Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Biggest Loser 14 - Finale Thoughts!

It was a shorter season than usual...but packed with much more inspiration than the last one.

Last night, Biggest Loser's Season 14 contestants had their big finale, showing off amazing transformations and astounding numbers on the scale.  And determining the winners came down to the last second and tight margins.

I was going back and forth between this finale and the Dancing With The Stars season premiere, so I didn't live tweet or blog last night for fear of missing anything important.  Now I can collect my thoughts on BL and look back at a wonderful night that capped off an even more wonderful season.

What made this finale extra special was having the teen ambassadors ot only come out all dressed up, but also fulfilling some of their dreams on the stage.  Lindsay performed with the cheerleading squad...and was the top of the pyramid! Sunny looked amazing and she is taking her role as ambassador seriously.  And Biingo was surprised on stage by the coach letting him know he made the baseball team.  We need kid ambassadors every year!

Looking back on everyone's journeys was inspiring, and as all of the at-home contestants weighed in, the leader kept changing.  How awesome is it that Gina was the last one standing for the $100,000 prize?  She really was a big threat in the game!  I've heard some people say they wished someone else had won, while others see what I see in her and realize that reality shows are edited...meaning you might get to see mostly good moments from someone and hardly any bad, and vise versa.  What you see on TV might not be the only side to each person!

Jackson won America's vote into the Final Three, which is exactly what I thought would happen.  He, Jeff, and Danni all got on the scale for the grand prize, and all of them really did an amazing job.  Danni wound up winning - beating Jeff by one pound!  I would have been happy with any of the three winning, as they all were worthy of the title.  But I'm so proud of Danni!

Hopefully we won't have to wait quite so long for another season, but if Biggest Loser can get another set of people on the show like this group - it would be worth waiting for!

Now...let's all get moving and work on our own transformations!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Biggest Loser 14 - A Look Back and a Wild Ride to the Finals!

It's all come down to this.

Eleven weeks on the ranch; plenty of blood, sweat, puke, and tears; emotional roller coasters for both the contestants and the trainers.  (Not to mention those of us watching at home!)  During the last week on the ranch before the finale, we looked back at the beginning all the way to where they are now...and added some more pivotal moments to the mix.

I was very happy to see that our teen ambassadors got to join the Final Five adults for the last week on campus.  Our look back began with them, as Sunny, Biingo and Lindsay sat with the trainers and watched their journeys on film from where it all started through all of their ups and downs.  All three kids have done a tremendous job, and the trainers were right when they said these three have set the bar high for kids who participate on the show in the future.  I really hope they have a set of kids each season from now on...they inspire people of all ages and really motivate their peers.  Just look at ten-year-old Breanna, featured tonight as a girl who lost 72 pounds at home with the help of her mom.  Now that's inspiration!

The teens also visited again with Dr. Joanna, who was able to give them much better news than she did the first time she met with them.  Lindsay is no longer pre-diabetic and Sunny's cholesterol is now normal.  Biingo lost 25% of his body weight...and his mom has gone down five dress sizes while doing this along with him!  Dr. Joanna mentioned to me on Twitter how gratifying it was to work with the three, and how proud she is of them for all of their hard work.  She also said that it's amazing how well kids do without doing anything drastic (no drugs or deprivation) - and just by changing their eating and exercise habits, they are able to regain their health.  This is a good lesson for our kids...and for us as adults as well!

Dr. H got to give his own good news to Danni.  Over just 11 weeks she gained 19 pounds of muscle.  They sure played the right song for her segment, because Danni IS a girl on fire!  The adults also got their trip down memory lane with their trainers, and it still hits me every season when each player's "before" self is speaking to the "new" self.  You always have to remember where you started, in order to realize how far you've come and to keep yourself motivated to never go back.

The familiar "put the weight back on" challenge had a new twist.  Each contestant pulled a sled up a mountain, starting at their current weight and adding the pounds back on in reverse order to the sled so at the end they were at their starting weights to reach the finish line.  The prize was one pound advantage, which Joe and Danni fought for until the end.  Joe wound up just beating Danni for the prize.  He hoped he wouldn't actually need it on the scale, but was glad to have it just in case.

The kids said goodbye to the trainers and other adults before the weigh-in, and it was heartwarming to see not only how much the teens bonded with the adults, but how the adults all bonded with each other.  What a difference from last season, with all of the backstabbing, nasty remarks, and claws coming out.  This season, Biggest Loser came back around to what the show is all about.

This was proven at the last chance workout, when Jeff continued the conversation he had with Bob earlier in the week about Bob being a father figure to him since Jeff's own father isn't here anymore.  In the gym, Bob had to compose himself and took Jeff outside to tell him how much it means to him, and that he was happy to be that father figure.  He told Jeff that he loved him and how proud he was of him...and mentioned that he could relate to Jeff because he always wanted that fatherly approval himself.  There was a lot of crying, not only between them but here at my house as well.  I'll bet it was the same for you.  I'm so glad the show is back to being about inspiration amd motivation.

At last it was time to face the scale.  Joe and Jackson each lost 5 pounds, but with the advantage Joe was ahead.  Gina only lost two pounds, perhaps due to her foot injury even though she still worked out really hard all week.  It was beginning to look like everyone would pull low numbers...until Jeff weighed in and lost 11 pounds.  Then Danni stepped up and also lost 11 pounds!  Jillian was so happy and proud and we had another warm moment between trainer and student.  Danni and Jeff came in 1st and 2nd, guaranteeing themselves spots in the finals.  Joe and Jackson fell below the yellow line, so America must vote on which one will get the 3rd spot.  Gina fell below the red line and was automatically eliminated, but she took it graciously and has now lost 100 pounds since we checked in with her at home.

So Danni, Jeff, Joe, or Jackson will be this season's Biggest Loser, depending on America's vote and the numbers on the scale.  Make sure to cast your vote at the Biggest Loser website and tune in on Monday to see who wins the at-home prize and the grand prize.  I know I can't wait to find out who it is!!!

Friday, March 8, 2013

My Official "I'm Sick of Snow!" Playlist

It's March, and technically almost spring.  But Mother Nature doesn't seem to care, as usual.  Snow is still falling in many places, with winter winds still whipping us around and cold temperatures to keep us dressed in heavy coats, hats, gloves, etc.

I am very thankful (and so are my friends!) that the big storm that hit a lot of states this week missed us here in Cleveland, but we've still had our share of the white stuff...and we're tired of it.  And I know my friends in Indiana, Illinois, and on the East Coast are even more tired of it.

So it's time to think warm weather and summer fun if we want to keep our sanity.  Whether you run outside in the cold or exercise indoors while watching the snow fall beyond your window, you need to remember that soon we will be free to work out in more enjoyable conditions.

This is why I've come up with a Plan B - Beach Boys, Buffett, and Beyond.  Introducing my I'm Sick of Snow Playlist:

Summer's Coming - Clint Black
Long Hot Summer - Keith Urban
Soak Up the Sun - Sheryl Crow
Some Beach - Blake Shelton
Summer in the City - The Lovin' Spoonful
Summer Days - The Partridge Family
Summer Nights - Olivia Newton-John/John Travolta (Grease Soundtrack)
Pontoon - Little Big Town
Heatwave - Martha and the Vandellas
Knee Deep - Zac Brown Band with Jimmy Buffett
California Dreamin' - The Mamas and the Papas
Island Girl - Elton John
Barefoot Blue Jean Night - Jake Owen
Fins - Jimmy Buffett
Fun, Fun, Fun - The Beach Boys
Summertime - Kenny Chesney

If you have more to add, shoot me a comment.  Let's all find a remedy for this cabin fever and look forward to spring!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Biggest Loser 14 - Makeovers and Motivation

It's that time of the season again, one of our favorite episodes...MAKEOVER WEEK!

Tim Gunn and Ken Paves were on hand once again to transform the contestants with new clothes and hairstyles, and it wasn't just the adults having all the fun.  Our three teen ambassadors got their own makeovers!  It was so wonderful to see Tim let Lindsay and Sunny look through the clothes and teach them how to put together stylish and flattering outfits, so they would know what to do at home as well.  And it was pretty funny when he tried to get Biingo interested in fashion...I know the feeling, having a 14 year old son myself.  With my son, it's always T-shirts and shorts, unless he's wearing his tux for choir - which he actually enjoys wearing!   And I do think Biingo finally appreciated the clothes Tim picked out for him...even if he still prefers his usual T-shirts.

As for the five adults, all of them had really great makeovers that affected them on both the outside and the inside.  The one that hit me the hardest was Gina, since we are so close in age and I see a lot of myself in her - having to get over fears and confidence issues, and sometimes doubting when you've already proven you're getting stronger.  I can relate the most to her this season, so watching her try on clothes (size 10 now instead of 20!) and reveal her new haircut really got to me.  She's making such great strides that I can't help but be proud of her, and inspired to keep making strides in my own life!

Everyone was flown home to show off their new looks to family and friends, and they got to stay home for two weeks.  Alison had a couple of challenges for them during this time.  First of all, every player who lost at least 5% of his or her body weight when they came back to the scale would have immunity and stay for the final week on the ranch.  And secondly, each of them needed to lead their hometowns in a workout, in order to inspire their communities to get healthier and pay it forward.

This was an excellent challenge for them, because we know how hard it is every season for the contestants to be in their old environments and keep doing what they've been doing on the ranch.  Going out to favorite restaurants proved to be extra hard this time, looking at foods they used to order and that their loved ones still eat in front of them.  Jeff really showed great restraint, eating a salad while all of his friends were eating wings, potato skins, ribs, and other unhealthy stuff.  Gina had to send her food back...she's learned that being gracious doesn't mean not speaking up for yourself when something needs to be addressed.  I wonder about her server though - she told Gina at first that she gave her what she ordered, then finally said she might have brought the wrong plate out.  There was such a MAJOR difference between the two dishes that it almost seemed like she'd brought the wrong food on purpose.  But Gina still passed the test with flying colors!

The community workouts really got everyone involved, and some past contestants even came in to assist, including Olivia and Marci from Season 11.  It's really important that all of us, whether we are on Biggest Loser or not, share what we learn about nutrition and fitness with others to we can all live better lives.  Getting our health back is much too important to keep to ourselves...we need to share the wealth.  And believe me - health IS wealth!

At the end of the two weeks, the five adults came back to the ranch to face the scale.  Every single one of them hit or surpassed the 5% goal, so they all get to stay for the final week.  But next week, the people with the top two percentages of weight loss will automatically be in the finale...and the person that comes in last will automatically go home.  The ones in 3rd and 4th place will be subject to America's vote for the third spot in the finals, which will be revealed at the finale.

Who will be guaranteed spots in the finals, and who will go home?  I can't wait to find out next week!  How about you???