One of the mainstays of just about any reality show that gets a few season under its belt is what I choose to call the “milestone episode”. The first few seasons that the show is on, the Contestants and the viewers don’t think anything out of the ordinary. It’s just another show. Eventually, however, it becomes a sort of measuring stick for how well you did on the show. In Survivor, they have the “Survivor Auction”. On The Bachelor, it’s the “hometown dates”… I mean… I heard it’s that… I…I… don’t watch… anyway. And, on The Biggest Loser, the episode that the Contestants measure their success against is “Makeover Week”. If you make it “Makeover Week” on The Biggest Loser, you’ve accomplished something.
This week’s episode, appropriately titled “Makeovers”, is the season tradition where the remaining Contestants are thrown up on the rack and given a full tune-up. Clothes, hair, shave, make-up, you name it. If it can be cleaned, plucked or hosed down, it happens this week. They bring in professionals from the fashion world who my wife and daughters all sit around and say “ohhhh… I love him” while I just sort of scratch my head.
But, before we go any further, let me do this… as always…
[notice]Very Important! This piece will ALWAYS contain Spoilers. If you DVR the show and haven’t watched it, come back when you did.[/notice]
Back again in Season 14 to steer the makeover ship are fashion consultant and television personality Tim Gunn and celebrity hair stylist Ken Paves. But, before the Contestants can get primped and polished, they are given a slightly new twist to the traditional week. In the past, the makeovers often culminated in a visit from at least one family member who would come to Los Angeles and spend a day at the ranch. This year, they’re changing it up completely. After the makeovers, the Contestants, including the three kids who the show has been tracking all season, will go home to unveil their new looks.
The whole TV makeover process isn’t something I can really capture in a write-up, so I’ll leave it to you to check out on your own. I will say this as someone who went through a weight-loss journey that dwarves even some of the largest in the history of The Biggest Loser history, making the mental decision to start dressing your new size is a really tough one for a lot of people. You spend so many years with ill-fitting clothing, whether by choice or necessity, that “normal size” clothes take a lot of getting use to. Not to overly personalize a Recap, but I still struggle with making myself buy the right size. I think you just naturally want to gravitate to buying a size or two biggest “just in case”.
After the makeovers in Los Angeles, the Contestants all returned home and were greeted with varying sizes of welcome home events. The highlight for me was when Joe Ostazewski was greeted at his party by his identical twin brother Henry, who has lost over 90 pounds at home sparking this conversation at my house.
Wife: “That’s really a testament to the whole twin connection thing. They were both nearly the same size when they were fat, now they’re losing weight at the same pace.”
Me: “Meh… I think you’re over-analyzing. The one at home just isn’t stupid. If you and your twin brother are fat and he gets a shot at The Biggest Loser you HAVE TO lose weight or you’re going to look like a Before and After picture.”
At their makeover unveiling parties back home, each Contestant was given two challenges to complete during the two weeks they would be home:
- Lose 5% of your body weight. If you can lose it, you’re safe at the next weigh-in. Period. If you don’t lose it, you’re up for elimination. Simple and effective. If everyone does the work, no one goes home.
- Lead exercise events in your hometown while you’re home. The theme of the season is “Challenge America” and the concept of paying it forward is important. Good practice too as many former Biggest Loser contestants eventually transition into sought after motivational speakers.
During their time back home, The Biggest Loser is inevitably going to send them out to eat with their friends and family for a teaching moment. I know you’ve been waiting for it. 700 words in and I haven’t really complained yet, so it was due. I understand why they do it, but I hate how they do it each season. During the night out, Producers always use the same schtick. The other people in the party always order like gluttons. Just nearly in-human amounts of food on every table. They then make them say stupid things to the Contestants like “Oh come on… just a little” giving the impression that these Contestants surround themselves with real jerks and saboteurs. I know we all have those bad influence friends, but they kind of take it to a different level on this show.
The other part that rubs me the wrong way about this staged event each season is that they have the Contestants pontificate about the fact that “they have to learn to eat out” because it’s “real life”. Disagree. Yes, there is a reality that every person who loses weight knows and often chambers for the inevitable conversation down the road. Unlike so many other vices that we quit – smoking, drugs, alcohol – eating is the only one that we continue to be required to participate in. You can’t just choose to never eat again. However, you can choose to stop eating out. Eating out is not a requirement. Sure, for most folks it’s a staple in their routine, but to imply that they have to learn that skills is mid-leading. In the four years it took me to lose over 200 pounds, I can probably count on both hands the number of times we ate out. Now, in maintenance mode, we’ll eat out from time to time, but having a healthy relationship with food which, for me, is a requirement to long-term health and success, really requires you to be able to say no.
Back on the ranch, it was weigh-in time with all five remaining Contestants hoping to avoid a vote by losing their required five percent. The results looked like this:
- Danni Allen – Needed 10 – Lost 10 (-5.43%)
- Jackson Carter – Needed 13 – Lost 15 (-5.78%)
- Joe – Needed 14 – Lost 17 (-6.51%)
- Jeff Nichols – Needed 15 – Lost 19 (-6.44%)
- Gina McDonald – Needed 9 – Lost 10 (-5.78%)
Everyone was safe and would be back for another week.
With one week to go before the live season finale, host Alison Sweeney laid out how the final week would go. At the last weigh-in, three of the Contestants would have the opportunity to control their own destiny in a way. The top two next week would automatically be safe and guarantee themselves a spot in the finale. The person with the lowest percentage of weight-loss next week would also know their fate as they would be sent packing immediately. The only thing left to be determined would be the coveted third spot in the finale. For that, America will vote between 3rd and 4th place next week to decide who deserves a shot at the $250,000 grand prize.
Because I’ve been making predictions since the very beginning and can boast that my Top 3 Players To Watch that I named way back in Week 3 are, not only still in the game, but the Top 3 in terms of percentage of weight-loss going into the final week, I think it’s only fair for me to handicap how I think next week will go.
SAFE (Top 2) – Danni & Joe – The two most competitive people in the house will pull out the stops and lock up their spot in the finale.
OUT (Lowest Percentage) – Jackson – Jackson has grown on me during the season, but he’s had the most “bad weeks” of anyone left in the competition making him the obvious choice here. The main thing he does have in his favor is that he still has quite a bit of weight to lose. At only 5’6″ and still 235 pounds, he’s got a lot of weight left to lose which could mean a timely number.
VOTE (3rd & 4th) – Gina & Jeff – Over the season, this has slowly become Gina’s game to lose. Not only does she have the largest percentage of weight-loss right now (-33.5%), as I stated from the begging, there is a distinct advantage on The Biggest Loser to those people who have the right frame that will allow them to get the smallest. Gina is generously listed at 5’1″. By the time the finale rolls around, you could legitimately see her down in the one-teens for final weigh-in. That would be a tough number to beat having started at 245. I think Gina is voted in by America.
Makeover week on The Biggest Loser is a highlight for a lot viewers. And while having professional stylists do their magic on you is appealing to so many, remember that the power to really start your makeover belongs to you. While a $500 haircut and magazine caliber outfit is exciting, it pales in power to truly making over your health. Start there.
Thanks for stopping in this week. If you like what you see on REMODELING CLAY, please… tell a friend, share us, or just come back tomorrow.