The Biggest Loser

January 6, 2012 — 5 Comments

I am watching NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” this season. It’s been a while. 

Back in 2007 and 2008, when I was at my heaviest, my ex-wife and two of my children would watch this show. It thoroughly annoyed me. They seemed really caught up in it, and I just didn’t get it. Looking back on that experience now, I realize that the show was a constant reminder of my overweight and out of shape condition, and that is why it annoyed me so much. 

Sometime in 2008, I finally summoned up the courage to change my lifestyle toward something more healthy. This was different than previous attempts to lose weight. Yeah, I was the yo yo dieter, and I had been up and down significantly several times over the past 20 years. More on that to come in subsequent posts – it isn’t the point here. 

I changed my diet slowly, but I also started going to the gym and working out on the elliptical trainer. Things slowly began to change. Then in the Fall, our five drivers / four cars situation left me stranded at home every day. I worked from home, so this wasn’t necessarily a problem – except – it became my excuse to no longer go to the gym for workouts. 

And then a realization.

I lived about eight tenths of a mile from the gym. Certainly within walking distance. 

And so, I started walking. That is when everything really began to change. I started walking three to six miles per day in addition to the elliptical. And the weight started coming off. I began to feel better. I would walk at nearly every opportunity. 15 minutes at a time or an hour at a time. I also started watching “The Biggest Loser” with my family. I kept walking.

Soon, an idea came to me. Why not try to “run?” I tried to surrender this idea back to its source quickly, because I didn’t like running. It hurt. It killed my shins. It made me breathe hard. I hated it. 

But I decided to try to run the length of one song on my iPod. I did it, but I thought I was not going to recover. I thought, “Greg, you just cannot run. Simple as that.”

That very night was Biggest Loser night. And guess what I saw? They got those people up out of bed and told them that they were going to run a half marathon. I was shocked. And annoyed. But this time, I was also motivated.

This was my thought: “If those people, all of whom are fatter than you and in worse shape than you can run a half marathon, there just can’t be any physical reason that you cannot run a couple of miles. This is in your head, Greggo.”

The next morning, I got out of bed and made a decision. I decided to run for 15 minutes away from my house, turn around, and run back. 

And I did it. 

And it didn’t hurt that much. 

And then I got in the car and drove it to see how far it was. 

And it was 2.5 miles. 

And that’s when I started running. And that was over 100 pounds ago. And four marathons and a half marathon, some 5K’s and a 10K ago. 

I love “The Biggest Loser” because it proved to me once and for all that my mind was really the only obstacle between my unhealth and my improving health. The difference in my hating and loving “The Biggest Loser” was the way I thought about it.

I love it now. 

After a multi-season break, I’m back at it, watching and pulling for the contestants, getting involved in their stories and remembering where I came from and where I’m going. 

I need the inspiration as a part of completing more of my goals. Five marathons this year. Strength training. Winning the ever-present food battle. And learning to help others on their journeys. 


5 responses to The Biggest Loser


    I never realized it annoyed you that we watched it! Glad you are back at it so I can have another person to discuss it with. I am proud of you!


    Thanks for sharing. I obviously knew you had lost weight and thought it was so cool, but the only thing I knew was how you used to be and how you are now. Very cool story. I too am proud of you brother!


    i’ve been telling joel i want to watch it….the older seasons are on netflix instant view. greg, i say it often…that you inspired me to change…but i really mean it. i started going to the gym, and then to weight watchers because of you. and then i also started running, because of you. i didnt know you well back then, but i saw you make a huge change…you were MY biggest loser inspiration (having never seen the show). 🙂 you are so awesome!


    Ah, so that’s how it all started–what a great story, and thanks for sharing! I watch The Biggest Loser as often as possible because of the personal stories, the understanding of how the contestants come to be in their situations and what they have to be challenged with, understand, and change in order to change their weight. As you so eloquently said, it’s not about the weight. The weight is the evidence of what’s going on inside. It’s so great to watch the changes taking place in you during the last few years…thanks for sharing the Aha! moments!


    I love The Biggest Loser. It’s so inspiring to see regular people change their lives.

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