Category: The Biggest Loser

'Biggest Loser's' Gail Lee explains all those excuses away

Gail_Lee_eliminated“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!)

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'Biggest Loser': Lauren blindsided, Joe coming back?


Blindsided. That's the way "Biggest Loser" competitor Lauren Lee, 26, of Poolesville, Md., felt when she was eliminated week.

"I was completely shocked when my name started coming out," she said during Wednesday's media conference call with this week's eliminated player. But she did not seem like she was holding a grudge: "It's a game, that's what we signed up for," she said.

Lauren said she was grateful for the opportunity to turn her life around. She said she long felt like a fraud for holding dual degrees in adult fitness and exercise science with emphasis on cardiac rehab while she herself was overweight.

She said at the start of the season that she felt like her weight was holding her back not only professionally, but personally as well. At the time, she said she wanted to get married one day and have kids, but felt that her weight was keeping her from finding love.

Ironically, those were some of the reasons her teammates cited for eliminating her.

"They said I didn't have any children or family at home to distract me," Lauren said. "But I have plenty of other distractions" such as finding a job to help pay off her student loans.

However, in the spirit of this season's "no excuses" theme, Lauren said she has had to move past those comments and focus on being ready to "kick butt" at the finale.

She said she was working out two to four hours a day, mostly doing a combo of cardio and weights. She said her diet focuses on journaling every single morsel she puts in her mouth.

"You have to write everything down ... keep yourself accountable for what you put inside your body," she said.

We asked Lauren about the tension between Bob and Dolvett. It is real or creative editing? "Bob and Dolvett have an interesting relationship," she said, adding that there did not seem to be excessive tension between them. "They are just two trainers," she added.

She said viewers at home might also have gotten a false impression of Conda. She said Conda was a blunt speaker and that her comments reflected the stress that all the competitors feel. "Conda is an awesome person," Lauren said. "She speaks her mind and let's everyone know what she is thinking at this time." Tensions flare up, and then "blow over the next day," she said.

My take? Conda acts like she could be the snotty younger sister of a "Jersey Shore" cast member. Here's hoping she does some more maturing before she -- yeesh! -- raises that kid.

Am I the only one who had a weird feeling about Joe's status on the show? After he shocked everyone by quitting so he could go home to his family, I kept waiting for him to come back. I was sure he was going to waltz in at the weigh-in. I also noticed that his status of the show's website is "active" (even as it has been updated to show Lauren as "eliminated.")

How would you feel about Joe coming back in some manner? Bob would probably like him back because he still has plenty of strength to lose. He also proved himself to be a fierce competitor in the challenges, like his bold move to fold during the brilliant poker challenge.

But allowing Joe to return seems like it would be pretty unfair to the rest of the competitors -- they all would have loved some time at home to see their families and mentally regroup. I say, "Bye bye, Joe!" (Lauren said she is in regular contact with Joe and that he is doing well on his weight-loss journey at home.")

Final thought: HEART the "face-off" challenge.


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--Rene Lynch
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Photo: Lauren Lee, third from right, during the "Biggest Loser" Chinese buffet challenge. Credit: NBC

Poll: Do you want Jillian Michaels back on "Biggest Loser"?

Do you want Jillian Michaels back on "The Biggest Loser"?

That's the possiblity being raised after the news that Michaels is out as a co-host on daytime TV's "The Doctors." 

Michaels was the only layperson to co-host the medically themed daytime talk show. Although that was initially used as a selling point -- the idea being she could represent the viewer at home amid all the medical jargon -- in the end "it wasn’t the fit we both hoped for," a representative for the show told The Wrap. She also rubbed some viewers the wrong way.

Photos: Meet the "Biggest Loser" Season 13 competitors

So here's the scenario: Michaels is out of a job. "The Biggest Loser" continues to be a workhorse for NBC but the weight-loss reality show has seen its ratings sag over the past two seasons.

And "Biggest Loser" trainer Bob Harper told The Times in a recent interview that he would "never say 'never' " about the possibility of Michaels' return.

Ashley Sandberg, a spokeswoman for Michaels, echoed Harper's remark when she was asked about the possibility of reuniting Bob & Jillian: "We never say never."

A spokeswoman for the show declined to comment Sunday.

What do you think, Show Trackers? Should Michaels return? Or leave the training to Bob and Dolvett? Vote!


Bob Harper soldiers on at "The Biggest Loser"

"The Biggest Loser": Ben Shuh explains why he quit

'Biggest Loser' winner says he's "at risk" for gaining it all back

--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Jillian Michaels and her horse, Buzz, are photographed in a park in Los Angeles. Credit: Katie Falkenberg / For The Times

'The Biggest Loser': Ben Shuh explains why he quit

Ben Shuh
Ben Shuh knows exactly what you're thinking. Why did he join the Season 13 cast of "The Biggest Loser" if he was going to volunteer to be the first person to go home after the weigh-in? Isn't that an insult to the thousands of people who try out each season for one of those coveted spots?

Speaking during a media conference call, Shuh insisted he wasn't throwing away the opportunity granted him.

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'Biggest Loser' winner says he's "at risk" for gaining all the weight back

"The Biggest Loser" Season 12 winner John Rhode says he wasn't hurt to learn that trainers Bob Harper and Dolvett Quince believe he's at risk for gaining back all the 220 pounds he lost to win the show.

That's because he agrees with them.

"I am at risk, I'm frightened about that," he said during a media conference call today. He added that he was not insulted by their comments, and is actually grateful because it will help keep him grounded in reality. "I need to be aware of that... That's a possiblity."

Photos: Before and after: "Biggest Loser" Season 12 contestants

But he said he plans to use everything he learned at the ranch to keep that from happening.

He started at 445 pounds, and now weighs 225 pounds. He lost 220 pounds, or 49.44% of his body weight. Right now, he's training to run the Los Angeles Marathon in March. Then, he plans to set a new goal that will help him continue to keep his weight and calories in check.

And, if he needs it, he will reach out for help.

"I want to take this day by day," he said. "I don't think I've got the answers to everything."

He said his time at the ranch helped him to learn that he struggled with control issues because he did not trust himself. ("Ultimately I found out the person I trusted the least was myself.") He said he also realized that he is a stone-cold food addict. ""Yeah, I've got a food addiction and yeah, I could put the weight back on."

He says he believes he can meet with success if he continues to "See food for what it is -- see food as fuel."

"Food is not a reward," he said. If he finds himself eating because he's bored or stressed, then he knows something it wrong.

He said he hopes he can use his new title and his new insights to help other people stuggling with their weight. "I have prayed for this opportunity, and I have been given it and I want to make the most of this opportunity as I can."

As for the prize money, he says he plans to buy his wife a new car -- well, actually, a used car or, as he put it, "a new to her car" and pay off a few other expenses. But he mostly plans to put the money away for a rainy day.

So what do you think about John Rhode as your "Biggest Loser" winner? Do you find his story inspirational? Some viewers (and competitors) felt like he had too-sharp elbows. Will that hurt him in his endeavors to become a motivational speaker? And finally, did he give proper credit to Dolvett Quince, who bared his own soul in order to help John save his? If you look at the comments on my earlier post, several readers took John to task for failing to properly thank the trainer.

And speaking of Dolvett: He's due a sprinkling of confetti too, for delivering a winner in his first turn on the show. Congratulations!  


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--Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: "Biggest Loser" Season 12 winner John Rhode and his trainer, Dolvett Quince. Credit: NBC

'The Biggest Loser': A risky gamble pays off for John Rhode

"Biggest Loser" competitors and fans alike thought John was crazy. Turns out he's crazy like a fox.

Just a few weeks ago, John Rhode practically handed former NFL player Antone Davis a ticket to the finale. That move came during an earlier elimination, and it was up to John to decide whether to eliminate Antone from the game, or send home another player who was unlikely to pose a threat at the final weigh in. Jaws dropped when John voted to keep Antone around. John explained his reasoning: He'd work out harder and longer and adhere to his diet knowing that Antone would be waiting for him at the finale.

Well played, John. He takes home a $250,000 payday and the title of the Season 12 winner of "The Biggest Loser." He started at 445 pounds, and now weighs 225 pounds. He lost 220 pounds, or 49.44% of his body weight. (Once again, it seems winners need to hover around that 50% loss mark in order to take home the title.) John also fulfills Bob Harper's oft-quoted remark: "John won't be happy until he's pulling confetti out of his hair at the finale."

PHOTOS: 'Biggest Loser' Season 12 contestants

Meanwhile, Bob Harper's stalker -- a.k.a. Jennifer Rumple -- won the $100,000 at-home prize. But her big reward? A giant bouquet of flowers -- and a few more hugs -- delivered by Bob. Rumple started at 330 pounds, and now weights 185 pounds. She lost 145 pounds, or 43.94% of her body weight.

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'The Biggest Loser': How do you feel about an all-male finale?

The finale of "The Biggest Loser" and its $250,000 payday is still a week away. But this much is already known: The winner will be a guy.

For the first time ever, the finale of the NBC weight-loss show will not include a woman. Instead, Antone, John and Ramone will duke it out for the title. Ramone, and his million-dollar smile, earned that berth after winning this season's brutal marathon race through the Southern California desert.

Vinny and Becky failed to lose enough weight to make it into the finale. Becky lost just 10 pounds during her time away from the ranch, a situation she attributed in part to her decision to go back to her teaching job in the final weeks of the competition. Becky said in Wednesday's media conference call with the eliminated players that she has no regrets. She is, after all, a working mom, and she said she needed to find a way to balance work and health. She said she wanted to get on the scale at the finale next Tuesday and "[wants] to be able to say I am a real working mom... Although it was difficult, it was doable."

Vinny, meanwhile, lost 28 pounds and yet that also wasn't enough. (Blame Ramone!) Vinny was disappointed, but he's focused on wedding bells: He got down on one knee and asked his girlfriend to marry him. He said he's also determined to win the at-home prize and its $100,000 payday.

He says he also has a long to-do list, including coming up with a No. 1 hit song; getting married before friends, relatives, and Biggest Loser ranchmates; and having kids: "a boy to teach football to, and a girl to make sure no one will ever harm her."

His return from the ranch included a difficult conversation with his mother. Vinny says that she married an abusive man and stood by and did nothing while his stepfather brutalized him and his siblings. Vinny says his mother took the confrontation "hard" but said that it has ultimately helped the two of them improve their relationship as it moves forward.

Care to wager on a winner? Will it be Antone? John? Or Ramone? And do you think that John regrets granting last week's pass to Antone? Because Antone is repaying that favor by putting a bull's eye on John's back, predicting a Battle Royale: "I'm really sick of John, to be honest with you, and I'm ready to go after John right it's time to go battle."

And wait! There's one more question: What did you make of John having his maid -- I mean his wife -- doing all the cooking, cleaning and laundry while John works out in the gym. Wouldn't a better course of action be to figure out a way to balance the workload so his maid -- I mean his wife -- could also get a break and put in some gym time and weight-loss of her own? Dolvett called him out on it, and also predicted (like Bob did) that if John keeps focused on winning instead of transforming he is at risk for gaining all the weight back.

What do you think? I find it more than coincidental that two of the trainers have even suggested such a shocking turn of events. Where there's smoke, there's fire, no? Do you think we'll see John, weight regained, on a "Where are they now episode?" Gotta give John this much: He was looking quite slim and trim at the start line of that marathon. Here's hoping that John finds a way to keep all the weight off -- and starts treating his maid -- I mean his wife -- with some of the same support that she tirelessly gives him.


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-- Rene Lynch
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Photo: "Biggest Loser" finalists John, left, Antone and Ramone. Credit: NBC

'Biggest Loser': Sunny won't take the bait, cheers on John

Was that the dumbest move ever? Or a brilliant maneuver by John to keep the pressure on? It seemed all but certain that John would take the opportunity to send Antone packing, when instead he voted to keep him around. But there's one person who wasn't surprised by the maneuver.


Her elimination Tuesday night, when she was soooooo close to the final four, came at the hands of one of her closest friends at the ranch, Becky, as well as her nemesis: John.

John has had it in for Sunny almost since Day 1, when he questioned her smarts (she's a teacher!) and she called him out on it. Since then, he has seemingly taken every possible chance to smack her in the teeth in a bid to eliminate her. Speaking during Wednesday's media conference call with the eliminated player, Sunny said she has no idea why he felt so strongly toward her.

"From that day forward," she said, referring to the confrontation in which she stood up for herself and put John in his place, "he was not very happy with me .... I don't know exactly where the animosity came from."

We couldn't resist asking Sunny whether she was gleeful about Bob's prediction, that John could end up gaining all the weight back because he has been so focused on winning instead of transforming.

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'Biggest Loser': Will Bob's prediction come to pass?

The knives are out on "This Biggest Loser." And they're not just for the Thanksgiving turkey.

This week started out like it was all about the holidays, with the trainers and players gathered around the holiday table enjoying a healthful Turkey Day dinner. (There's still time to make it happen, folks! And then you and yours can rewatch "The Biggest Loser" reunion-esque special airing Wednesday night on NBC.)

But back to this week: For the first time ever, we got a glimpse into Bob's personal life. Specifically, his sister's long-standing struggle with her weight, and the toll that it takes on Bob that he hasn't been able to help her. Vinny also shared about his challenging childhood, and it all seemed to strike a kumbaya chord.

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Anna Kournikova leaving 'Biggest Loser' after just one season

Tennis champ Anna Kournikova reportedly won't be returning to "The Biggest Loser"
One season and she's out: Tennis champ Anna Kournikova won't be returning to "The Biggest Loser."

Kournikova was one of two trainers brought aboard to join Bob Harper after Jillian Michaels left the show last season. Known for her glamazon good looks, she struck some as a curious choice. But Kournikova said she had plenty in common with the obese contestants on NBC's reality weight-loss show: Years in the media spotlight left her struggling with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity about her looks.

However, her tenure got off to a rocky start. This season's theme is "Battle for the Ages," pitting youth against oldsters. Kournikova ended up with the senior set, and they have struggled, losing several weigh-ins and challenges. Moreover, she created conflict with several of the players -- and made no friends with viewers -- with a less-than-sympathetic demeanor. (Good-natured Joe, for example, bristled when Kournikova essentially told him to man up and get over some of his issues.)

Each week, during media conference calls with the eliminated players, contestants sang Kournikova's praises (including Joe, who was eliminated last week but said he credited Kournikova as being key to his weight-loss success.) But the Hollywood Reporter, which broke the news about Kournikova's departure, hinted that Kournikova was clashing with folks on and off camera.

Representatives for the show and for Kournikova were unavailable for comment. The Hollywood Reporter said Kournikova gave no reason for the departure beyond wishing everyone well: "I enjoyed my time on the Biggest Loser ranch. Although I will not be returning as a full time trainer on season 13, I will always be a part of The Biggest Loser family and my commitment to bettering lives through health and fitness will continue."


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Photo: Anna Kournikova. Credit: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times

'The Biggest Loser' recap: Joe holds no grudge

Did you watch Ramone Tuesday night and think -- "Dude. Leaders don't act like babies." Or was that just me?

Ramone seemed to think that he was the only person in the house who has formed an alliance and couldn't understand why the rest of the players wouldn't line up to help him save Jessica, his newfound lady love. Like, say, Joe, who ended up casting the deciding vote to send Jessica home last week because he had his own support system that he was trying desperately to keep intact.

Ramone was furious, but Joe is taking it all in stride. It was Joe's turn to be sent packing this week (no doubt Ramone enjoyed this bit of revenge). But he said in a media conference call today that he has no hard feelings against either Ramone or Vinny, who both voted against him.

"Unfortunately, part of it is a game, and we sign up for it," Joe said during Wednesday morning's media conference call. "I consider Vinny a dear friend of mine. It's just part of the process. I don't hold any grudges. I was a threat and I understand that."

Joe said the transition to his home life has been easier than expected.

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'The Biggest Loser': Jennifer says she's misunderstood

Jennifer has been portrayed by her teammates as a petulant child. In one of the best lines of the season so far, Antone said she needed a doctor, but then quipped that Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura, Dr. Oz and Dr. Dre combined might not be able to fix her. Her teammates blasted her for staying to herself, not participating in the teammwork, and then complaining about being left alone.

So it was no surprise that she was eliminated this week, becoming the first member of Bob's stalwart team to crumble. In fact, it was those fellow teammates who helped send her packing. "You have become a major distraction for everyone here," Antone said as he voted against her.

But in today's media call, Jennifer, who has lost more than 100 pounds so far, said she has been misunderstood. She said her leg injury early on limited her to pool workouts, and even though she pleaded with her teammates to join her on occasion, they turned her down. 

She said she has an upbeat, sunny personality and sees the best in people, and was saddened that her teammates never got to see that side of her. She said she also regretted not doing a better job of trying to fit in.

"I was isolated in that pool for weeks because of that injury," she said. And that's what she was referring to when she told Bob — or snitched to Bob, depending on your prespective — that she felt alone. By the time she was cleared to do other workouts, "alliances had already been formed," and she often ended up being the odd person out.

Moreover, "I was becoming a threat" on the scale, she said.

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