Monday, February 18, 2013

Biggest Loser 14 - Red Lines, Trust, and Self-Sabotage

We should have known there would be a red line this week.

Oh, I know...last week's teaser showed that if the entire group lost a certain amount of weight, everyone would be safe for one more week.  But what they didn't tell us, until tonight, was that if they didn't lose enough, there would be a red line and the person below it would automatically go home.

No pressure, right?  Alison even gave the contestants chances to lower the amount - originally set at 70 pounds - through a pop challenge and a physical challenge.  The teen ambassadors took the pop challenge, so they could help the adults lessen their burden for the week.  They answered nutrition questions, getting 4 out of 5 correct to decrease the amount by 4 pounds.  Then they revisited the fitness tests they took the first week, and if they could beat their old numbers would help the adults even more.  The three kids split up the tests and blew their old numbers out of the water, lowering the weight loss amount by 5 more pounds.  And Sunny told us that when she gets stressed, she goes running...instead of eating like she used to do.  That's real progress!!!

So now the group had to lose only 61 pounds instead  of 70.  You would think that working together toward a common goal would bring about teamwork, wouldn't you?  WRONG!  Joe and Gina clashed; he antagonized her and she got upset.  Jillian challenged Alex on the treadmill and Alex kept stopping, saying she couldn't do it.  Jill then challenged Gina to prove to Alex that it could be done...and Gina did the same thing Alex did.  As Jillian wondered aloud what was wrong with everyone this week, Gina stormed off and went back to her room.  Bob, Dolvett, and Jillian got into a heated discussion about people taking the easy way out and not pushing themselves. 

Jillian went over to the house to talk to Alex, where she discovered that Alex has been hearing her whole life that she's not good enough (complaints that she "only" got an A instead of an A+, etc.) and hearing Jill tell her she wasn't doing enough set her off.  And when she hears she's not good enough, her thoughts turn to "Why should I even try at all?"  Bob had a similar talk with Gina, who is still having issues drowning out the negativity other people throw her way.

I know firsthand about Never Good Enough Syndrome.  It didn't come from my parents when I was growing up, because they always loved and supported me whether I got an A+, A, A-, or the occasional B+.  Never once did they chew me out for not being perfect.  But to other kids in junior high, I wasn't good enough - not pretty enough, not thin enough, not cool enough...and it ate away at my self-esteem.  Then in adulthood, I began to deal with some people who never thought I did enough.  I could work two jobs, clean the house, give time to help others...but if one day I had to rush out leaving a single coffee cup in the sink to wash when I got home from my second job I was being lazy and not doing enough.  (By the way, this attitude did NOT come from my husband...he was always appreciative and never critical.)  I started wondering why I was even bothering to ry so hard when I was still going to be criticized no matter what.  Over time those people weren't around anymore, but then a few others took their place.  When I'd have success, I was told I didn't go about it the "right" way so it didn't count.  Or if I didn't take up what was considered an "appropriate" career or occupation, I was a failure or letting everyone down.

I tell you this because I want you to realize how low self-esteem causes self-sabotage.  If you continually accept into your mind the garbage that other people tell you about yourself, you're going to be depressed and start thinking they're right.  And when you do start having some success, you do something to sabotage it - to fulfill what the others said about you.  This is what Gina and Alex are dealing with.  I've learned - and I'm still learning daily - that YOU CAN'T LET THE NEGATIVITY OF OTHERS AFFECT HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YOURSELF.  Prove them wrong!!!  Show them just what you are made of...that they don't know who they're dealing with and are a force to be reckoned with, not doubted.  Realize that when they criticize you, it's more about themsleves than you...and go be awesome!

Back on the ranch, Alison gave the players another chance to lower the amount of weight they needed to lose in a treasure hunt of sorts, digging through sand dunes that led to a flag.  If they completed the course in time, which they did even with some not trying to help very much, they could knock another 10 pounds off.  So the final total for the group to lose was 51 pounds.  Still, the trainers were nervous because they knew that most of the contestants were having a bad week.

In an attempt to build trust among each other, there was a high wire challenge that paired two people together to hold each other up and walk the wire together.  Bob and Dolvett went first to show how it worked.  Jillian paired up with Alex and succeeded in building some trust between them.  Of course they put Joe and Gina together, who managed to do all right even though they didn't really seem to get the trust thing down.

The weigh-in was filled with tension, wondering if the group would reach their goal.  Gina managed to make Jillian's head hurt, Bob and Dolvett's jaws drop when she said she was going to stay positive on the scale.  Her emotions are like a roller coaster, so I don't blame them!  I hope she can break through the major roadblock in her mind to finally be her best self. 

Danni lost 7 pounds...but everyone else's numbers were low.  They weren't even close to reaching the 51 pound goal.  The red line came down to Jeff and Francelina (who are a couple) with Francelina going home.  She's really rockin' it at home though, and I predict that at finale she will be at her goal weight!

Next week looks to be just as emotional as the final six work toward reaching the finals...and have to face their worst fears!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Biggest Loser 14 - Temptation in the Dark Leads to Drama at Elimination

The teaser at the end of last week's episode let us know that the Biggest Loser contestants were going to singles - breaking up the teams with every man or woman for themselves.  It always gets more interesting when people aren't bound to a team anymore.

And this time, it got VERY interesting.

Alison gave each player a shirt, each having an individual color.  You could see in their eyes the realization that they could only rely on themselves, which I believe brings out their strengths.  Teams are wonderful at the beginning for the players to encourage each other while they're still new to the process, but when it's time for singles each person gets to show what he or she is made of.  Gina started really believing that she was a threat (although she did backslide into a little meltdown later on with Dolvett) and most of the others decided they needed to step up their game in order to keep above the yellow line.  Of course, Danni has already been in singles for a while now!

Yes...for the first time this season, there is a yellow line.  And of the remaining eight contestants, two would fall below and the others would vote who to send home.

And another thing - temptations are BACK!  The first temptation of Season 14 was a doozy.  All kinds of Valentine's Day candies, cupcakes, and other assorted sweets were placed on tables in front of each player.  Whoever ate the most calories would get a two pound advantage, plus they would get to give a two pound advantage to another player of their choice.  The kicker was that this would take place in the dark, so nobody could see what the others were or weren't eating.  Ali had night vision goggles so she could observe what all of them were doing.

A variety of things happened in the darkness.  Three people ate something, while the other five did not.  Everyone kept calling out Gina, assuming that she was eating a lot to win the advantage because she would be too unsure of herself to rely on her own abilities.  One thing I've learned so far this season:  DON'T UNDERESTIMATE GINA.  She ate nothing, also noting that with her being diabetic she could make herself extremely sick if she ate all of that sugar.  As she listened to them talk smack about her, she played along, acting as if she was eating and making noises to lead them to believe it.  The other really smart person here was Danni...not only did she skip the sweets, she got on the floor and exercised to burn calories and keep herself busy during the temptation!

In the end, Jeff only ate a little over 200 calories, so it came down to Alex and Francelina...who both ate more than 1100 calories.  Francelina won by a small margin - it came down to the fact that Alex could only choke down half of her last brownie.  If she'd eaten the whole thing she would have won.  But in the end it didn't matter, because Francelina gave the second advantage to Alex.  It seemed like a strange strategy to me...wouldn't you give it to someone else, hoping the person who ate just about as much as you did would have a bad week on the scale?

Anyway, all of the trainers are now training everyone, so they each took turns with groups.  Jillian took the three sweet eaters first, really pushing the girls to their limits in order to work off that sugar.  She also worked Jeff hard, which really bothered him.  He felt she was putting way too much pressure on him.  Afterward they talked, where Jill learned that Jeff's dad passed away when Jeff was 17...and right before he died he told Jeff that it was his responsibility to take care of everyone now.  Jeff was carrying that load around with him for eight years, which is why he felt pressured even more by Jillian.  She told him it was OK to realize that his dad should never have put him in that position, and that it was also OK for him to take care of himself.

When we checked in with our teen ambassadors, their trainers challenged them to take things to a new level.  Biingo finally got the boot off of his foot, so now he can train for baseball tryouts.  Lindsay started practicing with a cheereading squad, including the two girls who helped her earlier in the season.  I'm so proud of those girls for encouraging her and taking a stand against bullying.  And Sunny started a Bollywood dance class.  She was frustrated at first, but once she realized that the others in the class were once beginners like her she started to blossom and enjoy herself.  (Sunny, can I join you in class?  I've been wanting to try Bollywood for years!) 

Back at the ranch, the adults took part in a challenge.  They all had to run toward the spotlight in an indoor arena, with the last one to reach the spotlight in each round eliminated.  The final round was down to Francelina, Joe, and Danni.  Danni won, receiving a 24 hour visit from a loved one for Valentine's Day, along with another visit she could give to another person.  She gave her second prize to Gina so she could see her husband.  Then she gave up her own prize to Mike so his wife could visit.  Danni shows good sportsmanship and compassion...she is not just a hero in the competition, she's a hero all around.

Gina had a picnic with her husband, where they talked about the changes in their life together and how everything was going to be better now.  Mike spent time with his wife and adorable little son, and Dolvett joined them on a walk to get to know them better and encourage the whole family on this journey. 

The last chance workout was brutal as usual, with Gina beginning to fall apart on Dolvett and Alex disrespecting Bob and not taking her workout seriously.  Gina and Dolvett talked and worked it all out, but Alex told Bob to leave her alone.  Bob was seriously teed off - and rightly so - at the way Alex acted.

At the weigh-in, the two ladies with the two pound advantage got on the scale first.  Alex lost more than Francelina, and with each of them having the advantage, you know Francie was second guessing her decision to give that advantage to Alex...who didn't work out nearly as much as she did!  Danni's weight loss wasn't that great either, even though she worked out harder than ever.  She was in danger of falling below the yellow line with Francelina...until Mike fell one pound short of being safe.

The elimination was tense, as it was difficult for the others to decide between Mike and Francie.  Mike had two votes and Francie had one - one more vote would send Mike home.  It came to Jeff, who made a promise with Mike the very first week that they would never vote each other off.  The problem was, Jeff and Francelina had also become close over the last few weeks, and Mike was a bigger threat.  Mike was hurt when Jeff voted for him, which I completely understand.  But I also understand Jeff's dilemma, and now that he's finally learning to take care of himself he made the right decision.  This is why contestants should NEVER make those promises the first week on the ranch.  Things change over time, and situations change.  Even the players themselves change.  You don't know where your journey is taking you on Day 1, or who will be your best friend or a bigger threat than you anticipated.  So those pacts shouldn't be made...and if they are, don't hold each other to it if the situation changes and they can't keep that promise.

Mike's doing all right at home though...he's lost over 140 pounds so far, and gotten his whole family involved in being healthier - including his mom!  I can't wait to see him at the finale, and I agree with him that he's a top contender for the at-home prize.

Next week promises more drama and surprises, with the group needing to reach a joint goal to keep everyone safe.  I can't wait to find out what's in store!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Biggest Loser 14 - Overcoming Fear and Bullying at the Halfway Point

Here we are at the halfway point of the season with the remaining contestants, and thankfully I'm way past the halfway point of getting over the flu so I can recap this week!  Since we're in the middle of the season, you know there will be even more twists and turns. 

The main twist this week involved the weigh-in.  Dice were presented, one die for each team with their faces on the sides.  Each trainer would roll the dice, and the player showing on top would have to represent the team on the scale.  Only his or her weight would count.  This would not happen until right before the weigh-in, so nobody would know who it was going to be...except the white team, because only Danni is left to represent.  Jillian was nervious about this, since Danni had pulled a big number the week before and they didn't know if she could do it again.

This twist caused anxiety and fear to come out in some of the players, particularly Gina and Jackson.  Gina cried, which set Bob off.  He really laid into her about all of the tears and why she always thinks the worst about herself.  Eventually he took her outside to have a calmer discussion, letting her know that he sees her as a major threat in the house and she's capable of much more than she gives herself credit for.  She's always afraid that she'll let people down.  She vowed to start seeing herself the way Bob sees her.  Jackson had a similar talk with Dolvett about always feeling like he wasn't good enough, and Dolvett made him repeat over and over that he IS good enough.

Fear is an interesting thing.  I know I've talked before about it, but I can't drive the point home enough.  Fear makes you doubt yourself.  When you doubt you can do something, it messes with your head so that you can't do it...which only makes you doubt yourself more and fear the next challenge in your life, whatever it may be.  I've been there.  I STILL struggle with it.  But I've begun to break that vicious cycle, putting myself out there more to try different things and push myself harder.  I have to block out those who don't believe in me and prove them wrong - in fact, I have to prove that old negative inner voice wrong and just go for it.  And as I build up small victories (and larger ones) my courage and confidence grow.  That's what the contestants on the ranch go through, in front of the world for all to see.

Speaking of challenges, who in the world comes up with the ones for the show?  As my friend Shannon on Twitter said, it looked like the set of Wipeout.  Walking on a beam, dodging swinging objects and getting plates to the other side...back and forth several times...just looked so cruel.  I would like to see the people who designed this challenge have to do it!  And on top of that, they had to correctly put the plates with calorie counts on them with the right pictures.  Finally Danni won...proving that this one-woman show can rock anything.  She got to hear from her family, which had to be especially sweet since she has no teammates to lean on at this point.

The teen ambassadors had their own challenge, thankfully a much nicer one.  They had to find ways to set an example for other kids around them.  Biingo started his own fitness club.  Sunny led her classmates in a circuit workout she created.  Her parents really want her to be a doctor, but I think she has a future as a trainer.  She would still be helping people get healthy!  Lindsay bravely spoke in front of her school about bullying - what it did to her and how it affects others.  She made them pledge to stop bullying altogether.  Then she was surprised by pop star Cody Simpson, who also spoke and gave a little concert for her school.  I'm really proud of her...I don't know if I could have stood before my school (including my bullies) and spoken so eloquently.  Maybe she will stop some of these kids from turning into adult bullies; we know that adults are also still ridiculed by those who never grew up.

The last chance workouts were brutal.  Jillian actually made Danni's fun, but she did have to get over her fear of heights to jump from a wall into a pit.  Once she did, she wanted to keep on doing it!  It's always good to mix it up to keep from getting bored, and use those muscles you didn't even know you had.  Dolvett invited Laila Ali to lead his team in a boxing workout.  It would be so cool to have a lesson from her.  (And if she brought her former Dancing With The Stars partner Maks with her to gave me a cha-cha lesson...all the better!)  She actually struggled with her weight as a kid, so she could relate.  For Bob's team, it was basically a beating in the gym, making all of them work until he thought Alex was sweating enough.  And then he even took a picture of her after she collapsed over the treadmill!

The time to face the scale arrived, and the trainers rolled the dice.  Joe represented red, Jeff blue, and Danni white (of course).  Jillian was worried about Danni beating Joe's percentage, but she did.  I have to say she's my favorite this season!  It came down to blue, and Jeff didn't lose enough to beat Joe.  The blue team went to their first elimination of the season.  I pretty much expected that they would send David home, considering that he has a leg injury and even when he give it his all he doesn't burn as much as the others.  But seeing him at home, he's really making progress!  He looks amazing and is a much better police officer now that he's fitter.

Next week, everyone goes to singles!  The teams are dissolved and it's every player for himself/herself.  It also looks like Jillian helps Jeff get to the root of his problem and they bond.  I can't wait to see what happens about you?