Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Biggest Loser Season 15, Episode 12: "Oh look, it's a fork that an Olympian used, how thrilling!"

I got a little tired of the Olympic-level gushing over every little thing this episode. I did like that they pointed out that even Olympic athletes have faced setbacks and challenges.  But all of the phony thrill -- "It's so great to weigh in near the ski jump, even though I'm freezing to death" -- wore thin. They did get some really cool coats out of that last one -- I think those jackets were made just for this episode (by Marmot -- the logo was quite prominently displayed).

I was already frustrated because our NBC affiliate has not made a deal with Buckeye Cable, and so I was trying to watch this episode with the digital antenna. Our signal kept going out, no matter what gymnastics we tried with it.  Beginning next week, I teach Tuesday nights. Since I can't record the episodes, I'll just be watching on Unless, hope against hope, this whole cable mess gets straightened out.

Because the contestants were at the Olympic training center, they had to manage their own eating. Rachel reminded me of Vickie -- she had brought a cooler packed with all of her "safe" food from the ranch.  Everyone else seemed to struggle, and as Bob predicted, there were some lackluster weigh-ins, including two people who gained weight (or "plussed" in Biggest Loser terminology).

The challenges this time were fun because they got to incorporate some of the Olympic sports. There was a simplified version of curling.  The contestants had to run up a one-mile bobsled track at altitude. I have spent time at altitude only once, and it was very hard on me. I felt sick the entire time. This made Rachel and Jay's fight to win this challenge even more impressive.

There was much talk of Rachel having a "target on her back" because of her incredible success in everything. Jay, who is very close to his goal weight, pulled back on some of the challenges because he didn't want to make the contestants resent him and want to vote him off. The problem is, that strategy didn't work.  I think Rachel has the right idea -- she already tried giving up on her goals to win love, and it didn't work. Why not go all out?  She doesn't seem to be bragging about how great she is all the time, she just is very strong and focused. This week she passed the 100-pounds-lost mark. Jay could not have won "The Biggest Loser" title -- he has a lower percentage of weight lost than Rachel, and he only had 7-8 pounds more to lose. Rachel looks great now, but as an average-height woman, she could push herself down to the 120s or even the 110s and still be in a healthy BMI  range, and she's at 155 now.  She is definitely the one to beat.

Here are the updated stats, with data from the show's wiki page:

Contestant Age Height Starting BMI Current BMI Start Most Recent % Lost
Rachel 24 5'4" 44.6 27.6 260 155 38.08%
Jay 38 5'10" 42.6 27.5 297 193 35.35%
David 43 6'2" 52.5 34.7 409 266 33.99%
Tumi 41 5'8" 48.5 33.6 319 221 30.72%
Bobby 28 6'3" 44.7 31.7 358 256 29.05%
Chelsea 28 5'6" 38.9 27.6 241 168 29.05%
Jennifer 42 5'7" 41.7 29.6 266 189 28.95%
Marie 30 5'6" 40.2 29.5 249 178 26.51%
Matt 38 6'3" 45.7 33.8 356 263 26.12%
Tanya 40 5'7" 41 31 262 196 24.43%
Hap 26 6'5" 47.8 37.5 403 316 21.59%
Holley 24 5'8" 53.4 42.1 351 277 21.08%
Craig 30 6'1" 50.8 40.5 385 307 20.26%
Ruben 35 6'3" 57.7 47.1 462 377 18.40%
Fernanda 32 5'7" 39.2 32.6 250 208 16.80%

I have to admit that I liked the other contestants less for resenting Rachel's success. But there were some good moments with Jennifer facing her fears (though I really hope her daughter never watches this show, since a clip of Jillian saying "you're more than just the mom with the fat kid" got in there). Marie, too, hopes to win. She even carries Bobby piggyback when she can't jump up to his back.

It's hard to tell if Bobby is really a slacker, or if Bob is just being hard on him. But he admits to having some trouble with binge eating, and he is one of the ones who gains weight. Like Tanya, he got a break this week with the voting because no one saw him as a threat.  I have to say, I'm glad Bobby gets to do Makeover Week (I'm so excited about next week!).

Speaking of makeovers, we got to see Tumi trying on wedding dresses and she looked gorgeous. It was sad to me that she didn't feel like trying on dresses when she first got engaged because she was too big.  I liked what she said about feeling like a winner whether she wins a prize or not.

We are up to a two-hour format again -- but unlike last season, I don't feel like it's filled with fluff. These episodes feel jam-packed, so it's hard to include everything in these reviews.  Frustratingly, because my reception was going in and out, there were a lot of things I missed that I'm catching up on this morning by listening to the episode on while working on this post.

One of those things was Rachel's talk with Dolvett about her dad. She and her dad stopped talking a while when she kept swimming. I don't think parents should push their children so hard or make them feel that their love is dependent on accomplishments, but at the same time, I can't imagine feeling happy if I had a child who was offered several college scholarships for swimming but quit for a high-school boyfriend.  Rachel also revealed that this was around the time that her parents got divorced, so I'm sure the hard feelings there played a part in their estrangement. Rachel said her dad has been very encouraging since she told him she was trying out for this show. I hope, though, that she doesn't feel like her dad will only love her when she's a winner.

Again, next week is Makeover Week! My post might be a little later since I will be teaching on Tuesday night.  So do you think that Rachel will have her Rapunzel-like locks cut (I hope not too much)? I can't wait to see what David looks like without that ugly beard.


  1. Forgot one thing -- after watching Jennifer do those box jumps, Jesse and I wanted to try it, so we jumped up on our couch. No problem! I'm ready for my BL tryout!

  2. I have never watched the Biggest Loser, and what I know of it has come from your Blog. If I can get it on my free digital channels I may have to start watching. If not, your reviews are great! Thanks!

    1. Thanks! You can watch full episodes online at, and you should have a local NBC affiliate.

  3. I made notes as I watched.

    David's posture is driving me nuts. I don't know why one of the trainers doesn't help him correct it. Beard drives me nuts too. On Jay the scruff looks great.

    Loved Apolo Anton Ohno's talk about mind work.

    Loved the curling competition.

    It took me a bit to figure out no ice on track, wheels on sleds.
    I don't think it is the recipe, but it is one.

    Jennifer and the box. I would have been scared of catching toes, breaking bone, being out of exercise. Not sure where one draws the line with some of those things. I will not do anything that puts me at risk. That stool looked easily tipped.

    My biggest factor with travel is always lower water intake because of unknown proximity to bathrooms, even though I do not have bladder issues (anymore). Yes, I would have packed my food too. Smiled at your note on that.

    They did much better job of showing other contestants. I like the 2 hour format better too. Thought they did a good job. Olympic references did not bother.

    Very glad we stopped hearing about dead wife . . .


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07