An interesting article:ĎLoserí is back with its biggest cast yet
Like the infamous Beck song goes, Iím a loser baby, so why donít cha kill me?
While Iím not referring to the latest season of The Biggest Loser: Couples in the same nihilistic way as the folk-rock musician, trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels may disagree.
With Jan. 1 over and done with, is your resolution to lose weight still intact? The last season of Loser may have just wrapped up mere weeks ago but NBC has already been pumping out promos for its latest Couples edition, which features a lot of firsts in the showís history: the youngest player, the heaviest woman, the heaviest contestant ever, the team with the most weight, and the oldest couple are all competing.
How did executive producer Mark Koops pick the record-setting cast? And how is it working for Michaels and Harper? Read on and find out.
Bob, the previews where the guys needed the EMT and they had to be taken in the ambulance to the hospital and so forth ó you always think that that would happen a lot in the gym. I was wondering ó has that happened very much to you? Have you seen that often in the gym, where people have collapsed and had to be taken away?
Bob Harper: No, really I havenít. America tends to really get the most physically fit overweight people that are out there. But I think that when it comes to someone getting sick or passing out in the gym, weíre going to take every precautionary detail that we need to. And we took Jerry to the hospital although he was totally fine. He was just a little exhausted.
Do you keep a doctor there, a paramedic, or who do you keep at the gym, just in case?
BH: We have a paramedic and medics there on site whenever we are training them. So we keep all of our bases covered when it comes to the health and welfare of the contestants.
Whatís your own observation as far as the problem we have with overweight kids? Do you see Daniel as being an important illustration of that?
BH: I really do believe that it is the state of affairs of America right now because in Season 7, we have two teenagers. We have our youngest competitor, Mikey, who is 18 years old and heís 385 pounds. And then we have Dan, who is 19 years old and 454 pounds.
It just shows you that we are living in an epidemic and we at Biggest Loser really want to put a light on this situation and try to do our part in helping that community of people. Thereís a young generation out there that really does need our help and I think that the inspiration that we give to adults Ė we really want to focus on kids in that way, or teenagers in that way, in this season.
How is training somebody who is 454 pounds different?
Jillian Michaels: Itís interesting. I think that because he is a very young contestant, Iíve been able to get away with a lot more. I havenít really modified very much. I push him in the same way. I think where I have run into some snags are with the contestants who are significantly older and their body is showing true wear and tear Ė you know, 63, 66 years of abuse.
Thatís really when youíre in trouble and thatís when youíve got oxygen masks on the treadmill and limitations with regard to duration of exercising. Itís very, very difficult to train those older contestants, in my opinion.
BH: Totally. Youíll see one contestant on Season 7 who is 54 years old, 430 pounds, and this is a man who had his stomach stapled, had his jaws wired shut ó heís been living in a war zone and his body really shows it.
Talk about some of the differences between working with couples and families. Was there anything that couples brought to the table that families didnít?
Mark Koops: I think the couples explore all different sorts of dynamics. Obviously we have family relationships but also friendships. I think it places different sets of challenges on every relationship. And I think it opens up a wider subject to explore.
But the whole game becomes about creating relationships there and the relationships they create with Bob and Jillian. I think that becomes the key relationship in the game once they actually get to the show, the relationship they create with the trainers who are there every day working their butts off to make a change.
BH: I think itís really interesting when we delve into couples because when youíre working with parents and their children, you really see the guilt that the parents have when it comes to what theyíve done to their child. And I think that it becomes very inspirational too because we try to show them that no matter how bad itís gotten, no matter where their path is, we show them a way that we can get them back on track. And we can kind of get that guilt off the parent. So working with couples, and especially parents and their kids, is fascinating to me.
MK: In this upcoming Season 7, there was definitely one set of friends that Bob had a particularly hard time breaking through. And I think it makes for some of the most interesting and compelling work that heís faced; certainly one of the biggest challenges youíve had was with one of your best-friend teams this year.
BH: Let me tell you, I actually just saw this episode and this one girl tested me more than Iíve ever been tested on the show. I mean, youíre going to see me on this show have a nervous breakdown on this girl. I watch and it was like, ĎIs that me? Did I do that? Was I yelling that much?í It was definitely a challenge, man, let me tell you.
This season itís been mentioned it has the oldest players ever, the youngest male contestant, the heaviest female contestant, and the heaviest contestant ever. Bob, could you tell us about some of the obstacles that the contestants will face because of their unique challenges?
BH: Well, when you come to The Biggest Loser, youíve got to remember, you go from zero to 100 miles an hour in your first day. So itís got to be a real big challenge for these morbidly obese men and women to actually be able to keep up. But what you really see, and what I love so much about our show, are triumphs of the spirit. These people overcome the obstacle of carrying all this weight. Theyíre going to push themselves to new limits. And I mean, some of the stuff that they werenít even aware that they were able to do just inspired us all.
Mark, why did the show decide to have so many record-breaking contestants in one single season?
MK: We look at the feedback and everyone is looking for people they relate with. Itís sad to say that I think weight and obesity is becoming, despite our best efforts, an ever-increasing issue, and it wasnít a conscious decision going in. But the stories and the characters we found, whether it be Jerry and Estelle, the oldest couple weíve had, just incredible grandparents who are looking to get healthy for their grandkids as theyíve now retired.
And the 19-year-old whoís 450 pounds when he starts. Itís almost unbelievable that somebody could be that weight at that age. He realizes now heís beginning his adult life and he has no future unless he makes the commitment now, and that was just an overwhelming story.
We have a pair of Tongan cousins whom I think everybodyís going to fall in love with who, in their community, to be overweight is almost a badge of pride. And theyíre trying to break a whole cultural myth that being overweight is good.
So now that Januaryís here. For people at home, can you give five tips on how people can actually start to lose weight on their own?
BH: I think the first thing I try to tell them is, ĎDonít try to change everything all at once.í Thatís my first and most important tip. People get so wrapped up in thinking, ĎOK, itís Jan. 1, here we come to that infamous day that everyone is going to eat chicken and broccoli and go to the gym every single day and go to bed at 10.í
And by the middle of January, all those people who got gym memberships arenít going to go. Everyone needs to just, like, chill out and start off small. Realize that if youíre going to make a lifestyle change, this is going to be forever.
JM: I think another thing is that people donít have the right information. So itís very difficult to make a food choice or figure out what type of exercise that you should be doing when you donít know. You donít have the answers.
So my best piece of information is, ĎEducate yourself.í Read a book, for goodness sake. Buy a calorie counter. Buy one session with a trainer. Join an online community and then when you have the knowledge, that is 50 per cent of the battle. Then you just need to be inspired to utilize that knowledge. But with the right knowledge you can make the right choices and control the outcome of your life for the most part.
Is there something that you can do mentally, like when you know you want to binge, is there some trick, like drinking water or taking a walk Ö?
BH: Gosh. All those work. Thereís one thing that I tell people, too. Chewing a piece of sugar-free gum. It may sound silly, but it works. Youíve got to get yourself out of your old routine.
People come home from work and theyíre tired, theyíre exhausted. They want to sit in front of the television and medicate themselves with food. And the next thing they know theyíve gone through a bag of chips. So youíve got to change your routine because what youíre doing is not working.
In terms of long-term success, what are the key things that people have to do to maintain their healthy weight?
JM: One of the things that we work a lot on with the contestants is looking at their baggage, their issues, what brought them to the show. And when they begin to explore those inner demons, then theyíre going to be better equipped to wrestle with their outer ones ó which is the stupid tip that I gave on the finale. But I realized when I said it, I was like, ĎThatís genius.í
Because itís true and I think that when they continue to go home and explore what is psychologically motivating them to be self-destructive, to overeat, to practice unhealthy habits, they will have a much better chance to fix that. Itís about self-awareness. And then once youíre aware of your issues and your bad habits, you can begin to change them.
BH: What I really try to tell people, and I know Jillian does too, is, ĎEverything that youíve learned from us on the ranch, when itís time for you to go back home, youíve got to realize that you canít be that same person going back into your life. You have new tools now. You have new tools to work with when life pushes you over the edge and you want to reach for the comfort food and you want to over-medicate yourself with food.í
So we try to give them the foundation while theyíre on the ranch, so itís like they are a new and improved version of themselves when itís time for them to go home. And realize that this is another way of living and a whole new way of living.
MK: I think both the trainers are being incredibly modest. I think they provide every single person they come in contact with all the tools of how to make the right choices, when normally they would reach for the bad choice. And you listen to past seasonsí contestants talk about it, how they still listen to the lessons they learned from Bob and Jillian.
I know you both like to challenge yourself but how do you deal with someone who doesnít listen or is extremely lazy?
BH: Well for me, then theyíre not ready. Thatís why I tell people all the time, ĎI canít want it for you.í Jillian and I are in there and we will bust you up and get you back and put you back together again. But if you donít want it, thereís nothing I can do for you until youíre ready.
JM: I couldnít agree more. Thatís whatís Bobís entire book is about. Thatís the title of his entire book. The foundation of your question is like, ĎDo you really want to make this change?í Because if you do, hereís everything you need. If you donít, well then, put this back on the shelf and pick me up at a later date if you ever find that youíre ready. Because otherwise itís pointless.
MK: [But] I think the trainers find a way to make them ready. We saw it last season where in Week 3, Michelle wasnít ready. She was ready to go home. She was ready not to commit to the process and go home. And Jillian got her to commit to the process, got her to commit to changing her life, got her to taking those small steps. And through that, the result so obviously was shown [when she won].
Do you think itís harder for people to stick to an exercise regimen or an eating regimen?
BH: Jillian hates to exercise. Iíve had to make her throughout the years. I love to exercise.
JM: Very true. Personally speaking, I find it easier to adhere to a food regimen. And exercise ó I donít love it. Iím one of those people who really struggle with it. With that said, I appreciate all of the necessary benefits and I feel much better when itís done. But I can think of a million other ways Iíd rather spend a day than in the gym.
Iím sure you live really healthy and you eat really well and everything. But thereís got to be some stuff that Ė you have your guilty pleasures. Everybody does. What are yours?
JM: I decided that wine is now a health food because of the antioxidants. So itís no longer a guilty pleasure. Itís a necessity, especially for my mental health on the show. So Iím going to say chocolate is my guilty pleasure.
BH: Yes, chocolate and peanut butter. The two together. Itís like, thatís what I want. When Mark Koops stresses us out to no end, thatís what I reach for.
Since you both enjoy working out and you know how to shed the pounds, do you let yourself off the hook over the holidays ...?
BH: No, Iím kidding.
JM: Bob never does. We had to get up at three in the morning the other day to do a satellite feed to New York. I went home and went straight to bed, saw him on set later, and Iím like, ĎI am so rested.í Heís like, ĎIím exhausted.í Iím like, ĎWhat did you do?í ĎWell, I went to the gym and then ...Ē You know, I was like, ĎYou what?í Like, heís just Ė heís extremely dedicated. He motivates me in that way and he always has. To push. Link: http://tvguide.sympatico.msn.ca/Chewing+the+fat/Interviews/Insider/Articles/090106_biggest_loser_couples_DW.htm?isfa=1