Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Week of Challenges

This week's The Biggest Loser, the last episode before next week's live finale, was filled with challenges for the final four contestants. First, they had to go home for 30 days and face real life with all its distractions and temptations. Though they all knew they would have to weigh in again and run a marathon on the ranch at the end of the month, each admitted to struggling.

Koli couldn't focus with all the distractions of friends and family in California, so he left for Las Vegas and some intense training at a mixed martial arts facility. It struck me that he was perhaps way too focused on the game instead of the fitness/health aspect, and Bob pointed this out to him when he came for a visit. Koli even acknowledged this at the weigh-in at the end of the show.

Ashley was disappointed in herself for staying out too late with friends, even though she did make the positive step of saying she didn't want to go drinking like she used to. She and Michael agreed to run/walk the marathon together, to support and encourage each other. They seem to have gotten really close.

Daris is the one who really broke my heart this week. Despite being a running machine, he is still struggling with the emotional side of things. I think that despite having friends, he feels really alone. He seems like a quiet, kindhearted soul who internalizes much of what he's feeling. When he was videoing himself emotional eating in the middle of the night, I wanted to walk into that kitchen and say, "No! Don't do this." I think he's someone people can really relate to because his struggles are so like ours.

The marathon day was wet and cold, but all four contestants were determined to do the best they could and finish the race. Daris was determined to beat the previous record time, and he did so by nearly and hour, finishing in 4 hours, 2 minutes. Koli arrived a couple of hours later with a time of 6 hours, 8 minutes. Mike and Ashley arrived hand-in-hand at 6 hours, 26 minutes. Pretty darned impressive for people who could barely walk 5 months prior.

At the weigh-in, Michael hit another huge turning point, going below the 300-pound mark at 299. He broke down crying, and I admit I teared up too. He lost 23 pounds while at home; Ashley lost 18 (but had the biggest percentage of weight loss at 7.79 percent); and Koli lost 13. Daris actually gained 2 pounds, and I believe that was due to his emotional side wrecking all the working out he was doing. So at the end of the weigh-in, we know that Ashley and Michael are definitely in the running for the title of Biggest Loser, and America's votes will determine if the third person is Koli or Daris. Anyone want to guess who America will vote for? I'm off to vote online now.

And may I just say that I'm thrilled that for the second year in a row, a woman from Tennessee is in the final four. You go, Ashley!


Michelle Butler on May 19, 2010 at 12:21 AM said...

I missed this episode too, so I'm so glad to read this recap. 4 hours 2 minutes is a really good time for a marathon, right? Very impressive. Has Daris ever talked about when he started overeating? Sounds like both Daris and Koli need some extra help - or just have some more stuff to work out. This is such an emotional journey.

Ashley and Michael running/walking together is very moving. I'm sorry to have missed it.

Diane Gaston on May 19, 2010 at 8:06 AM said...

Your thoughts about this are almost exactly like mine, Trish (although I wouldn't have noticed the Tennessee connection!)

Daris is breaking my heart, too. I'm afraid he'll gain his weight back and I hope that the show provides him some help to get to the bottom of this. I suspect inside he still feels obese and an outsider in life.

Can you believe that Michael, the heaviest contestant ever, and Ashley, the heaviest woman this season, are the top two? Both of them are so appealing, so happy and somewhat surprised at their happiness.

I'll be sorry to see this season end. I loved this group of contestants for being so caring of each other.

Elise Hayes on May 19, 2010 at 8:21 AM said...

I finally got to see the show again last night--or half of it, anyway. It was *amazing* to see the changes in Daris, Ashley, and Michael. Koli has obviously changed a lot as well, but for me the really huge physical changes were most visible in the other three. Michael has turned out to be incredibly handsome (and Daris is a complete cutie).

But, yes, Daris is breaking my heart, too, Diane. He's come so far during the past 6 months, but he clearly has major emotional eating issues that he couldn't control during the month back at home. He won't be training for a marathon for the rest of his life (with all of the calorie-burning that comes with that much exercise), which means that if he can't figure out a way to deal with the issues that are leading to the late-night binges, he's not going to keep the weight off when he's on his own again. My heart just aches for him.

He's going to need some sort of community to turn to. I hope he gets involved with a local running club or something like that. It would give him a social community to learn to tap into (so that someday he can stop feeling like the outsider) and it would give him a strong external motivation to keep up the exercise and keep working on his issues with eating.

Michael and Ashley were so fabulous. I loved how they did most of the marathon together. And it was fantastic to see Michael break the 300 lb mark.

So...I've never seen the end of a "Biggest Loser" season. How is the final winner selected? I'll be traveling next week, so I won't be able to watch that episode (so I'll be coming here for the recap as soon as I'm in a place with internet connection!).

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on May 19, 2010 at 8:25 AM said...

I can't remember if Daris has ever talked about when it all began. He did say that the last time he was at his current weight was when he was a little kid. There's something about him that makes me want to reach out and hug him, help him out.

I have to admit that I started wondering if Ashley and Michael might be a couple. If not, they do seem to be very good friends. And Daris gave a very moving speech at the weigh-in about how Ashley inspired him along the journey.

Diane, I thought of you again as I was watching Michael. He really is turning into a very attractive guy. Got a nice tan going too. :)

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on May 19, 2010 at 8:29 AM said...

Diane, I'm going to miss this group too. I really like them.

Elise, America will vote on who the third person in the running will be. Then, if I'm remembering correctly, it comes down to a final weigh-in.

Elise Hayes on May 19, 2010 at 10:01 AM said...

Does the final weigh-in take in the full account of their journey (i.e., is it the weight loss percentage for their whole time at the ranch)? Or just that last week (or month, or whatever it is before the grand finale) of effort?

Michelle Butler on May 19, 2010 at 12:00 PM said...


THe final weigh-in takes in the full account of their journey. The winner usually lost more than 50% of their starting weight. It's extremely dramatic. In some ways though, the marathon show can be even more moving - it captures two accomplishments. Enjoy your traveling next week.

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