in a healthy manner and get fit, then I think that’s great.

I’m interested to hear if any of you have already signed up for these challenges and if so, how you like them. I think it’s great that there are so many resources available to help people get and stay motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle, however as you know, I don’t believe that refined sugar and flour play a role in that healthy lifestyle, and that they are a main reason for many people’s ongoing struggles with food and weight.

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