What a Competitive Eater Can Teach You About Weight Loss
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photo by Hello Turkey Toe

We, as Americans, like our holidays. We like them for the day off work. We like them for the time with friends and family. We like them to eat.

Last week was the 4th of July. I must admit I didn’t do much to celebrate. (I save the real celebrating for my birthday a few days later).  Yet I know many of you went to the beach or the lake. There were barbeques and pool parties with burgers and brats on the grill. There were firework filled evenings of cold ice cream, cake and “adult” beverages.

But I am willing to bet no one ate as much as those competing at the Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest. At least not at one meal.

The winner, Joey Chestnut, won by eating 62 hot dogs. That’s roughly 13,640 calories in one sitting.   He says that’s not much more than your average guy.

While I hope he’s wrong on that point, he is right about a number of things.  When interviewed prior to this year’s contest he gave us a little insight into the life of a competitive eater that many might find surprising.  These tips are not only useful if you’re trying to maintain a healthy weight despite ingesting a week’s worth of calories in one sitting but also if your are trying to lose fat and get healthy.

  1. He stays physically active. When he’s not working out his stomach muscles, he’s running. That’s right-he’s a runner.  Exercise is a critical component of any weight loss program and to maintaining a healthy weight.
  2. He counts calories. He knows that maintaining energy balance is the real way to not gain weight. Follow his lead with a food log or meal plan.
  3. He sees his doctor regularly. His doctor makes sure the rigors of prepping for and competing in contests aren’t taking a toll on his health. Seeing your doctor for regular checkups will help you get a handle on any potential health problems before they get out of control or detect conditions that might be affecting your weight.
  4. He doesn’t eat 20,000 calories every day. I always say if you do the right things 80-90% of the time you will be okay. Splurges are okay as long as they are truly splurges and not an everyday occurrence.

I know a competitive eater is an unlikely source for fitness tips.  However if you look at him, you know he has to be doing something right. At 6’1” and 218 pounds he is in a lot better shape than your Average American celebrating every meal as a special occasion.

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