Week 12 (Dec.6 airdate): Going back to Knoxville and making the finals
Yeah!!! After several months at the ranch, I am finally getting to go home and see my family and friends.
It was such an awesome experience for me. Before I pulled up in the limo, I was actually worried whether or not they would be able to see a difference in me.
After watching the show last night, I could tell a huge difference and I loved what I saw. I have to thank my great friend, Charles McRae, and my sister-in-law, Mindie Bach, for orchestrating the wonderful homecoming. It was such a special event with the people who support and love me.
The homecoming was held at Neyland Stadium -- the place where I feel like my life really began. I spent a lot of days shaping my football career as well as my life in and around Neyland Stadium. Lots of my former teammates were there along with many other friends (my Dunlap Crew) and family.
Very special to me was the fact that Coach Fulmer was there with his beautiful family. Coach Fulmer has always been one of the most important people in my life and career. I look up to him and admire the man that he is. He recruited me to come to Tennessee where he took me "under his wing" and coached me both on and off the field. I will never forget him showing concern and talking to me about my weight and the need to get healthy. Coach Fulmer warned me time and time again that I needed to be concerned about long term health. I did not heed his warnings and he saw my weight explode. Now that I have accomplished so much, he is very proud of me.
It was so good getting to see so many special people and they could not believe how I looked. In fact, when I walked in the door and the room exploded in cheers, my nephew looked up at Mindie and said, "Why are they cheering for this man? When is Uncle Antone coming in?"
After this wonderful homecoming, I got to go back to our home and watch a video that Alison had given us when we left the ranch. I thought it was going to be some well wishes but boy was I wrong. It was the old me addressing the new me and warning the new me not to go back to who I used to be. It had my whole family in tears and broke our hearts. I vow NOT TO EVER GO BACK!!! I love who I am now and all the things that I can do. The next day, I got my whole family in on my workout by bench pressing the kids and running with them. They really love the new active me and I do too.
Even though I am at home, I still have to train for the marathon. I went to Neyland Stadium to do some running and what do you think I hear? Neyland Stadium only comes alive a few times a year. Other than that, it is very quiet. While I am jogging around, I suddenly hear an all too familiar voice over the P.A. system. It is Bob Harper! What in the world? How? Where is he? How did they let him into the press box? This is insane! Bob is in Knoxville and he is going to work me out. I know that he did not come all this way just to say hi. I am about to get worked over one more time. Bob put me through the workout of all workouts. We are in Neyland Stadium! To me this place means all business and it did to Bob too. He put me through the ringer. I know that he wants his black team members in the finals and I really appreciated him coming and giving me a last chance workout since I still have a weigh-in and a marathon to prepare for.
I fly back to L.A. to compete in the marathon. I truly dreaded this ever since Alison made the announcement that we would actually run a marathon. My first reaction when she said this was, "No way! We are too fat and none of us have even run a mile, let alone 26.2 miles!"
Originally, I had hoped for a TV version marathon that would be about 1/2 of a mile consisting of a start, a finish and a little jogging in between. No such luck. We would have to run the whole thing. Prior to the race, all I can think about is what I would look like laying down somewhere on the course, unable to finish. So, finishing the marathon became my goal -- No certain time frame, no personal best-. Just finish!
Several of the contestants that got voted off early were able to go home and train with marathon trainers for the race but when I went home, I really focused on losing weight to make it into the final two through the weigh-in/elimination. Since both of us had such limited time to prepare, Becky and I devised a strategy.
At the end, she and I made sure that we crossed the finish line at the same time and finished 8th. We felt that we had motivated and helped each other along the whole way and that it was only fair that we both cross at exactly the same time. I must say too, that Becky and her husband, JC, are awesome people and I am so happy for her and how far she has come on her journey. They remind me of my wife and me, and we are both lucky to have such wonderful support at home.
On a side note, I have to find out if I am the heaviest person to complete a marathon!?! Could be interesting. I must say that once the race was over and I realized that I had done it, I was on cloud nine.
The realization that I had finished this race and done fairly well for a 300 pound man hit me all at once. I knew immediately after this race that I could do anything that I put my mind to. I completed this race in a respectable time and it felt awesome and will go down as one of my most prized moments in my life.
After the marathon, we headed back to the ranch for our weigh-in and elimination. This weigh-in was going to be a little different. There are four of us in the finals now and that will be cut down to two. There is only going to be a red line and the two with the lowest percentage of weigh loss will be sent home.
There will be no vote this time. With the other contestants weighing in, John and Vinny are above the red line. It is time for me to weigh in last and I have to lose more that 28 pounds.
I Thank God that I lost 30 pounds and secured myself a spot in the finals.
I was really sorry to see Vinny and Becky go. They have become two of my best friends and we will always be family to each other. They are great people! Now it is down to me, Ramon and John. You will have to tune in to the live finale next Tuesday to see who will be the next Biggest Loser.
By the way, your prayers are appreciated! God is in control.
Week 11 (Nov. 29 airdate): Making it to makeover week ... and the final four!
Yes! It is Makeover Week. Everyone wants to make it to Makeover Week and let me tell you, it was AWESOME! This is the week you get to clean up and wear real clothes as opposed to the "Biggest Loser" clothes that we have been wearing for the last 11 weeks. This is the time that you get to see what you are going to look like when you get home and, if you are a big fan of the show, then you know that this is the episode where you get to see your family members for the first time since getting on the ranch.
Wow, what an exciting week of new things and now we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. This is our last week on the ranch -- we get to go home to our families.
First things first. Along with the makeovers, we had a challenge this week. It was the dreaded "put the weight back on" challenge. This is where you have to put back on all the weight that you have lost and see what it feels like. This really lets you know where you have come from.
We had to put on all of these weight belts and weight jackets and race up the side of a mountain dropping certain weights as we go up. The first one to reach the top gets a one-pound advantage on the scale for the week. I wanted to give this challenge everything I had because I knew what the one-pound advantage would mean on a week like this.
Everyone knows that makeover week is kind of like week two on the ranch and the contestants tend to have lower numbers on the scale. I was running a great race and all of a sudden, John came up right at the last checkpoint and pulled into the lead and finished first. Once again, John gets the advantage. But luckily, none of us went away empty handed. We each won a cash prize and a year's worth of Progresso Soup. Not a bad day all in all!
Now, it is time for us to go and get our makeovers. It was a nice treat getting to go to the Voda Spa. We got treatments that I have never heard of before -- caviar wraps, gold facials, and oh yeah, cucumbers for our eyes. Then we got to go to Ken Paves' salon. He was a great guy and I loved meeting him. Unfortunately, I didn't really get to challenge his talents with a hairstyle. I mean, going blond wasn't really an option for me. However, he did an amazing job with the other contestants and they looked great!
Next, we got to go shopping on Rodeo Drive and we were able to try on some clothes. This was a really special thing for me. For the first time since I can remember, I could fit into the clothes on the racks in a normal store -- not a Big and Tall store. I was overwhelmed with this because it finally hit me just how far that I had come on this journey. For once, I could wander around the entire store and choose clothes to try on. This was an awesome experience and definitely a time that I will never forget.
Next, we were taken to The Kodak Theater for a trip down the red carpet to see the premiere of the Cirque du Soleil show, "Iris". I love the Cirque Du Soleil shows and must say that if you ever get a change to see one, GO! They are amazing. They had us go into the theater to check out our microphones and who do you think was there waiting for me??? My wife. I have missed her so much and she looked fantastic. I had not seen her in over 11 weeks and it was so hard to be apart from her and the kids. Seeing her and her reaction to me was a priceless moment. It made everything that I had been through on the ranch so worthwhile. My wife has not seen me at this weight since college and even then, this was a very low weight for me. Now, I am fit and healthy and can be the kind of man that I am meant to be. Seeing "Iris" was awesome but made so much better by getting to watch it with my wife.
Our loved ones got to go back to the ranch with us and see what things have been like for us. Carrie, my wife, got to meet my trainer, Bob Harper, and see the gym and the grounds where we do most of our work.
Even though the loved ones are at the ranch, we still have work to do. We have our "last chance workout" and last weigh-in, which will get it down to the final four. One of us will be sent home and knocked out of the running and this is still very nerve-wracking. At the weigh in, I lost eight pounds for the week. I was very happy with this but it soon proved not to be enough. For the first time, I fell below the yellow line and it was agonizing. Thankfully, Becky and John voted to send Sunny home and I made the final four! Now we get to leave the ranch and go back home and have a great big homecoming with our family and friends.
Be sure to tune in next week. You might be seeing some orange and white checkerboard!
Week 10 (Nov. 22 airdate): Thanksgiving week on the ranch
It is Thanksgiving week on the ranch. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays for a couple of reasons. First, Thanksgiving is a time where we, as a family, get together and really focus on what we have rather than what we have lost or don't have. The second reason is, quite honestly, the food! I can't deny it, my wife is the best cook in the world! She makes dishes that make you think Thanksgiving is just short of Heaven. She has won prizes for her cooking. Each year, I have a big ole list of things that I want her to cook for me. Not this year though! I am a changed man. I am finally a healthy man. That is not to say that I will never again eat something that is unhealthy. I will just do it very sparingly and be able to add it in to the daily amount of calories that I allot myself each day and I will no longer overindulge.
This week on the ranch, things were a little different for us and our Thanksgiving. Not only do I not have all the food that I am used to, I don't have my family with me either. I do have my "Biggest Loser" family here and they are awesome. However, at this point, I have not seen my family in several months and I am trying not to focus on them so as not to get homesick. Unfortunately, in that regard, Thanksgiving week brings thoughts of your family right back into the forefront. I miss them so much, which made this week a little tougher than usual.
We started out this week with a Temptation Challenge. There were plates of delicious food sprawled out on the counter. Each plate had a number under it and if you ate all of the food on the plate, then you got that number and the person with the lowest number got to chose the prize that they wanted. There were some really cool prizes up for grabs, namely, a three-pound weight advantage at the weigh-in. I never wanted to succumb to a temptation challenge but I felt that the prizes were worth it and I was willing to risk a little to get them. In the end, I ate a couple of pieces of ham and some cranberries and won $500 for each pound that I could lose this week. How exciting! Vinny got the three-pound advantage and Becky won an awesome home gym. Yes, the black team swept the competition! I actually think that this week, the prize helped me to be more focused. Besides the great benefit of getting healthy, I now get money for every pound that I lose. To me, this week, every step is money.
Another great thing that happened this week was that the trainers decided to cook a Thanksgiving meal for us with healthy alternatives. I have to say that this was not what I am used to but I have learned to eat better and smarter and the food actually tasted great. We were all satisfied and had a great time around the table getting to know each other better. To have Bob open up the way that he did was special to all of us.
The challenge this week was the "Jacob's Ladder." This was the worst endurance challenge EVER!!! During our entire time on the ranch, even Bob, who is a maniac in the gym, would only make us get on this for 10 minutes at a time. In this challenge, we had to stay on it for almost two hours. This was insane! John won the challenge and I truly could care less if I EVER see a Jacob's Ladder again. Since John won the challenge, he won a one-pound advantage and also had a one-pound disadvantage to give away to someone else. John chose to give the pound disadvantage to Sunny. It was devastating to Sunny for John to give her the pound disadvantage. She lost nine pounds last week and would have a tough time staying above the yellow line even without being given the pound. However, if John had given the pound to anyone else, then he would have fallen below the line and essentially sent himself home. So, on the one hand, it was a terrible thing to do, but in the end it saved John's neck to place the pound on Sunny.
Sadly, Ramon also fell below the yellow line and was sent home. I will always consider Ramon a great friend and I really enjoyed getting to know him. I think that he is an awesome person and I am so proud of him and all that he accomplished while at the ranch. I also wish Jessica and him all the best. I really felt that Sunny had worked hard to stay above the yellow line and rightfully deserved to be there. Things are getting so tight now and we are all so close. At this point, every elimination is so tough on us all.
This week, I lost eight pounds and won $500 for each of those pounds. Considering that, this was a great week for me on the ranch and I am safe and I live to lose another week.
Happy Thanksgiving to each and every one of you. May God bless your day. I truly thank Him for this experience and the way that my life has changed so much for the better. Be sure to tune in next week for "Makeover" week. It is so special because I finally get to see my wife.
Week 9 (Nov. 15 airdate): A hard-fought immunity win
This week, the competition heated up and so did the fun. The much-anticipated singles week finally arrived. Now, it is every man for himself. This changes everything. Now there is a yellow line, and you have to do everything that you can to keep yourself above it. There are no friends working together and no alliances that really count. Things really get tricky when we go to singles. You have to be thinking about who may be gunning for you and thinking about who your biggest competition is. One thing is for sure though, if you lose the weight, then you will stay above the yellow line, so ultimately, it is all on you. Working your butt off is the only way to ensure that you stay on the ranch.
The challenge for this week was awesome. We had a Pentathlon challenge where we were awarded points for the place that we came in, in all of the five events. At the end of the week, the person with the most points wins the ultimate prize of immunity and, as a twist, the person who loses, is given a one-pound disadvantage on the scale. The first challenge was to go into a voting box and pick who, in order, that you think is most deserving of winning "The Biggest Loser." This is a secret vote and does not get revealed until the weigh-in, so the person who wins the overall Pentathlon does not know that they win and get immunity until the weigh-in. The second challenge in the Pentathlon was an event where we had to race with batons and place them on a teammate's podium. When a person gets three batons on their podium, then they are out.
The next challenge was a trivia challenge and I must brag a little by saying that I ROCKED THIS OUT. We were asked seven trivia questions, testing our knowledge in the area of nutrition. Each question was worth a point. In the end, I received six points and won this part of the challenge. Next came a water challenge. We had to sit on this slippery, floating peanut and pull ourselves across a pool. It was harder than it looked because the peanut was very unstable. I barely edged Becky out on this and came in right behind fellow black team member, and brother for life, Vinny. Lastly, and by far the best part of the Pentathlon, was a mile run.
This was not the best part because of the run but because of the special guest that came to run with us --- Apolo Anton Ohno. He is an amazing guy!!! I really liked him. He was so down to earth and easy to talk to and meeting him was just awesome. He is a true champion and one heck of an athlete. He ran part of the race with each one of us and it blew my mind to see what great shape he was in.
He really made me think so much about being in shape and strive to be a better athlete. I was amazed to see how much my stamina had improved in the nine weeks that I have been on the ranch. I finished the mile in just under twelve minutes and that was after Bob kicked my butt with a grueling last chance workout.
Going in to the weigh-in this week, we still did not know who would win the immunity. The race was so close between me and Sunny. It really came down to a contest that was voted on by our peers as to who they felt deserved to be the Biggest Loser. I won this and was so humbled by their votes and their friendship.
I won the immunity, which made me safe for another week. Also, I lost nine pounds this week bringing my nine-week total to 108 pounds I feel fantastic now and am confident that I will never go back to the "old" Antone. Even though we went to singles this week, couldn't you just feel the camaraderie and friendship among all of us. Especially, when it was time for Bonnie to go. She was like a mom to all of us and it has really gotten hard to see any of the final seven go. She was so selfless in asking all of us to send her home and allow Becky to stay. I know that Becky was really grateful and truly appreciated this gift from Bonnie. I do know that since Bonnie has gone home, she has had knee replacement surgery and is doing great. Bonnie has overcome so much and that is what "The Biggest Loser" is all about -- changing lives for the better. It was awesome to see where Bonnie started and how far she came both physically and mentally while on the ranch.
I am truly blessed to have had this opportunity and thank God for what this means for my life and for how it has changed my life. I would encourage anyone to apply for The Biggest Loser. If you feel that you can't apply, then know that you CAN do this on your own. You just have to make up your mind, focus on your goal and never look back. Fight for your own life every day!
Well, this was a great week on the ranch but tomorrow it is right back to the grindstone. More miles and more treadmills because that's just what we do. Don't forget to tune-in next week to see Thanksgiving week on the ranch!
Week 8 (Nov. 8 airdate): Another twist flips the game again
We were hit this week with yet another twist.
Only one person's weight from each team would count for their whole team at the weigh in this week. It was up to each team's trainer to determine which teammate would be the one to weigh in. Talk about pressure!
It can be very stressful for any one person to take on this responsibility. Thank goodness, each member of the Black Team felt that they were up for the challenge. We all worked very hard knowing that any of us could be the one to weigh in and thus hold our team's destiny in our hand.
We also had a very fun challenge. I especially loved this one. I love to cook and I love this type of environment.
We were taken into a kitchen at the California Art Institute and introduced to Olivia Ward, Season 11 Biggest Loser winner, and Devin Alexander, who writes all of Biggest Loser cookbooks. We were told that we would have 30 minutes to prepare a dish that would be judged on taste, appearance and nutritional content. Kind of like an Iron Chef competition. (Get the pumping iron and Iron Chef correlation?)
We had a full pantry and cooler full of wonderful of choices. I was chosen to be in charge of the meat and we put Bob in charge of the slaw. I chose pork because I knew that I could get it cooked properly in the amount of time that we had to prepare the dish. I also know that pork is so versatile and low in fat and also already has great flavor.
I actually decided to cut the pork loin into three pieces and cook it three different ways to ensure that in the end, we had a product that we could work with and also something that tasted great. The Slimmer Summer Slaw was actually an idea that was inspired by my wife, Carrie. Being from the south, I love slaw and she is always trying to make the foods that I love into a low fat version. Also, the chutney that we added at the end was inspired by my son, Dakota. He puts chutney on everything and, by the way, the chutney really tasted good with the pork.
The red team decided to make a dish called London Bridge, which Olivia actually said that she heard still mooing on the plate. I think that Vinny should remake the London Bridges song---he sang it very well, don't you think??? I think that it could be a number one hit for Trailer Choir. The blue team made a low fat version of fajitas/lettuce wraps put in cabbage leaves. However, the show-stopper and ultimate winning dish belonged to the Black Team.
For our prize, our recipe will be featured in Devin Alexander's cookbook, which is a great honor. Also, we get a one pound advantage on the scale and a special lunch with Olivia Ward.
The lunch with Olivia was great because we were able to talk to someone who has been in our shoes. She has been where we are trying to go. It was great to hear her talk about her life after the show and listen to how she is maintaining her weight in the "real world". It really helped to make our journeys more clear and real.
Also, Olivia had contacted our families and had them make a scrapbook for us. My wife had put together an awesome book and I got to see all the photos of all of our years together. It really brought back so many memories and it really got to me. At this point, we have been totally cut off from our families for so long. It was too hard to hold back the tears when my family means so much to me and I have not seen or talked to them in so long.
It was so hard to see myself so heavy and really hit home to me again why I am doing this. Never again will I be content to just sit on the sidelines. From now on, I am going to be a very active participant in life. This scrapbook was one of the most treasured items that I received while on the ranch. It helped me on those days when I just needed to lay eyes on my wife and kids to keep me going.
Our last chance workout was intense but I can tell that I am getting in such better shape. I feel better physically than I did when I was playing football. And, I am quickly reaching my old playing weight. It is amazing what a difference each week makes. Vinny and Becky remained focused and determined to get a win for the black team too.
The weigh in was intense and I felt ready to represent the black team. Bob, however, chose Becky to represent us and this turned out to be the best choice. Becky represented us well and was the Biggest Loser. The Black Team is safe for another week. Once again, it came down to the red and blue teams. The red team squeaked it out which sent the blue team to the elimination.
It was tough voting for Joe this week but at this point, it was the right thing to do.
I am truly thankful to have earned another week on the ranch. This has truly been a life changing experience for me. Be sure to tune in next week. Also, you can follow my comments during the show. Just go to my fan page, Antone Davis, Public Figure, and click the "Like" button. Also, you can follow me on Twitter @Antone_Davis.
Week 7 (Nov. 1 airdate): A fun challenge and a tough vote
Talk about an interesting week on the ranch.
Things got off to a big bang, that's for sure! Right off the bat we had a pop challenge which would decide the trainer that we would have for the rest of our time on the ranch. I was really hoping to get to keep Bob since we seem to really gel. I respond really well to his techniques, especially now that I am in better shape, and I totally trust him and his methods.
Luckily, this challenge involved food and counting calories. My restaurant background definitely came in handy with this challenge. The whole time, in the back of my mind, I kept thinking, "Man, if I get this one wrong, I will never live it down!" Lucky for me, I nailed this challenge!
I got to choose my trainer first and, without any hesitation, I chose Bob. I was so thankful because I really wanted to continue with the continuity that had formed with Bob. I did not want to have to build a new relationship with a new trainer this late in the game. I really feel that this challenge was very crucial to my journey on "The Biggest Loser."
On my team now are Vinny and Becky. I love Vinny and Becky! We really became fast friends and formed friendships that I know are going to last a lifetime! We get along really well and help each other out and feed off of each other in the workouts.
We had another team challenge that was a lot of fun: The Slip-N-Slide challenge. We had to slide down this huge water slide to a pile of blocks and bring the blocks back up the big hill to unscramble the prize.
The new blue team won this challenge and did rock-paper-scissor to determine the benefactor of the immunity. Joe won the game and also the immunity. However, his weight would still count this week for his team.
After the teams were split up, the blue and red teams started off a little shaky. Some of the teammates were a little disappointed by having to change trainers and others were disappointed that they were no longer with their original teammates.
But as time went on, everyone got comfortable with each other and their new trainer. They also seemed to get a little bold in the fact that they wanted to go after the Black Team. The ironic thing in this is that the Black Team was completely decimated and so why we were still a target, escaped me. Maybe everyone felt like we had a little advantage because we had Cecil on our side too! (For those of you who don't know what I am talking about, you have to watch the episode from two weeks ago.)
For us, the new Black Team, we are just excited about getting to work together and push each other to do the best that we could possibly do. Then again, we did get Bob and Bob does not waiver from week to week.
This was by far the toughest "Last Chance Workout" so far on the ranch. Bob always has tricks up his sleeve and this one was something. We had to trek over a mile, up and down hills, carrying a 50-pound viper and weight vests that weighed over 60 pounds. Every hundred yards, we had to stop and do push-ups, power cleans and overhead presses. Talk about tough...It was brutal!
Vinny and Becky worked really hard and helped to make the new Black Team a new force that will not easily be broken. Like I said before, I really love this new Black Team and we really gelled together.
Now for the weigh-in. The Red Team weighs in first and pulls fantastic numbers! Next is the Black Team to weigh in. We pulled awesome numbers too and beat the Red Team! We are safe! The Blue Team also pulls great numbers and are all safe as well. This means that a member from the Red Team will be going home.
Now, it is time for me to explain, since I know you all thought that Bonnie would be sent packing. Usually, one of the most difficult things to do on the ranch is to vote to send someone home. Up until this point, I have only had to vote in one elimination and I know that what I chose to do in that elimination was best for the whole team.
This elimination was so much tougher though. Now, you not only have to think about who can do the work and thrive at home, but you also have to think about the game going on, on the ranch as well. Some people say that they are only here only to get healthy and would never get involved in the "game play". While getting healthy is the main goal of us all, there is also a game that we are all involved in and all participate in. And like all games, there is a strategy involved. I am a competitor and I like to win! I think that everyone has that top prize in the back of their minds. It is when they say that they don't that you have to beware!
With that being said, it was very tough voting against Jessica. I really like Jessica and think that she is a great girl. I mean, what other girl in this world can carry me on her back or would even try??? She is an awesome person and she is fighter and will be a force to be reckoned with at the marathon.
Even though it was tough to vote, in the end, I had to vote for Jessica. Jessica was now aligned with John on the red team and she had a true alliance with Ramon who is best friends with Vinny. I feel like I had to do what was best to try to ensure my chances of staying on the ranch. I was really proud of the way that Jessica handled herself and left with no ill feelings. She is a stand-up girl and I am proud to call her my friend. Besides, she made me proud working out in those football drills at the end of the show with the Steelers. I know that she is going to do great things.
Week 6 (Oct. 25 airdate): The teams unite!
This was such a cool week! It was the first time that all of us in the house really felt like one team. For the first time, we were all able to work together as one unit for one common goal. There were no teams and it was "One for All"! This week really did a lot for the camaraderie in the house. We really got to know the other teams on a more personal level. For the most part, we all got along great and really enjoyed working as a team during the challenge and during the workouts.
At the beginning of the week, Alison appeared in the kitchen and told us the ground rules. As a team, we had to lose 100 pounds. If we succeeded, then no one would have to be eliminated this week. What an incentive!
Also, there was a huge cauldron of candy hanging in the kitchen all week and we were told that for every pound eaten, a pound would be taken off of the total that we needed to lose. Needless to say, no one ate any candy this week. By the way, this candy was in no way a temptation for me. I made up my mind at the beginning of my journey that I would not eat any junk food or anything that would hinder my weight loss on my journey. I had enough of that before I got to the ranch and my sights were set on my goal. I was not about to let anything hinder my journey.
As a team, we were also presented with another challenge. There were hay bales set up in a maze with tons of apples hidden throughout. If we gathered 150 pounds of apples then 5 pounds would be taken off of the total amount that we as a group had to lose. As a team, we gathered a little over 200 pounds, which bought us 10 pounds and made the amount of weight that we needed to lose for the week 90 pounds.
OK, OK .... It seems that I have gotten a lot of flack over the whole graveyard scenario. I will attempt to set the record straight. Simply put, I don't do graveyards. I don't care what they are made out of, I just don't do them. You know how some people won't split a pole and some people won't let a black cat cross their paths? Well, I just don't do graveyards. They creep me out! There. Enough said about that.
We had a great time working out this week. We got to work out with all of the trainers and experience all of their different styles. I liked working out with Dolvett. It was really close to what I do with Bob and what I have become used to.
The intensity level was high, it got my heart rate up and Dolvett kept me moving to different stations. Anna's workout, on the other hand, was cardio tennis. I just don't think I would enjoy doing this as a daily workout. When I did my last chance workout with Bob, being vintage Bob, he had Jessica carry me on her back. This was definitely a first for her and for me. I was so proud of her. She did not give up and proved just what a fierce competitor that she is. It was so exciting in the gym to see people doing cool things like that and being pushed beyond what they ever believed that they could do. I sat with a huge smile on my face watching Vinny run like the wind on that treadmill. He was a beast!
I really loved this week because it really helped unite all the teams. I was able to make some really good friends on the red and blue teams. It was also a great week for me personally because I lost 8 pounds taking my total weight loss to 78 pounds (my favorite number, of course!) and putting me closer to that 100-pound mark. I am so excited about this weight loss. Never did I dream that it would fall off so quickly.
Unfortunately, as a team, we did not achieve the 90-pound weight loss that Alison said that we needed to lose. However, the black team made a great showing. If you did the math you saw that the black team lost 30 of the 38 pounds. So if you are keeping score, the black team would have won another weigh in. The black team did lose one of their teammates though. In the end, Jennifer was voted off. Also, I just want to mention the fact that Ramon and Jessica's relationship was brought to light. I really hope that their relationship is successful and I wish them lots of luck!
Week 5 (Oct. 18 airdate):Tough challenge and no trainer
The Black Team had to relinquish total control this week to one of its own. What a helpless feeling for us and a tremendous amount of pressure on Sunny. You see, this week started out with a challenge where the person who won got to go back home for a week and take their trainer with them. Sunny won and got to go home to Texas with Bob. I don't know if this will wind up being a blessing or a curse, but when it first happened, Sunny sure was excited -- at least until Bob ripped her a new one. Bob kept saying to us that this was not a challenge that you wanted to win and that it would not be fun! It was going to be a lot of hard work.
The future of the team was resting solely on Sunny's shoulders and Bob was going to make sure that she carried us through the weigh-in. I had a lot of confidence in Sunny. She is a very hard worker and she is on the Black Team. I knew that she would do what she needed to do to get the job done.
Back at the ranch was a little bit tough. Bob went with Sunny to Texas and that meant that the Black Team had no trainer. Going a full week without a trainer was very distracting.
At this point on the ranch, none of us feel really ready to step out on our own and take matters into our own hands but now we have lost our trainer and have no choice. I really tried to step up and be a leader with Bob being gone but it seemed like sometimes our team was just lost.
Added to this is the fact that Jennifer has a way of creating drama in her wake and I don't deal very well with drama. I am more of a buckle down and get it done no matter what kind of guy. Like I said on the show, we are all adults and know what we need to do. We all know where the gym is and no one should have to have their hand held to get there.
The challenge this week was tough and not having Sunny to help out there made it even tougher. She has always been great at helping out with all the challenges.
In this challenge, we had to carry martini glasses full or orange soda through a web of bungee cords and fill up a container waiting on the other side. I tell you, I will never look at orange soda the same way ever again! I think I carried more orange soda to that cylinder than I have ever had to drink. You know I live for the ORANGE (and WHITE) but enough was enough! Hmm, maybe the orange was a secret shout out. ... Lo and behold, the Red Team finally beat the Black Team. However, in this show, the challenges are great to win, but what really counts is the weigh-in.
And at the weigh-in, Sunny crushed it for the Black Team by losing double what she needed to. The Red Team had to send a teammate home and eliminated Courtney.
This week, I lost four pounds. It was a little tough to take because I always want more, but losing four is a lot better that gaining four and I will take that any day! The great thing about this is that I know I can go back next week and correct any issues which may have slowed down my loss.
Journaling my food has helped tremendously. I am becoming so dialed in that I will be able to review my week and make any adjustments that I need to get right back on track. I treat it kind of like reviewing film after a game and there is no doubt that I will be right back on track.
I also think that this week was very good for the Black Team as individuals because it allowed us to see exactly what we are capable of doing without a trainer. It was a great test for us and thankfully Sunny crushed the weigh-in and everyone on the Black Team is safe for another week. Each and every week is so valuable to all of us and we all want to be here each week. It is a wonderful opportunity and experience and I intend to make the most of each day!
Don't forget to tune-in for an all new episode of "The Biggest Loser" next Tuesday!
Week 4 (Oct. 11 airdate): Another emotional week
Another awesome week on the ranch! The Black Team got to meet and work out with Hannah Curlee, from last season. What an inspiration she was! She could really relate to all of us and just seeing how far she had come was so motivating to us all.
This week was another very emotional week. We have not seen or talked to our families for weeks and miss them so much. I said that by now, I think that all of my tears had been shed, but when it comes to my family and getting to hear from them, this goes out the window.
Being on the ranch is one of the most difficult things that I have ever done in my life. When you add to this the fact that we are cut off from all communications (we have no phones, no computers, no outside contact at all), it creates a sort of pressure cooker and kind of makes you always emotionally on edge.
With that being said, this challenge was an awesome one for us and one that we desperately wanted to win because we so badly wanted to be able to hear from our family. I know I really needed to hear from mine. I have four children and a wife that I have been married to for almost 20 years! She and I have talked every single day since we started dating. It was so hard not getting to have any contact with her or our children so I was determined to help my team win.
The challenge for this was a lot more difficult than it appeared. All of the elements that we had to face -- snow, rain, and wind -- were not terrible until you combine it with the fact that you are running over a mile in all of these conditions to complete the course.
The Red Team got off to a good start, but just like the first challenge in the desert, the Black Team persevered and overtook the Red Team to clinch the victory. This was a great day for us! Then, Alison Sweeney surprised us by allowing all the teams to receive their letters from home and the Black Team was able to get a special video chat. So now we were going to be able to see and talk to our family! I was so overjoyed and overwhelmed to get to see my family. What an awesome bonus!
I must say that this week, there was a lot of pressure on the ranch. The Red Team was constantly talking about how they need to beat us and don't want the Black Team to win another weigh in. It is really getting to the Red Team that the Black Team is consistently losing the most weight.
We went into the weigh in with the Blue Team weighing in first. Next, the Black Team weighed in and beats the Blue Team's percentage to ensure that no one from the Black Team will be sent home.
Finally, the Red Team weighs in. Do they beat the Black Team this week??? NO SIR! The Red Team did beat the Blue Team which sent the Blue Team back into the elimination room.
This elimination was a particularly tough one for me because Bonnie chooses to eliminate Coach Mike. Coach Mike has really carried the team and to see him go home was tough. I have so much respect for Coach and to see him literally carry the team and then get eliminated was very disappointing.
I really like Becky and Bonnie but am very sad to see Coach go home. He is an amazing guy and I am sure that we will see great things to come from him!
Be sure to tune-in next week for an all new "Biggest Loser"! One of my teammates gets to take Bob Harper home with them for the week, so make sure to watch to see if it is me!
Week 3 (Oct. 4 airdate): NFL Week especially inspiring
Week 3 on the ranch was NFL Week. We got to be around some of the best NFL players of all times. What a fantastic week for me! It definitely reminded me of the "Old Me". It was fantastic being around the players again, but in some ways, this was very painful because it made it more evident that this is who I WAS and not who I am now.
I used to be athletic, strong, energetic, and in such good shape. It was so hard to see these NFL athletes and feel like that part of me is gone -- that I am no longer "one of them." However, I know that this will help to drive me to get back into shape. I know that I can regain some of these things that I have lost along the years. Not only physically but mentally as well.
It was hard to come to terms with the fact that I am not thought of as an athlete any more. But, I can be again and I can be better than I ever was. It was awesome getting to work out with Shawne Merriman for the Last Chance Workout. What an amazing guy! He said that he could see that the athlete was still inside of me and this really inspired me. I know this too and I will dig that athlete out!
I also had a great heart-to-heart with Bob. I shared with him that I gained a lot of weight when I got my first job at the age of 14. Before that, there were a lot of days in my house when we just didn't have any food. As soon as I got a job, I could provide for myself and buy my own food. I thought that I was living the high life and treated myself to any and everything that I wanted and at 14, that was a lot of junk food and fried food. I had gained almost 115 pounds by the time I reached 15.
Back then, it turned out to be a blessing because I was able to turn it into an asset on the football field. However, I think that it was this way of thinking -- always treating myself with food -- that has helped lead me to the 447 pounds that I began this journey with. Now, I have learned to fight my way through the past, and some hard times growing up and I am successfully fighting my way through this journey of change.
The teams had some awesome challenges this week. The first one was a quarterback challenge with Drew Brees, Clay Matthews Jr. (I played with his father in Atlanta -- GREAT GUY!) and Tony Gonzalez. I won't talk about it very much since the red team crushed the blue and black teams. Seriously though, Congratulations to Courtney with the red team who won the $5,000 prize.
The next challenge was football game challenge where all teams worked out for four, 15-minute quarters to see which team burned on average, the most calories. The Black Team (my team) won!
Next came the weigh in and the individual who lost the highest percentage of weight for the week won 2 Super Bowl tickets. I really wanted those. After all my years in the league, I have never been to a Super Bowl game and I really wanted to go. I have to say though, that I am really glad that Coach Mike won. He is an awesome guy and, like I said on the show, If I had lived near him, I would have loved to play football for him. He is the kind of coach that you would give 110 percent for. Also, him losing 17 pounds sure shows his determination.
In the end, the red team lost the weigh in and had to send one of their players home. After a heart felt deliberation, Patrick asked that the red team vote him off the ranch. Patrick's wishes were respected and he was sent home.
Week 2 (Sept. 27 airdate): No donuts and 5 a.m. workouts
Coming off of such an outstanding week with awesome weight losses is always scary. There is always a good chance that when you have a great weight loss one week, the next week won’t be very good. This was on everyone’s mind, especially the Black Team since we all posted some tremendous numbers in the first week.
Ali showed up in our kitchen at the beginning of the week and told us we were going to have our first Temptation Challenge. Me, Coach Mike and My Cousin Vinny offered to go first. Alison took us into a room that smelled like a Krispy Kreme (one of my favorite places) Heaven. It smelled like a New York bakery. It smelled like ...well, you get the point.
We were separated and put in front of a plate of tempting and tantalizing donuts. Now, up to this point, I have not had any sweets and, boy, did they look and smell good. But, I went in to this competition knowing that I would not eat anything that would hurt my chances to win. There was NO WAY that I was going to eat any donuts! John, on the other hand, secured the challenge for the Black Team by eating 37 donuts.
By winning this challenge, our team got to pick the time slot that our team would work out that week. Silly us, we picked the 5 to 7 a.m. time slot. Who knew that Bob was such a morning person. He thrives on early-morning workouts. He busts into our rooms, singing into his megaphone, and gets us into the gym at that way too early of an hour. And what a workout it was! Once again, Bob kicked my butt! My blisters were hurting so bad that I could not peddle that darn spin bike any more. OK, so I got a little upset and took it out on the spin bike. I have to say that my relationship with the spin bike has gotten so much better over time and we get along great now. In fact, I have a daily date with the spin bike.
We also had one of my favorite challenges this week. We were in the center of this big pool with a huge maze that you stand around the outside of, and move your weight around the edges of, which causes a ball to move around the maze. Hope you follow that. Anyway, the important part is that the Black Team won, which gave us a two pound weight advantage. This was a really cool challenge and the Black Team worked very well together even after some personal differences earlier in the week.
The next workout was back to the gym at 5 a.m. for our “Last Chance Workout” with Bob. I must admit that there was a lot for me to deal with this week, emotionally speaking. I think that most of us have reasons why we are heavy or overweight. I learned that it is important to face these issues, stare them down, and deal with them. I began doing that this week and it was a monumental turn for me. I wound up losing 10 pounds in the dreaded week two. It was an awesome feeling. It gave me the confidence to know that I was well on my way and now I have to just keep it going week in and week out.
In baring my soul, I must admit that it is very hard to watch these early episodes. It is a sobering reminder of how things were and the person that I was. It is a great feeling to turn off the TV after the show and go look in the mirror and realize that the person I just watched is long gone and I don’t ever have to deal with those hurdles again in my life. I have grown so much and I am a very different person today. I have unloaded so much of the baggage that I was carrying around and I am lighter both mentally and physically because of it. “The Biggest Loser” and Bob Harper have been such a blessing to me and have helped change my life so much for the better.
Week 1 (Sept. 20 airdate): Facing 'the toughest day in my life'
Wow, watching episode 1 of The Biggest Loser tonight was, gut-wrenching, thrilling, amazing and tough as all get out!
When that bus dropped us off in the desert, I did not know what to expect. To see Ali get out of the Hummer made the fact that I was on the show such a reality. When Bob, Dolvett and Anna got out of the helicopters, it just hit me that this is the real deal. This is not a dream. I am here and this could change the rest of my life.
We divided into groups by ages and had a mile race across the desert and the prize being able to pick what trainer that each team got. I kept thinking that it was going to be impossible for me to go a whole mile. The middle agers got into a groove though and pulled it out. I knew that if we focused as a team and controlled our breathing and worked together, we could do it. We did and we won the challenge. And who do you think we picked for our trainer???
Why Bob, of course!
At this point I was thinking that things were not going to be too hard but the next day on the ranch was the toughest day that I have ever endured in my life. I used to think that two-a-days in football were bad. But in football practice, we got to take breaks and didn’t always have to go at full speed. Not here.
Bob started out by saying that I was his “Christmas Present.” He killed me! Never have I wanted to quit like I did that day. It was brutal. The workouts were so hard and I was in such bad shape both physically and mentally. Bob pushed me right to the limit: to my breaking point. It was so hard because I thought that I was in better shape than I was.
I thought that I was tougher and had more endurance than I did. In my mind, I was still an athlete. But all of that was shattered by all that I found I could not do. It really devastated me.
The only thing that kept me going was picturing my wife and kids. I kept telling myself that they are who I am here for. I kept telling myself that the first day was the toughest and that each day would be a little easier from there on out. When I weighed in and had lost 32 pounds, I was thrilled. I felt like all of the hard work had paid off and I knew that shortly, I could be into the 300’s.
Black team won the first weigh-in. I was glad I did not have to go into the elimination room. Winning the weigh-in means that I won another week at the ranch and that is what I need to keep losing weight and changing my life for the better.
© 2011, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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