'The Biggest Loser' recap: The yellow line gets even crueler [Update]
Those moments bookended a night filled with twists and turns, and perhaps the first episode ever that fully captured the first few grueling workouts at the "Biggest Loser" ranch. Too often, the show rushes through the workouts in order to get to temptations, challenges, tears, etc. I personally could skip the challenges and temptations and watch the workouts for two hours, sparing 10 minutes for weigh-ins. But I know that ain't gonna happen. Now they're brilliantly using the workout room as a two-fer: The place where Bob and Jillian can drill down, both physically and emotionally.
Were you surprised at Bob's and Jillian's picks? They effectively changed the game when they each had the chance to give one hopeful who lost the first challenge an opportunity to get back into the game. I believe they chose wisely: Bob picked Aaron, a gentle giant hoping to end a family cycle of self-destructive behavior, and Jillian chose the scrappy Elizabeth, who exerted herself so hard during the first challenge that she had to be hospitalized. "You did what I asked," joked Jillain, recalling her famous (infamous!?!) "Unless you faint, puke or die, keep moving!" tirade from a past season.
These contestants aren't that big -- at least not compared those of with seasons past -- but they are pretty unhealthy. Dr. H delivered the news that Aaron is 51% fat and has diabetes. Lisa may be 31 on the outside, but the obese smoker has an "inner age" of 62, a doubling that surprised even the good doctor. Rick has a 32% chance of a heart attack.
Perhaps the biggest shocker of the night: The dreaded yellow line was adjusted so that half of the players fell below it.
What did you think about that? Should all eight have gone up for elimination? Or do you like the traditional two on the chopping block? Either way, it extended the drama -- not a bad thing.
Some random thoughts:
--I need to confess that I had the thought: "French fries on a sandwich? Genius."
--Is it me, or does Mark's beard make him look a little like Papa Smurf?
--My heart broke for Brendan, because of his story. And because of how embarrassed he must be to be on national TV with snot hanging from his nose. He was so exhausted that he took his time wiping it off.
--My reach-for-the-remote moment: Bob, half nekked, in the ramp-up. Is that new? I don't remember seeing that beefcake action before.
--Speaking of snot: Is Jessica shaping up to be one? Or did we just catch her at an unfortunate moment?
--Given the controversy about "Biggest Loser" weigh-ins -- the viewer is led to believe these weigh-ins happen every seven days, but that is not always the case -- I appreciated the stab at making this clearer, although I could have used some more clarity. If I followed correctly, the players had their first weigh-ins at the competition, arrived at the ranch two or so weeks later, and then had their first workouts and then the weigh-ins. So is that about two to three weeks between weigh-ins? I think viewers would like to know: Precisely, exactly, explicitly how much time has elapsed between weigh-ins? I don't think it detracts from the "magic"; I actually think it adds to it. What do you think?
--Congrats to our hometown player, Adam of Santa Ana, who lost 34 pounds and brought everyone to tears when he said he credits his late mother: "I know my mom is looking down on me right now; she's shining down on me, and I'm going to make her proud. First and foremost, I'm going to make myself proud."
--Quote of the night goes to Patrick. Before he was saved by Rick, he thought he'd have to compete against the seven women: "As long as this challenge isn't sitting down at a sewing basket and sewing stuff, I've got this one in the bag."
Allie, we are proud of you for losing 60 pounds at home, cutting people out of your life who do not support you (like your mother) and being woman enough to reach out for help from your "Biggest Loser" family, in the guise of Season 8 winner Danny Cahill. A nice touch in a season about paying it forward.
As the first eliminee, Allie will participate in Wednesday's media conference call. Leave a comment below if you have any questions for Allie, and I'll update this post after the call.
[Updated at 9:00 a.m.: Here are the highlights of the media conference call with Allie.
During the conference call, Allie seemed reluctant to go into details about her mother. Although the epilogue to the show said that Allie and her mother had recently begun talking again, Allie said she never actually confronted her mother about "the chocolate" Incident. So her mother had no idea why Allie wasn't talking to her? That seems weird. But here's what she said:
"I haven’t asked her about it … I don’t think she was ready to be that support system that I was needing," Allie said of her mother.
Allie said that gameplay was behind her elimination.
“They saw me as a threat, and it was a good opportunity to get rid of me. I had the largest amount of body fat in the house [more than 50%]." Allie said that her meeting with Dr. H was a shocker, and one that is keeping her on track with her weight loss.
"My chances of having a stroke was like 40% in the next three years. That added more fuel to my fire [to keep working out and cleaning up her diet]," she said. " 'The Biggest Loser' has made me more aware of my eating habits. The show has really taught me that I have to put myself first. No one else is going to do that for me."
She says that she has no goal weight in mind. “As long as I feel healthy and good about myself … I don’t have a number in mind, it’s just whatever I feel comfortable at.”
So, is Allie gunning for that same $100,000 payday? "If that happens, it would be a blessing" she said, but added that that is not her goal.
That may be what she said, but here's what she is doing:
She said she has put college and work on hold while she works out four to five hours a day and focuses on eating right. And get this, she has moved in with her trainer, Amanda Roush, who was the trainer for Jerry Hayes, who won the at home prize in Season 7.
"I moved in with my trainer and this is my job," Allie said of working out and eating right. "My training involves running, spinning, swim, you just have to mix it up. I do a lot of intervals" and her diet revolves around “clean, whole foods and as natural as you can get it.”
Her favorite snack these days? Apple and peanut butter.
While she insists that her goal is not the at-home prize, she knows the first thing she'd buy with the prize money: "A new car would be nice" because her current vehicle is falling apart.
She has this advice for folks trying to lose weight at home: "If I can do it being gone Week One, you can too. Don’t focus on the long term, just go one day at a time and what can you do today to make yourself better. Just do baby steps … you’ll start feeling better, and you’ll want to do more."
She added that she feels great: "I feel strong, I feel so good."
Allie, who had gastric by-pass surgery as a young girl, said she now understands why the surgery was unsuccessful. "I didn’t deal with my issues around food. I found ways to manipulate the procedure and still be able to binge. It’s not a quick fix, you really need to evaluate your relationship with food."
In response to reader MsC's question about the biggest food challenges she faces at home, Allie said: "Realizing when I’m full, and, when I’m having a bad day, or realize that I’m not losing the weight I want to, to not just go to food whenever I feel down or something."
But one question she is still struggling to answer: Why did she gain so much weight in the first place?
"That’s the million-dollar question. I don’t know why I turned to food. I don’t know what the main reason is that I’ve gotten big."]
-- Rene Lynch
Twitter.com / renelynch
Photo: Bob and Allie at the gym. Credit: NBC Universal