“Everybody deserves a second chance at a healthy life”

That’s the tagline for what is definitely my favorite reality show ever, “The Biggest Loser.” I’ve been a faithful fan since season 1 and was so inspired by this week’s show and the special “Where are they now?” episode that I just had to blog about it here today.

One of the main reasons I love the show so much is that it falls in line with my mantra – healthy living, losing weight, maintaining a healthy balance, it all comes down to a balanced, healthy diet and exercise, lots of it (sense a theme here much?? BALANCE!). Yes, the show is about losing weight, LOTS of weight as all contestants are obese or even morbidly obese when they join the show. But what it’s not about is losing weight in an unhealthy way, there is no major cutting of food groups or ridiculously low calorie counts, but the focus is more on portion control (which is HUGE, so many Americans today have no idea what a proper serving size is for most foods);  a balance of healthy carbs, protein, dairy and fiber; and obviously a huge emphasis on working out, both cardiovascular and strength training. In essence, The Biggest Loser participants are re-learning how to live their lives – hence the tagline.

Anyway, what I find so inspiring about the show, well, there are a ton of reasons I’m so inspired by it, but the most recent episodes really tugged at my heartstrings (seriously, I can NOT avoid crying each week, it’s ridiculous, really). Since I’ve been a longtime fan, I remember most of the contestants from each season, where they started their journey and what the root cause was for their weight gain to begin with (another reason I love the show – the trainers, Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels – really try to get to the bottom of why contestants gained the weight, versus just trying to help them shed the pounds). The look back at the past eight seasons was incredible to watch – nearly ALL contestants over the years have maintained the huge amounts of weight they’ve lost, which is no small feat considering we’re talking about 100-200 pounds of weight lost per contestant! What I loved, aside from that, was that so many past contestants/winners were “paying it forward.” There were so many that changed their career entirely to focus on helping others lose weight – either as a group fitness trainer, personal trainer or motivational speaker – they were so changed by what they experienced on The Biggest Loser, that they weren’t just changed on the outside, but on the inside too. They were truly taking advantage of their “second chance” at a healthy life.

In fact, one of the previous contestants shared his recent journey as an Ironman Triathlete. I was floored at his drive and his focus. This was a big guy who worked so hard to lose a massive amount of weight, ended up marrying one of his fellow contestants (aww!) and has since gained a bit of the weight back but for the most part is still a very healthy, very in shape and active guy. Obviously, if he was attempting an Ironman Triathalon! His goal in doing the triathalon was to inspire other “regular guys” that you don’t have to be insanely fit, with zero body fat and loads of stamina. You can be a regular guy and compete in what is probably the toughest competition in the world – a 2.4 mile swim in the ocean followed by a 112 mile bike ride and THEN a full (yes FULL) marathon, that’s 26.2 miles people! Crazy. It took him a little bit over 17 hours to complete, I cannot even begin to fathom it. But you know what? He set his mind to a pretty crazy goal, he took a chance, and he reached that goal (albeit a mere 3 minutes shy of the “qualifying” time to be named an ironman, technically, but who cares!!).

What always strikes me with each season of the series is how unhappy, sad, un-confident and introverted most of the contestants are the first week they step on the scale at the Biggest Loser ranch. If you look into their eyes, you can totally see the shame, the disappointment and the frustration, they’ve all struggled with their weight for years and are literally eating themselves to an early grave and they know it. It breaks my heart to see that pain. What’s so incredible though, is the change not just physically week to week, but the change in their personality as the weight comes off. In the before/after shots each week, you can literally see their eyes change from sad and shameful to happy and prideful. It is awe-inspiring.

This is why I’m so dedicated to fitness, this is why I started this blog and this is why I’m so ready to take on the Group Kick journey in a couple of weeks. I want to help others. I want them to feel pride and confidence. I want them to live longer, healthy, happier, energized lives. I don’t know if or how I’ll do that through Group Kick, or if this is just the tip of the iceberg for me, but time will tell. I just know, more than ever, that I want to help others get that second chance at a healthy live. Life is way, way, WAY too short.

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Quick workout side note – I had a great double-up workout today. Already feeling pretty sore from the 5-miler the other day, but managed an hour spin class (which was better than usual this week!) and then went home and did the STS leg workout that I missed earlier in the week. Probably not the best idea considering I’m hoping to do another long-ish run tomorrow morning with my sister, but we’ll see. No pain, no gain, right?? I’m telling you, watching the Biggest Loser last night on DVR really made me want to workout extra hard today! I secretly want to do a “last chance” workout with Bob and Jillian one day. Just to see how hard it really is. 😉