Monday, January 21, 2013

Biggest Loser Season 14: Teen Ambassadors Rock - And Why Jillian Calling You Out Can Be a Good Thing!

Welcome to Week Four on the ranch. Well, some are on the ranch, some are off the ranch...

I know, it sounds confusing.  Just like when last week's preview had us believing that three players were going home this week.  Alison had said that three people would be leaving the ranch, scaring the contestants (and us at home) into thinking it was them.  What she meant was, the TRAINERS were leaving the ranch for the week to visit our teen ambassadors at home.  Real smooth, NBC.  You just about gave all of us heart attacks!

So the teams were on their own for most of the week, other than some directions that their trainers gave them before they left.  Jillian's white team really worked together and pushed themselves, and with only two of them remaining they really had no choice but to step it up even more.  Jackson stepped up as the leader for the red team, which helped him as well because he was able to focus on something other than being sick and was able to do more for himself.  Bob's blue team seemed really lost.  They all kind of  fell apart without him there and sometimes went through the motions.

I was impressed when Bob got to the restaurant where Biingo's family was having dinner and discovered that Biingo's mom was following the plan along with him.  She's lost 27 pounds so far, setting a great example for him and her family.  And speaking of their family, they are living in a relative's basement because the economy forced Biingo's dad out of a job and they had to sell their house.  They said they've had their moments of crying (which is totally understandable!) but they really pulled it together and are staying positive, doing whatever they can with what they have at the moment.  I'd call them great role models for the whole country.  And Biingo got to train with a pitcher from their minor league baseball team, which only fuels his fire to get in shape so he can play the game he loves again!

Dolvett got to Lindsay's school and surprised everyone, then he talked with her at her house about the bullying she had gone through when she tried cheerleading in the past.  I love that he said there is no excuse for bullying, and Linsday can do anything she really wants.  He took her to the high school to meet some of the cheerleaders, who were very encouraging and promised to help Lindsay all they could.  You could see her confidence building, all because Dolvett made her face her fears and try again.

Sunny had a different problem.  She told Jillian that she feels pressured because she's the only child, and her parents had already decided she was going to grow up to be a doctor.  She's not sure if that's what SHE wants...and she would like to try different things to discover who she really is.  The pressure is causing her to turn to food.  Jillian took her for a crew lesson on the canal in order to start trying something new.  It was new for Jill as well, and refreshing to see her doing something outside of her own comfort zone.  After the lesson they sat down with Sunny's mom to talk.  Her mom told her that she would support her in whatever she wanted to do, since she knew in their culture it was especially difficult for women; she herself was extremely limited in what she was allowed to do.

This is a lesson for all of us.  It doesn't matter what culture you come from...there are people everywhere who feel pressured to be someone they are not.  This causes stress, anxiety, and depression, and that pressure can cause you to overeat, drink too much, gamble too much, etc.  The best thing to do is figure out who you are and be THAT person.  Life is too short to be someone you're not just for somebody else's benefit.  And I hope families see this and realize that the best thing they can do for each other is let each family member be who God made them to be, without attempting to mold them into something that doesn't fit them.

This week's challenge was a 5K, and the white team really smoked the other teams.  Danni finished first and Pam finished third, so their combined times won them $15,000 to split between them.  Pam is beginning to hit her stride and find out what she's really made of, which is a wonderful thing to see!

The trainers were back in time for the last chance workout.  Dolvett and Jillian could tell that their teams had been giving it all they had, but Bob began to worry and get a bad feeling about his group.  Bob and Jill trained their teams together outside while Dolvett used the gym.  Jillian was working with the guys on the blue team when Jeff began to give her attitude.  She could tell he wasn't even close to giving it his full effort...and even from watching at home I could see he was "phoning it in", as she told Bob.  Bob knew that she was being hard on Jeff because she cares - and he needed that tough love!  He didn't realize that in the moment...but soon he did.

That time came when everyone stepped on the scale.  Bob's team went first, with most of them pulling numbers lower than they should have.  It was certainly true of Jeff.  He was disappointed in the number, and it began to dawn on him that Jillian was right.  She explained that she knows he is capable of so much more than he's showing.  Her calling him out was the best thing that could have happened to him...he needed to be woken up, to stop sleepwalking through the workouts AND his life.  I'm sure that next week we will see a whole new attitude from Jeff...a much BETTER one!

The red team had good numbers, and the white team weighed in last.  They fell short of the other two teams, even though they had given it everything they had all week.  Pam was automatically eliminated, because there were only two of them and the person with the lowest percentage had to go.  It really stinks that just as she's hitting her stride she has to leave. should see her at home!  She's lost more than 50 pounds, goes ice skating with her daughter, and has even gotten her own makeover.  She looks fantastic, and it's plain to see that she feels fantastic on the inside as well.

Speaking of makeovers, the preview for next week teases that tow of the eliminated players are coming back to the ranch with makeovers.  Don't know if Pam is one of them, or if they mean two other people besides her.  The show is definitely switching things up this season, and I'm excited to see what's next!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Biggest Loser Season 14 - Good Riddance to Junk, Sad Riddance to Red

Here we are at the third week on the ranch.  Things are supposed to get better after the second week, right?

Well - not necessarily.

Oh, in a lot of ways things did get better.  Contestants are getting stronger, learning more about what got them to this point in their lives, and working harder than ever.  Dolvett began to break down Cate's walls, which were hidden behind her ever-perky personality.  I wouldn't call it a facade, because I believe she is naturally a pretty positive person, which is a good thing.  But there were some issues that she had been trying to stuff down with food...including working out with a trainer every Tuesday, and turning it into a "Fat Tuesday" by undoing all of her hard work with fast food on the way home.  (I know you might have been there too, because I have...thinking you "deserve" the treat because you worked so hard.)  When Dolvett told her in the gym that he was proud of her, you could see it affected her to the point that the walls were starting to come down and she was ready to fight even harder.

And Jillian finally got through to Pam, who usually spent time during every workout crying or breaking down in some way.  This week that improved, but Pam still had a meltdown near the end of the week.  Jillian was frustrated, wanting to know what the problem was.  Pam admitted that she still didn't believe in herself the way that Jill believed in her.  They worked together to push through that, and I love seeing the changes start to occur in's going to be awesome to watch her grow, and to love and believe in herself more each week.

The twist this week came with a quiz about childhood obesity.  I have to admit, I got just as many of them wrong as the contestants did.  I certainly knew childhood obesity was a big problem, but obviously I didn't know how big until I saw those numbers.  The health issues in kids from age two on up are shocking - hopefully shocking enough that people will do something about it, starting with their own families!  The team that got the lowest number of points on the quiz had to spend 4 1/2 hours each and every day locked in a room filled with junk food and sit in front of the TV, to simulate what kids are doing by playing video games for hours while snacking.  I'm still not sure if the blue team was told they had to sit the whole time, or if they just didn't think to get up and move around at least every now and then.  They poured orange juice over the food so they wouldn't want to eat it, which was clever.  But Bob came into the room and caught them sleeping on the couches...and he was NOT happy about it.

To continue with our three teen ambassadors, Dr. Joanna visited each of them at their homes and spoke with them and their families.  Biingo admitted to playing video games 5 hours a day during the week and 9 hours a day on the weekends.  Sunny is a vegetarian, but her family uses a lot of rice and other carbs to supplement their diet so that wasn't helping her.  And Lindsay found out that at 13 years old, she was already pre-diabetic.  The doctor helped them all find ways to combat the problem, including cleaning their kitchens of junk food and sugary stuff.  Starting to change these patterns while you're young is so important...something I wish I'd been able to do when I was their age.

The challenge was quite a sticky one - literally.  Everyone had to walk through fields of bubble gum with balls and get them to the other side, and the team that got to 20 first won free healthy groceries for a year.  Pam and Danni were split up so there were only two teams, in oder to be fair to them.  Pam was with red and Danni with blue.  The red team won, and I'm sure none of them ever want to see bubble gum again.  I never liked it, even as a kid.  Now I REALLY don't like it!

Bob held his last chance workout in the junk/TV room with his team.  He got creative, using a deck of cards to represent different exercises and the number of times they were to be performed.  Evey time he would pull a card he told them what they needed to do.  Loved the "Ace of Burpees" - 11 of the dreaded move which everyone moaned and groaned through, yet they still did the work.  He wanted to prove that this room wasn't going to break them.  And it showed how you can be creative with exercise when you have to be!

The weigh-in came, finally without a red line.  The team that lost would have to vote someone off, and it could be anyone since there wasn't a yellow line either.  Bob's team actually did well considering all of the time they were locked in that room.  Dolvett's red team was a different story.  Three of five players on his team lost only two pounds apiece.  He was very kind to them about it, even though he was also frustrated because he knew they put in the work. 

Jillian's white team went last...they needed to lose more than six pounds to be safe.  Danni lost six, so all Pam needed was one pound.  She was so nervous - but when the scale showed a nine pound loss she celebrated.  She was so hilarious she even made Jillian laugh!  I think Saturday Night Live might be calling!

So the red team had to vote one of their team members off.  It was nice to see that they had all become close and actually hated having to vote for anyone.  It wound up being Cate, because the others felt she will do well at home.  And so far she is...weighing less than 200 pounds now.  I predict that Cate will be fit, hot, and confident at the finale...which is earlier than usual - March 18th.  And she plans to run a marathon with Dolvett cheering her on.

Next week THREE players will be going home.  That's going to be difficult to see...but with the earlier finale it makes sense.  I'm thinking it's a shorter season because The Voice begins again in March.  But so far, at least, it's a really great, inspiring season!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Biggest Loser Season 14, Week 2 - White Sees Red

This second night of the Season 14 premiere was actually week 2 on the ranch.  Now, we all know that the second weigh-in each season on Biggest Loser is brutal.  People lose so much weight the first week, their bodies don't necessarily want to lose weight that fast, and their metabolisms rebel by showing much smaller numbers on the scale.   Even if you're working just as hard as the first week - or harder - the body just does not want to let go of quite as many pounds.

Which is why finding out from Alison that there was another red line this week was a shock...instead of a team being able to vote off someone who wasn't trying or working hard, someone could go home that gave it their all just because the scale did not want to cooperate.

So of course all three trainers worked their teams to the breaking point.  From the looks of it, Jillian still had her work cut out for her, with two of her three remaining team members constantly crying, calling themselves pathetic, and saying "I can't" often.  Either Bob and Dolvett got lucky with their teams, or NBC just didn't show much of the red and blue team breakdowns.  (Gotta love reality show editing!)  Jill combined her drill sergeant persona with a gentler approach to help the Pam and Danni start breaking down those walls.  At least she didn't have to do that with Nate this week, because he'd already been through that the week before. 

It's funny how during workouts when the teams took turns with different trainers, they realized that Bob can be just as demanding as Jillian, and so can Dolvett.  Of course, funny guy Bob tells the white team to pretend that the medicine ball is Jillian's head as they slam it down.  By the end of the day, they might have been wishing it was Bob's head!  But I do love seeing all of the contestants get to work out with all of the trainers, so they can learn different things from each of them and expand their health/fitness knowledge that much more.

Even better - for the kids, there are no weigh-ins.  The trainers concentrate on testing their fitness levels and then getting them to improve each day so over time they get stronger and healthier.  They also stress getting away from the video games for a while and laying off the junk food, which is something kids across the country should do as well.  Heck, even some adults need to learn that...too much of more mature video games, Facebook games like Farmville, and online poker keep you on your butt too long.  Sunny and Lindsay were able to do all of the fitness tests, but Biingo could only do certain ones because he broke his foot playing basketball.  Like Bob said, at least he did it doing something active!

The white team won the challenge for the second week in a row, this time winning an NFL visit for their teen teammate Sunny's school.  The challenge consisted of football drills, and it was awesome to see the adults step up their game because they were motivated to win something for the kids.  They all just need to stay motivated for themselves too...for the times the kids are not on the ranch, and for the rest of their lives.

The trip to the scale produced a lot of anxiety for the teams and their trainers, and for those of us at home.  Quite a few players pulled decent numbers for week 2...until we got to Jeff, the last player on the blue team.  Up popped a big zero...leaving both Jeff and Bob dumbfounded, as they knew how hard Jeff had worked all week.  Jeff was sure he was going home.  But when the white team got on the scale, they lost the weigh-in by one pound.  This meant that Nate, with the lowest percentage of weight loss on the team, was below the red line and automatically eliminated.  Everyone was crying - and Jillian was crying just as hard as Nate.  She told Alison that even with such a difficult week getting the rest of her team in gear, the thing that kept her going was that she would see Nate working his butt off and really getting it.  They hugged, and she told him he was going to be OK at home.

Nate definitely seems like he's doing better than OK at home.  He broke the 300 barrier and decided the time was right to propose to his girlfriend.  She said yes, and I know he's working really hard to be fit and healthy for the wedding.  So Jill is right...he really is getting it!

Tune in next Monday (must get used to this new night!) to see the white team (with only two players left) and the other teams face major temptation...being locked in a room of fattening, sugary, and unhealthy foods for several hours a day.  I know I wouldn't want to be in that will be interesting to see how they cope!

Biggest Loser Season 14 Premiere - A Mix of Motivation, Inspiration, and Heartache

Most of us have been anxiously anticipating the new season of Biggest Loser, hoping for a much better experience than the show brought us last January through May.  And our waiting wasn't for naught...this season is already proving to be 1,000 times better than Season 13.

Season 14 brings a couple of new twists.  First of all, there are three teens who are working to get fit and be ambassadors to fight childhood obesity.  Sunny, Lindsay, and Noah - who goes by the nickname Biingo (yes, with 2 i's) - all want to be able to play sports and perform various other activities without being out of breath, or being ridiculed by their peers.  One of the trainers this season knows a lot about this.

Which brings us to the other twist...Jillian is back!!!  Bob and Dolvett are joined by Jillian this season, and it's truly like the life has been breathed back into the show.  Of course, Bob and Dolvett are incredible trainers and work their butts off helping their teams.  But I can't help but wonder if Jillian had been there last season, would things have gone differently?  Would she have smacked Conda into next week, thereby knocking some sense and grace into her?  And maybe the two players who left the ranch wouldn't have left.

Well, we'll never know.  And Jillian wasn't able to keep Nikki from leaving during the first week on the ranch this season either.  Truthfully, I don't think Nikki was ready for the Biggest Loser experience no matter who her trainer was.  She looked scared to death - not of her trainer, but of confronting all of the emotions that were coming to the surface.  She said she was ready to deal with the physical, but not the emotional.  But if she's watched the show in the past, she had to know that the mental aspect is part of the package deal.  Maybe she didn't realize just how much was bottled up inside of her.  In any case, I hope Nikki gets the help she needs at home, including a therapist, to improve her life both inside and out.

For the most part, we were back to being motivated and inspired again.  Each trainer has a team of five adults and one child, but all of the trainers are helping everyone.  It was especially touching watching Jillian talk to the kids outside, asking them what types of things they think about themselves.  She shared how to turn the negative thoughts into positive ones, and you could see their faces light up.  Since Jill was an overweight teen herself, she KNOWS what it's like, and how it affects them.  It's important that they have someone who's been there to help guide them along, both while they're on the ranch and at home.

Jillian was not quite so easy on the adults, however.  Neither were Bob or Dolvett.  When you have all of those years of a defeatist mindset, you really do need that tough love to snap you out of it.  It works faster for some than others, but most of them get it.  I have to is so good to hear Jillian's voice in the gym again!  (The fact that her voice sometimes enters my dreams/nightmares in a recurring fashion made me even more "homesick" for that voice!)  I think NBC finally has the winning combination of trainers this season!

One thing Jill said hit REALLY close to home for me.  She asked her team, "Are you addicted to being a victim?"  OUCH.  That was me to a T for a long time.  Sure, I've never totally given up on myself, but I have sometimes in the past dwelled on negative things that happened, including being ridiculed in junior high by the majority of my class for my weight.  (See...I can relate to our teen trio as well.)  I've always tried to be a positive person, but that didn't stop my brain from going where it shouldn't go at times.  Heck, I STILL deal with it from time to time!  Sometimes it even feels worse when adults do something negative to you...because you think they should "know better" than kids.  BUT WE HAVE TO BE STRONG.  You may think that having people feel sorry for you brings you positive attention, but in reality it just keeps the "poor me" mentality going and keeps you in victim mode.  It's SO much better to fight to live your life and overcome - then people will admire you instead of feeling sorry for you!

Jillian's white team won a 5 pound advantage in the challenge, but it didn't help enough at the weigh-in.  They were at a disadvantage only having four players since Nikki left.  Bob's blue team and Dolvett's red team both beat them.  And since Allison had announced that the losing team would have a red line, the person with the lowest percentage of weight loss on that team was automatically going home.  That turned out to be T.C. - whose heart was breaking (and mine right along with his) as he realized he was going home so soon after promising his son that he was going to be thin when he got home since his son had fought back from a severe car accident.  But when he got home, he decided to take everything he learned in his short time on the ranch and FIGHT.  He wasn't going to be the victim any longer, and he's well on his way to an amazing transformation, both body and soul.

It's just like contestant Cate said during the have to realize you're tired of watching everyone else life their lives around you and not living your own.  Become the VICTOR, not the victim!

Tomorrow night is another new episode...which will be interesting since the white team already has two players less than the other teams.  And it looks like they'll all be doing CrossFit.  I can't wait to see how that goes!!!

And as Bob said, "Welcome HOME Jillian!"

Friday, January 4, 2013

My Focus Word for 2013 - COURAGE!

"Whatever course you decide upon,
there is always someone to tell you
that you are wrong.  There are
always difficulties arising which tempt
you to believe that your critics are right.
To map out a course of action and follow
it to an end requires COURAGE."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy 2013!  You may remember that at the beginning of last year I chose one word to focus on for 2012.  Actually, it chose me.  God puts the word I need most in my mind - and everywhere else (books, music, signs, quotes, etc.) so that I know for sure which word He wants me to focus on.

Last year's word was ACTION.  And I did take action in many ways throughout the year, but I still have a long way to go. 

Which leads to this year's word:  COURAGE.

This is an area in which I have struggled since childhood.  So many times in my life, I've had people tell me I can't do something.  Sometimes it was meant well, like when my parents were afraid I would get hurt - either physically or emotionally - and would not let me do certain things, such as horseback riding.  At other times it was other people telling me that I couldn't accomplish certain goals because I "was not good enough" or "didn't have it in me". 

I still have people in my life who don't believe in me or what I can accomplish...actually, I've begun to realize that these are people who don't believe that they can accomplish certain things, so they don't think anyone else can either.  Or they are people who can't think outside the box to do anything other than what's considered "normal".  I've even had someone bluntly tell me I would never accomplish anything in my life and I was worthless.

Now, maybe these people were raised to believe that, so all of their lives they impose the same thought process on others who dare to dream and set be different. 

So that means if I want to truly be the woman God created me to be, I have to have the COURAGE to ignore the naysayers and overcome fears that have long been placed into my mind.  Having that COURAGE will build on the ACTION from last year, because fear stops us from taking certain actions that we should take.

So I pray to God to help me have the COURAGE to put even more of His plans for me into ACTION.  With Him I will get there!!!

What about you?  Do you have a focus word for the new year?  Please share!