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 dislike the show immensely. It doesn't teach those on it how to live a healthy lifestyle as proven by the example of the past winner mentioning above how she won't have Thanksgiving dinner. It also miseducates the general audience into expectations on what losing weight and eating right is really like.

The show does a great disservice to its contestants as well as everyone watching. Report
I seriously considered going on the show (especially after seeing the "couples" shows - I thought it would be an awesome opportunity for me and my son), but realized there was no way I could take that kind of time away from "real life" (if for no other reason, I can't see going without my mate that long, if we go a *day* without nookie we both get cranky). It took watching it for several seasons being that person eating ice cream on the couch until the motivation finally kicked in - now I'm not heavy enough to even try, and I rejoice in that! I still love the show (this past season was the best ever - very little drama or "game playing" and the contestants really became a support system for each other), and it inspires me to keep going so I DON'T ever end up "qualified" to try out again. :) Report
No matter how we lose our weight, we have to be diligent to keep it off. Habits of years are hard to break. Consistency in living in a healthy manner is the key, but it is not easy. I am glad I took the long slow road because that is what it will be for the rest of my life. A long slow road of being mindful in my eating and diligent in my activity. Report
I like the show but don't think I would try out for this show. It's too extreme for me. Report
Me and my sister tried once, and I looked up the fitness locations that BL has going now. We didn't make it, as one could probably guess, and I just can't afford to pay for the locations. But I'm not going to wait around for that type of chance. I'm working on my weight on my own and trying to not let my weight stop me from enjoying life. Report
I filled out an application for the show 5 years ago. I'm very happy that I wasn't picked to be on the show. During the time that I would have been filming, I had an aortic aneurysm and nearly died. I guess it would have made for some interesting TV. Lol. I did end up losing the weight on my own when I realized that working out 23 hours a day isn't something that would be an option for me given my health issues. Report
I'm not "big" enough to be a contestant, but I did think about going to the ranch. Then I realized I could do the work at home. It's a struggle, but like you say, about living a lifestyle. And I don't like Jillian make them work out until they throw up. Report
I do like the show, but I can't imagine participating. Why do they have to stand up there half naked? We can see they're big without them having to expose themselves to that (what would be for me) humiliation. And I've never thought it was a good idea to rush the fat off. It's just that much faster for it to come back on. It is inspirational to watch them learn how to work out and make changes to their lives, but I prefer to do it the Spark one. One real-life day at a time. Report
I loved watching Jillian make them work out. Report
I wouldn't go on even if was picked.
I'm very happy loosing it the spark people way. The way I will continue to live after the weight has come off. I was well over 320lbs when I started here back in Feb 2011. It took me until the middle of march to get the courage to buy a scale. I have done fast weight loss diets and exercise before and the weight has instantly come back as soon as I came off the diet I could not stay on.
Give me good healthy food and exercise and watch the weight come off slowly but surely ..... forever. Report
Ms Howard,

Not tiring to sound Judgmental of you either. I see that you TRUELY don't understand what being Extremely Over Weight feels like. When the Spark Staff & yourself have been Over 300 + Lbs fer about a Month, then you know what some of the Constants feel on the Biggest Loser.

My Brother (Who just happens to be 400 + Lbs) feels that the Biggest Loser is his only HOPE to help change his Life. He can't afford the Thousands of Dollars in Doctors, Exercise Trainers & a Place that can House him to keep him away from killing himself with Food.

Today Biggest Loser Constants must be 100 Lbs Over Weight to Qualify. (Or I'd be tiring out myself. ) They also must be able to withstand 6-8 Hours of Exercise a Day. They can't have any Limitations EG... Life Threatening Diseases, Born Bith Defects, Etc....

I feel you forget why the Biggest Loser has lasted 13 Seasons. It has a BIG impact on helping people REGAIN their Life. The Staff of Sparks ain't there everyday to make sure your on the Spark Program, they are. They are there Morning, Noon & Night. Even the Extreme Make Over Weight Loss Edition, Dance Your Azz Off, Heavy & other TV Shows are helping to save THOUSANDS of lives. Even those of us that are "Just Watching the Show". They help by giving Tips, Cheap ways to Exercise, Etc Why Judge thier EFFORTS. If the Young Man gets the help from anyone of these Shows, He's a Winner, No matter If he doesn't win a Prize so what, he has a chance & IS a WINNER in my Book.

As fer myself, I just need someone like Chris Powell in my Life fer 6 Weeks to 90 Days to help put me on a Weight Loss Plan that works with my Limitations, Work & Actually shows me how to Time Manage my Time to get the NEEDED Exercise I need to Lose Weight.

I like Spark & all my Spark Friends but, staying on this Computer doesn't Help me to learn to Change my Daily Life. Guess what I'm saying is, Cutting the Net, TV & Giving up my Job to totally give 6-8 Hours a Day to Regain my Heath is what I need. But like every American, I can't do that. Bills must be Paid, Food needs to be put on the Table. Life Long Dreams need a chance to become Realities.

That's what these Weight Loss Shows do, they help Stable Incomes & Gives the Constants a way to get Heathy fer Free. I fer one wouldn't pass up an Oportunity to get Heathy if it was put on a Silver Platter fer me. Report
this is a very thought provoking blog. It makes you think, "what am I waiting for?" Report
I watch sometimes if I happen to turn on television and the show is on the channel the television was left on. I don't intentionally watch. I would not try out, some parts are demeaning and I know I would not take all aspects of being a contestant. Besides, I like Spark People too much. Report
This article was such an eye-opener. Instead of waiting for the perfect moment to come along, why not start now. I was also quite surprized for the 85 pound requirement. What about those of us who only need to lose 10 or 15 pounds? But, you're right, it's up to us to make a change and there's no better time to begin than today. Report
I watched the show once, decided it was not for me, and have never looked at it again. A previous poster made the point that it brought obesity into the public attention--true enough! but it didn't bring a real, doable solution with it. It's not 'reality,' and I live in the real world, always have, always will...well, not 'always,' but as long as I do live, I'll be real, thank you! Report
No. I would never consider going on the show. Having people getting in my face and screaming and swearing at me, would not motivate me. I'd probably smack someone and get thrown off the show. Report
I can see the appeal to those who are obese and do not know where to begin. It's a starting point. And the staff (trainers, nutritionist, medical doctor) are professionals who know where the contestants should begin and the contestants are monitored. The bottom line is what the contestants will do with the information given to them. It is up to them to do the work to lose the weight. Report
We don't watch much TV because of the kids. My daughter would probably be glued to it if she could, so we rarely watch it. In fact, we promised the kids we would get cable as soon as they both leave for college...

In short, I've never watched the show, and I would not try out for it. For one thing, I would hate being on camera. Second, we would all like to think that there is a magic solution to our problems that would solve them quickly and painlessly (or nearly so), but if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Losing the weight is only half the battle. Keeping it off is the other half, but it doesn't sound like the show helps with that.

Too bad you can't send information about to all of the contestants. It would change their lives.

I'm a fan of the biggest loser. Although I don't like some aspects of the show, I love to see the transformations as people lose the weight.

I never considered being on the show as an option for me but I was 85 pounds overweight at one time. I got my wake-up call when I realized I was almost obese enough to be eligible for surgery. I knew how people had to eat after stomach surgery and decided I needed to learn how to eat small, frequent meals without doing the surgery. Report
I think we all have to admit that The Biggest Loser is an amazing show. It has brought into view America's biggest problem: obesity! We as a nation are slowly dying because of obesity/associated problems. The biggest loser changes contestants lives BUT it also gives motivation to work out and eat right to millions of viewers everyday!

That is one show that definitely changes lives. Report
I have never been on the Biggest Loser, and I am not sure I want to! I like to achieve my goals on my own! It makes me feel more appreciative of what I have achieved! Just like if you have to buy things on your own then you appreciate it more! Not saying there is anything wrong with the show, but just not my cup of tea! Report
I do watch the show....I like it for the emotional aspects, and sometimes I can identify with the contestants. But I would never, NEVER condone losing weight in this manner. I think it's unhealthy and unrealistic. Report
I have serious issues with this show. Before I started to lose weight I had no interest in it. Once I got to work 40 month ago, I was of a mindset that knew that this was a life and death struggle, not a game show! I realize it has cause some to have a "come to Jesus" moment about their weight and that is good, but it is not for me. Report
I really think the show is disgusting. It's about shaming and forcing people to into extremes. The habits they build on the biggest loser are just as unhealthy as being overweight. Report
AWESOME Blog! I do watch the BL show, but have always had mixed feelings about the show and how the contestants loose their weight. I absolutely agree that our journey is about a healthy lifestyle and findings balance. With SP I have found the tools to achieve just that! Report
I think this blog writer is missing a HUGE piece of the puzzle. So, this young man has tried to get on the show a couple of times. Have you thought about the possibility that he simply just does not know where to begin? Perhaps he this is the most "reaching out" that he is capable of right now in his life. You don't get to be 85 lbs or over overweight overnight (yes, I speak from experience) and have some idea about how to live healthy. When you come to the realization that your daily decisions are affecting your health and your life span, your habits have spun out of control and become overwhelming. Everyone around you is telling you what you should and shouldn't do... You are too embarrassed at your fitness level to begin to exercise in any gym, with eyes all around you... There is no way that someone who has never been in the category of 85lbs or more overweight could possibly fully understand the point this young man was at when he was waiting for the audition. If there is compassion and decency in the world, I would hope that someone gave him some information and direction on where he could go in his area to make a start. I would hope the blogger would have at a minimum directed him to spark people. Report
I dunno I admit I didn't read the whole thing-quite frankly I couldn't stand the thought of reading another article about TBL. You know I might have been tempted at one time but you know they treat the contestants like garbage and I dont think I am THAT desperate to lose weight that I could put myself through that. I especially think its despicable how they scream at people and also how they shark tank them and kick off the ones who lose the least- RATINGS over PEOPLE!!! Report
I really enjoyed this blog. The biggest loser is an unrealistic program but I do enjoy watching the contestants turn themselves from morbidly obese to "healthy" weights. I know that there is a lot of hollywood editing and enough time has passed to see their struggles in the real world so I personally would not want to go to the ranch. I will take my daily struggle because I know when I reach my goal, I will have finally "won" my battle. Report
Thank God am not overe weight enough to be even considered, even I I were I would not keep trying and not doing anything else, I watch the show and take tips from it, if he really wants to do something about his weight he should know that he does not have to be on the show to change his life, am sure he must have seen the ones who put the weight back on after going back to the real world!! Report
The voyauer in me likes the show. But, I agree with previous posters -it's not realistic for real life. They don't have to work, raise a family, keep a house, etc. during their time there. They have no distractions (TV/computer social networks). There are also blogs about the quick-loss tactics for weigh in day (diuretics, ex-lax)...
That said, it is inspiring. If those folks who weigh as much or more than me can do those things, damn it. I'm going to do it! Report
Has anyone ever seen any follow-up from contestants? How many have manged to keep the weight off when they go back to normal life where they're not having meals prepared for them and undergoing rigorous physical training 4-6 hours a day? Report
I'm inspired by the contestants and learn some useful tips now and then about nutrition or fitness. I wouldn't say I love everything about the show (Jillian yelling in their faces, ugh), but seeing people who are much bigger than me get up and run and sweat makes me think "What's my excuse?" Report
I watch the show because it provides me some inspiration. However, for me, SP is the only way that works. It's been more than 20 years since I've been able to loose This much weight and follow a plan consistently for almost 9 months. I would never want to be on the show or put my body through BL methods. Report
I watched the show once. I did not like the way people were pushed. I feel that the emotional stress to succeed could be more damaging than actual physical stress. Not my idea of success or long term health. Report
I was one of fools standing in a line for hours in hopes of being one of the chosen ones. It was very surreal seeing and listening to all the people standing, actually most were sitting in chairs waiting to go in. Several had already done the weight loss surgeries with many life threaten complications but are still out searching for a "quick fix". My intention for wanting to do it was I wanted the push to workout. If I have a constant focus I'm golden. According to BMI Charts I'm considered obese, even though I could run circles around my sister who is a twig. Needless to say, I wasn't chosen. I think it was finally the wakeup call on my own that it's a lifestyle change and not just about losing weight but being healthy. Part of me is grateful that I did not make the show because I would have more than likely been one of the ones creeping back up the scale. The approach the show takes to losing weight is not realistic in the real world. People don't have 6 hours a day to dedicate to working out. It's all about balance. I find it very difficult to even watch the show anymore. I'm glad people can use it as a tool to launch themselves into a healthier lifestyle. Just wish it was more relatable to the rest of America. Report
I have enjoyed cheering for people on the show to lose. I am not unrealistic that it is anything but a show.
the best part was finding Jillian Michaels email newsletter that is awesome. Informative and helpful Report
WOW, well that is a good blog on the show. It still is a favorite with me primarily the journey folks end up taking. Some don't like it, and fight till they leave, where they are now, who knows. But we all chose our way, and for some this show LOOKS like a good choice....BUT the intensity of it, the daily struggles, have to be eye opening for many of those who are so out of shape and not just OBESE. One can be pencil thin and be in dire jeopordy with their health. I would never go the route of Weight loss surgery, having seen too many patients returning to the hospital with major health issues they end up dealing with due to the surgery. The BEST way is to make your plan, short term goals, and plan to take TIME....nothing works fast. No matter WHAT we see on BL, or with all the WL things on the market. Report
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