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Biggest Loser: Episode 12

A dozen episodes in. Three entire months these formerly obese individuals have been shedding the pounds at the Biggest Loser ranch. That’s given me 12 weeks to become completely attached to Bernie and Brittany. I’m not ashamed, I’ll tell you right now, the Cry of the Week/Bawl Hysterically of the Week was Brittany’s elimination. Brittany during Biggest Loser challenge I knew it was coming. As soon as Jay fell under that yellow line I knew she was gone. The way she and Jillian hugged and cried goodbye I think they knew, too. Was she really competition? She pulls such low numbers! If it were really all about game-play, and not “PRIDE ON THREE!”, she’d probably still be there.

We probably shouldn’t overlook the fact that the episode open with Maggie’s elimination. That felt like the fastest, tear-it-like-a-band-aid elimination this season. Suddenly, Maggie was gone. And now it’s time for makeovers, yay!

At least Brittany was there long enough to be a part of those hot makeovers with Tim Gunn last night. There’s something about breaking out of your comfort zone with clothes- big, small or in between. Brittany was rockin’ the cleavage and said she hoped the NBC censors wouldn’t mind. I found it very touching the way Ali cried at the possibility of wearing a dress without sleeves. She felt like she “could own that dress and haven’t felt that way in a long time.” Her haircut was adorable, too! Kelly also looked stunning after her makeover. I knew there was a pretty face hiding under that curly-ponytail-bound hair. So glad Tim talked her out of the funeral home dress!

As for the guys- they’re guys, what can you say? They wore pants, better fitting pants. Jay was pretty cute in his leather jacket. I can’t say I was a fan of Dan’s channeling the Goo Goo Dolls look- but he feels like it was working for him. Was definitely glad to see all that hair go though.

I also dropped a few tears with the surprise reunions on the runway. What a fun and unexpected twist for the contestants. When you look that hot, you certainly don’t want to waste it in an empty warehouse with the camera men and best boys!

This week’s challenge was crazy, so intense. The treadmills were suspended over the pool, at an incline and they had to walk backwards. One by one they fell into the water. After just short of an hour, Mark and Ali cashed it in. Mark one another vacation for outlasting the rest of the team.

We’re closing in on the finale. Five more episodes until the live finale April 15 (don’t forget that’s tax day!). I’m anxious to see a woman take this, and I think Ali has the stuff to make it happen. I would love to see Kelly standing up there crowned the Biggest Loser, but she’s got to stop getting in her own way and second guessing every move she makes. Let’s hear it for the girls! It’s interesting to think that if Ali hadn’t come back last week- Kelly would be the last remaining girl. Never would have guessed that.

I don’t even want to start thinking about who amongst the guys could win. Too many personalities, too much weight to still lose.

My Quote of the Week goes to Ali for “I have a collar bone!”, to her sister during the surprise runway reunion in her sexy new dress.



Biggest Loser’s Bernie talks about sharing a room with Brittany and his lesson for Jillian

Update: Bernie won the Biggest Loser at-home prize during the 4/15/08 finale. See the DietsInReview.com interview with Biggest Loser’s Bernie live from the LA finale.

As I mentioned in my Biggest Loser Week 10 post, my heart was broken when Bernie was eliminated from the show for two reasons- I thought he was a great contender for the winning spot and I might kind of have a crush on him. If it weren’t for his leaving the ranch and returning to his hometown of Chicago, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to talk with him this morning. So at least I got something out of the deal!Bernie during Biggest Loser Challenge

They say that the TV producers can cut the film to make you look as nice or as nasty as they want to- of course adding to the show’s drama. From day one, I always thought Bernie came across as the nicest person you could ever meet, full of personality and very funny. And that’s exactly what he is. I so enjoyed talking with Bernie and learning more about his Biggest Loser experience- during and after- and I’m thrilled to be able to share that interview with you.

Thanks again for taking time out of your busy gym schedule, Bernie! And good luck at the finale on April 15!

What’s the deal with the guys not taking their shirts off now during weigh in?
I’m not completely sure, in the past seasons the same thing happens. The more weight the guys lose, it effects the body in different ways. Sagging here and there, looking a little bit funny. Plus, any opportunity to showcase the guns is a good thing. Having the shirt off in the early part of the show, it’s a wake up call incentive to get going, seeing yourself like that. I used to shower with my shirt on- I’m joking! It’s true though, definitely one of those things that’s very necessary and one of those uncomfortable type things. Going shirtless on that scale was the hardest thing on that show. I hadn’t taken my shirt off in public for years.

Do you do a pre weigh in?
Yes, the morning of the weigh in, we are weighed on a precise scale. When you wake up you get the most accurate, clearest weight. Our weigh-in was not shared with us or anyone.

We know meeting Brittany you thought she was gorgeous and it kind of shook you at the beginning to have to go through this proces with a stranger. What was that like at first sleeping in the same room with a complete stranger, especially a female? I’m sure toward the end it was more like a slumber party. Bernie and Brittany
You know it was definitely one of those experiences that caught me off guard. We were strangers. She is gorgeous, that’s the first thing I saw running up to her. It was a really different situation, the whole thing was nerve wracking in general. I was concerned especially since the whole process would be really hard. But because she’s so beautiful I knew my girlfriend was going to be “Oh my gosh what’s going on?”. We actually slept with the door open for the first month. The room has one dresser, one closet. I ended up scooting the dresser to her side and I took the closet. We drew clear lines before we got to know each other. Brittany said I was the first guy she ever had to room with.

Are you receiving the support at home that you’d requested and hoped for?
Definitely! My family and friends and everyone is just super, super supportive. My god, the entire city of Chicago is supportive. There’s not a 24-Hour Fitness here, but a local gym gave me a membership and is hooking me up with a trainer. Everyone at the club is super nice and lending support. Definitely.

It’s not realistic to workout six hours a day at home- what is your plan?
My plan is to get in as much exercise time as possible. I’m getting about 4-5 hours a day by breaking it up, couple hours in the morning, couple hours in the afternoon and 1-2 at night if I’m lucky. It’s really not too different from the ranch. One thing I’m doing more precisely is eating. I’m trying to stick closely to my diet. If I don’t get extra hours at the gym, then I’m still not gaining.

How are you managing your diet at home? When I spoke with Julie Haddon from Season 4, she said you eat very organic, low-sodium at the ranch, and it just wasn’t that affordable to do at home.

It’s expensive- very expensive. Especially to continue eating healthy. I’m taking time to shop around and compare prices. I buy some things at Whole Foods, some at Trader Joe’s, there’s a great produce store by my house for fruits and vegetables. I buy a lot of chicken breast or fish, like tilapia, in bulk from Costco. Just shop around, see how you can make it work within your budget. It’s doable with shopping around.

Bernie's Chocolate TemptationIs there really a cupcake named after you?
Yes there is. I’ve been to the bakery a couple times and refrained from the cupcake. I’ve stopped in to say hi and just gotten a small cup of coffee.

What’s in it?
It’s like an angle food cake, and in between the layers is homemade custard, not the gloopy, get on your shirt kind, and then they dip the entire top half in chocolate ganache. It’s definitely calling to me, but I told it to go away. The baker is getting requests from around the country, and people stopping in to see it. I’m going to talk to them about a cut of the sales. (laughing)

What happened Tuesday night? I couldn’t believe there wasn’t an elimination!
I know! People at the gym in spin class stopped me to say “my Tivo cut it off- who is gone?”

If you’d had an extra week off like Mark, would you have come back on Tuesday?
I try not to play the whole “what-if, would-have, this-that.” I’d love to be back at the ranch. But I don’t know how things would have been. I was hoping to have lost enough weight to come back and not go home. I don’t know, maybe, maybe not. Mark is one of those people who is completely driven, competitive and motivated.

What did you think of the spin to bring back two contestants?
You know what? Oh gosh, I sound so neutral. I applaud the people who went home to lose that weight. Ali was an inspiration to me, one of the people who inspired me the most. She was eliminated in week 4 and continued to do a terrific job at home. They threw a twist in the game. Everyone’s thinking we already survived these competitors, and for them to come back was a small punch to the gut. Seeing that it’s possible outside the ranch was inspiring for me. Ali, even Mark, definitely deserve the opportunity. It threw everyone for a loop.

Especially for the girls, the seemed really taken back.
For women to stay in the game is hard. They’re really struggling with some of the numbers. To think they’d already passed these competitors is a blow.

You said you were going to spend the $2500 from the vending machine on a gold chain for your dog- have you done that?
I haven’t gotten the gold chain ordered yet, but I’m getting a “Berndana” coat for him. I thought about it- no dog should be wearing gold. I don’t want him to get jumped by other dogs!

Any plans to use that to propose to your girlfriend?
Oh gosh- you know what? That’s something we’d have to talk a little more about. Having the extra money around is pretty nice. I can definitely get a very healthy meal.

St. Patrick’s Day is Monday and a big deal in Chicago- How do you plan to celebrate differently this year?
It’s Huge! I Know! I’m going to go ahead and watch everyone else celebrate, make sure I’m taking in the day and not the beverages consumed on that day. Friends are already calling to go out. And I’m like, “Remember, I’m on that show?”.

Do you have plans for the $100,000 when you win the At-Home Biggest Loser?
What I would really love to do is pay off my student loans. I just finished graduate school. I’d put some toward, oh gosh, sounds like a beauty pageant response. My mom’s house in Crown Heights, Indiana, the flooding hit hard this year. I’d like to help by rebuilding her basement, new carpet and tile, things like that.

Who do you see being competition for you or anyone with the at-home prize? Curtis wasn’t slacking at all with the 100 pounds.
You know, it’s funny how everyone initially has the same goal to lose weight and get healthy. The more you lose, the more you realize you can be a competitor in this game. Curtis is incredible, to see how he did at home. It takes me back. Curtis is definitely a huge competitor. Trent is another one. He has the drive of no one I know and the personality to go with it. Jackie is definitely a competitor. I fear everyone at this point.

What about Paul?
Paul, you know, I really actually ended up voting for Paul because I see how competitive he can be. If he gets in his karate outfit there’s no stopping him! At this point, I see everyone as competition.

Anything behind the scenes at the ranch you’d like to share?
People actually get along more than they portray on TV. Everyone really does come together and talk about the fact that there is that common goal to get healthy for your loved ones and family. Another thing people would be interested to know – the trainers are there all the time. They really do care about how we’re doing with our diet and exercise. Jillian especially puts in tons of hours on and off the camera.

Have you been able to keep in touch with Jillian or planning to do so afterward?
I definitely hope to. I feel like she’s given me my life back. Since I’ve left I’ve contacted her via email a couple of times and once by phone. She’s extremely busy and makes time to respond to those emails with words of encouragement. We’ll definitely have a friendship for the rest of my life.

As you will with Brittany?
Brittany is someone I will invite to a wedding I might have or be in a wedding I might have. Or, I might just marry her! My relationship with Brittany is very much a big brother/little sister type thing. I couldn’t have gone through this without her. She’s inspirational in her own right. That’s definitely the truth. Chef Bernie

Jillian freaked out on Allison Tuesday night- what was your reaction?
I caught just a little of that. It goes back to what I shared earlier- she cares about all aspects of our health, even the mental/emotional. It’s an emotional experience being on the show. Our entire lives we’ve been picked on in some capacity. Kids make fun of our weight, even our parents would say “You’d look so much better if…”.

The host is incredible and wonderful, but brings up some of those issues, “Do you feel like you stand a chance?”. Brittany didn’t need that at that point. I applaud Jillian for standing up to the bombardment of questions Alli was putting out there. Jillian uses her own vocabulary and made the point hammer across. Maybe I’ll talk to her about some adjectives she can use that can be aired. She’ll probably end up using her adjectives on me!

Can you sum up in just a couple of sentences what this instant celebrity has been like?
It’s just been flattering. completely flattering. I’m honored that I’m in some way an inspiration to fellow Chicagoans, family and friends. I’m an educator, so sharing this experience, it is my honor. I’m thrilled that people come up to me, I love to talk. It’s great to have an opportunity to meet them and have them be comfortable enough to approach me. I want to always look back and have no regrets.



Biggest Loser: Episode 11

Barely able to catch my breath from Biggest Loser’s Episode 10, in which Bernie was eliminated, and the show’s producers sucker-punch us again. Personally, I’m exhausted from all the twists- I can’t imagine what it’s like for the contestants on the ranch. I’ll grant you, tonight’s episode was one of the best yet. Except for that one part. What was it again? Oh yeah- where they didn’t show the elimination! What the heck was that?

The show began with a weigh in and elimination, but failed to end with one. How’s that you say? The biggest shocker for one of the biggest firsts in Biggest Loser history. They brought back all 14 of the eliminated players. This segment was apparently taped the night after Bernie was eliminated, so I can’t imagine they took him too far from the ranch. The stage doors split open and there they all were, staring down those who had sent them home. The catch this time was that the men would weigh in and the women would weigh in- the highest percentage of weight loss would keep one of each. For some, like Jenni and Lynn who were sent home the first night, they had to work off each pound for themselves. Dan was not too pleased with the return. His reaction was “I’ve already beat out all these people. I gotta do it all over again?”

It was exciting to see Ali and Bette-Sue back on campus. And we’ll continue to see the Ali half of that team as she had the highest weight loss of any other woman. For the guys, only gone one week and Mark is back. Believe it or not, he cried and shared an emotional reunion with Jay. Like I said in the episode 9 post, it’s bittersweet for me with Mark. Of everyone eliminated, he’s the one person who has said he felt wrongly portrayed. I hope in addition to having a second chance at the Biggest Loser title, he appreciates the second chance to prove that he’s possibly a nice guy.

The final six quickly became the final eight tonight. While the team-formerly-known-as-blue anxiously welcomed Mark back into their huddled mass, former-black was a little nervous. Not only did they just lose Bernie the night before, who Jillian called the team’s “glue”, but they were now trying to wrap their brains around beating the fierce competitor that Ali will prove to be. Ali made it clear that she’s playing a bi-partisan game, at least for now. She’s continuing to sport her original pink shirt, not going out of her way to form alliances with the all-woman team and even bypassing the breakfast table with the girls to sit with the boys. It will certainly be interesting to see how things unfold with Ali.

The challenge was pretty intense. The calories they burned on stationary bicycles would immediately convert to electrical energy to power light bulbs. The person to light up a full strip of 10 bulbs would move to the next of four rounds. While Mark cleared his 10 lights first in each round, Dan pulled through as the winner, earning him a second vote at the elimination.

How does Dan use that vote? Sighhhh- tune in next week! Seriously, of all the sneaky things the producers have pulled, this one irked me! You can’t leave us hanging like that. It took a week for the Bernie knot to untie in my stomach, now I’ve got to anticipate Brittany or Maggie leaving. Probably not the same knot Maggie had leaving a zero-pounds-lost weigh in. I felt terrible for her and while I’m a constant Brittany fan, I hope that doesn’t factor in to people possibly voting for her.

Quote of the Week- honestly, another toss-up. First place goes to Maggie for “If you’re not gonna vote for me, I’ll tattoo my ass,” in reference to the Blue team’s “Pride” tattoos and band of brothers attitude.

Second Quote goes to Trainer Jillian and that sharp tongue that could make a sailor’s mother cry. “Have a heart! Leave the *** girl alone,” followed by “*&*&%%!!!!! &*&^*&^!!!!!” a good 10 seconds of beeping the expletives being shouted at Allison. It was a rare Biggest Loser moment in which Jillian stood up for the apparent picking-on of Brittany by Allison.

Cry of the Week: Realizing Brittany might go home.



Biggest Loser: Episode 9

This season is just cruising right along. Nine episodes and seven to go- can you believe it? Last night’s installment of Biggest Loser was bittersweet, because something I’ve wanted to happen since probably episode two finally happened. Mark went home. Big brother/ranch bully was sent packing following his most disappointing weigh-in of only one pound. Let’s get something straight, it’s bittersweet because while the guy worked crazy hard there were several things pointing to his exit:
- A promise he made the night they let Trent go home
- He has nearly broken his leg
- He’s pretty much maxed on weight loss, not much room left to go
- He’s not particularly nice
- I don’t see him pulling through as THE Biggest Loser

Mark’s farewell and the decision to cut him were probably the most tear-soaked ten minutes of reality television in the decade-long history of reality television. Some of the largest, manly-men on TV blubbering away like school girls being separated at summer camp.

This came after “Vegas Baby, Vegas!,” a one day trip to Sin City that Jay won for being Biggest Loser of the Week. Not quite the debacle Trainer Bob imagined and the Black team hoped for. Shinanigans certainly ensued, as they will when surrounded by casinos, a free suite, hot new suits and wives thousands of miles away. Danny boy recently turned 21 and fully intended on living up his first trip to the strip. I was shocked that Roger and Dan rolled into bed at six a.m.- and Mark and Jay were in the gym an hour later.

For the most part, they got in their exercise and minded their new-found healthy eating knowledge at the buffet. I thought it was hysterical when the black team tried to sabotage them my ordering room service of every deep fried, drizzled, carby variety.

Back at the ranch team, black team was working out like this was the weigh in that could make or break their future on the show. And it sort of was. Jillian pushed the entire team to lose no less than 8 pounds each- which made for the most brutal, painful workouts yet. It seemed to work for the most part. It worked enough that with the guys’ trip to Vegas and following their impressive weight loss from last week, Black squeaked out a win. Bernie won Biggest Loser of the Week- so I’m anxious to see what his prize will be.

The Blue team had one heck of a difficult hour working through the emotions of letting one of the brotherhood go- a bond so strong that they all got “Pride” tattoos in Vegas. In the end, Mark made his most respectable move yet by stepping up and letting them vote him out. That’s where the bittersweet closes, because he’d finally done something that made him appear like a nice guy. Plus, he was my Biggest Loser eye-candy. Don’t ask me why- I thought he was the hottest one on there. His at-home pictures make him look even better! ;)

Cry of the Week: Jay voting off Mark. He’s such a sweetheart.

Quote of the Week: “Strip Clubs!”- Roger’s first comment after learning of the trip.

Next week: Another switcheroo I think. Looks like the teams might be put back together all as one.



Biggest Loser: Episode 8

Once again I am a week behind in posting my Biggest Loser episode blog. I was away from home in a Tivo-less environment and well, only got to watch it last night. At least now I don’t have to wait an entire week to catch the next one, as it will be on in nine hours!

No single episode as of yet has made me more anxious and nervous than this one. They sent everyone home. Back to the scene of the crime. The place where all their vulnerability will show, their old vices are waiting maliciously for them and the enablers can’t wait to celebrate their arrival with boxes of processed-sugar packed cinnamon rolls (like at Mark’s house).

I’d say everyone actually did alright. No one gained weight and for the most part they got in some exercise each day. Certainly not the level they were used to at the ranch, but they at least tried. I never saw any calls between Bob and his all-man blue team; but Jillian was on the phone with her black team morning, noon and night.

After 58 days on the ranch, they were reunited with their families and friends and ripped apart from those hardcore motivating trainers. The show totally set them up and without saying so created tempting situations for each one.

Dan- indulged in a glass of wine… make that two after Bob pushed the question. Got to see momma Jackie who kept him motivated.
Jay- Had to go out to dinner with his family. Felt great about the healthy choices he made, but still ended up giving his kids fried foods.
Mark- Greeted his kids by banishing sweets from the house, they were not impressed. Was a total control freak and practically babysat Jay to make sure he stayed in the gym.
Maggie- worked out with Jen’s trainer and only did two of her 15 miles. She was not impressed.
Brittany- Went to a bar with her girlfriends and only ordered a glass of water, which you could tell was very difficult. She also went to Subway and had a healthy picnic with her friend.
Bernie- Visited his favorite bakery, the named a cupcake after him. He didn’t eat it.
Roger- Just kept saying “What Would Bob Do?” Went out to eat with his family and ordered a very healthy meal. Although he held a french fry and thought it felt so good in his hand.
Paul- Tragic. The one guy who totally fell off the wagon, wouldn’t take Jillian’s calls. Ate pounds and pounds of chicken wings, guzzled soda and was never shown doing any exercise.
Kelly- They didn’t really show her. She ate right, didn’t get to exercise as much as she would have liked and never once heard from Paul.

Back at the Biggest Loser ranch, everyone nervously went through a confessional with their trainers. Overall they didn’t do too poorly. They went to weigh in and while everyone lost weight, the blue team lost an impressive 56 pounds to win with 5.67% weight lost. Huge numbers from the guys with two 16s, an 11 and a 13. Based on percentage, Jay won Biggest Loser of the Week. While the title is celebratory all in itself, it was the first time he lost more weigh than big brother Mark!

Kelly lost the most weight for her black team with a mere 7 pounds, giving her immunity. Paul showed up to elimination sporting his old yellow shirt. If the team hadn’t already felt a grudge toward him, they did now. Brittany called it a slap in the face and Kelly was equally unamused saying she was completely a part of the black team and not yellow. With Paul working to divide their team, they let him go. Paul was eliminated. And I have to say for the first time this season, I was happy with the eliminated decision.

Health-wise, Paul needed to be there. I absolutely agree with that. He’s added years to his life with the weight he’s lost. However, as soon as he went home he threw it all away and ignored everything he’d learned. He wasn’t actively trying to unite the black team. It just felt like it was justified and time.

Tonight’s episode looks like another stressor. It looks like the boys of the blue team go to Vegas- Vice City- and at some point end up in a tear-soaked apologetic group hug.

Cry of the week: All of the returns home. Just seeing them hug their spouses and kids.

Quote of the week: “Then we think your team is wrong,” from Brittany during the challenge when Roger was trying to get everyone to throw the challenge and end up in a big tie. Brittany won.