Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Biggest Loser . . .

So last night's episode of the Biggest Loser was, like the same episode of each of the first four seasons (the last episode BEFORE the live finale), one of my favorite two-hours of television in recent memory.

Many people call it "just another episode" but I like to call it "I'm going to cry for the next two straight hours, and I'm FINE with that."

Wow. What a great thing to see people who have lost no less than 93 pounds each in the last 105 days struggling with who they were, who they are and who they will be as they leave the safe confines of the Biggest Loser ranch (DISCLAIMER - Two of the four were home for between two and nine weeks already during the show and all of them went home for at least one week each during the show's run). I loved seeing the before and after "life size" posters (all of which were well larger than the people really were based on the height differences as they each stood next to their "old-self" posters) and realizing just how much a person can change, physically and beyond in 100 days.

Ava has been out of the womb (I won't argue when she was first "alive" or when her life "began" here out of respect for my Kansas neighbors and their positions on the issue) for about 630 days. I think about how much she has changed in that time and I try to imagine how much she's changed at each "century mark" of days in that time. When was the transition where she first started to crawl? Before 200. To pull up? Before 300. To walk? Well before 400. To run and jump and experiment with her new freedom? About 400. To talk, in a measured and clear and "real" way? About 500. To walk and talk at the same time, while chewing gum? About 600. I don't know - I guess my point is that any one set of "100 days" in Ava's life has made a huge difference and I might not have really taken that for all it is worth - until last night.

I also got thinking about the changes I have been through in the last 380 days. People who saw me before my surgery and didn't see me for a few months after and the reaction. People who saw me a few hundred days in to the last year and their reacion. People who have not seen me in years and what their reaction might be. My OWN reaction to myself through the last year and how little I focus on the physical image of my body as much as I focus on the mental and emotional changes and challenges I have had.

ALL four of the players last night got in to that change - that better self experience - to not just lose weight but to realize who they really were. To have their image match their self-image. To leave the baggage (and the protection) of being large and to be okay with giving up that shield. To be more ready for the world now then they were when they arrived at the ranch.
I could not even look at Roger without crying last night. He talked about his son. He talked about his wife and he talked about his life with them and how much it meant to them that he could be who he wanted to be for them now for the first time ever . . . "My wife finally will get the groom she deserved when we got married," he said . . . and I cried.

Then he said something to Bob that gave me actual chills . . . I may not be the smartest guy or the most handsome guy but you're not going to meet someone who will work as hard as me (paraphrasing).
It sort of reminded me about what The Biggest Loser is really about and what my surgery and subsequent journey has been about . . . it might not make me smarter or more attractive to lose 220 pounds in a year but how much does that result say about my ethic, resolve and commitment and my "work" on me and my journey? I'm as big of a loser as I can be in that context.
Anywho, MUCH props to Ali and Kelly - who WON their third straight weigh-in and who are now, percentage wise, both PRIME candidates to win the whole thing (Kelly, who has been a sleeper the whole show is only six pounds behind Ali with weight loss with LOTS more to lose than Ali does from the show to the finale).
It should be a GREAT night of television next Tuesday. LOTS of tears. LOTS of excitement for the contestants and LOTS of motivation for me to get agressive to see what I can do in the next 100 days to see what changes I can make and what differences I can see
OH - in a great twist, the American public gets to vote on the third contestant in the finale. PLEASE click here and vote.
If you have been watching the show - vote with your heart. If you have not been watching, take my word for it - vote for Roger. He's played a very, very honorable game the whole way through (never yelled at anyone, never lied while swearing on his children's lives and never tried to play mind games with his own team (unlike Mark)) and he is my hero of Season 5. I would LOVE to see him win. OTHERWISE - I'll happily see the first woman winner of the show. Kelly or Ali would represent the honor well!
Great episode, thanks for the tears, NBC!

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