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Apr 28, 2009

Biggest Loser Champion...How'd he f'ing do it?

Jeremy- last year's champion of the Biggest Loser, was kind enough to sit down and have an interview to discuss how he lost his weight, what motivated him, and what keeps him going.
Thanks Jerm!
First, I can't thank everyone enough for their encouragement and praise. I honestly don't feel like I have done anything that special, but some feel it was an amazing feat. So, my goal now is to help people see how I made the change, how I stayed motivated through the competition, and how continued to progress even after the competition. I also want people to realize that all the sacrifice and effort was ABSOLUTELY worth it!

Interestingly enough, much of what I want to share with everyone are the changes I made after the competition was over. During the competition I lost weight, a lot of weight really fast. After the competition I actually got into shape and really started a consistent workout program and a healthy balanced diet. There were things I did during the competition that I would discourage others from doing.

Here are some quick statistics:

My weigh-in at the start: 205lbs on May 27, 2008,

My weigh in at the end: 170lbs on July 19, 2008

My current weight: ~155lbs

I weighed over 200lbs since sophmore year in high school (1996)

1) What was your exercise program during the biggest loser?

It actually did not change much from before the competition. I did weight training Monday and Wednesday and cardio Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday was the SAND DUNES!!!!! However, as the competition progressed, I stopped weight training due to lack of energy. I was definitely not getting enough calories to support my normal exercise routine. That was the downside of having such a short competition, too much pressure to drastically cut calories.

2)Special diet?
I went the low carb route. I completely and totally dropped all breads, rice, potatoes, sodas, chips, pastas and desserts of any kind . Maybe once or twice during the competition did I have bread. I did not monitor my caloric intake but it was roughly 1500 calories/day. My diet consisted of chicken and other lean meats, vegetables, salads with no dressing (just salsa), fruits and nuts. I would discourage people from cutting their diet so drastically. You need to make a change that is maintainable, balanced and nutritious. My diet now is much more balanced with good carbs, meat, and healthy fats. Recently I started a whole-foods diet where I eat food that is minimally processed. This means eating foods that don't have high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils and preservatives. Basically eat foods the way Mother nature intended, in their natural form.That's another thing: I have really educated myself in nutrition and fitness since the competition became a passion not a chore.

3) What motivated me to join?
I was always self-conscious about my weight. I wanted to lose weight for many many years. I tried and failed many times. It was the competitive aspect that really made me commit. I got really into proving to others and to myself that I could do this. In friendly spirit, others in the competition would boast that they were going to win. I would just say to myself "you have no idea what I am capable of, this is my competition to win!" Also, I specifically remember talking with Emily everyday. I would tell her I was going to win, and she'd say "We'll see, so-and-so looks like they are losing lot of weight." This would really fire me up!

4) How do you continuously motivate yourself to keep your lifestyle?
I completely changed my thought process. I enjoy working out intensely and enjoy healthy foods. I never want to go back to the way I was and I put in too much effort to waste it all by not staying in shape. I have never felt so good in my life, and I want to take advantage of this and do everything I always wanted to but never could. This experience has boosted my confidence 10-fold and I am enjoying the fruits of my labor.

5)Do you give yourself treats?
I did not give myself any treats during the competition....none. I would say to myself that EVERYTHING counts. Any slip up or weakness would hurt my chances of winning. I do give myself treats now that the competition is over. But, I still try to make wise decisions and I do not crave the junk I used to eat before. I usually eat a couple pieces of dark chocolate a week. The foods I look forward to most now are my tasty protein bars and drinks.

6)What have you noticed in yourself since you lost all your weight?
I can't stess enough how positive an impact this weight loss has had on my life. It wasn't just about being lighter, I felt so proud of myself and have gained so much confidence. I am definitely an all around happier person and much more social. I am in the best shape of my life! Before this my fastest 1-mile time was 7.5 minutes in seventh grade. At the start of the competition, I could probably do a 9 minute mile. A few weeks ago I timed myself doing a 5:45 min /mile. I do 10k races at a 6:45 min/mile pace! But that is only the tip of the iceberg! I am going to tell you guys something very few people know about me (so I hope no one reads this). I have social anxiety disorder. I have been getting professional help for this for about four years and have made a lot of progress. This weight loss has allowed me to progress even more to the point where I feel like I don't have social anxiety at is a thing of the past! Emily can attest to my change. Also, something else,.....this is a brand new feeling for me.......some girls actually think I am good looking now......that is something I am not used to yet (but am enjoying)!!!

7) What is your routine nowadays?
Nowadays I still do cardio and weight training regularly. I am training for a half marathon and triathlon as well. My weight training is high intensity circuit training with plyometrics included in. My cardio for the most part has been running long distances. Now I am switching to high intensity interval training. This will include sprints, hill runs, spinning, jump rope. For weight training I am going to do mulit-joint exercises that involve stressing several large muscle groups at once.....burns calories bigtime and builds serious muscle.

8) What amazes me most?
What amazes me most is how undifficult it was! Seriously! I made up my mind, commited to it and my body went along for the ride. I didn't let the voices inside my head distract me. Any obstical was just a test to make sure I really wanted this badly. When you make up your mind and fully commit, it truly becomes effortless! So take this advice from me: MAKE UP YOUR MIND TO CHANGE AND COMMIT TO IT! You are going to have rough days where you want to give in....I was just logical about it. I would say "I knew I was gonna feel like this, I knew I was going to doubt myself. Well this time I am going to ignore those feelings, they are getting in the way of my goals!"

9) Any secrets?
Well I wrote about a few secrets above. The main thing for me was to view it as proving to others what I could do. By having the external motivation, it really keep me focused on the goal. I had something to prove! Before, when I failed at weight loss, it was only me who was disappointed. During the competition my teamates, family, friends and co-workers all knew that I was in this competition. I didn't want to let them down: I didn't want them to see me fail!

10) Words of advice/encouragement
Like I said, all the effort, pain and sacrifice are worth it. I get so many compliments and people say how they are so impressed with me.That means more to me than any junk food or dessert ever could. I promise you, you will not remember how hard it was, you will only remember how great you felt. Your body WANTS you to lose weight, it is just that damn mind you have to convince! I want people to look at me and say "if he can do it, so can I". And its true. I never thought I was capable of this, but look at me now!