Ever since I went through my initial weight-loss journey, I, obviously, live a completely different lifestyle than the one that got me to 426 pounds. Some foods I’ve excluded completely. Portions have changed drastically. Exercise has become my only consistent hobby. The life I lead now is nearly unrecognizable to the one that help me build that fat suit. But, even with the changes, like anyone, from time to time I find myself needing a kick in the butt. There’s about 6-8 pound window that I like to stay in that is dictated more by how I feel than the actual number on the scale. I’m not ruled by the number, I just know that it’s within that range where I feel my best.
For the last few weeks, I’ve been stepping up my “Bro-Gram” to peel off a few pounds. Every year around this time it seems to show up. Post holidays. Wearing a lot more layers. Everyone in my immediate family has a birthday in the first three months of the year (aka lots of cake!). I just get a little “loose in the cage” in the winter.
Before weighing in this past weekend, I realized that I’m, pretty much, back in that happy place. Physically I feel like I’m back where I want to be. When I stepped on the scale however, I was still about two pounds above the range where I like to be. Simple logic would say “change the range”. You feel good. Mission accomplished. Unfortunately, I’m guilty of what I often give The Biggest Loser a lot grief about – getting hung up on the scale.
My “OCDADHDTV” just gets the better of me sometimes. I get locked into a number and forget about what’s most important – my health. I’m healthy. I’m active. I feel great. Two more pounds will not make me physically feel better. But, maybe the game show aspect of The Biggest Loser is a little more reality than I give it credit for.
This week’s episode, “Tough Love”, marks the final significant transition from fitness to competition. Let’s the games begin.
Before we begin… as always…
The Biggest Loser starts in some type of team format. Whether it’s teams of two, groups of five, or just split down the middle, the game begins without the “everyman for himself” dynamic. That changes, as it did this week, when they make the switch to individuals. Now it’s you against the world.
The Contestants were first challenged with a “Temptation”. This is a classic device for the show where players are given the option to take in calories in exchange for a prize. In this case, it was a room full of Valentine’s Day treats that could be devoured in the dark with the highest caloric intake winning a two-pound advantage on the scale and the ability to give a two-pound advantage to another player. Regular watchers of the show know that these temptations are always very telling. The most successful people on the show, for the most part, never take part in a temptation. In fact, all three of the players who I deemed our CONTESTANTS TO WATCH back in Week 3, chose not to participate. In fact, Danni Allen, my pick to win it all, chose instead to do crunches during the ten minute contest.
Three of the eight remaining contestants did chose to bury some goodies in hopes of winning the prize. In the end, 25 year-old Francelina Morillo out ate Alex Reid to take the two-pound advantage. Reid, however, did not go home with an empty stomach or empty-handed as Morillo chose to award her the additional two-pound prize. For me, Contestants who choose to take part in the temptation challenges are saying one of three things:
- I’m here for the game/money
- I haven’t learned to control myself
- I can’t do it by myself
And, my favorite part, those who choose to eat the sweets love to pretend that they hate every second of it. They’ll always say things like “it didn’t even taste good” or “I can’t believe I use to eat that poison.” Come on. Be better than that. If you liked Brownies at 300 pounds… you’ll like Brownies at 200 pounds. It’s ok to still like the taste of bad food. When I was 400+ pounds, I credit a lot of it to my love of pizza. Guess what? I still love pizza. Guess what I don’t do? Eat as much pizza. But when I have a slice or two from time to time… I still love it. That’s another one of those question messages that I think The Biggest Loser has a bad habit of broadcasting. The key to healthy living from a nutritional standpoint is moderation. The only food you ever have to give up is food that you can’t eat in moderation. You don’t have to pretend like everything is evil.
With the move to singles, the Trainers did a little schoolyard pick ‘em to get a chance to workout new Contestants. On the show, they always make it sounds ominous like “I want to get my hands on such and such”, but they some times fail to share with the home viewers what a great impact this can have on your own journey. From an exercise standpoint, the worst thing you can do is get in a rut with your workouts. Not only is it physically advantageous to push your body in different ways, from a pure mental angle, breaking up the monotony will keep you interested and coming back. Personally, I got into Adventure Runs last year and it completely opened entire new training plans for the entire year. Keep it fresh. You’ll be glad you did.
The Challenge in Episode 7 was a series of heats inside the Honda Center (home of the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks) where Contestants would sprint to a spotlight somewhere in the arena with the last one to arrive being eliminated. To no one surprise, Danni continued her juggernaut performance and bested fellow front-runner Joe Ostaszewski in the final heat. Danni’s prize was a 24 hour visitor from home for herself and one other player. In the Terminator-like way that she’s dominating this game, she chose to keep her eye on the prize and give both her reward and the bonus reward to others. Gina McDonald and Mike Dorsey each received 24 hour visits from their spouses later in the week.
During the visits, perhaps the most impactful moment of the season thus far took place. I know it was for me personally. With his wife and newborn son on the Ranch, the family was taking a walk with trainer Dolvett Quince when he asked a rather simple question to Mike’s wife. Talking about Mike, who started the game at 444 pounds, he simply asked her “Were you ever afraid?” Her response was honest and sadly too familiar, “Yes… but I never knew how to verbalize it.”
How many people have been there?
To the scales they went and, with the added pressure of being individuals, the show shifts into full-on game mode. The two people who fell below the yellow line and were up for elimination were Mike and, despite her two-pound advantage from the temptation, Francelina (told you so). Mike was eventually sent home at the hands of his former Blue teammates Jeff and Gina officially cementing that “vote off the biggest threat” has officially begun. Let the games begin.
Most experts will tell you that healthy weight-loss that will last should be about one pound per week. There were people on The Biggest Loser scale this week who literally wept for “only” losing 6 pounds. The man who went home lost 10 pounds this week. I know it’s a game show. I know I keep pounding it every week. Please, if you take nothing else away from these weekly recaps, take this… if you’re doing the work… if you’re eating right… if your mind is right… don’t let the scale determine your success. I do it. I know better, but I still do it. Don’t make it a game for you. Change your life. THAT changes the game.
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