The Biggest Loser Half Marathon in Eau Claire, WI is today. This will be my 8th half marathon and my 13th state that I’ve run a race in.
I drove over from Minneapolis to attend the race expo from 11-3 yesterday and met 4 former Biggest Loser contestants!! (I LOVE Biggest Loser and I LOVE meeting former contestants). The race expo was a tad smaller than the Twin Cities Marathon expo…
There were only 3 vendors and they were in the same room as where the Biggest Loser contestants were speaking so that was a little annoying since people were talking and bustling around during the talks.
First up was Adrian Lutke from Season 3.
I did not yet watch the Biggest Loser at this time but she was super nice and I want to be friends with her.
She described her season and said there were 50 contestants that year (one from each state) but when they got to the ranch they were told 36 of them were going home the first week. And she was one that went home. But they were all still in competition at home and she ended up losing more weight than anyone else at home so she got back on the ranch. She also talked about how you had to cook your own food on Biggest Loser; that the show bought the food but then you had to prepare it. She used The Biggest Loser Cookbook for recipes. She loves being involved in the huge Biggest Loser alumni group and said that running helps her maintain balance in her life and not gain the weight back.
The next speaker was Lisa Rambo from Season 14. I recognized her from the show but once they showed a video of her time on the show I really started to remember her. She is so GREAT!
Her talk was really inspiring. She is a mom of 4 and she said she auditioned for the show starting at Season 11. The casting was at the Minnesota State Fair. She didn’t get chosen but the producers called her for Season 12 castings at the Mall of America. She still didn’t get chosen (even though the producers called her!) so she decided to lose weight at home along with the Season 12 contestants. She ended up losing so much weight at home that she was not eligible to audition for Season 13. But she gained it all back and again auditioned for Season 14 and was finally cast!
In reference to everyone starting diets on Monday or tomorrow, she said, “There’s no magic about Monday and tomorrow never really comes. Don’t wait!” She also said to “do the best you can right now and see where it’s gonna take you” and “do the best you can with what you’ve got and what you’ve got will get better and better.”
She then talked about how nutrition was the key to weight loss and that she quickly realized on the ranch that it was going to be a kitchen battle. I guess she had to report what she was eating before being on the show and they analyzed it and told her she was eating on average 6,000 – 10,000 calories a day! And she didn’t know how bad that was. Every contestant is given a different calorie range while on the ranch and hers was 1,200 calories. She ended up getting sent home week 5 but said it was great because she got home and her husband and kids were so supportive. They cleaned out the kitchen and wanted to make the house a safe place. Her husband ended up losing 80 pounds and her kids learned how to cook and eat healthy. From home she had to weigh in weekly and call NBC to report her weight. She said Biggest Loser helped her realize her strength and that she can reach her goals. The finale was the first day of the rest of her life. She continues to set goals and says that keeping a food journal and drinking lots of water help along her journey to maintain a healthy weight.
“Don’t wait, don’t quit, never settle” was her motto.
Up next was Andrea Wilamowski from Season 16. (I can’t believe that was just this year! Seems like forever ago and I am SO READY for Biggest Loser to come back on!).
Her weight story was that she had an abusive husband for 14 years and food was her comfort. She reports that now she is in a healthy, happy marriage with another man and they both love food so now she is gaining weight for a different emotional reason. People eat when they’re sad and when they’re happy!
How she got onto Biggest Loser was a bit different than the other contestants. She didn’t want to go on the show but the show contacted her. She works for an entertainment company that employees all the pro sport cheerleaders we see prancing around on TV. So the show contacted her and asked if she wanted to go on the Biggest Loser. She said no but then she left her phone while she went to the bathroom and her friend Kevin Johnson who played for the Detroit Lions called the producer back and said she would do it. Once on the ranch she said it was pretty miserable – the gym is not air conditioned so it was 105 degrees in there and the bathroom is an outhouse behind the gym. She was the first to cry and the first to puke and she volunteered to go home. She was on the season with the new trainers Jesse and Jen and she said when her and the other contestants realized there was no Bob or Jillian they freaked out and thought no one was going to watch the show so why were they even doing this. But it was also the season where Bob was secretly training eliminated contestants on Comeback Canyon. So once she was voted off, she was so happy she thought she was going home but she ended up with Bob as her trainer off the ranch.
I loved her talk about nutrition. She was supposed to eat 1,200 calories a day on the ranch and so (like many people/Americans/females/dieters) she thought it would be better to eat 800 calories a day. Combine that with the 6-8 hours of exercise they were doing and she lost 80 pounds on the ranch. But like other BL contestants and other dieters, when weight comes off that quickly it is easy to put it back on. She reports that the nutrition piece is the hard part and that “you have to fuel your body more with the right foods” than just eating less overall. (Yes!) She said now if she eats 1,800 – 2,000 calories a day (of the right foods) she loses weight. She said food and her weight will continue to be a journey and that it’s an emotional journey for life.
Lastly, was Dan Evans from Season 5. I actually met Dan and his mother Jackie at my first half marathon in Chicago in 2011.
But I didn’t tell him this because I don’t want to be creepy and he meets THOUSANDS of people at these races. So I just introduced myself and got another picture 🙂
His Biggest Loser audition story was that his mom told him he should try out and he thought “why?!” but he agreed and went to the auditions. His mom told him he would have to do something to make himself stand out at the audition since there were hundreds of people in line. So when he got into the audition he said he wanted to lose weight because he wanted to be a rock star and his fat butt couldn’t fit into leather pants. He ended up getting a call back but they said he needed to have a partner for the show. So he asked his mom to do it (and she was like “why?!” LOL). He was pretty successful on the show though he didn’t win the finale prize or the at-home prize. But he said they told him that he will forever mark his life as “before the Biggest Loser” and “after the Biggest Loser” and he said it’s absolutely true. The show really does change lives! He said being on the show was an opportunity to just focus on himself, which isn’t something people get to do very often with family, friends, work, and other commitments. He also recalls Bob Harper telling him, “Don’t limit yourself based on things you’ve done in the past. Discover new limits and a new you!” (I LOVE Bob!). He realized throughout the show and his weight loss journey that if he applies himself, he can do anything. Since the show, he has been traveling around the country doing the Biggest Loser Race Series and he also went to Nashville and recorded a country album that went to #7 on the charts. So he serenaded the crowd with one of his songs…
He was pretty good!
So overall, it was a great time listening to their stories and meeting these former Biggest Loser contestants. I love the show and the contestants because it is so INSPIRING!
Stay tuned for a race recap!
Do you watch The Biggest Loser? Have any favorite former contestants?