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

January 5, 2012 | 12:25 pm

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.

He said he volunteered to leave because he desperately missed his wife and kids. He said he also didn't realize until he was actually on the show how hard it would be to eliminate a fellow competitor. Finally, he said he just didn't have the stomach to deal with the reality of this season's twist.

He was referring to what he described as the "shocking" news that this season's competitors -- who thought they would be competing as couples, would in fact be rivals. That meant that one person's victory at the weigh-in could potentially end up dooming one's loved one on the rival team. In the end, Ben said, he was sacrificing himself in part for his brother, Buddy.

"It was really tough, and a lot tougher than I thought it would be going out there," he said. Every member of the black team, which fell below the yellow line at weigh-in, nonetheless had worked hard at the gym, and had a heart-felt reason for wanting to say at the ranch. The result, Ben said, is that there was "no clear-cut person" to eliminate.

"It just made it really a tough decision to decide who should go home," he said.

Ben, 34, of Howell, Mich., said the first workout was grueling, but he surprised himself by quickly improving. He believed he could continue to workout longer, harder and lose more weight than ever before. But success for the black team "could potentially send my brother home. It was definitely a tough twist for me to swallow."

Ben has already lost 50 pounds and plans to lose 100 more, and says that his time at the ranch, however brief, has forever changed his relationship with food and exercise.

"Even though it was just a week I did learn, stuff I didn't learn before," he said. Ben, whose life seems ripe for a reality TV show, has 10 children in all thanks to a blended family. Before the show, those kids were his excuse for not working out or taking the time to eat right. "My health, my fitness ... was always last on my list."

Now, they're his excuse for doing just that.

He said he wakes up early each morning to work out before going to work. When he heads home, he rallies the whole family for playtime, whether it's basketball or a game of chase or a fun cardio circuit. He tries to stick to about 1,800 to 2,000 calories a day.

He said his goals were different from some of the other players. "It was never about winning a show," he said. "It was about going to try to win back my health and my fitness."

He said his goal is to run 5-K races with his wife, and continue to lead more family basketball games. He also said his money is on his brother to be among the last players standing at the finale. Buddy is off to a good start, dropping 22 pounds at the first weigh-in.

What do we think about this crew so far? And what do you think about the blossoming Bob versus Dolvett storyline?


Photos: Meet the Season 13 competitors

Bob Harper soldiers on with 'The Biggest Loser'

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

-- Rene Lynch
Twitter / renelynch

Photo: Ben Shuh, after losing 50 pounds largely on his own. Credit: NBC.