With the exception of the Beatles and “I’m a Loser,” rarely will you see the term applied to such winners as those who shed great weight on “The Biggest Loser.” To its alumni, the uplifting NBC series has indeed been all about life-changing triumphs.
So how has life been different since starring on the show?
“For me it’s been a total 180,” says Patrick House, 29, the show’s season 10 winner from Mississippi who dropped 181 pounds and finished at 219 for that finale. “When I was over 400 pounds, it hindered me as far as doing things with my family, whether it was sitting in a stadium seat at a baseball game or going to Disney World and not being able to go on the rides. Now I’m a better husband and better father, the kind I always wanted to be.”
Generally speaking, House’s sentiments represent the party line of previous “Biggest Loser” winners, but it’s not rehearsed or contrived. Positive observations flow out of their mouths these days as naturally as calorie-packed items once traveled into them.
Along with House, other “Biggest Loser” victors such as Olivia Ward (season 11), Danny Cahill (season 8) and Ali Vincent (season 5) are still reaping the rewards of experiencing the high-profile exercise-and-diet regimen, while at the same time working to make sure others benefit from their examples.
“I have literally hugged thousands of people and have heard their stories of entering into healthy lifestyles because of the show,” says the 36-year-old Vincent, who has gone on to a career as a motivational speaker, as have several of the show’s participants. “I’ve had people say that watching the show gave them the courage to change their lives around. I get email like that from people all over the world.”
Naturally, one of the major concerns for “Biggest Loser” contestants and winners — as well as the fans who look to them for inspiration — is the possibility of regressing into the previous lifestyle. But for the most part, these losers remain big winners.
“My father died about two months ago,” the 42-year-old Cahill says. “I found myself falling back into old habits. I put on 15 pounds, but I’m taking it off again. I’m about to run a 10K in Florida.
“I will say there is a little bit of pressure because I feel like an example. I’m a motivational speaker, and I tell people they do have hope in changing their lives in terms of weight, in their businesses, in their relationships. If I do gain weight back, then I’m not as effective in helping other people.”
Ward, 36, perhaps best sums up the challenge of post-“Biggest Loser” life: “I’m a food addict. It’s something I have to face every day and struggle with. We (her sister Hannah was also a contestant with Olivia and finished second) are within 5 pounds of our finale weight. I’m more proud of the maintenance. That’s where the real work begins.”
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