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5 things Toma learned about weight loss

PHOTO ABOVE: To maintain his weight loss, Toma Dobrosavljevic is making daily workout/health appointments that can’t be broken.  |  FROM NBC UNIVERSAL

While he was competing to become “The Biggest Loser” champion, Toma Dobrosavljevic was able to work out as many as seven hours a day and had the support of the NBC show’s trainers, doctors and psychologist at his disposal as he worked to drop the weight.

Those options aren’t there for the rest of us. But here are some of the very doable practices the Chicago native adapted while shedding 171 pounds that you can make your own.

Eat breakfast. Before coming to the “Biggest Loser,”he’d often skip it, Toma said during a telephone press conference on Friday. Not anymore.

“I love breakfast foods,” he said, and regularly starts his day with an egg white omelet with onions and lean ground turkey.

So make time for breakfast. You’ll be full and satisfied, which will make it easier to say no when someone brings in those calorie-laden doughnuts to the office.

Set aside “healthy” time. Like many of us, the Addison senior project manager has lost weight before, only to gain it back. Now at 165 pounds, he’s determined to stay that way and knows he has to have a strategy to maintain his new weight. So he blocks off 90 minutes a day, which is for working out and planning or preparing healthy meals. (It’s when we just wing that we often make bad choices, so he’s not going to let that happen.)

Those 90 minutes are penciled into his schedule every day. Other fitness experts have told me they treat their workout time like it’s an important work meeting, one not to be missed. Remember how vital it is, to your health and to maintain weight loss.

Find new foods. To lose the weight Toma got rid of fast food and processed products from his diet. He ditched sugar, too, and said he eats “very clean.” Now he loves avocados and vegetables. Fruit is a treat when he does eat it.

If you’re going to lose weight and keep it off, the foods that packed on the pounds in the first place are going to have to be greatly restricted if not banished from your diet entirely. Really pay attention to determine what exactly you used to eat and find healthier alternatives.

Sleep! Toma said “it really surprised me” to discover how important getting enough rest is to lose and maintain a healthy weight. Getting 7½ to 8 hours a night is now a priority to him.

How do you do that? Turn off the electronics — don’t even keep them in your bedroom; the light disturbs your sleep — and that means the TV too.

Develop a support system. Toma said his girlfriend lost weight on her own and she is very health and fitness aware. So “she pushes me all the way,” he said. He also belongs to a gym where the other members have been so encouraging during his weight loss journey.

“Surround yourself with the right people,” he said.