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Secrets from The Biggest Loser

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GH Strategies: A new routine — eating only in the kitchen, for example — will help Tara break that unhealthy practice, says GHRI Nutrition Director Samantha B. Cassetty, M.S., R.D. Then the trick is to replace the high-cal habit with a diet-friendly one. "As long as Tara's eating a satisfying diet and isn't starving at night, the new practice will start to feel routine quickly, in as little as two weeks," says Cassetty, who suggests that instead of cuddling up with a pint of ice cream (easily 1,000 calories) before she heads to bed, Tara might sip a 100-calorie cocoa nightcap, like the Heavenly Hot Chocolate from GHRI Food Director Susan Westmoreland.

Next: Helen, The Biggest Loser "Mom"

 Hearst Biggest Loser

Helen Phillips
Age: 48
Hometown: Sterling Heights, MI
Starting weight: 257 lbs.
Lost so far: 86 pounds

Soon after she arrived at the ranch, Helen earned the nickname "Ma." One reason: She (along with Ron Morelli) is the go-to cooking instructor for younger contestants. "They were clueless," says Helen. "They'd make smoothies without putting the top on the blender! My own daughter" — Helen came with 29-year-old Shanon Thomas, who has since been eliminated — "once set her dinner on fire." Helen is also a bit of a devil. Following an episode that featured a "temptation" with Krispy Kreme donuts, the producers accidentally left behind a box. Helen placed three donuts on a plate by Tara's bed, with a note: "Good job today!" (Tara resisted.) But beneath it all, Helen isn't so sure of herself. When she got to the ranch, her self-esteem was so low, all she could think was, "Maybe I'll lose 10 or 20 pounds and then gain it back, like I've done my whole life." As she started working out, however, she was surprised by her own strength. "When you're as big as I was, your emotions shut down. Once you realize you're worth the effort, it's such a positive feeling." She had the ultimate payoff when Jillian, her trainer, told her she ran like an athlete. "Tears rolled down my cheeks, because I'd never been good enough to play sports, and I'd let all those opportunities pass me by," says Helen. "Now I want to go home and inspire other women my age — people who feel the way I used to."

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