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'The Biggest Loser': A squandered opportunity? No guilt, no regrets

February 2, 2011 |  2:12 pm

Don_after Don feels no guilt. And Larialmy has no regrets.

Both were eliminated from "The Biggest Loser" this week under controversial -- and emotionally charged -- circumstances. And in a media conference call today, both said they wouldn't change a thing.

Don basically quit. He made it no secret that he wanted to leave the weight-loss competition because it was too hard, especially after his twin brother, Dan, left the show one weigh-in earlier. The pair, who are veteran police officers, had portrayed themselves as ideal candidates for the show because they could follow orders and were committed to getting fit for their families. Well, that very same law enforcement background ultimately worked against them, Don said.

"Like most police officers, we're used to being in control," he said. "I had absolutely no control whatsoever."

The pair raised eyebrows earlier in the season when they both got on the scale and shocked everyone: They had each gained nine pounds. They also insisted that they were not trying to "throw" the weigh-in. (Don said Wednesday that he blamed water retention from edema and being "overly hydrated," but not intentionally.) That weight gain led to Dan's departure and contributed to Don's growing desire to also leave. Well, this week he also gained weight. Six pounds. He stressed that he was not the instigator behind this week's results and said it was all his teammate Irene's idea. He said Irene came to him shortly before the weigh-in to say that she was going to rig it by drinking lots of water. That would put their team up for elimination, send Don home and save the struggling blue team from any chance of elimination. Follow all that?

Don said he didn't argue, agreed to go along with it and called it "a strategic move."

He also addressed criticism that he and his brother squandered an opportunity that tens of thousands have competed for over the years: a chance to be on "The Biggest Loser" and not only get a shot at a $250,000 payday but a chance to change their lives and lose the weight once and for all.

"I don't feel guilty whatsoever," he said, adding that he does not feel as if he "took" someone else's position. "They chose me. It was something I was very grateful for and will always be grateful for. Success or failure, it was my position and didn't belong to anybody else."

He argued that if the true mark of success is weight loss, he didn't "squander" anything. He started at the ranch at 309 pounds and has since lost 87 pounds -- nearly all of that on his own at home.

"I don't feel bad about it at all," he said.

Meanwhile, Larialmy said she was surprised to learn that so many of her teammates felt like her husband, Q, was slacking off. "That was definitely hard for me to hear," she said, adding that she believes their view was mistaken. He was working plenty hard, she said.

The red team fell below the yellow line last night despite losing nearly 20 pounds -- that tells you how much everyone seems to be losing this season. So many of the players seemed poised to bounce Q,  especially after he gave Cara so much lip during training. (Is it me or is Rulon the self-appointed training monitor?)
But then the pretty, quiet half of the red team asked them to do the opposite -- send her home and save her husband. Many of the players were almost offended by the request -- they clearly think that Q is dogging it and were almost disdainful that he would sacrifice his wife for himself. But she said she felt as if she had the support at home to do it on her own and he did not. (She also said she thought her husband was working really hard at the ranch. What do you think?)

Perhaps she was right: Larialmy has lost 76 pounds, much of it at home. More importantly: She was absolutely radiant, happy and smiling in the "where are they now" segment.

"I finally found happy. I think there's a different level of joy to my life," she said during the conference call, adding that she wants to lose about 75 more pounds. "I see light at the end of the tunnel."

If she's at peace with the decision so am I. But what do you think about Dan and Don? Did they squander an opportunity?

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: The guilt-free Don. Credit: NBC