"If I could just get on the Biggest Loser, my life would begin and I would finally lose the weight" - me on numerous occasions while watching The Biggest Loser and eating pizza/french fries. Please tell me I wasn't alone in this vision?
Well, there have now been 14 seasons of The Biggest Loser and hundreds of people who were lucky enough to make the show and have their lives filmed and changed forever.
Ever wonder what it was like to be ON the Biggest Loser Ranch?
Do you remember them? If you know anything about the Biggest Loser how could you not?
The Fa cousins joined the cast of Season 7 of the Biggest Loser not to "save their lives," but to inspire people - especially members of their Polynesian community. The duo combined to shed 281 pounds.
I wanted to break this interview into a couple parts and for me, the most important was: once the cameras stopped rolling (aka THE AFTER)!
For any of us that have embarked on a weight loss journey, we find that maintenance ends up being a whole beast of its own. After getting rid of the weight, we sometimes think it will be all rainbows and unicorns, but it isn't always that way.
And even past Biggest Loser contestants are susceptible to that.
Within eight months of the Season 7 finale, Sione had gained back 60 lbs and used it as a wake-up call.
"After the show, I think we were coming off that 6-8 hour workout day and trying to go back to normal life. You can't workout 6-8 hours and you can't work out that strict regiment. You have to work and get time with family. It's just not realistic," Sione said. "We were messed up in the head. I remember the first time we got a workout in after coming home it was 1.5 hour long and we felt like we were failures because we didn’t do the right amount."
So how did Sione take charge of his life and take the weight back off? By NOT stressing about being a certain number on the scale or a certain pant size. He took the focus off of a number and he dropped about 80% of the weight again. But this time he the weight loss was slow and steady.
"I'm just gonna take it each day at a time because I know what I need to do today. I reminded myself that I am working towards long-term goal," Sione remarked. "What can I do to get myself there? Stop stressing where I would be in a week or a month ... I can eat right today and get my workout in today ... and wherever I am going to be will be."
Besides inspiring thousands of people by sharing his story, Sione became a trainer at the Biggest Loser Resort in Utah. Instead of keeping the focus on the number of pounds a guest wants to lose, Sione helps them change the focus to the long-term health/fitness goals.
But, what happened to Filipe?
Filipe didn't have his wake-up call after a 60-pound weight gain. His came after he put back 119 of the 135 lbs he lost on the show.
Many wonder how could this happen?
"Maintenance was so difficult, especially maintaining the finale weight," Filipe revealed. "The biggest misconception after the Finale was I got here and now deserve to treat myself, but not just for a meal but for a full week. I think people can relate the thought of getting in a good workout meant that we deserve something good and delicious. That good is not often a healthy choice."
After starting to back out of Biggest Loser alumni events and Finales and hearing how worried his son was that he would die early, Filipe decided it was time to make a change.
And there was Sione and the Biggest Loser Resort waiting to lend him a helping hand. This time he would be on a Biggest Loser Ranch without the cameras and without the pressure to stay another week.
Longtime Biggest Loser sponsor Walgreens heard of the Fa cousins planned and offered yet another avenue of help.
Walgreen’s dedication to helping people “get, stay, and live well” through their Way to Well Commitment program inspired an eight episode web series on NBC.com centered on you guessed it - the Fa cousins.
During the 3.5 months the series covered (which aired in early 2013), Filipe lost 49 lbs and said goodbye to the 300's - which was his goal for the series. From recent pictures it looks as if he is continuing on a path of healthy eating and exercise, while I do not know his exact weight at this moment. But as Sione says, this journey is about more than a number on the scale.
“The biggest difference in Filipe is that he’s got his confidence back,” Sione said. “It’s OK to mess up and admit you’ve fallen off. You don’t have to hide.”
It just goes to show that we can all stumble, we can all fall, we can all gain some of the weight back, but it's what you do when you pick yourself back up that truly defines us.
Stay tuned for Part 2 where Filipe and Sione share more about life on the Biggest Loser Ranch.