Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Biggest Loser Season 15 - The Dreaded Week 2

It's Week 2 on the ranch...also typically known as The Week From Hell each season to both the contestants and the trainers.  Weight loss seems to slow down tremendously, causing all sorts of problems and wreaking havoc on the team percentages.  And as it turns out - this season is no different.

Well, at least number-wise it's not different.  The twist this time is that only one player's weight loss from each team will count.  The trainers will roll dice with their players' faces on them to determine who it will be.

The advantage comes to the team that wins the first challenge of the season.  Teammates are tied together and must lug buckets of water to a tank.  The team that fills the tank first gets a second die to roll...and their trainer gets to choose which one of those two people whose faces show up will be the one whose weight counts.  Dice play a role in the challenge as well, as rolling them determines how many buckets of water a team can carry each time. 

It was a close race between the blue and red teams, but red edged out blue for the win, giving Bob a choice at the weigh-in.  That's the other kicker: nobody knows until the dice are rolled at the scale who it will land on, so everyone needs to work hard!

I really wish we still got to see 2 hour episodes, since it's hard to cram it all into an hour. I'm sure we miss a lot this way.  We get to see Ruben's visit to Dr. H - where he learns he has diabetes.  I'd like to see what the other players learned from the doctor as well, so hopefully that will be woven into future episodes.

The tear-inducing moments of the show came from Craig, who feels responsible for his father's death because he, as a kid, didn't realize that his dad wasn't just fooling around...and from Hap, whose wife gave birth to their 3rd child (and 1st son) while he was on the ranch.  He met his new son over Skype - and vowed right then and there that he was going to do his best so he could be around for his family for a long time.  Again...I hope we get to see more of the personal stories, which are hard to fit into the shorter episodes!

We also got to catch up with Lindsay, one of our teen ambassadors from last season.  She looks amazing and HAPPY, and she has inspired her whole family to lose weight, especially her older brother.  It's so good to see her continuing her healthy lifestyle and passing on what she's learned.

At the weigh-in, the roll of the dice gave Tanya the responsibility for the red team and Fernanda the honors for the white team.  Blue had the choice between Hap and Chelsea, so Bob picked Hap to represent.  Everyone's numbers were lower than Week 1, with some players doing better than others.  Unfortunately for the white team, Fernanda only lost 2 pounds to put them at the bottom.  Since Jillian had already used her save, when Fernanda fell below the red line she was automatically sent home.

And it looks like we have to wait until the beginning of next week's show to see how Fernanda is doing since she went home.  Way to keep us in suspense NBC!  I'm looking forward to seeing her progress as well as the new episode, where it looks like someone will have the first zero of the season on the scale.

Who will it be?  Tune in with me next week to find out!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Biggest Loser Season 15 Premiere - Second Chances

Can you believe it's the 15th season of The Biggest Loser already?  It still seems like Season 1 wasn't all that long ago...but here we are at #15!

This season, the theme is Second Chances - which is more than appropriate.  We have people who've weathered a variety of tragedies, lost weight before but gained it back, and even former world class athletes and American Idol winner Ruben Studdard.  It sounds like most of us...well, except for the world class athlete or American Idol part.  But the stories are something we can all relate to.  We have all made mistakes and/or have dealt with devastating circumstances.  We ALL need that second chance.

In this first episode, we learn about two major changes to the show.  First of all, the trainers got to interview potential contestants and choose the final 15.  Then after the initial workout, Bob, Dolvett, and Jillian were able to pick their teams.  I feel this is a good thing; it enables the trainers to connect better with each player, rather than be thrown together with people they may not get along with.  Oh, I'm sure there will still be conflicts.  (This is reality TV, after all!)  But each trainer already feels some sort of connection with their team members.  And that can only help in the success department.

The other big change is the trainer save.  Each trainer gets to save one player on their team this season, when they feel it is best to do so.  Bob commented that strategy will come into play with this, but that's not the only issue.  It has to be hard to worry about a player feeling that you thought they "weren't worth being saved" when saving people's lives is the premise of the show.  It will be interesting to see how each save is used.

On a personal level, a couple of things really stood out for me tonight.  One is, of course, the whole Second Chance theme.  I know I've been through a lot in life, and there are some people who look down on me who don't even know the whole story.  I suspect this is also true for the contestants and all of my friends at home.  There are so many things we keep buried inside that need to be let out.  We all have those inner scars that we've let hinder our progress in life, and we've let people that barely know us determine how we feel about ourselves.  Well - no more of that!  It's time we all look inside of ourselves and realize just how special each of us is...how each person has a unique set of issues yet is worthy of a second chance.  We all deserve that, no matter what.

My second revelation came from Ruben's statement to Dolvett about always being called Big Ruben, and that it's time to lose the "big" part and just be Ruben.  Think about the labels we've let other people put on us - big, fat, weak, stupid, lazy, etc.  (I've even known someone to call me or others untalented or unprofessional - false labels, given just because the person was jealous of some success any of us has had.)  It's important that we don't let these adjectives define us, because we are more than what some misguided soul thinks of us.  What labels to you need to shed in order to be the best you can be?

For the first elimination, Jillian's white team came in last, leaving one player below the red line.  He was supposed to automatically go home, but Jill used her save because she knew how hard he had worked and wanted him to have more time on the ranch.  So we still have all 15 players going into next week.

What are your thoughts on trainers' input and the save?  Please share with me, along with the labels you're going to rid yourself of on your journey.  Looking forward to an amazing season!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

An Open Letter to Valerie Harper

To all of my blog followers:

I don't usually write in letter format, but felt it necessary in this case.  I hope you find some inspiration in my words to Valerie!

Dear Valerie,

Let me start off by saying that I've been a fan since I was a little girl, loving Rhoda and you as much as my mom did.  We both anticipated Rhoda's big wedding episode, laughing and crying all the way through. Over the years you've always been a class act, and that definitely hasn't changed at all.

When I first heard you had cancer, I cried not only for you but for my mom as well.  She battled breast cancer for 12 years...and in a few days it will be 19 years since God called her home.  I still miss her all the time, and only wish she could have been around to watch Dancing With The Stars.

As you've fought and continue to fight this battle, your positive attitude and determination are an inspiration to me and countless others.  And when you decided to compete on this season of DWTS, I was thrilled for you.  There are some people who didn't understand why you would do the show (or thought you were being exploited) who said idiotic things.  But I get it - and so do a lot of people; there are many more that understand than don't.  For that I am grateful.

We all need to live our lives to the fullest, because we all will be called home someday.  Only God knows when that is for each of us.  He doesn't want us to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves about any challenges we face.  He wants us to LIVE while we are here!

My mom LOVED to dance.  She went dancing six nights a week when she was young, up until the time she married my dad.  They both still danced occasionally, but over time working and raising a family gave them less time for it, and often they only time they got the chance was at a family wedding.  Waltzes, polkas, jitterbug...my mom loved them all.  I also love dance, but never really had much time for it either.  So many things wind up taking time away from doing the things we truly want to do.

Every week on DWTS, I get to see you perform - not just learning and trying to remember all of the steps, but dancing for the PURE JOY of DANCING.  Not letting obstacles keep you from experiencing the joys of life.  Showing the world the wonderful woman you are, and teaching others how to live and enjoy each and every day.

I'm also glad you got the perfect partner for you.  Tristan is also a class act...a caring, compassionate person who can teach you the dances while helping you find the right balance so you can be your best while not injuring your knees further.  I'm as much in awe of you as he is, and watching the two of you interact brings every emotion to the surface.  It's truly a pleasure to witness your partnership - God put you together for a reason. 

Even though I am by nature normally a positive person, there are times I get a little down on myself...thinking that I should have things a lot more together than I do.  That I should be further ahead in my writing career and journey back to fitness, even though I am making progress with both.  Being impatient with my financial situation - even though that is also improving.

But then I think about you.  I'm sure you have your moments because you are human, but overall you stay positive.  You pick yourself up after a setback (like your knee) and press on.  You remember to find the joy in each day, no matter what.  You never stay down - you get up and get stronger.

Ever since I wrote for the former Ballroom Dance Channel website, my urge has only grown stronger to learn ballroom dancing...as much as I can.  My budget does not currently allow for lessons, but I'm staying positive that this will change soon.  In the meantime, I use videos, YouTube, etc., to learn what I can.  I NEED to dance.  Not just to learn the steps, but to experience the pure joy like you do.  To live out my passions.

So as you continue on your DWTS journey, know that I am extremely proud of you and honored to witness your experience.  I also know that my mom is smiling down on you, happy that you've found your way back to dancing again.  I pray that you have many more weeks, months, and years of dancing ahead of you - and thank you for sharing your heart and soul with us!

Love and Best Wishes,