How I Became a Winner, by being the Biggest Loser

Before I can tell you why I was successful on the Biggest Loser, first I have to tell you how I got to where I was. As a kid my parents fed my brothers and I as much as we wanted and would never say no. My parents grew up very poor and when they got married they promised each other that their kids would not suffer with hunger like they did as children. This meant that the fridge and our bellies were always full. Unfortunately this lead to my addiction with food and being overweight, something that I struggled with to this very day.


At my heaviest I weighed in at 370lbs and that was near the end of the winter of 2015. Like many Americans I’ve always wanted to lose weight and in many cases I did. At one point I lost 80lbs on a low carb diet, going down to about 240 from 320, but like all diets that I tried in the past, as soon as I got off it, the weight came back on and most of the time I ended up gaining more.  I thank God that I have always been an active person, I love sports, especially football and softball which I have participated in for many years. These sports kept me from gaining more than I should have. However at 370lbs, I realized that I was not the athlete that I once was, I wasn’t enjoying playing anymore, to the point that I stopped playing football and was on the verge of quitting softball as well.


The turning point in my life was one day when I was sitting on the couch drinking a coke and stuffing my mouth with chips, I looked over to my little boy Jacob and saw him playing with his toys by himself after begging me to play with him. That day I made up my mind, I had to do something to change my lifestyle. I started by eating right and walking more, I even made a promise to myself that I would not use the elevator at work for a year(FOR THE RECORD ITS BEEN 2 ½ YEARS SINCE I LAST USED IT).  A lot of people don’t know this but before I was cast for the Biggest Loser, I had already started my weight loss journey on my own, losing about 25 to 30 lbs. I got focused, every time I wanted to quit I just thought of my little guy playing by himself which pushed me to work harder, it became my driving force.


The Biggest Loser was hard, one of the hardest things I have ever done. At the same time I was in a competitive environment which made me feel right at home. It brought me back to my old High School days of the hot summer double football practices and early morning wrestling workouts. That drive of an athlete came back in both myself and my twin brother Luis, who by the way, won the show’s At-Home-Prize. Luis and I motivated each other to work hard, I hate losing to Luis and he hates losing to me, and so we always were in competition with each other.


Before the show started, I sat down and answered three simple questions? Simple, yeah right!!!

  1. Why did I get here? I first had to sit down and figure out what I was doing to gain all this weight. That was easy to answer, I was not eating right and I was not exercising. I was like many Americans across this country, who just sat on the couch and did nothing to improve their health. I was always look for the easy way out. News flash, America: There is no easy fix. The answer lies in hard work, eating right, and exercising.
  2. Where do I want to go? I had to figure out what I wanted from this experience, and the answer came to me fast: Lose weight and get healthy, not just for my family, but for myself. I wanted to be able to play with my boys and not have to take a break every 10 to 20 minutes. I wanted to live a long and healthy life. I want see my kids get married and one day have kids of their own. I want to have the chance to be that cool grandfather who runs after his grandkids.
  3. How do I get there? For me, this was also an easy answer: Hard work and full dedication on the Biggest Loser ranch, learn as much as I can while I’m there and apply it when I return to the real world. Now that I’m back in the real world, I realized real fast that it’s twice as hard to maintain as it was to lose.


One thing that I have always told myself is to forget about the numbers on the scale. People tend to focus on those numbers more than anything else. Focus on getting healthy, getting to a point where you feel good about yourselves, not just on how we look externally. I know that feeling of wanting to look good. I always wanted to wear a three-piece suit and was never able to — well, at least wear one that I looked good in. The truth is that today I feel great, which matters to me more than how I look.


Of course, I still struggle every day with temptations — I don’t think that will ever end. I try and focus on what I have done and what can happen if I fall off the wagon.


If you are just starting your journey and not just a weight loss journey “the struggle is real” for any journey you embark on, stay strong and focus on the desired outcome. If you are working on losing weight start by doing something that you enjoy, because like I tell people all the time when you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to do it again and again and again.


Please remember that when it’s all said and done, every one of us is capable of change, and with God on our side, anything is possible. So let’s take the next step and start this new journey together because we’re worth it. God Bless.


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Dr. Heather Thompson Day is an Associate Professor of Communication, and Editor of Envision Magazine at Andrews University. She is the author of 6 Christian books including Confessions of a Christian Wife, available January 2019. You can follow Heather on Twitter or IG at HeatherThompsonDay.

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