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Review: The Biggest Loser - Week One

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 6th 2010 1:42AM
Alison Sweeney, Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels(S09E01) That was fast. It seems like just last month we were crowning Danny "The Biggest Loser," and yet we're back at it already. The series returned to the "Couples" format for this ninth season, but that didn't stop them from finding even bigger contestants to throw at Bob and Jillian.

In fact, that was one of the first things the trainers talked about: how hard they were going to have to work to beat these guys into shape. Five contestants are weighing in at over 400 pounds, with one smashing Shay's record of 476 by coming in at 526 pounds. Two of those contestants are a set of twins weighing in at nearly a thousand pounds combined.

If being the biggest combined group ever wasn't embarrassing enough, the first thing these contestants learned was that their first weigh-in wasn't going to be at the Ranch. It was going to be in their hometowns. Outside and in front of all their friends and families. Welcome to The Biggest Loser.

It does look like the show learned a little something from last season's disastrous one mile trek to launch the season. This time around, it was stationary bikes surrounded by medical personnel for the "walk-in" challenge. But this time, the stakes were higher than they've ever been.

When Alison first announced that the last two teams to finish 26.2 miles on the stationary bikes would have to leave immediately, I refused to believe that this show would send contestants home without even giving them the chance to meet or talk with the trainers. There was just no way. This is a show about changing lives, not just winning a prize.

And I was right. After the Blue and Yellow team were sent packing, they were stopped by Bob and Jillian and advised that they had 30 days to get their acts together at home. Then they'd be coming back to face off and one team would return. No offense to team Blue, but I'm pulling for the Yellow team. Any man named O'Neal who names his daughter Sunshine is alright in my book. Plus, I really thought they had a lot of charisma and spirit for what little time we got to spend with them.

Koli and Sam, the Gray team, are representing again for their Tongan people, as Siona and Filipe did. What really shocked me, though, was their reactions at the weigh-in: they were whooping and hollering and I thought it was our favorite Blue cousins back again. But they're just one of many teams I'm really liking this season.

Michael Ventrella, who has the dubious honor of being the 526-pound heaviest contestant ever, has already shown more drive and spirit than I think I ever saw out of Shay. In fact, this entire group seems to have so much determination and conviction, I can't imagine any of them whining that they want to quit or that anything's too hard. Not that I don't think Bob and Jillian won't push them to it.

As expected, in a first-week weigh-in, we saw some staggering numbers. The Green team, who blew everyone away at the bicycle challenge, thereby earning Immunity, actually would have survived without it, but only just barely. Michael, on the other hand, set a record for the most weight dropped in a single week by shedding 34 pounds. Not to be outdone, 55-year old Patti Anderson, from the Purple team, came out of nowhere to set a single-week record for the women with her own 23 pound loss. I hadn't even noticed the Purple team, they certainly weren't getting much camera time.

In the end, it was the "half ton twins" who fell below the line, and the remaining contestants had to not only figure out which of them was which -- I sure as hell can't -- but had to decide which to send home. I love that on this show, gameplay doesn't come into it until much later, if ever. I like that these folks support one another and vote based on what's best for everyone.

They did so here, sending James home where he had no jobs or distractions to keep him from working out and getting his life back on track. John would have had to go back to work and juggle his wife, baby and attempts to exercise. Now it's about what John can do on campus without the support of his twin brother.

As for James, in the check-up we learned that he'd lost 100 pounds in the past two months. He was focused on exercise and healthy eating with his wife, just as he promised he would be, and vowed to break Danny's all-time weight loss record by the finale.

[As always, you can catch clips and full episodes of The Biggest Loser on SlashControl.]

My "Pound for Pound" Challenge

I've decided to make my own commitment to getting in shape and improving my life, and I'd love for you to join me. Just as the contestants on The Biggest Loser must face the scale every week, I'm going to do the same here in my weekly reviews. Now I'm nowhere near as heavy as these contestants, but as Jillian said, the Ranch is the last stop. You don't want to end up there.

I'm already heavier than I've ever been, and I've only gotten heavier in the past year as I've turned writing into my career. So, it's either change now or start having to buy bigger clothes, and I'm way too cheap to do that. So I figured I'd give myself the motivation of doing it in front of all of you.

This week, all I have is a starting weight of 224 pounds (I'm 6'2" and not built at all). I don't have the luxury of a gym, equipment, or trainers yelling at me, but I do have the drive to lose this weight and get back below 200, and through The Biggest Loser's "Pound for Pound Challenge," I know that my efforts will be helping my local food bank.

I'll keep you up to date on what I am doing to try and get myself in better shape, and we'll all see if it works. I'm certainly open for suggestions. But no one likes to suffer alone, so I'd love for some of you to join me on this journey. There's another swimsuit season coming up, and we want to make sure we look great by then. It's all on the honor system, of course, but I'd love for you to share your stories throughout the season with us in the comments, as I'll update you with my progress here each week.

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The Biggest Loser is a great incentive for many people, and this is a great community activity for everyone to become involved in. Being healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet. There are many good tips on how to achieve permanent weight loss; none of them includes gimmicks, diets, or diet pills. The best way to lose weight and to become healthier is to take responsibility for yourself! Your health is your most important asset. For many people, being overweight is associated with being uncomfortable in their own skin. To assist with weight control; keep a daily food journal and every time the urge to snack is felt, first drink a large glass of clear water. This simple act will help you to eat less. Water hydrates you, suppresses your appetite, helps you to feel full, and metabolizes fat cells. Water will soon become one of your best friends. The major reason so many people in America are overweight is because we eat too much for comfort! It does not hurt to treat ourselves with something special once in a while, what is necessary is that we limit our portions and do not overeat! It is also necessary to keep our body properly hydrated, so drink a full glass of water with each meal or snack. Being overweight ******, but after reading a book, I lost 85 pounds! Words can not express how good I feel! This is a comment which I recently received about the book Lose Weight Using Four Easy Steps

January 27 2010 at 7:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm also liking this season's cast! Granted, I only jumped on the BL bandwagon last year, but I think they are really motivated.

I was actually impressed by James, the twin that was sent home. If he lost 100 pounds in 2 months on his own, what could he have done at the ranch?? If his twin brother John is keeping up with him, he should be one of the biggest losers by now (if he's still in the game, of course). I mean, what James did alone is almost the record Rudy set last season! (101 pounds in 7 weeks).

And Jason, I applaud your Pound-by-pound challenge. I've been exercising with Jillian Michaels' DVD "30-day shred" and it's good!! There are 3 levels, around 25 minutes each. I'm still at the first one because... wow, it's not even a half hour but you sweat! The best part is that you don't need fancy equipment. I encourage you to try it!

January 08 2010 at 3:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim Mahoney

My wife and I are starting to lose weight. I won't tell you hers (I like living after all). She will write in if she wants when she reads this. But I started on December 31st with a Wii and Wii Fit Plus. I'm at 230 and headed for 190. I'm 6'6" and tired of the gut. I was tired of smoking and kicked that 6 months ago. now I just have to learn to eat healthy.

January 07 2010 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Keep a food diary and do it "old school" - a small notepad/book in your pocket with a pen. Even though most of blog these days sometimes its's quicker to just write it down. And write down everything in the beginning, even a stick of gum. You'll be surprised at when and how those extra unwanted calories are being put on. I started out this way, along with exercising for 1 hour a day, five days a week, and I've lost 42 1/2 lbs. It will be three years that I've kept them off on 01/31/10. Good luck.

January 06 2010 at 7:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

we recently bought the Biggest Loser Wii game... its great! Just a suggestion... Very motivating and you do have the trainers at home yelling at you haha Good luck!

January 06 2010 at 11:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Would you be interested in working out to dvd's? Thats what I've been doing. And I'm seeing the weight drop off.

I also have a blog that you might wanna check out.


January 06 2010 at 9:48 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply


Good work on your Pound for Pound Challenge. I started losing weight 2 years ago and I have lost 140 pounds, but I'm still not there. I committed to lose the final weight this year. I have started a blog about the weight loss.


So far since January 1 I've lost 7.5 pounds!

Keep up the good work!


January 06 2010 at 9:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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