Tag Archives: body image

What I learned from the Biggest Loser

This post is the final in a trilogy of posts I’ve written about the experience I had auditioning for The Biggest Loser.  You can find the first post by clicking here and the second by clicking here.

There are precious few articles available for those seeking the reality behind the reality of the Biggest Loser. I went digging for information almost as soon as I got home from the audition in Dallas. What I did find, coupled with my own experience of those ridiculous 2 minutes, changed my outlook on the show forever.

Former contestants are not allowed to speak about their experiences on the show unless given express permission by NBC. They’re threatened with legal action if they do. (See this article from The Huffington Post for details.)  As such, it’s hard to find information.

Ryan Benson, the very first winner of Biggest Loser, gained back nearly all of his weight after the spotlight grew dim.  He was back above 300 pounds (his show weight was 330) and noticeably absent from the first reunion show.  He later admitted that he lost the weight on the show by fasting and dehydrating himself to  the point where he was urinating blood.  (See this article from the New York Times for details.)

Shortly after my own audition, I found this article in the Tampa Bay Times about a former contestant/Tampa Bay resident that just about broke my heart.  It also made me feel enormously grateful that all I did was laugh during my 2 minutes in front of the hipster doofus casting assistant.  While the before and after pictures are still highly motivating to me, I no longer watch the show.  I might look at the before and after shots on the news the next day, but I don’t even watch the season finale.

Requiring a contestant to promote drinking milk for the show, then making them spit it out after the shot is filmed because they’re not allowed to drink milk…that’s lying to the audience.  It’s either good for you or it’s not.  You either approve or you don’t.  You don’t suck up to advertisers and make your contestants shoot commercials for it…then make them spit it out as soon as they’re done.  That appalls me.

Even before I read the articles I’ve referenced here, I had grown tired of the manufactured drama of the Biggest Loser.  My fact finding mission really drove the final nail in the coffin for me.  Contestants losing their hair from lack of nutrition, working out 5 – 8 hours a day, eating nothing but asparagus for days before weigh in.  These things are not sustainable.  It’s not motivating to me when I know what’s really going on.

I always assumed that the trainers were there with the contestants every day, but they aren’t.  They’re present once a week and only for a limited time.  When the show first started, the trainers warned contestants against using pre-packaged diet foods to stay within their calorie limits…and now they’re selling their own line of the same crap.  Biggest Loser merchandise sales bring in millions and millions of dollars.

After 20+ years of struggling with food issues, I’ll tell you what really scares me:  fitness professionals who are selling something.  I wish I could get a kickback from all the diets, pills, cookbooks, and other diet & fitness related products I’ve purchased over the years.  I will never again lose track of the fact that the diet industry makes money off of fat people.  Not skinny people.  FAT PEOPLE.  I can smell a snake oil salesman a mile away.  No, thank you.  That’s why I’m determined to lose this weight myself without surgery, pills, shakes, or special diets.

That’s also why you don’t see automated banner ads on my site.  If I can’t control what goes on it, I’m not putting it on my site.  How can I preach a logical, healthy approach to weight loss and healthy living if I have ads on my site for surgery, pills, and special magic shakes.  I refuse to be part of the problem.

I really encourage you to read the articles I’ve referenced here and form your own opinions.  Motivation is a very individual thing.  If you’re motivated by the Biggest Loser, then I say go for it.  In these three posts, I’ve shared my experience and my feelings with you…and I thank you for reading.

2013 is just around the corner…assuming those crazy Mayans were wrong.  Let’s lose a few pounds in December so we can start the New Year with a bang.  Resolutions are for chumps.  🙂

(I totally couldn’t afford this, but how awesome would this be? I would burn so many calories while blogging…)

Don’t dim my fridge lights, bro!

On to part 2 of this amazing tale of tired feet, sore backs, and shattered dreams. I feel duty bound to tell you at this point that there may, indeed, be a part 3. I didn’t deliberately deceive y’all yesterday when I said I had to break it into 2 parts, I’m just a real wordy bitch. Apologies in advance if that happens.

So I left off yesterday as we were ushered to the hospital cafeteria, goodie bags in hand, to fill out our official Biggest Loser applications.  It was well after lunch by this time and, to add insult to serious foot injury, the grill was closed.  Either that or the 684 contestants who were in front of us ate all the food and they had to close up shop.  I didn’t ask – partially because I was trying not to gag over the stench of the only food they were still serving:  Subway.  Sorry, Jared…your food smells like vinaigrette mixed with ass.

None of us had thought to bring snacks either.  Imagine that:  over a thousand fat people in the same place and no food.  Well played, Subway.  I’d brought some carrot sticks with me, but they were long gone.  Normally I would have brought a backpack full of partially hydrogenated nummies, but ya know, I thought I needed to bring rabbit food to show the producers how good I was at liking healthy food.  Because my giant ass was proof that I loved nothing more than a good salad after a stressful day, right?

I sat there with my 8 new BFF’s, feeling more hungry than I could ever remember, trying to keep my hand from trembling as I filled out my application (just in case they were also judging on penmanship). I didn’t even think about the goodie bag until one of the guys in my group grumbled, “Oh great…I bet these taste good.”  I looked up to find him holding a bag of something called Protein Crisps.  The look on his face was priceless.

Volunteers were stationed at the cafeteria entrance, calling out contestant numbers in sets of 5 every few minutes.  They called out #548 and I looked down at my contestant number.  #649.  Awesome.  I was going to be in Subway Stinkland for a while.

After a while, we became restless.  Our applications were completed with what we were all certain were perfect, heart-wrenching answers to all the producer’s questions.  They were bound to pick at least one of us.  Our goodie bags had been plundered.  Protein Crisps, a pen with the hospital’s logo on it, a message pad that said “Biggest Loser’ on it.  Nothing fabulous.  And no, no one touched their Protein Crisps.  Later that night I would carefully open the packet of crisps and offer one to our dog, Kokopelli.  She turned her nose up at it.  That dog would eat her own yard biscuits, but those Protein Crisps were just gross.

Before long, sitting hurt just as much as standing.  Every part of my body was throbbing and in pain.  Finally, they called #648…which was one of my BFF’s.  Then #649.  We were told to stand in a hallway, which we did with barely concealed excitement.  The rest of our friends soon joined us and the line began slowly moving.  We had no idea where we were going, but we were certain that our final destination was just around the corner.  Then we rounded the corner.

At least 200 people were lined up down a long hallway in front of us.  Jesus.  How long was this going to go on?  And now we were standing again, feet throbbing, with clunky goodie bags and applications to hold onto.  At least this line seemed to be moving faster, though.  The line seemed to end at a pair of elegant wood doors at the end of the hall.  I pictured a poshly decorated doctor’s conference room on the other side with a shiny black table, around which were seated a handful of Biggest Loser casting directors and producers.  The Promised Land.

In line…in another hallway. Sorry for the blur, but we were too tired for decent photography. (That’s me on the far right.)

We were positively wiggly by the time we got to those doors.  They were letting in groups of 10.  We were next.  They opened the doors and we rushed forward, but instead of finding ourselves in front of a bunch of Biggest Loser casting honchos we found ourselves in a huge auditorium.  A volunteer just inside the door told us to find seats.

We found seats off to the side in a little overflow section of folding chairs. I looked around and my heart sank.  There had to be at least 600 people in that auditorium.  We looked at each other in disbelief.  We were exhausted and hungry.  I would have cut a bitch for a half of a granola bar.  We thought we were at the end, yet there were still hundreds of people in front of us.  At that point, it felt like we were in the middle of some cruel joke.  Morale was starting to fade.

At least there was something to occupy our thoughts this time.  There was a woman on stage at a podium, speaking about her amazing weight loss success.  Everyone was riveted by her story.  Her “before” picture was projected on the screen behind her along with the Biggest Loser logo.  It was hard to believe that this skinny woman speaking to us had ever been overweight.  When her presentation ended she opened things up for questions and hands shot up all over the auditorium.

“What did you do to lose that much weight?” Girl-in-green-dress asked.

The answer was something like “Blah blah blah, portion control, blah blah blah…eating healthy food…”

Yeah.  That’s not what we wanted to know.  We’re professional fatties.  We’ve read a million books about portion contorl.  Besides, it felt like she was side-stepping something.

“How did you lose the weight?” came the next question from chick-with-red-hair.

“Blah blah blah…get in the right mindset…blah blah blah…hard work…”

No.  That’s not what we’re asking.  We’ve heard this shit a million times.  We’re still fat.

Finally, someone with balls stands up.  Blue-shirt-guy says, “How specifically did you succeed this time after so many failed attempts to lose weight?”

He got applause from the crowd.  We were all losing patience with this chick and her sketchy answers.  You’re in a room full of your fellow fatties, lady…spill the details already.  We eagerly awaited her reply.

“I had gastric bypass surgery here at the hospital.”

She clicked the remote in her hand and the slide changed from her “after” picture to one containing information about the hospital’s weight loss surgery programs.

My chin just about hit the floor.  Everybody’s chins just about hit the floor.  I was wrong about blue-shirt-guy having balls…because this chick had big brass ones.  So did the hospital.  What marketing genius.

No wonder the hospital volunteered to host the auditions.  What do you do with a thousand captive fatties, most (if not all) of whom are not going to get picked for the Biggest Loser?  You make them sit and listen to presentation after presentation about gastric bypass surgery.  Well played, you sneaky-ass motherfuckers.

The auditorium booed her.  Loudly.  She tried to recover by continuing to talk over the booing.  Eventually the crowd quieted down.  Off to the side, a Biggest Loser production assistant approached the stage and the auditorium went wild.  He stepped up to the microphone.

“We need numbers 438 through 447 out here in the hall please.”

What?  They’re only in the 400’s?  I was #648.  Son of a bitch.  Some of us were ready to cry.  It was the day that never ended.

Back on stage, gastric-bypass-chick introduced the next presenter.  Guess who it was?  Dr. I-Forget-Her-Name, Chief Resident Hoo-Hah over…you guessed it…Bariatric Surgery.

Sigh.  It was like being trapped in a timeshare meeting for fat people.

It was a collective slap in the face.  The doctor gave her presentation.  I didn’t hear much of it.  I started texting Hot Mess Hubby in disgust.  We had waited all eff’in day for a chance to have the shit kicked out of us on the Biggest Loser.  We wanted to learn from top nutritionists, chefs, and personal trainers.  We were auditioning for a reality show called The Biggest Loser, not Surgery Island.

The wheels of change finally began to turn in my rusty noggin when the next speaker was introduced.  A psychologist came to speak about the mindset you need for success.  She wasn’t pitching weight loss surgery, she was pitching something that every weight loss seeker needs whether they seek it through surgery or not:  change.  I wanted to hear the presentation…but I couldn’t.  Because two of my fellow fatties, seated in front of me, wouldn’t stop chattering.

Between the two of them, I’m sure they had at least 600 pounds to lose.  I was (and am) a pretty big girl…and these folks made me feel small.  Each of them was seated across two folding chairs and they filled up the space.  They definitely needed to be here with us – but they sat there laughing and chatting with each other, making fun of the doctor as she spoke.  In fact, when the doctor started speaking about change management, the woman looked at the man and said “Yeah, yeah, yeah already.  Too much work unless it’s for $250,000.”

Wow.  Not ready for change. At all.  I sat there, half listening to the presentation and half listening to them.  I was heart sick for them.  Maybe they were just as beat down with exhaustion as we were.  Maybe they were just venting.  But I wanted them to want to be there for more than just a $250,000 grand prize.

Their numbers were called and they stood up to go.  Our section applauded for them and they both turned to us and smiled, saying thanks as they picked up their belongings.  My heart really went out to this woman.  Her weight was everywhere.  It was pushing her cheeks up against her eyes.  Her neck was a giant roll.  Her face was so full that her chin had a tennis ball sized protrusion at the end of it.  She wheezed when she moved to gather her things.  I wanted to hug her and tell her to kick some ass when she got in front of those producers.

As I sat there watching her slowly waddle away, I realized…she’s me.  She’s me.

Since I was a little girl, one of my most prominent features have been my “big, brown eyes”.  Everyone has always complimented me on my eyes.  But at 381 pounds, my eyes had stopped being a prominent feature.  My face was puffy.  My body was huge.  If I kept up living as I was, my body would only be getting bigger.  As my new BFF’s chatted easily with each other, I sat there feeling ashamed of myself.  What had I done to myself?  I was on the wrong road.  Whether I miraculously made it on the show or not, something had to change.  I sat there with my mind reeling, knowing there was more for me to discover in this new realization, but not wanting to think on it too much in this huge room full of people.  I needed quiet time to really think this through.

They called our numbers and we bolted up and ran for the door.  Finally.  We were ushered down another hall and told to wait.  The volunteer in charge of us assured us that we were almost there, but I was hesitant to believe her at this point.  I wouldn’t have been too shocked if the next room included a panel of plastic surgeons to pitch tummy tucks for when we all hit our goal weights.  This was not the day of promise and possibility that I thought it would be when I woke up.  It was a day of exhaustion, realization, and hard lessons.

We stood in the hall together, excitedly chattering and taking pictures of our group, vowing to keep in touch.  Some of us lived quite far from each other, but we promised to get together when we could – especially if one of us made it on the show, as we would want to have a watch party some night.  It seemed our time together was finally coming to an end and it made me a little sad to think of it.

Part of my BFF’s as we waited to see what was behind door #3…

The volunteer came back to us, this time with the air of a boot camp drill instructor.

“Everyone in here, quickly!”  She pointed to an open door that led to a small meeting room.

As we rushed towards the door, she stepped in before us.  There was a lone man, very young, sitting at a small conference table.  He had a Hollywood hipster look about him, one I was all too familiar with since I’m from southern California.  He didn’t even look up.  The volunteer drill instructor spoke next.

“Quickly, put your things on the floor against the wall and have a seat.  Bring your applications.  Hurry up now!”

We dropped our shit and ran to the table and sat.  It was time to win a spot on the hottest reality show on tv.  The volunteer stepped out and closed the door behind her.  Finally, hipster boy spoke.

“Welcome, everyone.  We only have two minutes together today, so I’ll make this quick.  My name is (insert hipster doofus name) and I’m a casting assistant for the Biggest Loser.  Going around the table, tell me your name and where you’re from.”

He pointed at the person on his left and said “Go.”

Like military recruits, we spouted off our names and where we were from.  The only thing missing was “Sir, yes sir!” at the end.  He sat there, slouched in his chair, unimpressed.  Inside, I was thinking “Two minutes?  Did he say we only have two minutes???

“Pass me your applications.”

We passed them.  What happened next was a real eye opener for me.

“Okay, I just have one question for the group.  Why do you want to be on the Biggest Loser?”  He made an open gesture at all of us and said, “Go!”

Like a crazed pack of monkeys, everyone started chattering at him at once.  They were almost yelling over each other, each vying for his attention.  It wasn’t a discussion, it was a shouting match…and he sat there slouching in his chair with a slight smile on his face as this display went on before him.  I sat there with my mouth hanging open in amazement as my new BFF’s threw all decorum out the window and just yammered over each other like this was normal every day behavior.  I started laughing.  I couldn’t help it.  Our group went from being BFF’s forever to a bunch of screaming degenerates who’d stab each other in the back for a shot at this guy’s attention.  And he sat there gloating…as if we were all on Atkins and he had placed a single cupcake in the middle of the table.  I can’t imagine that he was able to hear much of what any one person said.  I couldn’t stop giggling to myself over the absurdity of it all.  I couldn’t think of a single thing to say that warranted yelling it above everyone else.  About 45 seconds into the melee, I heard myself say in my head “You are not the Biggest Loser.”

He held a hand up and there was instant silence.  Hipster doofus had the power.

“Okay, we’re almost out of time.  Quickly around the table:  would you want Bob or Jillian…and why?”

Each person blurted out their answers one at a time.  It was the only time I actually spoke while I was in that room.

Hipster boy explained that if we were selected to continue further we would get a call by 9 pm that night.  I already knew the phone wasn’t going to ring at my house…and that was okay.  I have a low threshold for crazy.

We hugged each other goodbye in the lobby and promised to let each other know if we got called.  That night, I waited for the call that wasn’t coming and emailed the group at 9:05 pm to let them know I wasn’t selected.  One of our group was chosen to go to a casting callback and another was asked to make a video tape and submit it.  Despite that, neither was selected to go any further.

I spent the rest of the day overwhelmed with everything I was feeling.  I was happy that I went, angry at the insensitive marketing done by the hospital, and absolutely aghast at the 2 minute brawl that ensued in that tiny little conference room.  As much as I tried, I couldn’t fathom how anyone could glean enough information from that 2 minute shouting match in order to narrow down the contestant field.  It seemed to me a process that was as ridiculous as it was futile.  I would rather have been pitted against others in a more civilized forum – or even a physical challenge.

In the weeks that followed, I sent a few emails to my BFF’s to check on them.  No one responded.  We were strangers again as quickly as we were friends, which only added to the weirdness of the entire experience.  Quite some time later, one of them found me on Facebook and we’ve stayed in touch…but everyone else is long gone.  I wish them well.

I ached to the bone the following day from all the hours of standing on my feet.  I was curious about the experiences of Biggest Loser contestants in a way I hadn’t been before.  The casting call was an eye opener for me.  I waited all day thinking I would have the chance to speak to a casting assistant for the show and instead I was thrown into a ridiculous situation.  In this case, the reality of the reality show did not meet with my expectations – and I wanted to see if there was anything else about the Biggest Loser that I had misconceptions about.

There was, indeed – but that’s a story for tomorrow.  It’s taken me over 3,000 words to tell you about the remainder of an amazing day…and I hope you’ve enjoyed it somehow.  Tomorrow I’ll tell you what I learned in my search for answers.  That will be Part 3.  I doubt it will take 3,000 words…but like I said:  I’m quite a wordy bitch.

I learned I wasn’t the Biggest Loser, but I also connected with the fact that I was on a dangerous path…and that I needed to find a way to change direction once and for all.  This was the beginning of my beginning.  This experience sent me looking not only for answers but solutions as well.

See you tomorrow.  🙂

I am not the Biggest Loser

The Biggest Loser.

I’m pretty sure most of you are aware of the tv show that has motivated so many of us to lose weight. If you’re not, it’s a show where obese contestants are put through a rigorous boot camp and taught to eat healthy while competing to stay on the show by losing the most weight each week. Each week, the two people who have lost the least amount of weight are up for elimination…and the rest of the contestants have to vote whether to keep them on the Biggest Loser Ranch (where they all live, eat, and work out during the course of the show). One contestant is voted off each week. I have run the full gamut of emotions – from disgust to adoration and back again – when it comes to this tv show. I have loved it and I have hated it…and now? Well, I appreciate parts of the show for what it can give me – but my eyes are fully open and I no longer get the joy from it that I once did.

There is something highly motivating about watching a person go from morbidly obese to absolutely fit and healthy, especially in a short amount of time.  Let’s face it:  if there was a healthy way to lose our weight in a week’s time, we’d all be doing it.  I know I would.  So when we see these folks being monitored by doctors and personal trainers and losing weight so quickly…it’s inspiring.  And I love before & after pictures.  So motivating.

I missed the first season of The Biggest Loser. On purpose. I remember sitting in front of the tv one night and a teaser came on. I watched in horror as severely overweight contestants did push-ups with their faces dangerously close to plates full of donuts. I was mortified at the humiliation they were putting these people through for the sake of tv ratings (gimme a break…reality tv was still fairly new back then). I was adamant that I would never watch such a show. And then the end of the season came and the before & after pictures of the winner were splashed all over the media. Amazing. And I thought to myself “Ohhhh…that’s the humiliating donut push up show….”

Although I was happy for the winner, I still didn’t want to see the show. Somewhere in the next two seasons, I remember reading an interview of one of the producers who said they got a little carried away in the beginning and decided to tone it down from now on. There would be no more humiliating stunts like that, according to him. I was very glad to read that, but honestly…they’ve kept things dangerously close to the boundary between “good tv” and humiliating – and they’ve continued to do the one thing that always gets an eye roll from me.

In the conference room where the weekly voting takes place, each contestant’s name is on a lighted refrigerator case that’s loaded with the types of foods that made them fat. (Also tacky: when it’s time for the contestants to vote someone off the show, they reveal their votes by lifting the cover off a serving dish…under which hides the name of the person they’ve voted for.)  Once the votes are cast the host says “I’m sorry, but you are not the biggest loser.” And then, in extremely dramatic fashion, the lights go out in their fridge and they say tearful goodbyes to their friends.

You can just make out the refrigerator cases behind these contestants. And, of course, there are the covered dishes concealing the doomed contestant’s identity. A little over the top in the “you’re fat, so we’re camping up the set decoration” department for me.

I eff’in hate this.

Besides, as a fatty who has fallen off the wagon many times, I call shenanigans on that shit. If they’re not the Biggest Loser, shouldn’t the fridge light go ON? I mean, really, what do we do after another failed diet attempt? We reach for a pint of mint chip. Okay, I won’t speak for you – but that’s the shit I used to pull. And when you hear what the contestants are really doing on the ranch in order to succeed, I’m hella surprised no one’s gone another way on voting day. That’s probably why all the fridge food is plastic – because I wouldn’t hesitate to go out with a bang.

Host: “Dianne, I’m sorry…but you are not the Biggest Loser.”

(dramatic music: dun-dun-DUN!!!!)

Me (crying): “I guess I shouldn’t have had that second spear of asparagus last night…”

Then I see my fridge. Buffalo wings, pizza, Pop Tarts, Little Debbie cakes everywhere…

Me (inching closer to the fridge): “I love you guys…stay strong, ok??”

Host: “It’s time for you to leave the ranch…”

BAM! I knock down the perky host, swing open the fridge door, and grab a buffalo wing before security can grab the back of my super tight spandex sports bra.

Me (mouth full of buffalo wing): “Later, bitches!”

Yeah. Dignity right out the eff’in door. I have no doubt I’d have gone right back on track, but if I’ve already lost a chance at $250,000 then fuck it…I’m eat’in a wing. Isn’t that what usually happens when we fail to hit the big goal? We go to the fridge to start snacking. BING! The light goes ON, not off.


Okay, I took this train waaaay off track. This post isn’t about the ridiculous dimming of the refrigerator light, it’s about the time I auditioned for The Biggest Loser – Season 10. That’s right…I did. I auditioned.

Before I was a Hot Mess Princess, I was a Biggest Loser hopeful with a really bad haircut. Thanks, Supercuts.

This is coming up now because last weekend I asked the folks on my Facebook fan page what they’d rather hear about and my Biggest Loser 10 audition was the hands-down favorite.

It was a horrendously long day – so I’m breaking this up into two posts. I promise it’s not some skanky blogger trick to get you to come back tomorrow, it’s just that most people have a max tolerance for about 1,200 words (and that’s pushing it)…and this post is already well past that.  So this is me trying to spare you the pain of rolling your eyes at me. Here we go…

Biggest Loser 10 auditions were at a Dallas hospital that year and I braved a storm of biblical proportions to get there. The rain was coming down so hard that I could barely see out the windshield with the wipers on their fastest setting. At one point, I had to pull over and wait because I couldn’t see at all. Finally, I got to the hospital where the auditions were – and even though I arrived two hours early, the place was a madhouse. I ended up parking in a covered garage that was quite a ways away from the hospital entrance. As I stood under the protection of the garage and plotted out my sprint-waddle through the downpour, I hear a loud honk honk honk!

As if it were Divine Intervention, a hospital shuttle van approached me. The driver popped open the door.

Driver: “Are you the Biggest Loser? Ha ha ha!!!!” He probably weighed 120 pounds soaking wet. Ass. I was tempted to ask him what gave me away. Was it the size 32 pants? I decided not to commit verbal assault that early in the morning.

I smiled and got on the bus, relieved to see other fatties already onboard. We struck up an easy conversation as the bus lurched over speed bumps on its way to the front of the hospital. By the time we were dropped off at the entrance, we were fast friends.

A volunteer waved us in through a large tent that had been set up. Inside, hundreds of my fellow fatties were already in line, looking bored and already hungry. The end of the line was nowhere in sight. We were ushered to the back, through a hall, through another hall, passing The Biggest Loser signs everywhere, down two flights of stairs and through a door…where we ended up at the back of the line…in a cold, dark underground parking garage. I surmised the garage was for doctors only, as there wasn’t a Toyota in sight.

The bus group instantly began chattering. Introductions all around. The camaraderie was awesome. Some of you may relate to this and some of you may think I’m a horrible person, but whenever I go to an event I immediately begin sizing myself up to every other person in the room. I’m usually the fattest person around, which puts me into wallflower mode. I’m quiet and shy (shut up, it really does happen!)  If I know anyone at the event, I stick to them like glue. However, if I’m not the biggest person in the room then I’m much more myself. I joke around, I have fun. I’m relaxed. This is a hangover from my days as a dancer when I was constantly judged for my appearance. I’ve never been able to shake it. So imagine my euphoria at being around 800 of my fellow fatties…many of whom were bigger than 381 pound me.

We were there two hours early, so the line didn’t move for two more hours. During that time, the end of the line grew so far away that we couldn’t see it anymore. The hours passed and the line started to slowly crawl ahead. Every time we hit a landmark, our group would cheer. Seriously, we were making a spectacle of ourselves (which producers actually like). Made it out of the underground garage. CHEER! Made it up the first flight of stairs. CHEER!! Made it around the corner and could actually see the lobby. CHEER!!!

The scope of this thing was beyond us to comprehend.  We spent our hours together   happily fantasizing about how we’d all keep in touch if one of us was chosen for the show.  We would start up Facebook groups and watch parties, gleefully cheering for our friend on tv.  We had already exchanged emails and phone numbers.  We were all BFF’s.

The line wound its way around the outside of the lobby and into the tent. By the time we hit the tent, those of us who were on the larger side of the fatty spectrum were in pain. We took turns sitting on the ground and helping each other up. There was no place to sit. Finally, the lobby doors were in sight. A volunteer stood nearby, counting off contestants in groups of 20 and waving them through every few minutes. Soon it was our turn.

When we came through the lobby doors, dozens of Biggest Loser volunteers stood up and cheered for us. It was quite an amazing, nearly tear-rending experience. After being lined up for hours like cattle and being hopped up on the excitement of the day, those cheers told us that we were nearly at the end of our journey. Soon, we would be in front of the casting directors of The Biggest Loser.

Or so we thought.

We were waved over to tables, where we were asked to sign waivers so that they could use our pictures on the show. (Picture the footage they always show on the season premiere of everyone lined up to audition.) One of the volunteers handed me an application with my contestant number on it.

“This is your golden ticket,” she said.  “Do not lose this!”

We were handed goodie bags and sent to the hospital cafeteria, where we were assured that we could finally sit. Sounded like heaven to me after endless hours of standing. So off we went to sift through our goodie bags and fill out our applications, certain that our wait was nearly at an end.

In truth, there were several more hours and one big ass slap in the face coming our way…and that was long before we got in front of any casting directors. I’ll post the rest of the story tomorrow.  Again, not to leave you in suspense but I’m quickly closing in on 2,000 words and you need a break.  Am I right?

Until tomorrow, let me just say that I am not the Biggest Loser. (dun-dun-DUN!!!)


Hey y’all!

I’m ready!  I am eff’in ready.  My goal isn’t just to get through Halloween…or even the holiday season…without over indulging.  My goal is to get to New Year’s Eve 15 pounds lighter than I am today.  I may be a Hot Mess…but I’m also a bit of a badass.  I can totally do this!











I may make some additional updates to my blog so that my status updates are all in one place for this project, but for right now I’m just going to blog them.  My weight tracker is on the top right corner of this page (on my blog’s home page if you’re reading this via email).  My starting weight is 338 pounds.  (If you’re new here, you should know that’s down 43 pounds from where I started…badass!)

As a little side project, I decided to see how many push-ups I can do.  If I stand about a foot and a half away from the wall and do them against the wall, I did 10 of them before I realized I wasn’t going to be able to lift my arms at work tomorrow if I continued.  I totally get all Rocky Balboa on myself when I have a goal, so I had to reign it in just a little bit.  Even now as I sit at the coffee table and write this on my laptop, my arms are feel’in it.

I’ve had a hella busy weekend and I didn’t get everything done that I needed, so I’ve had to make some sacrifices.  For example, my house is still a mess…but I’ve gotten everything done that I needed for this challenge.  Well, parts of the house are clean – but it’s like I cleaned with A.D.D. or something.  There isn’t one room that’s totally done.  There are pockets of clean and mess everywhere.  It’s kind of pissing me off that I can’t clone myself and get more done.

I blame the Hot Mess Hubby and the fur persons for my lack of organization this weekend, actually.  The Hubs, although very sweet & cuddly (and sometimes farty), was doing a lot of “C’mere babe!” this weekend.  “C’mere babe!” is Hot Mess Hubby code for cuddle up on the couch and watch 3 episodes of Burn Notice with me so I don’t have to feel guilty about all the cleaning you’re doing.  Yep.  I said that shit.

Kirby also has a way of getting us to do what she wants whether we want to or not.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of being owned by a Saint Bernard, I can tell you that they’re incredible dogs…but they can be very stubborn and quite insistent when they want something.  In Kirby’s case this weekend, she was miffed that I disappeared with Dyson on Saturday morning.  I took him to the vet…but she imagined we were off at the dog park, frolicking in the woods without her.  As a result, I spent a lot of the weekend with her giant head in my lap.  It’s best to just give in when she wants attention.  I can’t say no to her big brown eyes…look at this:

This photo was taken during an actual guilt trip in progress.















As if Kirby wasn’t enough, Caesar the cat made my daily chores hell today.  Little Mr. Crabby Tabby wouldn’t let me make the bed.  For some reason, he goes into crazy-ass mode when I start putting new sheets on the bed.  In fact, in comparing notes with the Hubs today we discovered that Caesar only pulls this shit for me.  I would be mad, but I think it’s his way of helping…because now I can make the Hubs change the bedding.  “What, babe?  I can’t do it…Caesar only freaks out for me.”

Seems legit.

Bring it, Momma!















So I did the best I could, but I still have laundry to do…and dishes to do…but it’s almost 9 pm and I’m all for kicking back with a good book for the rest of the night. This reminds me…

Upcoming project: my own meditation space. Won’t that be fun!

I’m an insomniac who can barely even get sleep on prescription sleep meds. As if that wasn’t bad enough, I’m having nightmares almost every night, so I’m not sleeping well. I’m thinking increased exercise and a nice quiet, comfy space to do some relaxation/meditation before bed might be just the thing. What do y’all think? Am I starting to sound too much like a hippy? What would you do if you were having sleep problems?

Upcoming recipe: caramel walnut apples.  A lighter (not tasteless diet grossness) version of a caramel apple.  I’m hoping to get that done by Saturday.

I’m looking forward to enjoying the fun part of Halloween and not letting the food demons control me.  Let’s have some fun, y’all!  What are your plans?

The Plan that Can

Today, I begin preparation for my attack on the holiday season. Join me, won’t you?

I love the holidays. I love autumn, especially…when summer shrivels up and crawls back to hell (I live in Texas…trust me, hell ain’t that far off in the summer) and the leaves begin to change and everything gets crisp and chilly.  Perhaps you think this is rather ho-hum where you live…but I am a born and raised southern California girl – so I might appreciate the change of seasons a little more than most…because seasons don’t change in southern California.

I remember in school we would start decorating with orange, yellow, and red paper…we would make leaves and decorate the classroom.  We would carve pumpkins and talk about seasons changing.  I love this time of year.

Fall 1971. Saving babies with my American flag and my awesome macaroni necklace. A little Hot Mess Bad Ass in the making.


















As you can see, I get a little carried away sometimes.  Check out my Indian head dress and paper bag squaw garb.  I think this was the day we made cornbread in the school cafeteria just like our forefathers did.  I was totally pumped…which is probably where I got the yankee doodle baby saving grin from.

Once when my Mom was driving me to dance class I saw an orange leaf on a tree and I got so excited.  Finally, I thought to myself, finally the leaves are changing and we’re going to have a real autumn…and maybe even a real winter!

Yeah, that shit never happened.

Now that I live in a place where we actually do have seasons, I get completely immersed in the festive atmosphere.  No, I don’t go around kneeling with an American flag and a baby anymore.  After 40, that shit’s just creepy. My enthusiasm for the holidays does add an extra level of danger to a season that’s already fraught with temptation, though.  Like I said yesterday, Halloween is my own personal gateway drug…and I’m not gonna let it grab me this year.

I’ve spent the past week or so giving some serious thought to what really sets me back this time of year.  What are the potential pitfalls I’m going to come up against and how can I avoid them?  What do I really love about the holidays?  What will I be sorry I missed if I don’t indulge in it?

That’s how I came up with my Plan that Can…and here are the basics:

  1.   Get through Halloween without anything scary popping up on the scale
  2.   Enjoy Thanksgiving fully, guilt free, and with my self-respect intact
  3.   Have a Hap-Hap-Happy Christmas & a Lighter New Year

Of course I’m going to share the juicy details of each of the parts I just listed…otherwise, this is just lame, right?  Baby steps, folks.  I’ve learned that I can’t fully be one with my kick-assery skills if I go too fast.  This is going to be a multi-post blog series.  For now, I plan to tackle Halloween.

Here are the details of my Halloween attack plan:

  •  No chocolate of any kind in this house.  And no Twizzlers.  And no Swedish Fish. Or Sugar Babies.  Basically, only cheap CRAP candy is allowed:  suckers, Dum Dums, those straw things with flavored sugar that I liked when I was 9 years old.  Those cheap, disgusting gummy body parts are ok for some reason.  They don’t ring my bell.  I don’t know why Swedish Fish are yummy and gummy eyeballs are gross, but I don’t set the rules…my food demons do.  I just work within the rules to get what I want.  If it looks like a severed toe, it’s not at all tempting…I don’t give a shit why.
  • Five second rule.  Doesn’t matter if I’m at work, at home, out with friends…I’m enacting the 5 second rule.  If I’m around something tempting, I have to do something about it in 5 seconds.  A co-worker gives me a little festive baggie of candy, I’m dumping it in 5 seconds.  In line at a potluck and I see a gorgeous cheesecake while I’m dishing up from the fruit bowl…5 seconds…MOVE!  Back away from the cheesecake, Princess.  The purpose of the 5 seconds is to not give myself the time to bargain or give in.  5 seconds.  I’ll either toss it in the kitchen/break room at work…give it to someone else…run away from it or throw it in the trash can.  Whatever it is, I’m thinking of me first…and all my hard work.
  • Indulge without Bulge.  There are things I love about Halloween that I don’t want to do without.  Roasted pumpkin seeds aren’t really a big no-no, but if you roast them in olive oil like I do…well…you still have to count it.  I’m still going to have my pumpkin seeds – and I’m not going to limit how many I have.  I’m going to eat as many as I want, but I’m also going to counter attack them by adding an extra workout and eating lighter meals the rest of that day.  Repeat after me:  adjust…so you don’t bust.  And (just because I know how completely full of shit I can be when it comes to excuses) I’ve already set the rule that I have to do that workout before I indulge in those roasted seeds or any other treat I decide to indulge in.
  • Fun.  I will replace food with fun.  We have no kids of our own, but we have a neighborhood full of the coolest kids around.  So I’m going to spook up the house with fog machines and lights and all my usual tricks…and I’m going to sit outside and watch trick or treaters.  Think back to when you were a kid and you were trick or treating…there was always that one house on the block that was so much fun, right?  Yeah, that’s my house.  This year, I’m having fun with the neighbors instead of mowing through mini snickers on the couch.

With this four-pronged attack and my usual eating/logging – and added workouts…well, Halloween oughta get a run for her money.  Last year all I did was buy $50 worth of crap and eat it all night.  Then I felt sick after.  This year will be different.  This year will be better.

In fact, I’m gonna level with y’all…I’ve been thinking some crazy thoughts lately.  Crazy in an awesome way.  I don’t just want to get through the holidays without gaining weight.  Nope.  I want to kick it up about a notch and a half.  Later this week, I’ll tell you how.

Today is October 16th.  There are 16 days left until Halloween, all of which will be heavily blogged about, peeps.

If you want to follow along, be sure you’re subscribed to my blog via email…because I’m going to be posting quite a few times a week.  If you watch for my posts on Facebook, you may not always see them.  That’s just the way Facebook works with fan pages.  So look up at the top of my home page on the right and find the SUBSCRIBE section…and subscribe via email!

If you want to create a similar plan for yourself, it’s time to start thinking about your own temptations and what really screws you up.  Then find a way around them:

Avoid the things you know you can’t control.

Have a plan of attack for the times those things surprise you.

If you plan to indulge, plan to work it off…and don’t let yourself down!

Find a way to enjoy the things you really love about the holidays…and make sure you won’t come away feeling deprived. Adjust so you don’t bust.

This is about being real…this about finding positive, fun ways to bring healthy changes to my life.  Because I know I can do it, because I want to prove it can be done.

Y’all know what I say:  No rest for a fat girl with a plan.  Bring it.