Inside scoop on "The Biggest Loser"

So, the highlight of my day was meeting a contestant from Season 13 of NBC's "The Biggest Loser", Chris Pickler. I'm a big reality tv fan (I know, guilty pleasure), so it was fun to get some inside scoop about the show.

Chris and her husband, Roy, (who, yes, looks a lot like Santa and is about 20 years older than his wife), are from Middlebury, Indiana.  It's way up north close to the Michigan border.  They were in town today to speak at a meeting about childhood obesity hosted by the Welborn Baptist Foundation's HEROES (Healthy, Energetic, Ready, Outstanding, Enthusiastic Schools) program.

Now, I haven't watched "The Biggest Loser" for a while, but in the past I've enjoyed it.  For any curious minds out there, here's what Chris had to say about how things really work on "the ranch" (for non-viewers... that's where the contestants live and work out while filming) as well as how things have been going since their time on the show ended.

On a typical day at "the ranch":

Chris: "Typical day starts the night before with a call sheet, and you will get that call sheet maybe before you go to bed, maybe they're knocking on your door after you've gone to bed.  And on that call sheet, tells you the time you get up, it tells you how to be dressed and what you need to pack for the day.  It will tell you if you're on campus or off-campus, and that's about it. You have no idea what happens day to day.  You may be gone for 12-14 hours where you have to pack your own meals and be prepared for that.  Typical workouts were about 3-4 hours with a trainer, and then you were given homework to do on top.  You were working out an average of 6 hours a day.  That is your full-time job.  And with interviews and shooting 'reality' sometimes you wouldn't be getting to bed until after midnight and you would have to be up the next morning around 4 or 5.  So very, very difficult, at least in the first weeks when the house is so full. "

On what the house is really like:

"People think you're in a mansion.  The house is (pauses and debates wording) older.  It's not in the best condition.  Sometimes you would be taking a shower and if someone else hopped in their shower in their room your water would disappear.  So it was not, it was not a comfortable living situation."


On their responsibilities at the house:  

"We were in charge of our own meals.  We were in charge of our own dishes.  We were in charge of our own laundry and just keeping the place clean and picked up.  So when you get in a house with 18 other people and 18 other dynamic personalities and we're all food addicts and you take away the carbs and everybody's kind of going crazy, it makes for a really interesting situation."

On adjusting back to "regular" life after the show:

"There is a huge adjustment period.  Not only with kind of getting yourself reacclimated to regular life, but your body has to go through an adjustment period.  You're kind of operating kind of in this high overdrive and you drop yourself back into real life where you can't give yourself, you know, a full-time job's worth of hours set aside for working out, so your body goes through an adjustment.  And in that time, you do put on a little (weight).  Those that followed the instruction and didn't go 'crazy' on the show, the weight gain is slight, it's temporary and then it comes back off.  Some of the contestants that had a tendency to go a little crazy because winning was important to them, their adjustment period is a lot longer.  I know of one contestant a few seasons back, it took her two years for her body to reacclimate. So Roy and I are fortunate.  Our weight gain is very minimal, and it's starting to come back down. "

On their decision as a couple to spend time spreading a message about being healthy:

"We have decided this is our job.  We were self-employed before and this is our mission.  And we know we're never going to get rich off of this, but we feel it's important enough that as long as needs are being met, you know, on a financial end, that we're gonna continue to do this as long as we can because we really, really believe in what we're out there trying to present. "

On their mission:

"Our mission since being on the show is to pretty much get out into the public and talk about the obesity epidemic that the country is now facing.  We have a real epidemic, especially with this next generation of kids that are growing up in the schools right now.  That generation I have four kids in myself.  And we need to bring awareness to this obesity epidemic. It's a dangerous place to be, but I feel like it's early enough that we can do what it takes to bring awareness to this epidemic and reverse this trend before these kids reach adulthood."

On a normal workout schedule these days:

"A workout schedule for us is about 6 hours a week, and we want to up that to about 12 hours a week."

Chris' advice for others:  

"I think the biggest mistake people make is they think if they lower their calorie consumption that they're doing better.  And what most people on the ranch have found is they don't understand why they gain weight because they don't eat. The biggest mistake a person can make is only eating one meal a day.  When you get up in the morning, no matter how hard it is, eat breakfast.  That is the best thing you can do for yourself.  Get your metabolism going, get your fat burners going.  And the best way to do that is to fuel your body the same way you would fuel your car.  You're not gonna go down the road on an empty tank.  You can't send your body off for the day's events on an empty tank."

By the end of the show, Chris (who made it almost to the end), lost 77 pounds.  Roy lost 88.  Congrats!!! Now, if only I had eaten breakfast today and wasn't writing this while eating a big bowl of potato soup loaded with cheese and bacon bits.  Whoops!

Have a good night, all!

Until next time,