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Review: The Biggest Loser - Week Two

by Jason Hughes, posted Jan 13th 2010 10:00AM
Michael and Maria Ventrella, The Biggest Loser: Couples 3(S09E02) Remember last week when I said that most teams don't go in for the gameplay this early in The Biggest Loser. I will now stand corrected, as strategy definitely came into play during tonight's episode.

Most of the episode, however, was a showcase for Dr. Huizenga. I'm still haunted by that 3-D MRI image of Shay from last season, and he's at it again, this time showing us the new heaviest-ever-contestant Michael's physique under the computer simulator. He also spotlights the impact of the contestant's weight and health issues in a variety of ways, so that we at home will be sure to get the point.

I applaud The Biggest Loser for the message that we need to get off the couch and do something before we wind up like many of these contestants. But all these constant reminders are really making it hard for me to enjoy this deep-fried Twinkie.

Because of the severity of Michael's obesity, entering the house at 526 pounds, Dr. H hit the White team up twice. First, they piled 303 pounds onto Bob's tiny little frame, so Michael and Maria could see how much he struggled carrying it around. Then, they got to Huizenga's favorite toy, the 3-D MRI imaging. This time he even made like John Madden and drew on the image, in case Michael wasn't sure where his fat was, or where his lungs were.

He spent the entire episode scaring the contestants with stories about how they were all going to die soon, they were the sickest group ever (which is the case every year), and in the case of the Purple team, he went to their home to scare their family, by telling them that their loved ones were probably going to die soon.

For the Red team, he opened an armored truck -- let me correct myself: a The Biggest Loser armored truck, completely with logo -- filled with $3,000,000 to represent the money they will blow on their obesity throughout the course of their lives. Maybe it was the sight of all those bills, but money was clearly on their minds later as well.

The immunity challenge involved 3.5" wide balance beams, stretching 40 feet across a swimming pool. Teams had to traverse the beams, moving ten beach balls from one side of the pool to the other. The last team to finish gets a two pound disasdvantage at the next weigh-in. Now, I only started watching TBL two seasons ago, so maybe they've done this before, but this marks the second week in a row that coming in last brought a penalty.

Is it a new strategy to offer further incentive for teams to never stop competing and never give up? Ironically, giving up is just what wound up happening for one team, though there were extenuating circumstances. At first glance, it would seem that the Brown team, with only one member, would be the obvious last place finisher. How can John alone keep up with any of the two-person teams?

On the White team, Maria was absolutely terrified of water, and thus unable to even make it onto the beam, much less across. Michael kept at it diligently alone, while Maria kept trying to get on the beam. When she panicked and took a faceplant into the pavement, I thought sure she'd broken her nose, there was so much blood.

So White took the two pounds, while a last-minute dunk in the water by Black's Andrea allowed Read team to secure Immunity. Immediately, Melissa decided to not lose very much weight this week, to improve her chances of a bigger number next week. At the weigh-in she did even better, or worse, by gaining a pound.

With the two pound disadvantage, and Maria's injury, the White team was in trouble. After a 34-pound loss in week one, the expected week two wall impacted Michael's weight loss and he only dropped 11. But Maria kicked ass, shedding 10 pounds of her own. With the disadvantage, they needed 14 pounds to stay out of trouble, and they got 21.

The Purple team followed up a first place finish at the weigh-in last week with a last place finish this week. The mother-daughter team both pleaded to send mom Patti home, arguing that she had the stronger support system. They got their wishes, and we got to see that Patti is indeed doing well at home, working out with her daughter, and even participating in a 5K with her husband. She's down 43 pounds and heading in the right direction.

[Catch full episodes and clips of The Biggest Loser on SlashControl.]

My "Pound for Pound" Challenge

I live in the Midwest, and spent most of the past week in sub-zero temperatures and blanketed in snow. I've always enjoyed jogging and bike riding, but neither is an option. You offered great suggestions like exercise videos, and even The Biggest Loser Wii video games, but I didn't get to the store this week to look into any of that. I have an old exercise bike here that has one setting left, so I've been using that and the basement stairs a lot.

I have to figure out some good resistance training, and probably get my hands on those videos or games, but for now I'm trying to just get my body back into the habit of physical activity. I was much more careful and aware of my calorie consumption and the kinds of foods I was eating, and cut back my diet soda intake drastically. Still, I expected either no change, or a gain; it doesn't feel like I'm doing enough.

Last week, my starting weight was 224 pounds, and this week I weighed in at 222. Two pounds is pretty disappointing, as is the total percentage of weight loss of .01%, meaning that I am indeed needing to do more. But it's also motivation because at least the scale is moving in the right direction.

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Biggest Loser is a motivator for many people. Being healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet. There are many good tips on how to achieve permanent weight loss; none of them includes 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 23 2010 at 10:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't be discouraged from the 2 lb weight lost. I think most medical experts recommend loosing about 1-3 lbs per week. It's healthier and I know from personal experience that if you loose it slowly you're more likely to keep it off. It gives your body/metabolism time to adjust and acclimate. Personally, I can't understand why people expect to loose 10-20+ lbs in a matter of weeks when it most likely took months and years to put it on. Think about it. I know it may seem like you're a size 10 one day and size 2X the next but it doesn't happen that quickly. Be patient but consistent and the weight will come off. :D

January 13 2010 at 3:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And you should join a cheap gym - I too live in the Midwest and we have plenty of $20 a month, contract free gyms that give you the basics. Barring that, take up mall walking (or maybe Wal-Mart walking) - people don't really notice if you go early in the day too.

January 13 2010 at 12:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great episode. I liked Jillian's deconstruction of Maria's wiping out, how it was more about sabotaging herself.

And correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't there a rule a few seasons ago to discourage manipulating the game with drinking water, etc. that if you had immunity and you gained weight that week, you lost immunity? I remember the first time it happened reading they were going to add rules to discourage it and I think I remember contestants talking about it on the show.

January 13 2010 at 12:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Cindy Swanson

Great recap, Jason! I quoted you in my own recap at http://cindyswanslife.blogspot.com

I live in the Midwest too, by the way, and don't always have transportation to the gym. My only other options are the stationary bike at home, which I get sick of, or an exercise DVD. I've pledged to exercise every day in January though, so I'm making it work! Good luck and best wishes!

January 13 2010 at 10:36 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Biggest Loser is my biggest motivator, I do not envision ever being anywhere as big as even the smallest contestant, but the pounds and years are creeping up and I know I have to do something NOW. Stuck in the same deep freeze as our reviewer our office is turning to indoor pursuits, two of us are lacing up the sneaks and walking in our facility, thankfully we have a figure 8 hall configuration, so we are really pushing it, as fast as we can, up to 45 minutes now. Cut back on lunch time, amp up the exercise. Boss calls us the Stroll Sistas!

January 13 2010 at 10:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Don't be discouraged with your weight loss. 2lbs is actually great to lose in a week. Do not expect losses like those on this show, what they do is very extreme and it is generally considered better for you to lose the weight slowly over time. Be proud of your accomplishment and keep up the good work.

January 13 2010 at 10:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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