'Biggest Loser's' Gail Lee explains all those excuses away
“Biggest Loser” fans, tell the truth: Were you rolling your eyes at Gail Lee’s many excuses for why she just couldn’t keep up with Bob Harper’s demands? And did you chortle when Bob made fun of her for doing just that in a season dedicated to “no excuses” health and fitness?
Well, Gail says we all owe her an apology.
It was not until she was eliminated after the weigh in -- which audiences saw this week -- and returned home that she learned that her seeming inability to keep up with the youngsters on her team was actually a byproduct of her childhood bout with polio.
The 57-year-old Poolesville, Md., mom says she was among those who wondered why she struggled so much at the ranch. "I just couldn't understand my body," she said during a media conference on Wednesday. She said her doctor explained why: Polio compromises your nerves and muscles, she was told.
She was devastated by the news, which followed a diagnosis of severe tendinitis in her hips. But since this is the season of “no excuses,” Gail and her doctor have come up with other ways to keep burning calories, pain-free. "Swimming is something that I found that I can do without any pain at all,” she said.
Now don’t you feel bad for making fun of Gail? (Guilty!)
Asked whether “The Biggest Loser” should have done more to accommodate her physical limitations, Gail said: “I don't think any of us, including myself, understood the impact my polio would have on me physically in this situation. So, it was putting all the pieces of the puzzles together."
She said she feels very blessed to have made the discovery. She has started working with groups in her community, is looking into creating 5K community runs as fundraisers on Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day and more.
She said she does have one regret: “What you see on television is a very small snip,” she said. “I really wish the production team would have shown more positive things and more positive interactions between Bob and I.”
Such as “how really proud he was of me” and the many times that he cheered on her success with “You can do it, Gail!"
Gail very diplomatically said that she does not feel resentment that she was sent home instead of Chris, who barricaded herself in the bathroom and seemed poised to quit until she got a Bob Harper intervention.
“I didn't want to come home, I would be there right now if I could,” she said. But the elimination turned out to be a blessing in disguise, she said. “I believe God has us exactly where He wants us to be … I needed to come home and figure out what was going on with my body and be able to address it.”
She said would like to lose 100 pounds by the finale and have public vindication alongside Bob Harper, when he looks at her new svelte physique and says, “You did it, Mama!” She said that is her goal, not necessarily winning the at-home prize. “I feel I am the winner already because I have my life back.”
-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch
Photo: Gail Lee. Credit: NBC