How Long Would You Wait Hoping to Become a Contestant on the Biggest Loser?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
This past weekend in Dallas auditions were being held for the 13th season of the Biggest Loser. One gentleman stated that this was not his first audition to get on the show, that he has spent several years trying to be one of the lucky few to get a chance. While not trying to sound judgmental, I thought to myself, why is this young man not trying to change his life now? Why does he feel the only ticket to living and leading a healthy life is this show? What happens if he never gets that chance?  To think that he believes this show is his only answer to losing weight and getting fit and healthy made me wonder how long any of us would wait, even if there is a small remote chance to be selected.

For me, becoming a contestant on the Biggest Loser was never an option. I began my own personal healthy living journey just months after the show made its premier in October 2004. Having never seen the show until the summer of 2005 when I was visiting Finland where it happened to be one of the few English speaking programs to air and which I could understand, I quickly became a fan.

Having spent a lifetime struggling to overcome a life-long battle with my weight, I was inspired. However, I did wonder if going to a ranch for months separated from the real world would have been easier than going it alone.  After all I had spent 30 plus years dieting, so being separated from my family for months on end seemed like a no brainer if that meant I would finally reach my goal weight. Even if I thought the Biggest Loser would have been an option, I soon discovered that I would not have been heavy enough to meet the guidelines to be on the show, which I understand one needs to be at least 85 pounds overweight in order be considered.

I will confess that I was a big fan of the show for a several years. But the more educated I became on the process on how one needs to go about losing weight, the less I watched. In fact I think the last season I watched was when Ali Vincent won. She was the first female contestant to finally earn the title of the Biggest Loser.

When I was doing research as to where the past contestants are today, I searched the internet high and low to see if I could find some information. According to a January 2009 tidbit on the Today Show's website, Season 1 winner Ryan Benson talks of his struggle with his re-gain after leaving the show. Season 3 contestant Amy Wolff speaks of how she gave up her job to move to the ranch, even forgoing Thanksgiving dinner with her family because of her fear of eating 'rich' food. Even Season 5 winner Ali Vincent was not immune from her own struggle to 'wean herself from going to the gym on daily basis.'

These are just a few of the many contestants who candidly spoke of their struggles which only reaffirms my notion that regardless of how you lose the weight, you must make this journey about healthy living and not a means to get to your goal weight only to go back to your old ways. But you also have to know that life is meant to be lived. Spending hours in the gym and watching every calorie can be just as detrimental as the other extreme. Life is about balance.

The fate of this young man has yet to be seen, but I hope he will come to understand that it isn't a show, a weight loss surgery or even a weight loss plan that will transform us, but the embracing of life-long healthy habits that allows us to become the healthy, fit individuals we are meant to be. This journey is about is about you changing you.

Have you ever tried out for the Biggest Loser? Would you ever consider trying out for the show?

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I never applied but it was my favorite show for a long time. I thought the contestants were inspirational, but then I saw the reasearch article about season 7 contestants whose metabolism was badly damaged. I was sad for them, because they really did not get healthy & that was all they wanted. Report
The biggest loser does not help self-esteem. I understand that sometimes we need to be pushed out of laziness but not to the point of making a person develop MORE LOW SELF-ESTEEM.
It may work for their bodies for awhile but couldnt possibly do much for the heart , mind and spirit.
As far as I'm concerned the "Biggest Loser" is a loser when it comes to dealing with the core problem of obesity. It doesn't heal the whole person and doesn't teach that it is a lifetime of healthy diet and exercise that will take weight off and keep it off. Report
No I have never tried out for the show. By the time I realized it was on I was already using Spark People. I just hope the people that are trying to wish themselves thin will come to their senses. Of course it only took me 57 years to realize moderation and exercise were pretty much the way to go. Sheesh! Report
Also, I've been working with a personal trainer for the past few months and she does an amazing job encouraging me to push myself without yelling or taunting. I have gotten lightheaded a few times while working out with her, and instead of shaming me into continuing to work out to the point of passing out/vomiting, she has me sit, drink water, and gives me tips on what to eat before working out to avoid dizziness next time. Having a trainer scream and embarrass me on national TV is not something I would ever bring upon myself. Report
I don't think there are any issues that one would need The Biggest Loser to help resolve. Find yourself a good therapist and work through it. Chances are, you will do better working with someone on your own than you would during a short stint on a TV show. Report
I made a video and applied for the show. I was not picked for it. I thought I was a good canidate. I have now lost 140 lbs, but still continue to struggle with a variety of issues that I felt The Biggest Loser could help me with. If their looking, I still need to lose about 100 more that I need help with :-) Report
Personally, I would never consider this show. People exercise until they are in extreme pain or vomitting and the whole time someone is yelling at them and mistreating them. The only person I enjoy competing with is myself. The show would cause me to give up, becoming healthy should be a pleasant journey. Report
I have never considered such a program. I am not 'big' enough to qualify, to start with. And while I have never watched an episode, I have seen numerous trailers. The abuse in the trailers - verbal & emotional - that is used as 'motivation' is extremely off-putting. There are plenty of ways to support & motivate people without abuse. And abuse is abuse...whether it is verbal, emotional or physical. It seems sad that people watch others being abused for amusement. Report
I wouldn't go on a show - it is too important to me to do it myself, I am quite secretive about it and don't like people knowing what I am doing until I have made significant progress. I think that is a fear of failure thing. I would work well for Jillian. She is not right for everyone but I don't work well with gentle trainers. I need someone who won't put up with excuses and will bully me into giving more than my lazy brain thinks it can. My body is stronger than my brain thinks it is, my body can work harder, longer and faster than my brain thinks. I need the challenge. When I run at home I am very consistent but put me in a race and I'll find extra speed and endurance. Jillian would be good for me, Bob would not have been. I wouldn't have worked as hard for him. Report
I went to the auditions May of last year in OKC. I met Bob and Amanda, got pictures of the two of them and of Danny Cahill. I participated in the warmup, but because of an old back and knee injury and sitting on the sidewalk for hours I could not do much else. The t-shirt that they gave everyone was very tight on me when I got it last year and now it hangs on me. I have lost about 50 pounds. I do not believe people should put it off, but they need to do something. Do not wait for your 15 minutes of fame because it is not worth it. Report
No, I think it is too humiliating... Sometimes I feel so sorry for the contestants and the way they are treated... :-( Report
I saw a trailer for the show once and that was enough to convince me that I would NEVER go on the show. Why would I want to subject myself to that kind of physical and verbal abuse? Encouragement is one thing, but these shows don't know what encouragement even means. They BULLY. Report
The Biggest Loser does have merit and is inspiring to many people. That said, I am one who can lose weight but has never been successful at keeping all the weight off. I am now a believer in the conversion to a Healthy Life Style! It is still a battle and I think it will always be my biggest challenge! Thanks SparksPeople! Report
I've been to TBL casting calls five times now and next time it rolls around I will no longer be a viable candidate.

At the March 2010 casting call, I waited 8 hours (from getting in line and getting out the back door after the group session with the casting agent) along with 1500 other hopefuls. I was truly apalled at the behavior of many of the hopefuls: chain smoking, ordering pizza to the line, drinking buckets of soft drinks, and consuming 3000+ calorie meals from the nearest fast food restaurant. It made me angry, because I was serious about wanting to lose weight. It was the catalyst to me getting on the fitness wagon. I resolved I wouldn't wait to be cast, I already had the gym membership. As soon as my 12 hour a day babysitting stint was up I was in the gym almost every day.

On a good day I've lost 79 pounds!
I would not want to be on BL, I just couldn't be away from my family that long. I did hear one. of the contestants comment how being on the ranch was actually easier due to the fact that there is a certain amt of seclusion and "protection" that is not there when they go home. Report
I don't watch BL, but I got into watching Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition this summer, which I mostly enjoyed (although sometimes the trainer used some dangerous workouts that worried me), and I was trying to find out how many episodes were planned this I went to the website and wound up scanning their message boards. And there were a number of people who posted the most depressed, hopeless-sounding comments about how they wanted to be on the show, they needed it, they would die otherwise, they were so scared and so tired of being obese, they were XXX pounds overweight and needed Chris Powell's help, their doctor told them if they didn't lose weight they would die within however many years, etc etc etc. It was unbelievable how these people pinned their hopes on getting on the show as a method of weight loss. I tried to respond to these people saying the show/Chris Powell aren't magical solutions, they can do it themselves with help from local doctors and trainers and so forth, and I always provided some information about SparkPeople in case they were interested in joining...but yikes. It's very sad, how many people feel they can't do it themselves and require an extreme TV-style weight loss. Wouldn't it be great if there was a weight loss show where the participants were merely educated about nutrition, fitness, and healthy living, and were merely given access to local gyms and trainers and had to make their own decisions about how to solve their weight problems? It might not be as dramatic and interesting, but on the other hand...maybe it would be! Report
Personally, I'm a HUGE fan of the AUSTRALIAN Biggest Loser. After watching one season of that show the US version didn't stand a chance for me anymore! I'm a convert! I would never ever try out for that show for many reasons, but the most being that I have never giving up on myself. I think that it is practically a requirement to believe that this is the only chance you have to survive. I always knew I could do it on my own, and now I am! Report
I quit watching the show several seasons ago. I couldn't take the yelling and swearing at the contestants and all the back biting.

We don't need people doing that to us to get our act together and make our needed changes. Waiting to make those changes hoping to be a contestant is totally stupid. We have more value than that.

Forget the money, brow beating, yelling and swearing. Put yourself first, come to love yourself, make the changes you know you need to and it will all come together in a healthier you. Report
I love the show but wish it really showed the reality of weight loss. The contestants are shown in a one to two hour show that does not correctly reflect the every minute struggle they go through to loose such huge numbers. This makes those thin or fit people have a wrong impression to how easy it is to loose weight. I always get told all I have to do is cut back food or just take a walk. Well it is not that easy. If it were there would be no need for such help sites as Spark. Thank you for this site. Report
I love the show and I wish I could be on, but I lost 45lbs on my own and now I don't have enough to loose to be on. I have three small children, which also prevents me from going on. I tried things from Jillians web site and it works. I have lost some and plan on continuing to loose 45 more, as I watch the show. I can't wait until the new season starts. Its not all about what goes on there, but what goes on with yourself and how you can relate. I will miss Jillian very much. You don't have to be on the show to loose weight and you a foolish if you wait, start now. Report
I loved your blog! It is so true that balance is key. For the young man who has yet to try on his own and figure out that he is the vital component to his weightloss....I wish him the best.
I will keep applying every season until the NBC Peacock give eggs. Report
I remember watching a few episodes during the first season or two. I could be wrong, but I don't recall the participants being nearly as overweight as they are now. Seems to me that now it's all about sensationalism to get people to watch so they can sell whatever diet gadget used or food the participants are eating. Report
I enjoy watching the show, but I would never apply to be on it. I think that they go too far to extremes, especially in their challenges (and no way could I ever be caught dead doing some of those) and for some of the contestants going to a point to win is going to a point too far underweight (though lately that is difficult). Also, if you lose weight at that rate you are going to be left with sagging skin all over. Heck, look at what Richard Simmons said he had to go through after losing all his weight too fast. Report
I HATE THAT SHOW. I think it makes millions of americans (and now I am sure others around the world if it is showing in The Netherlands) feel that if you can't drop 15 pounds in a week then you aren't doing enough then they give up. It is unrealistic and unsustainable. I wish it would be pulled but I know that is a long way from happening. Report
In this last season there one young woman on the show who was already in the middle of her weight-loss journey. I think THAT should be a requirement for people going on the show. It shows they are striving to change their lives for the better, and making progress towards that goal.

I confess that I love The Biggest Loser, but I also know it's not the right way to lose weight and get fit. We could all benefit from time spent away from "real life" pursuing greater fitness, but it should only be for a short time. We have to learn to get fit ourselves in our real lives.

Sometimes I worry that people considering being contestants are purposely making themselves fatter just to get on the show. That young man you mentioned should be already on a fitness journey. The show should have educated him already on what he needs to do. I would love for that to be a requirement to become a contestant! Report
Nope. It's just not sustainable. Period. Report
I would never try out, for the biggest loser. The exercises are far too intense, and I have arthritis. I couldn't even begin to have the stamina it takes to get through the exercise routines. Report
I know a women who spent a week at the ranch out west. She paid $3,000 for the privilege of losing 20#. A little rich for my blood. Report
I used to be a big fan of The Biggest Loser but like you realized that the way they are going about it is not healthy. I don't care what others may say...and I do admire Jillian in some ways...but YELLING at a person to get them to DO something is not healthy. That's how I feel about that. Through the years the show has turned into a Commercial. lol But I thank God for those who have remained on point and are having a better life. I might have thought about being on that show when I was wayyyyy overweight. But I'm not big enough now. lol And I would NEVER wear a Sports on LIVE television. lol
Thanks so very much! Report
From what I've seen of this show, its methods seem an unhealthy approach for the majority of people, so I feel the method itself is a poor example. Makes the person who physically could not do the activities involved feel that the goal of large amount of weightloss is even more elusive. A show that documented a method that can more sensibly be incorporated into a person's life - not altering everything about the life - would have a more positive influence in helping viewers feel that they too can accomplish their own goals even if on their own. I for one would not be a good candidate to survive the in-your-face attitudes, not to mention the public display of a very difficult process with contestants' hard struggles being displayed for the entertainment of millions of strangers. Would I like working in an unfilmed focus camp to help me with the healthy changes I know are right? Yes. But I want to be treated as I treat others: with a degree of respect, no yelling. Report
I love the BL show. Unfortunately I missed most of last season because I joined Weight Watchers which met on Tuesday evenings (same night as BL). I know that there are so very many factors not shown but I just take what I can use and try to make thought out decisions. For example, I am aware that most folk cannot realisticaly workout 4-5 hours a day but the message to me is what SP advocates, try to exercise (streak) "every" day, if not but 30 minutes - Move! One positive thing for me since I've been watching the show is that I "NO LONGER" eat in front of the TV while the show is on :-) Report
To me, the Biggest Loser is a horrible notion and not a good way to lose weight. It reminds me of the Cookie Diet. It's an insane and impossible structure that you can't keep up. The people on that show have a team of other people and experts who command their lives while they're there. But once they leave, it must be like a rubber band letting go. You're not going to have a coach standing over your shoulder every day correcting you. You have to learn to do things right yourself.
I feel so bad for that guy. I agree, he needs to take responsibility for his own success or failure. He can change on his own, and he doesn't need the media to make him better. I hope he sees that some day. Report
I have read Ali Vincents book and I have thought about trying out for TBL, they were even in my area for auditions. I didn't, and now I wouldn't. I wanted to get healthy and I dreamed of the money I could win, I really believed I could win. That's how I found SP, I was looking for a place to "jump start" my chance to be on TBL. But after being here for a couple of months now, I wouldn't subject myself to that kind of punishment, just for a few dollars and no help once the show was over, or you got booted off. No, I think I would rather take it slow and steady and make the commitment of a lifetime, for a lifetime.

I love the show...and Jillian Michaels has taught me tons. I have her books, DVD's, and I download her podcasts.

I have always said, I would go on the show, but I'm not willing to gain the weight..I'm too small.

If they had one for people my size, I'd do it in a heartbeat Report
I spent YEARS KNOWING I could be HUGELY successful on the show. In terms of progress, determination, inspiration, and entertainment value! FINALLY I woke UP...and realized...I would never be FAT ENOUGH for the sad is that! So...I started my journey...and despite NUMEROUS unexpected obstacles...I COULDN'T BE HAPPIER I did! Report
I would not want to be on the biggest loser. I can't see where it could be anything but damaging to the health, disclaimers not withstanding...Doctors there notwithstanding. NO Report
I've never seen the show. The snippets I've caught in magazines and on other TV shows left me thinking it has a brutal, unrealistic approach. I'm not a fan of "Reality" shows. People seem to put aside their sense of self-worth to participate in them.
I joined SP in April of 2010 with the intent of dropping 45 pounds. I followed the program, dropped 55 pounds, and have been staying within a 5 pound range since January.

THANK YOU, SP!!! Report
I agree that 3 rounds of auditions is a long time to wait for something that may or may not be a healthy solution, BUT consider this...

My Spark handle, ERIKA05, refers to the fact that I joined this site **in 2005** to lose the extra weight I was carrying at that time. Then, it was probably 15 lbs - I was still a varsity athlete and a long distance runner, just a little chubbier than I would like.

Now, in 2011, several tries at relighting the Spark later, it's more like 50lbs, and I have to fight tooth and nail to get back to a similar level of fitness I enjoyed when I first thought I needed to lose weight!

So. All this to say that, in my own way, I've been waiting even longer than this poor guy! Sure, I've been false starting and re-starting since then, but I've actually been moving, on balance, away from my goal all that time rather than making progress towards it. I really feel like this time is different, and that I'm in control, but it's taken me a long time to get to this point. Report
Great blog, Nancy! I agree. The more time I spent on Spark, the less time I spent watching the Biggest Loser. I am inspired by those who have participated in the show and to this day have kept off the weight. One couple I think of is Matt and Suzie. I LOVED them! Matt was a graduate from the University of Iowa, and a wrestler there, and our family is a HUGE group of U of I fans, so I was required to love Matt anyway. But he and Suzie have done VERY well, even had two kids, and have made fitness their means of earning a living. But, aside from them, I don't see a point in watching it. It's too difficult to even consider using the methods they use - BodyBugg (not out of reach but still expensive), hours in the gym, penny pinching on the calories, etc. That sounds more like a diet to me than a lifestyle change. Plus, the in-show ads drive me nuts. Extra sugar free gum, anyone??? Report
Even though the show was a BIG HIT, I, for one, did not become a regular watcher. I felt, like you, that once they got back to the "REAL WORLD" would they in fact, MAKE THOSE CHANGES! We all have been on "crash diets, so called miracle diets, and so on" only hoping that we would get "there!" Well, that is not the we are learning. Through Sparks, the tools available the "FRIENDS" ( and folks, this is a real biggie) we are learning that LIFESTYLE CHANGES. COMMITTMENTS WE CAN CONTINUE TO MAKE AND KEEP, is the REAL ANSWER! Report
I would never try out for the show, and I've never even seen the show! LOL Report
While I find the show wonderfully motivational, I would never have expected to get on the show and therefore would never have depended on the show to get healthy. I knew the latter part was really up to me. Waiting to get healthy takes away from my now... so when I was ready I just did it. And every single day in maintenance is a journey unto itself... and I'm saying that almost 3 years on.

The day to change is now, since it's YOU who has to make the decisions to live healthy, which is part of what I think the Biggest Loser is about... making that change in yourself. Report
I think some people are missing the point of this article.

So many things in our lives, we wait on. Waiting to lose weight is a huge issue for many of us. Why should our wait stop us from enjoying life or chasing after our dreams? And while we are at it, why should we wait until we go on a game show to lose weight?

If your issue is that you are morbidly obese, then read some spark articles and join a couple of the groups. Learn how to accommodate your needs with at home exercises. Cant afford it? Try walking. It's free. Cant walk in our area? How about walking around the house? Own an apartment? Do some arm exercises. Every. Little. Bit. COUNTS. No matter what you think, you can work out daily without someone screaming at you. And if you need accountability, make some charts, set up some rewards, or call up some friends.

Like she mentions in this blog... what do you think happens when the contestant goes home? All of that fancy and free equipment goes away. All of that motivational yelling from highly trained professionals turn to paying someone hundreds of dollars to do it (and often, you're not getting someone with anything like the credentials of tv trainers). And food, well, it goes back to normal.

You CAN teach yourself to be motivated, to be consistent, to be active. No one needs this show. NO ONE. Report
I love the show, but I think I view it for what it is: entertainment. At my heaviest (over 400 lbs), I decided to have gastric bypass, and not everyone would choose that route, just as some would not choose the Biggest Loser route (I wouldn't; I couldn't stand to be "broken" by Jillian or Bob). I think whatever works for the invididual, is what should be pursued. Gastric bypass worked for me; Biggest Loser works for others. But as my surgeon always says: the surgery is on the stomach, not the brain. I think Biggest Loser at least attempts to get at the reasons why people overeat. Report
It seems like I am in the minority here, but I enjoy the show although I wish they would spend a little more time on cooking and healthy eating. I generally get on my treadmill while the show is on and get in some exercise. I consider the show great inspiration. Report
Never happen! I do not believe in alot of the methods they use. It is not a healthy weight loss. Some of the things they put on the show are awful and demoralizing. Report
I've frequently told myself that if I was not working (e.g. retired or on permanent vacation) I wouldn't have any trouble losing weight because I'd have plenty of time to exercise and cook healthy foods. Truth be told though, besides being completely unrealistic (I need a job to pay my bills!), it's all about motivation and priorities. If I'm not motivated to do something it doesn't matter how much free time I have. Conversely, if I am motivated, I will make it a priority and MAKE time to do it. As the blog said, we need to learn to live healthy with everything else going on around us - we don't live in a vacuum. Report
I lost my extra weight "the old-fashioned way". Learning that I could control my weight without resorting to media attention or serious surgery added to my self-esteem in ways BL or the knife never could; I wouldn't have done it any other way. Report
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